Post by johns.. » Wed, 09 Jun 1993 18:23:13

Archive-name: linux-faq/meta-faq
Last-modified: 13 Apr 93
Version: 3.01

                                 Linux Meta-FAQ

        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 (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 tsx-11.

        What is Linux?
           Linux is a clone of the UNIX operating system 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.
           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/FAQ/) and, the general archive site
           for all FAQs.

        Linux newsgroups
           There are two Usenet newsgroups for Linux: comp.os.linux and
           comp.os.linux.announce. The latter contains important stuff
           like announcements of new programs or versions, the former
           all the discussion. It is a good idea to follow at least
           c.o.l.a if you use Linux.

        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

        Zane Healy posts (around the beginning and middle of the month)
        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.

        0.1.3 Linux on physical media

        Linux is distributed on floppies by at least Softlanding
        Software (910 Lodge Ave, Victoria, B.C, Canada, V8X-3A8, (604)
        360-0188) for USD 3.25/disk. This is mostly the same SLS
        distribution that is available via FTP (see below). The diskette
        distribution is mostly meant for people who can't FTP. SLS is
        also now producing a CD-ROM of the SLS release.

        Marco Scheibe (, Klaus Weidner
        ( and Gert Doering
        ( will copy Linux (the
        complete SLS distribution, including X, possibly other things as
        well) for you, if you send them diskettes and return postage.
        Contact them via e-mail first.

        Yggdrasil Computing is producing a CD-ROM with Linux. Currently
        a beta version is available (beta referring to the fact that the
        contents are still evolving) This is a completely new
        distribution, not SLS. A complete listing of files is available
        via FTP from in directory pub/yggdrasil. There is
        also a manual and other information there. Contact or call (510)526-7531, 9am-5:30pm,
        California time.

        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.

        If you know of other distributors, send me a note!

        0.1.4 Commercial networks

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

        0.1.5 Mailservers and such

        The trickle server TRIC...@AWIWUW11.BITNET, aka
        TRIC...@AWIWUW11.EARN, aka, send
        mail to one of these addresses with a body consisting of /HELP.

        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.

        Jim Winstead and H.J. Lu maintain the boot and root disks. These
        two form more or less the ``official'' release. It is fully
        functional, but only has the bare essentials. The filenames are:
        images/bootimage-xxx.Z and images/rootimage-xxx.Z (xxx stands
        for the version number). They're also hard to install for
        newcomers; I'd go for the SLS release (below) if you're new to
        Linux and want all of the goodies.

        The SLS (Softlanding Linux System) release is rather complete
        and has more or less all of the software you could possibly want
        for any Linux system. This release is what all new Linux users
        should install: it's easy to do and since most people have used
        the SLS Linux distribution, if you have any problems there are
        many people out there who can give you help. The SLS release is
        updated periodically, with ``full'' updates taking place every
        few weeks. You can find the SLS release on

        H.J. Lu (the Linux GCC maintainer) also has another 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, and at least some of it may be
        incorporated to the work of Jim Winstead. See directories
        packages/GCC/rootdisk and packages/GCC/basedisk on tsx-11.

        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.

        0.4 Linux News --- summaries of annoucements

        A weekly summary of announcements of new programs and other
        interesting news. Edited by Denise Tree, posted to
        comp.os.linux.announce, comp.os.linux and the LINUXNEWS channel
        on the linux-activists mailing list (see the FAQ for info on
        joining mailing lists). It is also available via GEnie. Intended
        for people who don't have time or energy to sift through the
        high volume of comp.os.linux.

        0.5 Other newsgroups are useful, too

        At least the groups comp.unix.{
        questions,shell,programming,bsd,admin}, and should be useful for a Linux user. If
        you have a problem that is not directly Linux-related, ask it in
        these groups, not in c.o.l (which is too big for some people as
        it is).

        0.6 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.

        0.7 Keeping track of current releases

        New releases, programs, and ports are usually announced in
        comp.os.linux. finger to get some
        information about the current kernel (often long!). See also the
        next item.

        0.8 The Linux Project Registry

        Maintained by James Callison, a list of ``who is doing what''.
        See the list itself for mail addresses. Posted every two weeks
        to comp.os.linux. Contains information about the current status
        for included projects.

        0.9 The Linux Hardware Compatibility List

        Posted occasionally to comp.os.linux.announce, and found on the
        major Linux FTP sites (tsx-11:docs/bbs.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.

        0.10 Legalese

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