Pass me my Sonic Screwdriver, will you?

This is an email I sent someone who was considering a multi-boot setup and complaining that the documentation was a tad confusing, to say the least. I'm not responsible for the confusing documentation, but I Like To Help. Some of this is out-of-date information, like the bit about the bootloader failing to install. I'm posting it here out of amusement rather than actual technical assistance.

The basic setup is a generic Wintel box with 4 2GB partitions, two of which are in use.

Okay, I had a poke around the doco on sunsite and yeah, it's confusing. A lot of it's outdated, too, and designed for slackware installations which doesn't help you with redhat.

Bottom lines:
0.All geeks count from zero.
1. As your disk is set up now, you won't be able to use the linux 'standard' bootloader since it requires that your linux bootstuff is in the first 1024 cylinders (first 528MB, basically) of your disk.
2. I lied. There's one way you /can/ use the bootloader: install linux on umsdos, which is basically a hack to put linux on an MSDOS filesystem. Predictably, performance goes through the floor, but on the plus side, you don't risk any damage to your files. On the minus side, I have no idea how to do a umsdos install with RedHat.
3. Installing: Boot from disk. Get to disk druid stage. Panic.
4. Stop Panicking.
5.No, really.
6.Press Alt-F2. WOAH! Shell prompt!
7.Enter 'fdisk /dev/hda' (or 'sda' if it's scsi)
8. Enter 'p' to print the partition table. Ignore any and all warnings about some random numbers not matching some other random numbers, it's all bunkum. If all is pleasant, you should have something like
		1 partition details
		2 partition details
		3 partition details
		4 partition details
It should tell you which ones are msdos/win95/vfat drives, so you can spot C: and D:. If it can't, ooer, quit. If things are awkward, you may see more than 4 partitions, and partition 5 or so will be a msdos/win95/vfat partition. Either way, note which ones are your dos drives. Enter 'q' to leave fdisk.
9. Press Alt-F1. Disk Druid! Yay! [There are four screens, btw, Alt-F1 to Alt-F4]
A.I'm counting in hex now.
B. Set up partitions, making sure to keep well away from your above-noted dos drives. NB you /can/ repartition a disk without harming DOS drives because the file system is so bloody stupidly designed. However, if at all possible you don't want to do that. You'll have to cordon off a small section for swap, though. Actually, I'd probably do the cordoning off with DOS fdisk myself, just to be on the really really safe side. Delete one of the 2GB partitions that's not being used, and reallocate it as a swap-sized chunk and whatever's left. Swap is traditionally set to 2x real memory.
C.Let rhinstall happily install the rest of linux.
D. Bootloader: you can try installing it, but it will crap out. So generally just make a linux bootdisk and skip the bootloader. If it won't let you skip the bootloader, I hope you have a DOS bootdisk; boot up to DOS and do fdisk /Mbr to fix your boot partition. (yes, you can do this from linux but it's much more involved)
E.Well then.
F.Mail me with queries.