Welcome to the Official Red Hat Linux Customization Guide.

The Official Red Hat Linux Customization Guide contains information on how to customize your Red Hat Linux system to fit your needs. If you are looking for step-by-step, task-oriented guides for configuring and customizing your system, this is the guide for you. This manual discusses many beginner and intermediate topics such as the following:

This manual is divided into the following main categories:

This guide assumes you have a basic understanding of your Red Hat Linux system. If you need reference material which covers more basic issues, please refer to the Official Red Hat Linux Getting Started Guide. If you need more advanced documentation, please refer to the Official Red Hat Linux Reference Guide.

HTML and PDF versions of all the Official Red Hat Linux manuals are available online at

Document Conventions

When you read this manual, you'll see that certain words are represented in different fonts, typefaces, sizes and weights. This highlighting is systematic; different words are represented in the same style to indicate their inclusion in a specific category. The types of words that are represented this way include the following:


Linux commands (and other operating system commands, when used) are represented this way. This style should indicate to you that you can type in the word or phrase on the command line and press [Enter] to invoke a command. Sometimes a command contains words that would be displayed in a different style on their own (e.g., filenames). In these cases, they are considered to be part of the command, so the entire phrase will be displayed as a command. For example:

Use the cat testfile command to view the contents of a file, named testfile, in the current working directory.


Filenames, directory names, paths and RPM package names are represented this way. This style should indicate that a particular file or directory exists by that name on your Red Hat Linux system. Examples:

The .bashrc file in your home directory contains bash shell definitions and aliases for your own use.

The /etc/fstab file contains information about different system devices and filesystems.

The /usr/share/doc directory contains documentation for various programs.

Install the webalizer RPM if you want to use a Web server log file analysis program.


This style should indicate to you that the program named is an end-user application (as opposed to system software). For example:

Use Netscape Navigator to browse the Web.


A key on the keyboard is shown in this style. For example:

To use [Tab] completion, type in a character and then press the [Tab] key. Your terminal will display the list of files in the directory that start with that letter.


A combination of keystrokes is represented in this way. For example:

The [Ctrl]-[Alt]-[Backspace] key combination will restart the X Window System.

text found on a GUI interface

A title, word or phrase found on a GUI interface screen or window will be shown in this style. When you see text shown in this style, it is being used to identify a particular GUI screen or an element on a GUI screen (e.g., text associated with a checkbox or field). Examples:

On the GNOME Control Center screen, you can customize your GNOME window manager.

Select the Require Password checkbox if you'd like your screensaver to require a password before stopping.

top level of a menu on a GUI screen or window

When you see a word in this style, it indicates that the word is the top level of a pulldown menu. If you click on the word on the GUI screen, the rest of the menu should appear. For example:

Under Settings on a GNOME terminal, you'll see the following menu items: Preferences, Reset Terminal, Reset and Clear, and Color selector.

If you need to type in a sequence of commands from a GUI menu, they'll be shown like the following example:

Click on Programs=>Applications=>Emacs to start the Emacs text editor.

button on a GUI screen or window

This style indicates that the text will be found on a clickable button on a GUI screen. For example:

Click on the Back button to return to the Web page you last viewed.

computer output

When you see text in this style, it indicates text displayed by the computer on the command line. You'll see responses to commands you typed in, error messages and interactive prompts for your input during scripts or programs shown this way. For example:

Use the ls to display the contents of a directory:

$ ls
Desktop                axhome           logs          paulwesterberg.gif
Mail                   backupfiles      mail          reports

The output returned in response to the command (in this case, the contents of the directory) is shown in this style.


A prompt, which is a computer's way of signifying that it is ready for you to input something, will be shown in this style. Examples:



[stephen@maturin stephen]$

leopard login:

user input

Text that the user has to type, either on the command line, or into a text box on a GUI screen, is displayed in this style. In the following example, text is displayed in this style:

To boot your system into the text based installation program, you will need to type in the text command at the boot: prompt.

Another example, with the word root displayed as something the user needs to type in:

If you need to log in as root when you first log into your system, and you are using the graphical login screen, at the Login prompt, type root. At the Password prompt, type in the root password.

glossary entry

A word that appears in the glossary will be shown in the body of the document in this style. For example:

The lpd daemon handles printing requests.

In this case, the style of the word daemon should indicate to you that a definition of the term is available in the glossary.

Additionally, we use several different strategies to draw your attention to certain pieces of information. In order of how critical the information is to your system, these items will be marked as a note, a caution or a warning. For example:


Remember that Linux is case sensitive. In other words, a rose is not a ROSE is not a rOsE.


Don't do routine tasks as root — use a regular user account unless you need to use the root account to administer your system.


If you choose not to partition manually, a server-class installation will remove all existing partitions on all installed hard drives. Don't choose this installation class unless you're sure you have no data you need to save.