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Chapter 2. Obtaining Fedora

2.1. Downloading Fedora
2.1.1. How Do I Download Installation Files?
2.1.2. Which Architecture Is My Computer?
2.1.3. Which Files Do I Download?
2.1.4. How Do I Make Fedora Media?
2.2. Obtaining Fedora on CD or DVD
This chapter explains how to get the files you need to install and run Fedora on your computer. Concepts in this chapter may be new, especially if this is your first free and open source operating system. If you have any trouble with this chapter, find help by visiting the Fedora Forums at http://www.fedoraforum.org/.
The Fedora Project distributes Fedora in many ways, mostly free of cost and downloaded over the Internet. The most common distribution method is CD and DVD media. There are several types of CD and DVD media available, including:
Most users want the Fedora Live image or the full set of installable software on DVD or CDs. The reduced bootable images are suitable for use with a fast Internet connection and install Fedora on one computer. Source code discs are not used for installing Fedora, but are resources for experienced users and software developers.
Users with a broadband Internet connection can download ISO images of CD and DVD media or images of USB flash disks. An ISO image is a copy of an entire disc in a format suitable for writing directly to a CD or DVD. A USB flash disk image is a copy of an entire disk in a format suitable for writing directly to a USB flash disk.
For more information on burning CDs and DVDs, refer to Section 2.1.4, “How Do I Make Fedora Media?”.
If downloading the Fedora ISO images and burning them to CD or DVD is impossible or impractical for you, refer to Section 2.2, “Obtaining Fedora on CD or DVD” to learn about other ways that you can obtain Fedora.

2.1. Downloading Fedora

2.1.1. How Do I Download Installation Files?

Download Links

To follow a Web-based guide to downloading, visit http://get.fedoraproject.org/. For guidance on which architecture to download, refer to Section 2.1.2, “Which Architecture Is My Computer?”.
Fedora software is available for download at no cost in a variety of ways.

2.1.1.1. From a Mirror

The Fedora installation files are freely available from web servers located in many parts of the world. These servers mirror the files available from the Fedora Project. If you visit http://download.fedoraproject.org/, you are redirected to a mirror, based on a calculation of which mirror is likely to offer you the best download speed. Alternatively, you can choose a mirror from the list maintained at http://mirrors.fedoraproject.org/publiclist. This page lists mirrors according to geographic location. The mirrors geographically closest to you are likely to provide you with the fastest downloads. If the company or organization that provides your internet access maintains a mirror, this mirror is likely to provide you with the fastest downloads of all.
Mirrors publish Fedora software under a well-organized hierarchy of folders. For example, the Fedora 12 distribution normally appears in the directory fedora/linux/releases/12/. This directory contains a folder for each architecture supported by that release of Fedora. CD and DVD media files appear inside that folder, in a folder called iso/. For example, you can find the file for the DVD distribution of Fedora 12 for x86_64 at fedora/linux/releases/12/Fedora/x86_64/iso/Fedora-12-x86_64-DVD.iso.

2.1.1.2. From BitTorrent

BitTorrent is a way to download information in cooperation with other computers. Each computer cooperating in the group downloads pieces of the information in a particular torrent from other peers in the group. Computers that have finished downloading all the data in a torrent remain in the swarm to seed, or provide data to other peers. If you download using BitTorrent, as a courtesy you should seed the torrent at least until you have uploaded the same amount of data you downloaded.
If your computer does not have software installed for BitTorrent, visit the BitTorrent home page at http://www.bittorrent.com/download/ to download it. BitTorrent client software is available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and many other operating systems.
You do not need to find a special mirror for BitTorrent files. The BitTorrent protocol ensures that your computer participates in a nearby group. To download and use the Fedora BitTorrent files, visit http://torrent.fedoraproject.org/.

Minimal Boot Images

Minimal boot CD and USB flash disk images are not available through BitTorrent.

2.1.2. Which Architecture Is My Computer?

Releases are separated by architecture, or type of computer processor. Use the following table to determine the architecture of your computer according to the type of processor. Consult your manufacturer's documentation for details on your processor, if necessary.
Processor manufacturer and model Architecture type for Fedora
Intel (except Atom 230, Atom 330, Core 2 Duo, Centrino Core2 Duo, and recent vintage Xeon); AMD (except Athlon 64, Athlon x2, Sempron 64, and Opteron); VIA C3, C7 i386
Intel Atom 230, Atom 330, Core 2 Duo, Centrino Core 2 Duo, and Xeon; AMD Athlon 64, Athlon x2, Sempron64, and Opteron; Apple MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air x86_64
Apple Macintosh G3, G4, G5, PowerBook, and other non-Intel models ppc
Table 2.1. Processor and architecture types

i386 Works for Most Windows Compatible Computers

If you are unsure what type of processor your computer uses, choose i386.
The exception is if your computer is a non-Intel based Apple Macintosh. Refer to Table 2.1, “Processor and architecture types” for more information.

