The installer now takes about 5 minutes to install a base system. You then get to choose other OSes to boot, and a bootloader. You only have the choice of GRUB and none at all here. No LILO. If you prefer LILO, you're out of luck, but it makes it easier for a beginner to figure out what to pick. You now get told to remove your installation disk and reboot. If everything went well, you're now seeing the GRUB screen. Pick Libranet, and you're on to stage two of setup.
You now have to set your root password. Simple enough. I'd like to step aside for a second and say something. During setup, whenever you have to set a password, the prompt is "Enter new UNIX password:". Just a quirk, but one that made me blink for a second. After that, you can create users. Just punch in login names, actual names, and passwords. For every new user you create, you get asked if you want to allow the said user to access mounted Windows partitions. A nice touch, most distros make you change that after installation. Enter a hostname, and then core packages will be installed.
X configuration is next. You have the option of doing it automatically or manually. I hit auto, just to give it a spin. It detected an "unknown nVidia" graphics card, got my video RAM right, (64MB), and assigned the nv driver. The nv driver has never worked for me before, and that situation hasn't changed. I used the vesa driver and planned to install the nvidia driver later. It detected the touchpads on both of my systems as PS/2 mice. Again, if you have a problem here, try the serial and USB options. Now you can select your monitor. It guessed fine for my secondary system, but couldn't get anything for my Inspiron. I had to pick a generic laptop panel. You can then test your configuration. And here we hit something weird. My Inspiron's screen is natively 1400x1050. In configuration, I picked a generic laptop display panel For some reason, that resolution is not offered. Even Libranet's manual, when talking about X configuration, skips from 1280x1024 to 1600x1200. Really weird. Anyway, X ran fine on my secondary system. After configuring X, the installer goes to a graphical package installation screen.
Libranet comes with a lot of software. Pretty much everything you'll need. A nice surprise came in the form of window managers. Not only were KDE and Gnome included, but also a bunch of other, smaller window managers. IceWM, Xfce, Fluxbox, and a few others I forgot. I've really started to enjoy using Fluxbox. It loads incredibly, blindingly fast. I mean one second fast. That`s nice. I digress. There`s an option to install PCMCIA support, and also a category labeled "Laptop Software". I went in to look at the individual packages, and they include things such as support for those external multimedia buttons almost everyone has, support for APM and ACPI, wireless tools, and packages for Toshiba and Sony laptops. Lots of stuff here. Pick other software, and make sure to take the extra window managers, because they`re neat to play with. I do have one gripe. Nowhere is there a way to see how much space your chosen packages will take up. This is a serious pain. Libranet needs to correct that in their next release. Start the installation process when you`re done selecting packages. It`ll probably take in between 20 and 40 minutes.
After your packages are installed, you can set up sound. There was no problem detecting either of my built-in sound chipsets. However, one`s an Intel i810, which is very common, and the other`s a generic one. Your milage may vary for sound. Network setup is fairly uncomplicated. I started setting up my network connection when I realized that my ethernet card was not supported. I groaned and plopped in my Intel PRO/100 ethernet PCMCIA ethernet card. No support there, either! I continued on, despite the fact that I was starting to have some serious misgivings. After you set up networking, the X server starts. You go to a Libranet splash screen with a login box, as well as options on the side to select things like language and pick a window manager.