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ISO´s and MD5SUM ( checksum )

For those of you that never came near to linux, here is a description how to download your first Linux ISO, and check its integrety.

For the ones already running Linux: Imagine, one day you get bored with your current distro and you want to try something else. Or, you´ve got enough HD space and want to triple-boot. Or, and this is more likely to happen; there is a new version of your disto hitting the mirrors : You start downloading the ISO´s.

After downloading you can check the integrity of the ISO-file with a checksum, the md5sum. The mirror will offer you a separate text file to download with a 128 bit string of characters. This string has to be exactly the same as the one you get when you do:

$ md5sum downloaded.iso

The string you get typically looks like:

QUOTE (Text @ Screen)
563c1bfff307a16d45f5d6 a04011f07b

( Sure you have to ¨cd¨ to that directory first or do /home/bruno/tmp/downloaded.iso )
Creating the checksum will take only a minute.
Usually I only check the first and the last 5 or 6 characters of the string.

The checksum can be done in windows too: see Checksum in Windows

Once you are sure the ISO is O.K. you can burn it to a CD.
WARNING: Doing the checksum to check your CD will give you a different string !

Some handy links:
For more info about the different disto´s: Distrowatch
For downloading ISOLinux

Happy downloads !


If you might think: "This is all to much trouble, is there no other way to get a distro ?"

Sure you can order a distro at its distributor OR for a quick and cheap solution:
CheapBytes sells them for around $5


-- May 7 2003 ( Revised Dec 9 2005 ) --

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