Installing Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is a powerful and widely-used operating system known for its stability and robust support in enterprise environments. This guide will walk you through the complete installation process of Red Hat Linux, breaking down technical terms and concepts to ensure clarity. Additionally, we will cover the history of Unix and Linux, the evolution of RHEL versions, and key components like LVM, the kernel, and GRUB.

History of Unix and Its Relation to Linux

The Birth of Unix

Unix was developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s at AT&T’s Bell Labs by Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, and others. It was designed to be a portable, multi-tasking, and multi-user operating system. Unix quickly became popular in academic and commercial environments due to its simplicity and powerful features.

Evolution of Unix

Unix’s modular design and the availability of its source code led to the creation of many different versions and derivatives. Some of the notable Unix derivatives include:

  • BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution): A Unix derivative developed at the University of California, Berkeley.
  • System V: Developed by AT&T, it became the basis for many commercial Unix systems.

The Relationship Between Unix and Linux

Linux, created by Linus Torvalds in 1991, was inspired by Unix. While Linux is not directly derived from Unix, it is Unix-like in its design and functionality. Linux was developed to be a free and open-source alternative to Unix, adhering to many of the same principles and practices. Over time, Linux has incorporated many features from various Unix systems.

Versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Early Versions

  1. Red Hat Linux 1.0 (1994): The first version, known as “Red Hat Commercial Linux,” introduced the RPM Package Manager.
  2. Red Hat Linux 2.0 to 6.2 (1995-2000): These versions added more software and improved installation and configuration tools.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux

  1. RHEL 2.1 (2002): The first official release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, offering improved support and stability for enterprise environments.
  2. RHEL 3 (2003): Introduced support for a broader range of hardware and increased scalability.
  3. RHEL 4 (2005): Featured significant security enhancements, including SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux).
  4. RHEL 5 (2007): Added virtualization capabilities with Xen and improved system performance.
  5. RHEL 6 (2010): Introduced the KVM hypervisor for virtualization, better scalability, and enhanced power management.
  6. RHEL 7 (2014): Included the systemd system and service manager, improved container support with Docker, and enhanced performance.
  7. RHEL 8 (2019): Focused on providing a consistent hybrid cloud foundation with features like AppStreams and modularity.
  8. RHEL 9 (2022): Enhanced automation capabilities, improved security features, and expanded support for containerized workloads.


Before you begin, ensure you have the following:

  • A Red Hat subscription for downloading RHEL ISO files.
  • A computer or virtual machine with at least 2 GB of RAM, 20 GB of disk space, and a processor that supports 64-bit architecture.
  • A USB drive with at least 8 GB capacity (if installing on a physical machine).
  • Internet access for downloading the installation files and updates.

Step 1: Download the Red Hat Enterprise Linux ISO

  1. Create a Red Hat Account: Visit the Red Hat Customer Portal and create an account if you don’t have one.
  2. Download the ISO File: After logging in, navigate to the “Downloads” section and select the latest version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Download the ISO file to your computer.

Step 2: Create a Bootable USB Drive

For installing RHEL on a physical machine, you need to create a bootable USB drive.

  1. Download Etcher: Etcher is a free and open-source tool to create bootable USB drives. Download it from balenaEtcher’s website.
  2. Flash the ISO to USB:
    • Open Etcher and select the RHEL ISO file you downloaded.
    • Choose the USB drive you want to use.
    • Click “Flash” to start the process.

Step 3: Boot from the USB Drive

  1. Insert the USB Drive: Plug the bootable USB drive into the computer where you want to install RHEL.
  2. Restart the Computer: During the boot process, enter the BIOS/UEFI settings. This usually involves pressing a key such as F2, F12, DEL, or ESC, depending on your computer’s manufacturer.
  3. Change Boot Order: Set the USB drive as the primary boot device.
  4. Save and Exit: Save the changes and exit the BIOS/UEFI settings. The computer should now boot from the USB drive.

Step 4: Install Red Hat Enterprise Linux

  1. Select Installation Language: Choose your preferred language and click “Continue.”
  2. Configure Installation Source: The default source will be the installation media (USB). Verify and click “Done.”
  3. Software Selection: Choose the desired base environment. For general purposes, select “Server with GUI” to get a graphical interface.
  4. Installation Destination:
    • Select the disk where RHEL will be installed.
    • Choose “Automatic partitioning” for simplicity. If you are an advanced user, you can opt for “Manual partitioning” to use LVM (Logical Volume Manager), which allows for flexible disk management.
    • Click “Done.”
  5. Network & Hostname:
    • Configure your network connection. Ensure the network interface is connected.
    • Set your system’s hostname (e.g.,
    • Click “Apply” and then “Done.”
  6. Begin Installation: Click “Begin Installation.”
  7. Set Root Password: Enter a strong root password and click “Done.”
  8. Create a User: Create a new user with administrative privileges. This user will be used for everyday tasks instead of the root user. Fill in the required fields and click “Done.”

Step 5: Complete the Installation

  1. Installation Progress: Wait for the installation to complete. This may take some time.
  2. Reboot the System: Once the installation is finished, click “Reboot.”

Step 6: Post-Installation Setup

  1. Remove the USB Drive: Remove the bootable USB drive to avoid booting from it again.
  2. Login Screen: After rebooting, you will be greeted by the login screen. Log in using the user account you created.
  3. Register the System: Open a terminal and register your system with Red Hat using your subscription credentials:
  4. sudo subscription-manager register –username your-username –password your-password
  5. sudo subscription-manager attach –auto
  6. sudo dnf update -y

Key Components Explained

Logical Volume Manager (LVM)

LVM is a system of managing logical volumes, or filesystems, that is more advanced and flexible than traditional partitioning methods. With LVM, you can resize, extend, and move partitions without needing to reboot the system. This is particularly useful in environments where storage needs may change over time.


The kernel is the core component of an operating system. It manages the system’s hardware, including the CPU, memory, and peripheral devices. It acts as a bridge between applications and the hardware, ensuring that resources are allocated efficiently and securely.

GRUB (Grand Unified Bootloader)

GRUB is a bootloader package that is used to boot an operating system. When you start your computer, GRUB is the first software program that runs. It loads the Linux kernel into memory and passes control to it. GRUB allows for the selection of different operating systems at boot time and can handle complex boot configurations.

Differences Between Red Hat Linux and Other Linux Distributions

  1. Enterprise Support: RHEL is known for its enterprise-grade support, including security patches, updates, and technical assistance. This makes it ideal for business environments.
  2. Stability: Red Hat focuses on providing a stable and reliable platform, often prioritizing stability over cutting-edge features.
  3. Certification: Many enterprise applications and hardware are certified to run on RHEL, ensuring compatibility and reliability.
  4. Subscription Model: Unlike many other Linux distributions, RHEL uses a subscription model that provides access to Red Hat’s support and resources.

By following these steps and understanding the key components and differences, you can successfully install Red Hat Enterprise Linux on your system. RHEL’s robust features and support make it an excellent choice for both enterprise environments and personal use.

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