Post by Matt Wel » Sat, 23 Jan 1993 09:44:33

Archive-name: linux-faq/meta-faq
Last-modified: 21 Jan 93

This is the Meta-FAQ for Linux.  It is mainly a list of valuable sources of
information.  Check them out if you want to learn more about Linux, or have
problems and need help.  The Meta-FAQ is posted every Monday (I think).
Mail Matt Welsh ( if you have meta-questions about the
meta-FAQ itself. Lars Wirzenius ( actually wrote the
first version of this document.

NOTE: Filenames in this article are for the tsx-11 ftp site (see below for
full address and more sites).  Files are usually located in similar places on
other sites.  The names are relative to the Linux directory 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 compatible.  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, much of it comes from GNU.

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.  The latest version was posted 1992-11-25.

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.

Getting Linux I: Linux FTP sites
   textual name                            numeric addr    Linux directory                      /pub/linux                    /pub/Linux                     /pub/OS/Linux                     /pub/linux       /pub/linux    /pub/Linux           /pub/linux  /pub/Linux                      /pub/OS/Linux                          /packages/linux              mirrors/linux                  /pub/linux              /pub/linux                                        /Linux              /pub/os/linux                                        /pub/Linux

   tsx-11 and fgb1 are the official sites for Linux' GCC.  ftp.mcc is home of
   the MCC interim release.  Some sites mirror other sites.  Please use the
   site closest (network-wise) to you.

Getting Linux II: 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.

Getting Linux III: Linux floppy (and other media) distributors
   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 exactly the same SLS distribution that is available via
   FTP (see below).  The diskette distribution is mostly meant for people who
   can't FTP.  

   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 him diskettes and return postage.
   Contact them via e-mail first.

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

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

Getting Linux IV: Commercial networks
   GEnie mirrors most of tsx-11 and sunsite (including SLS).  Rumor has it
   that CompuServe also has some Linux archives [confirmation welcome].

Getting Linux V: 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.

Linux distributions (aka "releases")
   Linux is distributed by its author only as a kernel.  Other people
   have put together "distributions" that can be used.

   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

   MCC and SLS are more complete systems that contain most of what is needed
   for normal use.  MCC is older, SLS includes X.  These are what a new user
   probably should start with (either one).  They aren't updated every week,
   but that shouldn't be a problem if you're only intersted in using the
   system.  (Hackers will figure out what to do anyway.)  SLS is in directory
   packages/SLS on tsx-11; MCC can be found in directory mcc-interim on (it is not on tsx-11).

   HJ 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 GCC/rootdisk and GCC/basedisk on

Linux mailing-lists
   Used mostly for discussion between developers of new features and testers
   of pre-release versions.  See addresses in the FAQ.

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.

   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).

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.

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.

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.

The Linux Hardware Compatibility List
   Posted occasionally to comp.os.linux.announce, and found on the major
   Linux FTP sites. This list, maintained by Zane Healy, lists all of the
   devices and hardware that Linux currently supports. It's useful for
   anyone wanting to purchase or upgrade their system.

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

Matt Welsh     Cornell Theory Center
  "Donuts. Is there anything they can't do?"