Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fedora 16 Desktop Editions Install Guide

This is the installation guide for installing Fedora 16 Desktop Editions. This installation guide is similar to my other post on Installing Fedora 16 on Virtual Machine (VirtualBox). However, this guide has an addition section that discuss in details on creating and customizing hard disk partitions.

I've tested this version of Fedora using a Core 2 Duo Intel based computer with 4GB in RAM. This computer also has a basic NVIDIA graphics card with at least 128MB of RAM.

Getting Fedora 16
  • You can download the latest version of Fedora at
  • Under Fedora 16 Desktop Edition 64-bit, click download now. You will download a disk image named "Fedora-16-x86_64-Live-Desktop.iso".
  • Burn this image to a blank CD or DVD. Please search the web for how to burn a disc image to a CD/DVD.

Hardware Requirement 
The official hardware recommendations are:
  • 400MHz Pentium Pro or better.
  • Recommended RAM of 1152MB.

Getting Help
You can use the more comprehensive installation guide provided by Fedora. There are also many documents, HOW-TO and installation guide at
You can also check out the following forums:
Finally, you can search the web for answer if the previous options does not provide you with satisfactory answer.

Important Features and Changes
The major enhancements are as follows (Extracted from Fedora 16 Release Notes):
  • Enhanced cloud support including Aeolus Conductor, Condor Cloud, HekaFS, OpenStack and pacemaker-cloud
  • KDE Plasma workspaces 4.7
  • GNOME 3.2
  • A number of core system improvements including GRUB 2 and the removal of HAL.
  • An updated libvirtd, trusted boot, guest inspection, virtual lock manager and a pvops based kernel for Xen all improve virtualization support.
For further information please check out Fedora 16 Release Notes.

Installing Fedora 16 (Verne)
After burning the ISO image file to a CD/DVD, boot the Fedora 16 system from the disc. The desktop of Fedora 16 looks like this:

Start Installation
To start installation, select Applications >> System Tools >> Install to Hard Disk. The first screen appears and you need to select the keyboard. Select the keyboard you prefer, otherwise use the default "US English".

Click next. 

Select "Basic Storage"

You can change the host name (Network name that identify this computer) to something more meaning full or you can leave it as default.

Select the suitable time zone. Click next.

Now, you have to enter the root password. Click next when done.

This is where you configure disk partitions. Before I proceed with the instructions, I would like to discuss how Linux and Fedora configure its drive.  

Disk Partition for Fedora 16
Officially, Fedora encourage users to create 4 different partitions. The recommended partition scheme is as follows:
Boot partition - Fedora recommend a boot partition (/boot) with at least 250MB.
Swap partition - this partition is used as an extension to the existing system memory (RAM), the recommended partition size varies with your system memory. Listed below is the official recommended partition size for the swap file.

Table 9.2. Recommended System Swap Space
Amount of RAM in the SystemRecommended Amount of Swap Space
4GB of RAM or lessa minimum of 2GB of swap space
4GB to 16GB of RAMa minimum of 4GB of swap space
16GB to 64GB of RAMa minimum of 8GB of swap space
64GB to 256GB of RAMa minimum of 16GB of swap space
256GB to 512GB of RAMa minimum of 32GB of swap space

Personally, I would recommend the partition to be twice the memory size for system with 4GB of RAM or less. If you have more than 4GB of system memory (RAM), you can use the partition size recommended in the table.

Root partition - the root partition (/) is where all other system files located. Fedora recommend at least 3GB to 5GB.
Home partition - Fedora also recommends that you separate the system partition. where all the system files and program files are located, with home partition (/home) where users kept their data. The size of this partition depends on how many users are using the system and how much data you use. I would recommend you take up the rest of the disk space on this partition.

My Partition Configuration
Although I agree with partitions recommendation, I do not bother to separate root partition and home partition because most of my user data are stored on other hard disk and external storage. Therefore, my partition configuration is as follows:

  • Boot partition (/boot) - 250MB
  • Swap partition (swap) - 8GB or 8000MB
  • Root partition (/) - take up the rest of free space

There are some addition consideration such as LVM Mode and boot loading which is explained below.

