Software Installaton Administrator's Guide

About This Guide

The Software Installation Administrator's Guide explains how to install Silicon Graphics® software products using Inst, the command line interface to the installation utility, inst(1M). This guide introduces readers to Silicon Graphics software release conventions and explains how to plan, execute, and maintain a software installation on Silicon Graphics workstations and servers. The Software Installation Administrator's Guide provides instructions for performing conventional installations and specialized installations that rely on system firmware (miniroot installations).

When to Use This Guide

As of IRIX (TM) 5.3, the inst utility includes Software Manager, a graphical user interface to installation. Software Manager is documented separately in the Personal System Administration Guide.

Because of its graphical features, Software Manager cannot be used for miniroot installations. To perform miniroot installations, use Inst and the instructions provided in Chapter 3 of this guide. Information in Chapter 1 explains how to determine whether a miniroot installation is necessary.

The installation utility can be customized with a set of preferences that apply to Inst and to Software Manager. Use Chapter 8 as a comprehensive reference for specifying preferences and for managing the configuration files that store preference settings for both interfaces.

The Software Installation Administrator's Guide does not explain how to install software for diskless operation. Please refer to the Diskless Workstation Administration Guide for instructions on installing diskless systems.

What This Guide Contains

The Software Installation Administrator's Guide is organized into nine chapters and an appendix, which provide this information:
Chapter 1, "Introduction"

Describes how software distributions are organized and the effects of this organization on the installation process. Introduces the fundamental concepts and vocabulary of software installation and presents an overview of the installation process using Inst.

Chapter 2, "Preparing for Installation"

Identifies the factors that must be considered in planning for installations and describes the preliminary work that should be done on a server and target system to ensure smooth installations.

Chapter 3, "Starting a Miniroot Installation"

Describes how miniroot installations work and how to prepare for them. Contains procedures for starting a miniroot installation from different distribution media on various models of Silicon Graphics systems. Use this chapter in conjunction with the procedures in Chapter 5 to install software that requires a shutdown of fundamental IRIX services.

Chapter 4, "Starting a Live Installation"

Explains how to start an installation on a running system. Use this chapter in conjunction with the procedures in Chapter 5 to perform live software installations.

Chapter 5, "Using Inst"

Contains procedures for using Inst to perform a software installation during either a miniroot installation ( Chapter 3 ) or a live installation ( Chapter 4 ).

Chapter 6, "Inst for Experts"

Describes optional methods for using Inst that supplement the basic method presented in Chapter 5 . In general, procedures in this chapter require mastery of Chapter 5 material.

Chapter 7, "Maintenance Tips"

Contains procedures for updating installed software and keeping software current with site requirements.

Chapter 8, "Tailoring Inst Operation"

Explains how to customize Inst to suite both personal preferences and the requirements of other system users. Includes information for tailoring Software Manager.

Chapter 9, "Inst Command Reference"

Describes all commands that are available from Inst menus, including hidden commands. Commands are ordered alphabetically by menu.

Appendix A, "Installation Troubleshooting"

Explains the types of errors that can occur during an installation, how to control error reporting, and how to interpret and resolve errors during various phases of the installation process.

Audience for This Guide

The audience for the Software Installation Administrator's Guide is experienced UNIX® system and site administrators who are responsible for installing software on various models of Silicon Graphics workstations and servers. This guide may also be used by individual workstation owners as a comprehensive guide to software installation.

Procedures in this guide require these proficiencies:

Notation Conventions

This document uses standard UNIX conventions when referring to IRIX reference pages. A command name is followed by a section number in parentheses. For example, mkfs(1M) refers to the mkfs command entry in Section 1M of the IRIX reference pages.

In text descriptions, filenames, directory names, commands, and command arguments appear in italics. Screen text, command syntax descriptions, and user entries follow these conventions:
typewriter font

Menus, prompts, error messages, and other screen displays.

typewriter bold

Commands and literal arguments, keywords and their abbreviations, and any text that is entered exactly as shown.


Variables and any other portion of an entry for which the user must supply a value.


(Angle brackets) Optional components in an entry.

Related Documentation

Refer to the documents listed below for supplementary information.

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