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DistributionWatch Review: Red Hat Linux 7 - page 2

A Set of Updated Tools

  • September 26, 2000
  • By Brian Proffitt

Installation of Red Hat 7.0 basic was done on my test machine, which has an AMD K6 chip, 96 Mb of RAM, and is connected via a PCI Ethernet card to a cable modem.

The installation application, Anaconda, is basically identical to Red Hat 6.2, with some minor improvements. Now entry-level users don't have to decide between Gnome or KDE workstation installs: they can have both, or neither, as they choose. Besides Workstation, Anaconda will has the Server installation setting, Custom, or Upgrade. Upgrading from 6.2 to 7.0 was fairly painless, but we still recommend a clean install if you can manage it.

Disk Druid still manages disk partitioning in a reasonably straightforward manner, and the explanatory text has been cleared up a bit to make the whole partitioning thing easier for newcomers. (The automatic partitioning option works very well, even for dual-boot machines.)

Package selection can still be handled on an individual level, though there are three preset package groups (Gnome, KDE, and Games) that make it easier to just get going without a lot of fuss. Should you choose to select both desktop environments, a setting on the X configuration screen will let you set the default environment.

X configuration is handled in much the same manner, though you can now specify the amount of video RAM your card has. The PCI probe did a great job of recognizing most of the cards we used, and a fair job of identifying monitors. X is still a critical area of the installation process, but we were left with a sense of security before leaving this section, as long as we tested our settings first.

One additional pleasant surprise was the automatic detection and configuration of our sound cards, a feat that in the recent past was not consistently handled. Hearing sound without having to run sndconfig right off the bat was a nice improvement.

Another nice addition was the ability to configure LDAP and Kerebros settings, instead of doing post-install work on it.

Once installation was complete, I did not find a lot of open services, as I have in past editions of Red Hat. Those I did find were easily found and shut down with the setup utility. The server installation, of course, had a lot more services running, as you might expect, but using basic security concepts, I managed to get the system locked up pretty quickly.

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