Getting and Installing Scientific Linux

Getting and Installing Scientific Linux

The guide will focus on the installation and use of Scientific Linux 6.6. The Scientific Linux installation medium is available as a DVD image, either from the main distribution site (here) or from a number of mirror sites (listed here).

Download the file named SL-6.6-x86_64-2014-11-05-Install-DVD.iso. This can be:

  1. Written to a DVD and then used to install Scientific Linux 6.4 on a desktop computer or server. Choose this option if you have an appropriate physical machine available. The machine should have at least 20 GB of hard disk space and 1 GB of RAM available for experimentation.

  2. Used to install Scientific Linux 6.4 in a Virtual Machine (e.g. using VirtualBox). Choose this option if you want to experiment with Scientific Linux on your existing desktop or laptop. Instructions on setting up VirtualBox for Scientific Linux are available here.

Installing Scientific Linux

  1. When the Scientific Linux Install DVD boots, you will see this screen: SL boot screen Simply choose the first option (Install or upgrade an existing system).

  2. Before the installation starts, Scientific Linux offers to test your install media. If you choose to perform this test, select OK else Skip it (and skip ahead to Step 6).

    SL check media screen

  3. If the test is successful, you will see this message. Your install DVD will also be ejected.

    SL media test passed screen

  4. And you will be asked if you want to test another installation DVD. Since you do not, select Continue, but only after verifying that your DVD is back in the DVD drive.

    SL install continue

  5. If you are installing on VirtualBox, you can re-insert the install DVD image by selecting the virtual DVD drive from the Devices menu of the running VM and choosing the Scientific Linux installation ISO image.

    Reinsert DVD on VirtualBox

    With the DVD tested and re-inserted in the drive, you will now move to the first step of the actual install.

  6. This is the Scientific Linux installation splash screen. Just select Next to continue.

    SL installation splash screen

  7. You will then get a choice of installation languages. Choose a language and select Next.

    SL install choose language

  8. Next you need to choose a keyboard type. The default (US-English keyboard) is correct for most keyboards used in South Africa, only change it if you know you have a different type.

    SL install choose keyboard

    And select Next to move on.

  9. The next dialogue asks you some details of your disk setup. Choose the Basic option and move on by selecting Next.


  10. Since you are installing a new operating system, you will now be warned about overwriting the data on the disk of the computer you are using. Acknowledge this warning and move on by selecting Yes, discard any data.


    Select Next and you will continue to the networking configuration page.

  11. In this dialog, the installer asks you to configure your network settings. You can choose a hostname for the machine (or leave it at its default) and configure your network interfaces. For this example, the hostname will be left at its default setting.


    Select the Configure Network button to set up a network interface.

  12. The Network Connections dialog is shown, showing the list of all system network interfaces. If you’re doing this on a physical machine, multiple interfaces might be shown and the Ethernet interface will be named something like p1p2 .If this installation is happening in a VirtualBox VM, only a single network interface, eth0, will be shown. Edit the settings of this interface by selecting the Edit button.


  13. In the dialog for editing the network connection properties, ensure that the Connect automatically option is selected.


    Then choose Apply, Close and Next to move to the next dialog.

  14. Choose an appropriate city to set the system time zone.


    And select Next to move on.

  15. The next dialog asks you to choose a password for the root account. The user root is a special user with administrative rights on the Linux system, and thus it is important to choose a good password to ensure system security.


    Once you have chosen an entered the password, choose Next to move on.

  16. The installer will now consider which parts of the disk to use for the Scientific Linux installation. The hard drive is divided into partitions, where each partitition has a type that identifies what it contains. By default, the Scientific Linux installer will only overwrite existing Linux partitions, and leave partitions from other operating systems alone. Choose this default option if your disk is empty or you want to preserve other (non-Linux) operating systems on the drive. If you want to overwrite all data on the drive, choose Use All Space.


    Having chosen how you want disk partitions to be treated, select Next.

  17. You will be asked to confirm that you want to write changes to disk. This is your last change to back out of the installation without altering data. If you choose to proceed select Write changes to disk.


  18. Next you will be asked to choose what type of install you want. Server installs are oriented towards text base interfaces and sets of software that might be useful in a server environment. Desktop installs install the Gnome desktop and Graphical User Interface. For the purposes of this tutorial, and to reduce the resource requirements of the machine, choose the Basic Server install type.


    And choose Next to start the installation.

  19. A dialog will then be shown with a progress bar denoting the progress of the operating system installation.


    Finally the installation will complete.

  20. And the final installation dialog will be shown. Select Reboot to eject the installation DVD and reboot the system.


  21. After rebooting, Scientific Linux will start up, showing a screen like this:


  22. When booting is complete, you will be greeted by the Scientific Linux login screen. Log in was username root and the password you chose previously. SL-21_Running

  23. If you have chosen to install a Desktop environment, you will be greeted by the First boot screen when you boot up your Scientific Linux installation for the first time.


    Select Forward to start the first boot system configuration.

  24. You will now be asked to add a user. In the previous steps of the install you set the password for the root user, but you only operate as root when you are doing privileged systems administration tasks. The user you will now add is the one you would normally log in as and operate as.


    Choose a username (all lowercase, no spaces) and enter the full name and password for this user then select Forward.

  25. You will now be asked to set the system time.


    For servers (and most desktops) that are internet connected its better to have the time set automatically using time servers so select Synchronize date and time over the network and select Forward.

  26. You will now be shown a selection of time servers that your machine can use to set its time.


    While the default list is acceptable, many institutions have their own time server that will be “closer” on the network than the default time servers. A closer time server is generally a better. The University of Pretoria has its own time server, add it by selecting Add.

  27. After you select Add you are given a blank line on which to fill in the address of the time server. In the example screenshot the SANBI time server is being added. The University of Pretoria time server’s address is Enter this address and then press enter to commit the edit.


    Then select Forward.

  28. At this point, especially if you are running in a Virtual Machine, you might be told that you do not have enough RAM to enable the Kdump service.


    Select Ok to move past this warning.

  29. You will then see the Kdump configuration screen. You can leave the settings here at their default values and select Forward to continue.


  30. Your configuration is now complete and you will see the Scientific Linux login screen. Log in with the user credentials you supplied previously.


    Welcome to Scientific Linux!

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