Intel Atom Processor Architectures Vary

The N and Z Series Atom processors are based on the i386 architecture. The 230 and 330 Series Atom processors are based on thex86_64 architecture. Refer to http://ark.intel.com/cpugroup.aspx?familyID=29035 for more details.

2.1.3. Which Files Do I Download?

You have several options to download Fedora. Read the options below to decide the best one for you.
Each file available for download in a Fedora distribution includes the architecture type in the file name. For example, the file for the DVD distribution of Fedora 12 for x86_64 is named Fedora-12-x86_64-DVD.iso. Refer to Section 2.1.2, “Which Architecture Is My Computer?” if you are unsure of your computer's architecture.
  1. Full Distribution on DVD
    If you have plenty of time, a fast Internet connection, and wish a broader choice of software on the install media, download the full DVD version. Once burned to DVD, the media is bootable and includes an installation program. The DVD version contains a mode to perform rescue operations on your Fedora system in an emergency. You can download the DVD version directly from a mirror, or via BitTorrent.
  2. Live Image
    If you want to try Fedora before you install it on your computer, download the Live image version. If your computer supports booting from CD or USB, you can boot the operating system without making any changes to your hard disk. The Live image also provides an Install to Hard Disk desktop shortcut. If you decide you like what you see, and want to install it, simply activate the selection to copy Fedora to your hard disk. You can download the Live image directly from a mirror, or using BitTorrent.
  3. Minimal Boot Media
    If you have a fast Internet connection but do not want to download the entire distribution, you can download a small boot image. Fedora offers images for a minimal boot environment on CD. Once you boot your system with the minimal media, you can install Fedora directly over the Internet. Although this method still involves downloading a significant amount of data over the Internet, it is almost always much less than the size of the full distribution media. Once you have finished installation, you can add or remove software to your system as desired.

    Download Size

    Installing the default software for Fedora over the Internet requires more time than the Live image, but less time than the entire DVD distribution. Actual results depend on the software you select and network traffic conditions.
The following table explains where to find the desired files on a mirror site. Replace arch with the architecture of the computer being installed.
Media type File locations
Full distribution on DVD fedora/linux/releases/12/Fedora/arch/iso/Fedora-12-arch-DVD.iso
Live image fedora/linux/releases/12/Live/arch/iso/Fedora-12-arch-Live.iso, fedora/linux/releases/12/Live/arch/iso/Fedora-12-KDE-arch-Live.iso
Minimal CD boot media fedora/linux/releases/12/Fedora/arch/os/images/boot.iso
Table 2.2. Locating files

2.1.4. How Do I Make Fedora Media?

A Fedora ISO file can be turned into either CD or DVD discs. You can turn Fedora Live ISO files into bootable USB media, as well as a CD or DVD.

2.1.4.1. Making CD or DVD Discs

To learn how to turn ISO images into CD or DVD media, refer to http://docs.fedoraproject.org/readme-burning-isos/.

2.1.4.2. Making USB Media

To make bootable USB media, use a Fedora Live image. Use either a Windows or Linux system to make the bootable USB media.

USB Image Writing is Nondestructive

Writing the Live image to the USB media is nondestructive. Any existing data on the media is not harmed.
It is always a good idea to back up important data before performing sensitive disk operations.
To begin, make sure there is sufficient free space available on the USB media. There is no need to repartition or reformat your media. It is always a good idea to back up important data before performing sensitive disk operations.
2.1.4.2.1. USB Image Creation from Windows
  1. Download the LiveUSB Creator program for Windows from http://fedorahosted.org/liveusb-creator.
  2. LiveUSB Creator can create live USB media either from an image file that you downloaded previously, as described in Section 2.1.3, “Which Files Do I Download?”, or it can download an image file from the Internet. Either:
    • click the Browse button under the Use existing LiveCD label, browse to the location where you previously downloaded a Fedora Live ISO file, and select that file.
    • select a Fedora Live ISO file from the drop-down menu that LiveUSB Creator presents under the Download Fedora label. Note that image files are large and that it is probably impractical to use LiveUSB Creator to download an image file if you do not have a broadband connection to the Internet.
  3. Click Create Live USB.
2.1.4.2.2. USB Image Creation in Linux
USB media often comes in the form of flash devices sometimes called pen drives, thumb disks, or keys; or as an externally connected hard disk device. Almost all media of this type is formatted as a vfat file system. You can create bootable USB media on media formatted as ext2, ext3, or vfat.

Btrfs

The GRUB bootloader does not support Btrfs file system. You cannot create bootable USB media on media formatted as Btrfs.

