Subject Re: [ib-support] OT? - Interbase 6.01 on Linux (How do I do this?)
Author David K. Trudgett
On Monday 2001-12-31 at 08:37:10 -0600, M Tuttle wrote:

> I currently have a WinNT sp6a server and win2000 pro and WinXP work
> in my home office. At the office in town we have WinNT sp6a and 95
> - 98 workstations. I develop and test at my home office.
> I would like to install some version of Linux server in my home
> office for testing purposes and have a few questions. Since I'm
> unfamiliar with Linux I was hoping some of you who use it could help
> me out here.
> 1) Can Linux be installed on the same computer as WinNT and be
> booted to either OS?

Yes, it certainly can be. In fact, for quite a while I was running a
machine with WinNT, Win95 and Red Hat Linux installed and bootable. I
survived without any mishap (and the machine now runs Linux full time
with no trace of the old operating systems). Others, I hear, who may
not be so careful, do occasionally have mishaps trying to do this sort
of thing (it *is* a bit tricky). Luckily, there is documentation about
to guide you through it.

To install a dual boot WinNT/Linux system, you'll have to let NT think
it's king. For some reason, operating systems from that vendor never
make allowance for the possibility that the machine may be booted to
another operating system. These days, that's just wishful thinking.

So, you'll need to have NT installed first, but leave a partition or
disk free for the later installation of Linux. NT uses a boot loader
that can be coerced fairly easily to also boot Linux. You can use a
"DOS" command line utility called BOOTPART to do this for you, or you
can do it manually (new comers may be better off using BOOTPART, as I
have for all but one of my dual boot installations). You'll need to
install Linux before using BOOTPART, of course. When you do install
Linux (and I've only ever installed Red Hat, and an early version of
Mandrake) you will need to select NOT to put the boot loader (Red Hat
and others use LILO) onto the disk's MBR (master boot record), because
if you do that you may not be able to boot NT. In theory, LILO will
add a boot option, by default called "dos", that will boot NT, but
that has been known to fail (in rare cases), and I've never tried it.
In addition, there won't be an easy way to get back the native NT boot
loader if you later want to remove Linux from the system.

For proper instructions, try the following doc:

That should tell you everything you need to know.

> 2) I have noticed that there are several flavors of Linux available.
> RedHat, SuSE, and Mandrake.
> A) Should I choose one over the other? If so , why.

Those are the most popular distributions, and not without reason. Any
of those three (and others not mentioned) would do the job. SuSE is
popular in Europe, and some seem to like it. Mandrake and Red Hat are
pretty close, as Mandrake is based on Red Hat, so is basically the
same thing (although differentiation will no doubt occur). However, I
don't find any compelling reason to choose Mandrake or SuSE over Red
Hat, which has had a long and distinguished reputation within the
Linux community (especially ISPs -- the owner/director of my old ISP
first recommended to me to use Red Hat, and I've never regretted it --
it's a first class, well-tested system). Red Hat also has benefits
related to popularity (most major software vendors will officially
support Red Hat first). A specific problem with SuSE is it's inability
to use RPM software packages (I believe that's still the case, though
I haven't heard anything about it for the last few months).

> B) If I select one over another, will the interbase binary
> install on any flavor?

If you use Red Hat or Mandrake you shouldn't have any problem. SuSE
should also be OK, but I obviously don't have any experience with it.
With SuSE, of course, you won't be able to use the RPM packaged
version of Firebird or InterBase, so it'll be a bit more manual work,
but no big deal.

> 3) Where is the best place to download an IB 6.01 binary for Linux?

The best thing is not to use IB 6.01 at all. The latest Firebird 1.0.0
RC2 is a better product, with more bug fixes, and is being developed
and fully supported by the open source community. If you go to, you'll find links to the right places.

> 4) Any website with helpful info on setting up and using Linux /
> Interbase?

See the link above. Also have a look at

> 5) Anything else I should ask?

What don't you know? :-)


David Trudgett