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SSC is expanding Matt Welsh's Linux Installation & Getting Started by adding chapters about each of the major distributions. Each chapter is being written by a different author in the Linux community. Here's a sneak preview--the Caldera chapter by Evan Leibovitch.--editor

Caldera OpenLinux

By Evan Leibovitch, evan@teely.on.ca

This section deals with issues specific to the Caldera releases of Linux, how to install the current release (Caldera OpenLinux) and prepare for the steps outlined in the following chapters. It is intended to be a complement to, not a replacement for, the "Getting Started Guides" Caldera ships with all of its Linux-based products. References to the Getting Started Guide for Caldera Open Linux Base will be indicated throughout this chapter simply as "the Guide".

What is Caldera?

The beginnings of Caldera the company come from an internal Novell project called "Corsair". While Novell had owned Unix System V in the early 1990s, Corsair was formed to see if there were things Novell could learn from Linux.

Corsair was a casualty of the changing of the guard at Novell that also caused it to sell off Unix to SCO and WordPerfect to Corel. Novell founder Ray Noorda gave startup capital to this group with the intention of making Linux available in a manner that would be as acceptable to business users and corporate MIS as commercial versions of Unix. Caldera is a privately-held company based in Orem, Utah.

The implementation of this goal has resulted in a series of Linux-based products that "broken the mold" in a number of ways. Caldera was the first Linux distribution to bundle-in commercial software such as premium X servers, GUI desktops, backup software and web browsers; at the time of writing, Caldera is the only Linux distribution officially supported by Netscape.

The Caldera Network Desktop

Caldera's first product, the Caldera Network Desktop (CND), was released to the public in early 1995 in a $29 "preview" form (a rather unusual manner to run a beta test), and in final release version in early 1996. The CND was based on the 1.2.13 Linux kernel, and included Netscape Navigator, Accelerated-X, CrispLite, and the Looking Glass GUI desktop. It also was the first Linux release to offer NetWare client capabilities, being able to share servers and printers on existing Novell networks. Production and sale of CND ceased in March 1997.

Caldera OpenLinux

In late 1996, Caldera announced its releases based on the Linux 2.0.25 kernel would be named Caldera Open Linux (COL) and would be made available at three levels;

As this is written, only the COL Base release is shipping, and feature sets of the other packages are still being determined. For specific and up-to-date lists of the comparative features of the three levels, check the Caldera web site http://www.caldera.com.

Because all three levels of COL build on the Base release, all three are installed the same way. The only difference is in the different auxiliary packages available; their installation and configuration issues are beyond the scope of this guide. Most of COL's add-on packages contain their own documentation; check the /doc directory of the Caldera CD-ROM for more details.

Obtaining Caldera

Unlike most other Linux distributions, COL is not available for downloading from the Internet, nor can it be distributed freely or passed around. This is because of the commercial packages which are part of COL; while most of the components of COL are under the GNU Public License, the commercial components, such as Looking Glass and Metro-X, are not. In the list of packages included on the COL media starting on page 196 of the Guide, the commercial packages are noted by an asterisk.

COL is available directly from Caldera, or through a network of Partners around the world who have committed to supporting Caldera products. These Partners can usually provide professional assistance, configuration and training for Caldera users. For a current list of Partners, check the Caldera web site.

Preparing to Install Caldera Open Linux

Caldera support the same hardware as any other release based on Linux 2.0 kernels. Appendix A of the Guide (p145) lists most of the SCSI hosts supported and configuration parameters necessary for many hardware combinations.

Taking a page out of the Novell manual style, Caldera's Guide provides an installation worksheet (page 2) that assists you in having at hand all the details of your system that you'll need for installation. It is highly recommended you complete this before starting installation; while some parameters, such as setting up your network, are not required for installation, doing it all at one time is usually far easier than having to come back to it. Sometimes this can't be avoided, but do as much at installation time as possible.

Creating boot/modules floppies

The COL distribution does not come with the floppy disks required for installation. There are two floppies involved; one is used for booting, the other is a "modules" disk which contains many hardware drivers.

While the Guide recommends you create the floppies by copying them from the CD-ROM, it is better to get newer versions of the disks from the Caldera web site. The floppy images on some CD-ROMs have errors that cause problems, especially with installations using SCSI disks and large partitions.

To get newer versions of the floppy images, download them from Caldera's FTP site. In directory {\tt pub/col-1.0/updates/Helsinki}, you'll find a bunch of numbered directories. Check out the directories in descending order---that will make sure you get the latest versions.

If you find one of these directories has a subdirectory called

, the contents of that directory are what you want.

You should find two files:



is replaced by the version number of the disk images. At the time of writing, the current images are 034 and located in the 001 directory.

Once you have these images, transfer them onto two floppies using the methods described on page 4 of the Guide, using RAWRITE from the Caldera CD-ROM if copying from a DOS/Windows system or

from a Linux system.

While Caldera's CD-ROM is bootable (if your system's BIOS allows it), if possible use the downloaded floppies anyway, since they are newer and will contain bug-fixes that won't be in the CD versions.

Preparing the hard disks

This procedure is no different from that of other Linux distributions. You must use fdisk on your booted hard disk to allocate at least two Linux partitions, one for the swap area and one for the root file system. If you are planning to make your system dual-boot COL with another operating system such as MS Windows or DOS or even OS/2, it's usually preferable to install COL last; its "fdisk" recognizes "foreign" OS types better than the disk partitioning tools of most other operating systems.

To run the Linux fdisk, you'll need to start your system using the boot (and maybe the modules) floppy mentioned above. That's because you need to tell COL what kind of disk and disk controller you have; you can't even get as far as entering

if Linux doesn't recognize your hard disk!

To do this, follow the bootup instructions in the Guide, from step 2 on page 33 to the end of page 36. Don't bother going through the installation or detection of CDROMs or network cards at this time; all that matters at this point is Linux sees the booting hard disk so you can partition it using fdisk. A brief description of the use of the Linux fdisk is provided on page 28 of the Guide.

Remember that when running fdisk, you need to set up both your root file system (type 83) and your swap space (type 82) as new partitions. A brief discussion of how much swap space to allocate is offered on page 10 of the Guide.

As soon as you have completed this and written the partition table information to make it permanent, you will need to reboot.

Copyright © 1997, Evan Leibovitch
Published in Issue 19 of the Linux Gazette, July 1997