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Slackware 9.0 Installation Guide


Section 9.2: Expert LILO Installation

You can use the expert mode to configure LILO by selecting it an pressing Enter.

LILO Expert Mode Option

Now you will see a menu of choices for setting up LILO. We will basically work our way down the options one at a time. To start, select the Begin option and press Enter.

The LILO Menu

At this point you are allowed to enter extra parameters that will be passed to the kernel when it boots.

Generally, the only time you want to use this if you have an IDE-based CD-RW drive and wish to burn CD-ROM disks using Linux. Traditionally, Linux has only allowed you to use CD-RW drives that were attached to SCSI cards. If you enter a special parameter here, you can however enable and IDE to SCSI emulation mode that allows Linux to use your IDE CD-ROM drive as if it were a SCSI CD drive instead.

You do not need this for standard CD-ROM drives, only for CD burners.

If you do use this feature, remember your CD drive will no longer be accessed using device names like /dev/hdX, but will instead you must access it using a device name like /dev/scdX instead. Examine the kernel startup messages during reboot to find the correct device name(s).

NOTE: Version 2.6 of the Linux kernel (which is under development) will no longer require this IDE to SCSI emulation. The new kernel will be able to use IDE CD-RW drives directly.

Extra Kernel Parameters

LILO can start Linux in regular text mode, or one of several enhanced graphical modes, called frame buffer consoles. I usually use the standard option myself.

If you use a frame buffer mode, the kernel displays Tux on screen during bootup. Tux is the Linux mascot. He is a cute little penguin. The frame buffer modes also generally use a smaller text font.

Frame Buffer Console Selection

As you can see, people have fun drawing Tux in different situations:

The Original Tux Tux Hard At Work Tux Loves Christmas Too Slackware's Version Of Tux Tux Knows The Source Tux Relaxing For A Change Tux Keeps Up With Current Events Tux Goes Extreme!

Next we must decide where to install LILO. The Master Boot Record (MBR) is almost always the correct choice, despite the warning.

I only ever had a problem installing LILO to the MBR twice. The first time I installed Linux on a system that was already configured to use OS/2's boot manager. The two boot managers did not get along very well. The other problem was caused by attaching a very large hard drive to a computer with an old BIOS. The old BIOS just did not support such a large drive. A modern system with a current BIOS should not have any problems with that.

If you decide to use the Root option, then LILO will be installed to your main Linux partition only. In order to boot Linux then you have to mark that partition as bootable. This can be done using FDISK (DOS or Linux versions) or other Disk Managers, such as the Disk Management tool under Windows NT/2000/XP. It is awkward to have to change the bootable flag just to switch from one operating system to another however, so try the more convenient MBR option first.

LILO Destination

Up until now, the options are the same as the simple mode. The expert mode gives us extra control however. This screen allows you to define exactly which hard drive's Master Boot Record you wish to update. In all but the rarest cases, /dev/hda is the correct option for IDE-based systems. If you have a SCSI-based system, then usually /dev/sda is the correct choice then.

Which Physical Drive Has the MBR?

Next we can control how long the LILO menu remains on screen when we reboot. I normally use the 30 second option myself.

LILO Timeout Setting

Next we will be returned to the menu. We want to be able to boot Linux, so arrow down and select the Linux option to continue.

Add a Linux Boot Option

You will be presented with a list of all the available Linux partitions from all the hard drives. You must enter the device name of the main partition used to install Slackware.

Select The Linux Partition

Next, you must assign a name to this operating system. This name will be shown on the LILO boot menu when you restart the computer. Linux or Slackware are valid names. Dashes are okay, but spaces and other special characters are not allowed.

Enter Partition Name

NOTE: It is possible to install Linux more than one time on a single computer. I have installed Slackware and RedHat together on the same computer several times. You do have to be careful and remember which partitions are used by Slackware and which are used by RedHat. You can actually share some of the partitions (such as /home) between the two versions of Linux. If do install multiple copies of Linux, repeat the steps above to add each main Linux partition to the LILO boot menu. The only hassle I have doing that anymore is that Slackware uses LILO and RedHat uses GRUB, but that too can be resolved.

Next you may want to add DOS/Windows to the boot menu so you can choose to run it instead during startup. This is called dual-booting the system. You can add as many different options to the menu as desired, but wouldn't it then be called triple-booting or quad-booting?

Adding Windows To The Boot Menu

All detected FAT and NTFS partitions will be displayed on this list. Just enter the correct partition name where Windows is installed. In this example, /dev/hda1 is the partition that Windows refers to as C:.

Specifying The Windows Partition

Again we must provide a name for this boot option that describes the operating system.

Enter Partition Name

We are actually done, except for installing LILO to the Master Boot Record. I usually like to view the /etc/lilo.conf file and check for obvious errors first however.

Viewing /etc/lilo.conf

The most important lines in the /etc/lilo.conf file are near the bottom. The Linux parition is described by these lines:

image = /boot/vmlinuz
  root = /dev/hda6
  label = Slackware
  read-only

Where:

image = /boot/vmlinuzTells LILO the file name of the Linux kernel itself
root = /dev/hda6Informs the kernel which partition to use as the / (root) area
label = SlackwareThe text to display on the boot menu
read-onlyThis is required when starting Linux

The Windows boot option is described by these lines:

other = /dev/hda1
  label = Win2000
  table = /dev/hda

Where:

other = /dev/hda1Tells LILO to transfer control to another different boot loader stored on this parition
label = Win2000The text to display on the boot menu
table = /dev/hdaTells LILO where to find the partition table to pass to the other boot loader

Critical /etc/lilo.conf Lines

Finally if everything looks okay, we can actually install LILO using the appropriate option.

Installing LILO

NOTE: Remember you can rerun this again later using the liloconfig command while logged in as the root user.