Every distribution provides some means of booting your new Linux system after you have installed the software. In many cases, the installation procedure will create a ``boot floppy'' which contains a Linux kernel configured to use your newly-created root filesystem. In order to boot Linux, you would boot from this floppy, and control would be transferred to your hard drive after booting. On other distributions, this ``boot floppy'' is the installation floppy itself.
Many distributions give you the option of installing LILO on your hard drive. LILO is a program that is installed on your drive's master boot record. It is able to boot a number of operating systems, including MS-DOS and Linux, and allows you to select at startup time which to boot.
For the Slackware distribution, the Configure item in the setup menu will allow you to create a boot floppy as well as install LILO. These options should be fairly self-explanatory. The Configure menu item also allows you to specify your modem, mouse, and timezone information.
In order for LILO to be installed successfully, it needs to know a good deal of information about your drive configuration---for example, which partitions contain which operating systems, how to boot each operating system, and so on. Many distributions, when installing LILO, attempt to ``guess'' at the appropriate parameters for your configuration. Although it's not often, the automated LILO installation provided by some distributions can fail, and leave your master boot record in shambles (although it's very doubtful that any damage to the actual data on your hard drive will take place). In particular, if you use OS/2's Boot Manager, you should not install LILO using the automated procedure---there are special instructions for using LILO with the Boot Manager, which will be covered later.
In many cases, it is best to use a boot floppy, until you have a chance to configure LILO yourself, by hand. If you're feeling exceptionally trustworthy, though, you can go ahead with the automated LILO installation if it is provided with your distribution.
In Chapter 4, we'll cover in detail how to configure and install LILO for your particular setup.
If everything goes well, then congratulations! You have just installed Linux on your system. Go have a Diet Coke or something---you deserve it.
In case you did run into any trouble, the next section will describe the most common sticking points for Linux installations, and how to get around them.