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Subject: Linux META-FAQ (part 1/1)
This article was archived around: 24 Mar 1998 21:23:00 -0500
Last-modified: 28 Oct 97
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*** The `Linux META-FAQ' is posted automatically by the
*** Linux HOWTO coordinator, Greg Hankins <email@example.com>. Please
*** direct any comments or questions about this HOWTO to the author,
*** Michael K. Johnson <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
- --- BEGIN Linux META-FAQ part 1/1 ---
Michael K. Johnson <email@example.com>
v4.7, 25 October 1997
This is the Meta-FAQ for Linux. It is mainly a list of valuable
sources of information. Check these sources out if you want to learn
more about Linux, or have problems and need help.
What is Linux?
Linux is an independent implementation of the POSIX operating
system specification, with SYSV and BSD extensions, that has
been written entirely from scratch (this means it looks and acts
just like Unix). It has no proprietary code in it. Linux is
freely distributable under the GNU General Public License.
Linux works on IBM PC compatibles with an ISA or EISA bus
(including local bus variants VLB and PCI) and a 386 or higher
processor. Some Amiga and Atari computers with MMU's are also
supported. This means 68020 with an external MMU, 68030, 68040,
or 68060. Support for the Digital Alpha is now stable. Red Hat
and Craftworks have Alpha distributions of Linux. Support for
Sparc is stable, and Red Hat Linux is available for Sparc.
Support for PowerPC is in development for multiple platforms,
including Nubus and PCI Macintosh, Motorola Powerstack, IBM 830
and 850, and other platforms. Support for ARM, StrongARM, and
MIPS is in various stages of completion, but don't hold your
breath. Read comp.os.linux.announce instead.
See the Linux INFO-SHEET for more technical information on these
ports, and the Hardware Compatibility HOWTO for more exact
The Linux kernel is written by Linus Torvalds
<firstname.lastname@example.org> and other volunteers. Most of the
programs running under Linux are generic Unix freeware, many of
them from the GNU project.
The Linux INFO-SHEET
More specific technical information on Linux. Includes pointers
to information on the various ports, a feature list, information
about how to get Linux, and more.
The Linux HOWTO's
These are somewhat like FAQ's, but instead of answering common
questions, they explain how to do common tasks, like ordering a
release of Linux, setting up print services under Linux, setting
up a basic UUCP feed, etc. See
<ftp://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/Linux/docs/HOWTO/> for the definitive
versions of all the HOWTO's. Other sites with up-to-date copies
of the HOWTOs are ftp.cc.gatech.edu and tsx-11.mit.edu.
In addition, there are many short, free-form documents called
"mini-HOWTOs". These documents cover very specific subjects,
such as BogoMIPS or Color-ls. These are available at
<ftp://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/Linux/docs/HOWTO/mini/> and at
There are several Usenet newsgroups for Linux. It is a good
idea to follow at least comp.os.linux.announce if you use Linux.
comp.os.linux.announce is moderated by Lars Wirzenius. To make
submissions to the newsgroup, send mail to linux-
email@example.com. You may direct questions about
comp.os.linux.announce to Lars Wirzenius <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The newsgroup comp.os.linux.announce is a moderated newsgroup
for announcements about Linux (new programs, bug fixes, etc).
The newsgroup comp.os.linux.answers is a moderated newsgroup to
which the Linux FAQ, HOWTO documents, and other documentation
postings are made.
The newsgroup comp.os.linux.setup is an unmoderated newsgroup
for discussion of issues and problems involved in setting up
The newsgroup comp.os.linux.admin is an unmoderated newsgroup
for discussion of administration of Linux systems.
The newsgroup comp.os.linux.development.system is an unmoderated
newsgroup specifically for discussion of Linux kernel
development. The only application development questions that
should be discussed here are those that are intimately
associated with the kernel. All other development questions are
probably generic Unix development questions and should be
directed to a comp.unix group instead, unless they are very
Linux-specific applications questions, in which case they should
be directed at comp.os.linux.development.apps.
The newsgroup comp.os.linux.development.apps is an unmoderated
newsgroup specifically for discussion of Linux-related
applications development. It is not for discussion of where to
get applications for Linux, nor a discussion forum for those who
would like to see applications for Linux.
The newsgroup comp.os.linux.hardware is for Linux-specific
The newsgroup comp.os.linux.networking is for Linux-specific
networking development and setup questions.
The newsgroup comp.os.linux.x is for Linux-specific X Windows
The newsgroup comp.os.linux.misc is an unmoderated newsgroup for
any Linux discussion that doesn't belong anywhere else.
In general, do not crosspost between the Linux newsgroups. The
only crossposting that is appropriate is an occasional posting
between one unmoderated group and comp.os.linux.announce. The
whole point of splitting the old comp.os.linux group into many
groups was to reduce traffic in each. Those that do not follow
this rule will be flamed without mercy...
