I have Fedora installed. I’m very used to its packaging system and feel very comfortable using it. Fedora releases every 6 months (more or less) and I like to a “fresh” reinstall every time there is a release. I can’t say it’s a completely fresh install because I don’t install grub and I don’t change the partitioning of my hard drive. I have a home partition, a boot partition and a swap partition that I don’t touch in the installation. My only interest is to reinstall the operating system and the apps.
I like to install my Fedora by using the minimal boot media. This is a small (under 300 Mbs) file that will kickstart the installation from a CD or a USB. I prefer the USB method over the CD. The file is in the installation trees of the various Fedora releases. Today I installed F14, so I had to get my boot.img file from http://ftp.klid.dk/ftp/fedora/linux/releases/14/Fedora/x86_64/os/images/.
After downloading this file into my computer, I have to put it in a USB. So I connect the USB that I will use to the port and execute the following command:
dd if=/path/to/boot.img of=/dev/sdb
Notice that the USB that I connected ended up in sdb, but this might change.
Confident of my procedure I reboot my machine and tell it to initialize from the USB key. There you will find a menu that has various options. I press TAB on the option that says install. This will allow me to edit the boot line. Given that I previously know where my installation is going to come from, I replace the stage2 option with Anaconda’s (Fedora installer) repo boot option to tell the installer where to fetch the images from. Notice that I execute this procedure from a place with a hight speed connection. The additional argument looks something like this:
Your line will probably be different as you might not be in Denmark when you are installing. Further notice that the line changes with architecture and Fedora release.
I press enter and the installer does its thing. When I get to the disk partitioning part I choose “customize”. This will take me to a window that has my disk layout. I choose my current boot partition and press edit. I make sure to select the label “/boot” and make sure that the format checkbox is not checked. I continue with the root partition and select “/” label and make sure that it is checked for format. Finally I edit my home partition, make sure that the label is “/home” and that the format checkbox is not checked. I hit next and continue the installation. I like to customize the packages that I am installing; but if you don’t want to do that, you can just continue without customizing.
Update 10-06-2011 (Fedora 15)
Had to change a little command to my process. After downloading the boot image from the fedoraproject site, the reboot did not work. After some searching around I found out that the livecd-tools package provided me with the functionality I needed (put a boot image into a usb key). Here is the command I used:
livecd-iso-to-disk /path/to/boot.img /dev/sdX
After this command my usbkey was ready to use and I could continue with the process stated above.