3.3. Information You Will Need

3.3.1. Documentation

3.3.1.1. Installation Manual

The document you are now reading, which is the official version of the Installation Guide for the sarge release of Debian; available in various formats and translations.

3.3.1.2. Hardware documentation

Often contains useful information on configuring or using your hardware.

3.3.1.3. S/390 Hardware References

Installation instructions and device drivers (DASD, XPRAM, Console, tape, z90 crypto, chandev, network) for Linux on S/390 using kernel 2.4

IBM Redbook describing how Linux can be combined with z/VM on zSeries and S/390 hardware.

IBM Redbook describing the Linux distributions available for the mainframe. It has no chapter about Debian but the basic installation concepts are the same across all S/390 distributions.

3.3.2. Finding Sources of Hardware Information

In many cases, the installer will be able to automatically detect your hardware. But to be prepared, we do recommend familiarizing yourself with your hardware before the install.

Hardware information can be gathered from:

  • The manuals that come with each piece of hardware.

  • The BIOS setup screens of your computer. You can view these screens when you start your computer by pressing a combination of keys. Check your manual for the combination. Often, it is the Delete key.

  • The cases and boxes for each piece of hardware.

  • System commands or tools in another operating system, including file manager displays. This source is especially useful for information about RAM and hard drive memory.

  • Your system administrator or Internet Service Provider. These sources can tell you the settings you need to set up your networking and e-mail.

Table 3.1. Hardware Information Needed for an Install

Hardware Information You Might Need
DASD Device number(s).
Available free space.
Network Type of adapter.
Device numbers.
Relative adapter number for OSA cards.

3.3.3. Hardware Compatibility

Many brand name products work without trouble on Linux. Moreover, hardware for Linux is improving daily. However, Linux still does not run as many different types of hardware as some operating systems.

You can check hardware compatibility by:

  • Checking manufacturers' web sites for new drivers.

  • Looking at web sites or manuals for information about emulation. Lesser known brands can sometimes use the drivers or settings for better-known ones.

  • Checking hardware compatibility lists for Linux on web sites dedicated to your architecture.

  • Searching the Internet for other users' experiences.

3.3.4. Network Settings

If your computer is connected to a network 24 hours a day (i.e., an Ethernet or equivalent connection — not a PPP connection), you should ask your network's system administrator for this information.

  • Your host name (you may be able to decide this on your own).

  • Your domain name.

  • Your computer's IP address.

  • The netmask to use with your network.

  • The IP address of the default gateway system you should route to, if your network has a gateway.

  • The system on your network that you should use as a DNS (Domain Name Service) server.

If you use a wireless network, you should also find out:

  • ESSID of your wireless network.

  • WEP security key (if applicable).