Do not assume that all your questions are appropriate for a
Linux newsgroup just because you are running Linux. Is your
question really about shell programming under any unix or unix
clone? Then ask in comp.unix.shell. Is it about GNU Emacs?
Then try asking in gnu.emacs.help. Also, if you don't know
another group to ask in, but think there might be, politely ask
in your post if there is another group that would be more
appropriate for your question. At least the groups
comp.windows.x.i386unix should be useful for a Linux user.
The World-Wide Web
Greg Hankins <email@example.com> maintains the home WWW page
for the Linux project. The URL is
A magazine called Linux Journal was launched several years ago.
It includes articles intended for almost all skill levels, and
is intended to be helpful to all Linux users. Subscriptions are
$22 in the U.S., $27 in Canada and Mexico, and $32 elsewhere
around the world, all payable in U.S. funds. Subscription
inquiries can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to
(U.S.) 1-206-782-7191 or mailed to Linux Journal, PO Box 85867,
Seattle, WA 98145-1867 USA. SSC has a PGP public key if you
wish to send your credit card number via encrypted email: finger
The Linux Software Map
Information on free software available for Linux can be found in
the Linux Software Map, which can be found at
2. Getting Linux
2.1. Linux FTP sites
A more complete list of Linux FTP sites is in the Linux INFO-SHEET,
which can always be found at <http://sunsite.unc.edu/LDP/HOWTO/INFO-
SHEET.html> The most important sites are listed here; please see the
INFO-SHEET for a site nearer to you (there are many mirrors).
textual name numeric addr Linux directory
======================= ============== ===============
tsx-11.mit.edu 220.127.116.11 /pub/linux
sunsite.unc.edu 18.104.22.168 /pub/Linux
ftp.kernel.org 22.214.171.124 /pub/linux
These sites are the main ``home'' sites for Linux where most uploads
take place. There are many mirror sites; please use the closest
(network-wise) site to you.
2.2. Linux on physical media
Linux is distributed on physical media, mainly CD-ROM, by several
commercial vendors. Please read the distribution HOWTO, posted
regularily to comp.os.linux.announce, and available at
Linux is available over AFS by mounting the volume project.linux from
2.4. Commercial networks
Compu$erve has some Linux archives.
2.5. Mailservers and such
Sunsite offers ftp-mail service --- mail <email@example.com>.
3. Linux distributions
Linux is distributed by its author only as a kernel. Other people
have put together ``distributions'' that pair the Linux kernel with
utilities and application software to make a complete working package.
There are several distributions of Linux, which are available at
various sites. Sunsite mirrors many of the distributions at
<ftp://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/Linux/distributions/>. The most commonly-
recommended freely-available distributions are Red Hat
<http://www.redhat.com> and Debian <http://www.debian.org>. These
are available for free over the internet, and are also sold on CD-ROM.
There are other distributions of Linux as well. Most commercial
distributors of Linux advertise in Linux Journal.
4. Linux mailing-lists
Used mostly for discussion between developers of new features and
testers of pre-release versions. See addresses in the FAQ. Send mail
to firstname.lastname@example.org with the single word help in the body of
the message , and you will get mail explaining how to subscribe to the
many Linux mailing lists there. Save this mail, as it tells you how
to unsubscribe from the lists, and if you post annoying messages to
the list complaining about not being able to get off the list (because
you didn't follow instructions and save the mail telling you how to
unsubscribe), you will likely be flamed for wasting international
bandwidth and money.
5. Documentation for various programs
Many programs come with some sort of documentation, often in a file
called README or something similar. It is a VERY good idea to read
them with care. It is boring to see (and answer) questions that are
answered in the documentation. Most programs also have ``man pages'';
use the command man programname to get documentation on a program
named programname. To get help using the man program, use man man.
Most distributions put other documentation about programs in the
directory /usr/doc/; your distribution should include documentation on
how to access that documentation.
6. More Documentation
The Linux Documentation Project is working on a lot of documentation.
Already, over 3000 pages of book-style documentation has been released
to the general public, and another 2000 or so printed pages of man
pages have also been released, with more to follow. Check
<http://sunsite.unc.edu/LDP/> for documents written by the LDP.
7. Keeping track of current releases
Important new releases, programs, and ports are usually announced in
8. This Document
The latest version of this document should always be available from
Trademarks are owned by their owners. Satisfaction not guaranteed.
No warranties about this document. Void where prohibited.
The content of this document is placed in the public domain, but if
you quote it, please be polite and attribute your source.
Lars Wirzenius <email@example.com> wrote the first version of this
document; it is now maintained by Michael K. Johnson
<firstname.lastname@example.org>. Mail me if you have any questions about this
- --- END Linux META-FAQ part 1/1 ---
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