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Red Hat Linux 9: x86 Installation Guide

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3.2. The Text Mode Installation Program User Interface

The Red Hat Linux text mode installation program uses a screen-based interface that includes most of the on-screen "widgets" commonly found on graphical user interfaces. Figure 3-1, and Figure 3-2, illustrate the screens you will see.

Figure 3-1. Installation Program Widgets as seen in Boot Loader Configuration

Figure 3-2. Installation Program Widgets as seen in Disk Druid

Here is a list of the most important widgets shown in Figure 3-1, and Figure 3-2:

  • Window — Windows (usually referred to as dialogs in this manual) will appear on your screen throughout the installation process. At times, one window may overlay another; in these cases, you can only interact with the window on top. When you are finished in that window, it will disappear, allowing you to continue working in the window underneath.

  • Checkbox — Checkboxes allow you to select or deselect a feature. The box displays either an asterisk (selected) or a space (unselected). When the cursor is within a checkbox, press [Space] to select an unselected feature or to deselect a selected feature.

  • Text Input — Text input lines are regions where you can enter information required by the installation program. When the cursor rests on a text input line, you may enter and/or edit information on that line.

  • Text Widget — Text widgets are regions of the screen for the display of text. At times, text widgets may also contain other widgets, such as checkboxes. If a text widget contains more information than can be displayed in the space reserved for it, a scroll bar appears; if you position the cursor within the text widget, you can then use the [Up] and [Down] arrow keys to scroll through all the information available. Your current position is shown on the scroll bar by a # character, which moves up and down the scroll bar as you scroll.

  • Scroll Bar — Scroll bars appear on the side or bottom of a window to control which part of a list or document is currently in the window's frame. The scroll bar makes it easy to move to any part of a file.

  • Button Widget — Button widgets are the primary method of interacting with the installation program. You progress through the windows of the installation program by navigating these buttons, using the [Tab] and [Enter] keys. Buttons can be selected when they are highlighted.

  • Cursor — Although not a widget, the cursor is used to select (and interact) with a particular widget. As the cursor is moved from widget to widget, it may cause the widget to change color, or you may only see the cursor itself positioned in or next to the widget. In Figure 3-1, the cursor is positioned on the OK button. Figure 3-2, shows the cursor on the Edit button.

3.2.1. Using the Keyboard to Navigate

Navigation through the installation dialogs is performed through a simple set of keystrokes. To move the cursor, use [Left], [Right], [Up], and [Down] arrow keys. Use [Tab], and [Alt]-[Tab] to cycle forward or backward through each widget on the screen. Along the bottom, most screens display a summary of available cursor positioning keys.

To "press" a button, position the cursor over the button (using [Tab], for example) and press [Space] or [Enter]. To select an item from a list of items, move the cursor to the item you wish to select and press [Enter]. To select an item with a checkbox, move the cursor to the checkbox and press [Space] to select an item. To deselect, press [Space] a second time.

Pressing [F12] accepts the current values and proceeds to the next dialog; it is equivalent to pressing the OK button.


Unless a dialog box is waiting for your input, do not press any keys during the installation process (doing so may result in unpredictable behavior).

3.2.2. Displaying Online Help

Once the installation program is loaded into memory, you can obtain information about the installation process and options by pressing [F1] through [F6]. For example, press [F2] to see general information about the online help screens.

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