Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 – Boot ISO Installation

This isn’t going to be a long post, not least because installing Linux is something anyone should now be capable of doing (and if you’re not yet, I have a book to recommend.) However, there was a slight caveat I came across when performing the RHEL installation on my laptop.

When I install distributions locally, and I’m forced to use a medium like a CD or DVD, I generally get the ‘net-install’ (what Red Hat calls the Boot ISO) version of the ISO offered from the distribution. This not only saves on their bandwidth, but it means I don’t have to burn gigs of packages to a CD or save them to a thumb drive, when I’m never going to need most of them.

Because of this I grabbed the net-install for RHEL and dug a dusty USB DVD drive out of a drawer to install the OS on my disc-less laptop.

Now… some of you might have already spotted a problem with this, mainly being that because Red Hat’s distribution servers aren’t strictly public (you need a subscription to access them) network installations are generally only recommended if you’re running a local mirror of the upstream repositories. This only became obvious to me after I began the install.

Not one to give up (and actually lacking any large enough pieces of optical media to burn the “full” ISO to) I instead opted to download the full ISO anyway, only I would host it in the form of a web server on another machine, on the same network.

In this way I could still use my net-install disc, only I could point the installer to my hosted directory containing the rest of the packages RHEL wanted.

On my other machine, I downloaded the full ISO, then unpacked it to the local directory:

$ tar xfp rhel-8.0-x86_64-dvd.iso

Note, this was a FreeBSD box, using BSD tar. Your command may differ, always check the man page.

I then used Python’s built in ‘http.server’ to host the contents of the unpacked directory:

$ python3.6 -m http.server 8080

After which, I was able to point the Anaconda installer (on my laptop) to the temporary web server on my other machine. For an example of what this might look like, I provide the below screenshot for your consideration.

Gnome Boxes, in all its glory.

Adam – Terrafoundry Director and Consultant