Post by johns.. » Wed, 17 Aug 1994 17:24:04

Archive-name: linux/meta-faq
Last-modified: 11 Jul 94
Version: 3.09
                                 Linux Meta-FAQ

                           Version 3.09 July 11, 1994

        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 ( wrote the first version of
        this document, and it is now maintained by Michael K. Johnson
        ( Mail me if you have any questions
        about this document.

        NOTE: Filenames in this article are for the ftp
        site unless otherwise noted. (see below for names of more ftp
        sites). Files are usually located in similar places on other
        sites. The names are relative to the directory /pub/linux/ on

        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 and a 386 or higher processor. See the FAQ
           for more exact hardware requirements. The Linux kernel is
           written by Linus Torvalds ( 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 (docs/) and, 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
 , directory /pub/Linux/docs/HOWTO/ for all the

        Linux newsgroups
           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 You may direct
           questions about comp.os.linux.announce to Matt Welsh,

           The newsgroup comp.os.linux.admin is an unmoderated newsgroup
           for discussion of administration of Linux systems.

           The newsgroup comp.os.linux.development 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.

           The newsgroup is an unmoderated newsgroup
           for any Linux questions that don't belong anywhere else.

           The newsgroup comp.os.linux.misc is the replacement for
           comp.os.linux, and is meant for any discussion that doesn't
           belong elsewhere.

           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

        Other newsgroups

           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 Is it about GNU
           Emacs? Then try asking in gnu.emacs. 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.unix.
           {questions,shell,programming,bsd,admin}, and
  should be useful for a Linux user.

        The World-Wide Web

           Matt Welsh,, maintains the home WWW page
           for the Linux project. The URL is

        The Linux Journal

           A new magazine called Linux Journal was recently launched. It
           includes articles intended for almost all skill levels, and
           is intended to be helpful to all Linux users. Subscriptions
           are 19 dollars in the U.S., 24 dollars in Canada, and 29
           dollars elsewhere around the world, all payable in U.S.
           funds. Subscription inquiries can be sent via email to
  or faxed to (U.S.) 1-206-527-2806 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 do.

        0.1 Getting Linux

        0.1.1 Linux FTP sites

        A more complete list of Linux FTP sites is in the Linux
        INFO-SHEET (docs/INFO-SHEET). 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
           =======================  ==============  ===============

        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.

        0.1.2 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 as docs/bbs.list at tsx-11. 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 you.

        0.1.3 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 as

        Also check advertisements/* at tsx-11 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.

        0.1.4 Commercial networks

        GEnie mirrors most of tsx-11 and sunsite. CompuServe has only
        very limited very old Linux archives.

        0.1.5 Mailservers and such

        Sunsite offers ftp-mail service --- mail

        0.2 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'' for Linux.

        H.J. Lu (the Linux GCC maintainer) also has a set of disks,
        including a combined boot and rootdisk, and some additional
        disks with more programs. This package assumes you are already
        familiar with Linux. See directories packages/GCC/rootdisk and
        packages/GCC/basedisk on tsx-11.

        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

        0.3 Linux mailing-lists

        Used mostly for discussion between developers of new features
        and testers of pre-release versions. See addresses in the FAQ.
        Many lists are based in the Mail-net system at Helsinki
        University of Technology. Send mail to, and you will get mail
        explaining how to get any of the many ``channels'' available.
        Save this mail, as it tells you how to unsubscribe to the
        channels, and if you post annoying messages to the rest of 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.

        0.4 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.

        0.5 More Documentation

        The Linux Documentation Project is working on a lot of
        documentation. Already, over 600 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 for documents
        written by the LDP.

        0.6 Keeping track of current releases

        New releases, programs, and ports are usually announced in
        comp.os.linux.announce. Finger to
        get some information about the current kernel (often long!).

        0.7 The Linux Hardware Compatibility List

        Posted occasionally to comp.os.linux.announce, and found on the
        major Linux FTP sites (tsx-11:docs/compat.list). This list lists
        some of the devices and hardware that Linux currently supports.
        It's useful for anyone wanting to purchase or upgrade their
        system. Be aware that it cannot be complete, as there is more
        hardware out there than Linux users can own.

        0.8 Legalese

        Trademarks are owned by their owners. Satisfaction not
        guaranteed. No warranties about this document. Void where