Last-modified: 20 Aug 95
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*** The `Linux META-FAQ' is posted automatically by the
*** Linux HOWTO coordinator, Greg Hankins <gr...@sunsite.unc.edu>. Please
*** direct any comments or questions about this HOWTO to the author,
*** Michael K. Johnson <johns...@sunsite.unc.edu>.
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Michael K. Johnson, johns...@nigel.vnet.net
v4.1, 9 August 1995
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. Lars Wirzenius
(wirze...@cc.helsinki.fi) wrote the first version of this document,
and it is now maintained by Michael K. Johnson (john-
s...@nigel.vnet.net). Mail me if you have any questions about this
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. It has no proprietary code
in it. Linux is freely distributable under the GNU Public
License. It only works on IBM PC compatibles with an ISA or
EISA bus (including local bus variants VLB and PCI) and a 386 or
In addition, it also runs on some Amiga and Atari computers with
MMU's. This means 68020 with an external MMU, 68030, or 68040.
An FPU is also required, and will be until someone writes an FPU
emulator. See the /pub/linux/680x0 directory at tsx-11.mit.edu.
Support for the DEC Alpha is now in the current development
kernels, and DEC has released a distribution called "BLADE"
which is available from ftp.dec.com in /pub/DEC/Linux-Alpha/.
Commercial support is now becoming available.
Support for ARM, PowerPC, and MIPS is in the works, but don't
hold your breath. Read comp.os.linux.announce instead.
See the FAQ for more exact hardware requirements. The Linux
kernel is written by Linus Torvalds
(torva...@kruuna.helsinki.fi) from Finland, and by other
volunteers. Most of the programs running under Linux are
generic Unix freeware, many of them from the GNU project.
The Linux FAQ
A collection of common problems and their solutions. Answers
many questions faster than the net. Stored on many Linux ftp
sites (including /pub/linux/docs on tsx-11.mit.edu) and
rtfm.mit.edu, the general archive site for all FAQs.
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 sunsite.unc.edu, directory
/pub/Linux/docs/HOWTO/ for the definitive versions of all the
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 Matt Welsh and Lars
Wirzenius. To make submissions to the newsgroup, send mail to
linux-annou...@tc.cornell.edu. You may direct questions about
comp.os.linux.announce to Matt Welsh, m...@sunsite.unc.edu
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.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.admin is an unmoderated newsgroup
for discussing Linux-related administration questions.
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 comp.os.linux into many groups is 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
Matt Welsh, m...@sunsite.unc.edu, maintains the home WWW page for
the Linux project. The URL is
A magazine called Linux Journal was launched over a year 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 s...@ssc.com or faxed to
(U.S.) 1-206-782-7191 or mailed to Linux Journal, PO Box 85867,
Seattle, WA 98145-1867 USA. Please do not send credit card
numbers via email; the internet is not secure, and it is
entirely possible that a technologically adept thief may steal
your credit card number and cost you a large sum of money if you
Information on free software available for Linux can be found in
the Linux Software Map, which can be found on sunsite.unc.edu in
Information on non-commercial projects can be found in the
Projects Map, which is posted occasionally to
comp.os.linux.announce and is stored at sunsite.unc.edu in
Information on commercial products can be found in the Linux
Commercial Products Map, which is posted occasionally to
2. Getting Linux
3. Linux FTP sites
A more complete list of Linux FTP sites is in the Linux INFO-SHEET,
which can always be found at tsx-11.mit.edu in the directory
/pub/linux/docs/. A DVI version is in INFO-SHEET.dvi, and a
PostScript version is in INFO-SHEET.ps. 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 22.214.171.124 /pub/linux
sunsite.unc.edu 126.96.36.199 /pub/Linux
nic.funet.fi 188.8.131.52 /pub/OS/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.
3.1. Linux on BBS's
Occasionally, someone posts a list of BBS's that have Linux available
for download. Try them if you can't FTP. This list is available by
ftp from tsx-11.mit.edu as /pub/linux/docs/bbs.list. You may use
ftpmail (described elsewhere in this document) to get this list if you
have mail access, or ask a friend with internet access to get it for
3.2. Linux on physical media
Linux is distributed on physical media, including floppies, CD-ROM,
and tape, by several commercial vendors. Please read the distribution
HOWTO, posted regularily to comp.os.linux.announce, and available for
ftp at sunsite.unc.edu as /pub/Linux/docs/HOWTO/distribution-HOWTO.
Also check advertisements/* at tsx-11.mit.edu for advertisements of
other ways to get linux, including a list of people that will make
copies for you at low prices. Also available there are advertisements
for other commercial services related to Linux.
Linux is available over AFS by mounting the volume project.linux from
3.4. Commercial networks
GEnie mirrors most of tsx-11.mit.edu and sunsite.unc.edu. Compu$erve
has only very limited very old Linux archives.
3.5. Mailservers and such
Sunsite offers ftp-mail service --- mail ftpm...@sunsite.unc.edu.
4. Linux distributions (aka ``releases'')
Linux is distributed by its author only as a kernel. Other people
have put together ``distributions'' that can be used. These
distributions pair the kernel as released by the author with software,
to make a complete working package. Most releases include application
programs as well as system software, providing ``one stop shopping''
There are several distributions of Linux, which are available at
various sites. Sunsite mirrors almost all the distributions in
/pub/Linux/distributions. The recommended distributions are
Slackware, MCC, and soon, Debian. These are all available for free
over the internet, and some are also sold on floppies and CD-ROM's.
5. 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 majord...@vger.rutgers.edu 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.
6. 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.
7. More Documentation
The Linux Documentation Project is working on a lot of documentation.
Already, over 800 pages of book-style documentation has been released
to the general public, and a large set of man pages has also been
released, with more to follow. Check
sunsite.unc.edu:/pub/Linux/docs/LDP for documents written by the LDP.
The LDP also provides the HOWTO's, described above.
8. Keeping track of current releases
New releases, programs, and ports are usually announced in
comp.os.linux.announce. finger torva...@klaava.helsinki.fi to get
some information about the current kernel.
9. This Document
The latest version of this document should always be available from
tsx-11.mit.edu in /pub/linux/docs in the file META-FAQ. A DVI version
should be available in the same directory as META-FAQ.dvi, and a
PostScript version as META-FAQ.ps.
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.
- --- END Linux META-FAQ part 1/1 ---
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Comment: finger gr...@cc.gatech.edu for public key
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