Unusual USB Media

In a few cases with oddly formatted or partitioned USB media, the image writing may fail.
Follow one of the following procedures, depending on which Linux distribution you use:
2.1.4.2.2.1. Live USB creation in Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and similar Linux distributions
Graphical and command-line tools are available to create Fedora live USB media on computers that run Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Linux distributions derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux and similar operating systems

To perform this procedure on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Linux distributions derived from it, enable the Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) repository. Refer to http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/EPEL/FAQ#howtouse for instructions.
2.1.4.2.2.1.1. Live USB creation with a graphical tool
  1. Install the liveusb-creator on your system with your graphical package manager, or the following command:
    su -c 'yum -y install liveusb-creator'
    
  2. Plug in your USB media.
  3. Launch LiveUSB Creator, either from a menu or by entering liveusb-creator on the command line. Enter the root password for your system when LiveUSB Creator prompts you for it.
  4. LiveUSB Creator can create live USB media either from an image file that you downloaded previously, as described in Section 2.1.3, “Which Files Do I Download?”, or it can download an image file from the Internet. Either:
    • click the Browse button under the Use existing LiveCD label, browse to the location where you previously downloaded a Fedora Live ISO file, and select that file.
    • select a Fedora Live ISO file from the drop-down menu that LiveUSB Creator presents under the Download Fedora label. Note that image files are large and that it is probably impractical to use LiveUSB Creator to download an image file if you do not have a broadband connection to the Internet.
  5. Click Create Live USB.
2.1.4.2.2.1.2. Live USB creation with a command-line tool
  1. Install the livecd-tools package on your system with your graphical package manager, or the following command:
    su -c 'yum -y install livecd-tools'
    
  2. Plug in your USB media.
  3. Find the device name for your USB media. If the media has a volume name, look up the name in /dev/disk/by-label, or use the findfs:
    su -c 'findfs LABEL="MyLabel"'
    
    If the media does not have a volume name, or you do not know it, consult the /var/log/messages log for details:
    su -c 'less /var/log/messages'
    
  4. Use the livecd-iso-to-disk command to write the ISO image to the media:
    su -c 'livecd-iso-to-disk the_image.iso /dev/sdX1'
    
    Replace sdX1 with the device name for the partition on the USB media. Most flash drives and external hard disks use only one partition. If you have changed this behavior or have oddly partitioned media, you may need to consult other sources of help.
2.1.4.2.2.2. Live USB creation in other Linux distributions
To create Fedora live USB media on a computer that uses a Linux distribution other than Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and those derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux, you can either find a graphical tool designed for your operating system or use the command-line procedure detailed in this section.
UNetbootin is a free and open-source graphical tool that can create live USB media from live image files on computers that use a wide range of different Linux distributions. The Fedora Project does not distribute UNetbootin — it is available from http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/. Refer to that website for a complete description of the tool and instructions on how to use it.
To create Fedora live USB media at the command line:
  1. Download a live ISO file for Fedora as shown in Section 2.1.3, “Which Files Do I Download?”
  2. Plug in your USB media.
  3. Find the device name for your USB media. If the media has a volume name, look up the name in /dev/disk/by-label, or use the findfs:
    su -c 'findfs LABEL="MyLabel"'
    
    If the media does not have a volume name, or you do not know it, consult the /var/log/messages log for details:
    su -c 'less /var/log/messages'
    
  4. Many Linux distributions automatically mount USB media devices when you connect the device to your computer. If this is the case, dismount the device. The specific method to do this varies widely between Linux distributions and desktops. Some common methods include:
    • select File > Unmount if the operating system presents you with a window that displays the contents of the device.
    • right-click on an icon of the device and click Unmount.
    • click on an icon that represents ejecting the media — commonly, an upward-pointing triangle.
  5. At a command line, type su - to become root, and enter the root password when your system prompts you.
  6. Create a mount point for the live image that you downloaded. For example, to use /tmp/livecd as the mount point, type mkdir /tmp/livecd and press Enter.
  7. Mount the live image with the following command: mount -o loop /path/to/image/file/imagefile.iso /path/to/mount/point, where /path/to/image/file is the location of the image file that you downloaded, imagefile.iso is the image file, and /path/to/mount/point is the mount point that you just created.
  8. Change directory to the LiveOS directory of the image that you just mounted. mount point where you just mounted the Fedora live image. For example, cd /tmp/livecd/LiveOS.
  9. Run the following command: ./livecd-iso-to-disk /path/to/image/file/imagefile.iso device, where /path/to/image/file is the location of the image file that you downloaded, imagefile.iso is the image file, and device is the USB media device.
You have downloaded a Fedora live image, Fedora-12-i686-Live.iso, to a folder named Downloads in your home directory. You have a USB flash drive plugged into your computer, named /dev/sdc1
Become root:
su -
Make a mount point for the image:
mkdir /mnt/livecd
Mount the image:
mount -o loop /home/Username/Downloads/Fedora-12-i686-Live.iso /mnt/livecd
Change into the LiveOS directory of the live CD image:
cd /mnt/livecd/LiveOS
Run livecd-iso-to-disk to transfer the live image to your flash drive and make the flash drive bootable:
./livecd-iso-to-disk /home/Username/Downloads/Fedora-12-i686-Live.iso /dev/sdc1
Example 2.1. Mounting a Fedora live image file and using livecd-iso-to-disk to create live USB media