LVM Mode
LVM mode allows user who uses multiple hard disk, to link all physical hard disks together so that it appears as a single logical unit. It is similar to volume disk in Windows operating system. For a system with single hard disk, you would not benefit from LVM mode even if you've enabled them during setup. 

Please note that that you should not add an removable hard disk to the same volume in your system because your removable hard disk will lost the ability to move. Please be aware that when you add multiple hard disk to single volume, any problem with one of the hard disk or the file allocation table will affect all hard disks under the same volume. You would not able to retrieve data even if the second disk is perfectly fine.

LVM mode is more suitable for server environment where any additional hard disk can be added to the same volume without partition configuration. Although Fedora enable LVM by default, I prefer not to use them. 

Boot Loading
For boot loading, Fedora traditionally configures the boot loader into the first hard disk that contains the master boot record. If you have a Windows operating system installed on the first hard disk, by default Fedora will configure the boot loader on the first hard disk. This allows users the flexibility to choose which operating system to use during system booting. 

There is one disadvantage, if for some reason, your first hard disk which contains Windows OS failed. You would also lost the ability to boot into Fedora because the boot loader is configured in the first disk. Personally, I would prefer the boot loader to be configured into the same physical disk drive.  

Naming Convention of Hard Disk
Linux operating system named you first hard disk as sda, second hard disk as sdb and so on. Within each disk, the partitions are labeled as sda1, sda2 and so on.

Configuring Disk Partition on Fedora 16
After you have decided how you customize the partition or you prefer the system handles it for you, we can proceed with the configuration.

If you prefer to let the system configures the disk partition for you automatically, you can select  "Use All Space" or "Use Free Space". If you are override an existing installation choose "Replace Existing Linux System". For user who want to customize disk partition select "Create Custom Layout". Un-check "Use LVM" if you do not want to use LVM mode.  

Special Note: Please note that if you prefer to create custom layout and wishes to set the boot loader to hard disk other than the first hard disk, there are additional steps required. You need to select "Replace Existing Linux System" and select the hard disk the boot loader should use and click "Back" again to continue with custom layout.

Set Boot Loader Other than First Disk
Select "Replace Existing Linux System" and select the hard disk that you want the boot loader to target to the right as shown below:

In my case, I've select "sdc" to be my boot loader. Select "Back" to the previous screen.

Then select "Create Custom Layout" to customize disk partitions.

Then, the same screen appears again and you need to select the target hard disk to the right. Please note that this screen will not appear if you choose create custom layout in the first place. It will only appear after you choose "Replace Existing Linux System" and set a target and go back. Click next after you have chosen the target disk.

Customize Disk Partition
The screen below shows the summary of each physical disk and its partition. I will be installing in the free space (80GB) in sdc.

Create Disk Partition
To create disk partition, select "Create".

Select "Standard Partition" since I do not use LVM volume.

This is the configuration of the boot partition. The rest of the partitions configuration is listed below.

Once you have created the partitions, the summary tables will display the details with a tick indicating that those partition has not been applied.

You can create and delete partitions as you please.  Please note that at this point all changes are not in effect. Click next when ready to commit the changes. You will receive a warnings as shown below:

This is the final warning before any changes is make to the hard disk. Click "Write Changes to Disk".

Once the partitions have been created, you have the chance to set password for the boot loader for security purpose. Click "Next".

The system starts creating the system partition and copy the system image into the hard disk. This may take a while. Have a cup of coffee or tea.

Finally, when the installation is complete, you can reboot the system.

Post Installation Setup
After system reboot, you need to perform additional setup.

Click Forward

Click Forward again.

You can choose to synchronize your system clock over the network using NTP. Click Forward after you've made the choice.

This is the important part. You need to create a new user. Enter the full name, username and password. Remember to check "Add to Administrators group".

Finally, the system will suggest that you send the hardware profile to Fedora for analysis. 

Finally the system will prompt you to login. This completes the installation process. Please note that you still need to update the system and perform post installation configuration.

Updates (Important)
After installation, you need to update the system. You can use the menu options, Applications >> System Tools >> Software Updates. Alternatively, you can use the command:
$sudo yum update

Post Installation Configuration
Post installation configuration refers to installation and configuration of the necessary software you required. Check out this post Fedora Software Installation and Configuration Guide (Fedora 15/16).

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