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Linux Information Sheet
Michael K. Johnson <email@example.com>
v4.14, 1 September 1998
This document provides basic information about the Linux operating
system, including an explanation of Linux, a list of features, some
requirements, and some resources.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction to Linux
2. Linux Features
3. Hardware Issues
3.1 Minimal configuration
3.2 Usable configuration
3.3 Supported hardware
4. An Incomplete List of Ported Programs and Other Software
5. Who uses Linux?
6. Getting Linux
6.1 Anonymous FTP
6.3 Other methods of obtaining Linux
7. Legal Status of Linux
8. News About Linux
9. The Future
10. This document
1�1.�. I�In�nt�tr�ro�od�du�uc�ct�ti�io�on�n t�to�o L�Li�in�nu�ux�x
Linux is a completely free reimplementation of the POSIX
specification, with SYSV and BSD extensions (which means it looks like
Unix, but does not come from the same source code base), which is
available in both source code and binary form. Its copyright is owned
by Linus Torvalds <firstname.lastname@example.org> and other contributors, and
is freely redistributable under the terms of the GNU General Public
License (GPL). A copy of the GPL is included with the Linux source;
you can also get a copy from <ftp://prep.ai.mit.edu/pub/gnu/COPYING>
L�Li�in�nu�ux�x, per se, is only the kernel of the operating system, the part
that controls hardware, manages files, separates processes, and so
forth. There are several combinations of Linux with sets of utilities
and applications to form a complete operating system. Each of these
combinations is called a d�di�is�st�tr�ri�ib�bu�ut�ti�io�on�n of Linux. The word L�Li�in�nu�ux�x,
though it in its strictest form refers specifically to the kernel, is
also widely and correctly to refer to an entire operating system built
around the Linux kernel. For a list and brief discription of various
distributions, see <http://sunsite.unc.edu/LDP/HOWTO/Distribution-
HOWTO.html> N�No�on�ne�e of these distributions is ``the official Linux''.
Linux is n�no�ot�t public domain, nor is it `shareware'. It is `free'
software, commonly called f�fr�re�ee�ew�wa�ar�re�e or O�Op�pe�en�n S�So�ou�ur�rc�ce�e S�So�of�ft�tw�wa�ar�re�e[�[t�tm�m]�] (see
<http://www.opensource.org>), and you may give away or sell copies,
but you must include the source code or make it available in the same
way as any binaries you give or sell. If you distribute any
modifications, you are legally bound to distribute the source for
those modifications. See the GNU General Public License for details.
Linux is still free as of version 2.0, and will continue to be free.
Because of the nature of the GPL to which Linux is subject, it would
be illegal for it to be made not free. Note carefully: the `free'
part involves access to the source code rather than money; it is
perfectly legal to charge money for distributing Linux, so long as you
also distribute the source code. This is a generalization; if you
want the fine points, read the GPL.
Linux runs on 386/486/Pentium machines with ISA, EISA, PCI and VLB
busses. MCA (IBM's proprietary bus) is not well-supported in 2.0.x
and earlier versions, but support has been added to the current
development tree, 2.1.x. If you are interested, see
There is a port to multiple Motorola 680x0 platforms (currently
running on some Amigas, Ataris, and VME machines), which now works
quite well. It requires a 68020 with an MMU, a 68030, 68040, or a
68060, and also requires an FPU. Networking and X now work. See
Linux runs well on DEC's Alpha CPU, currently supporting the "Jensen",
"NoName", "Cabriolet", "Universal Desktop Box" (better known as the
Multia), and many other platforms. For more information, see
Linux runs well on Sun SPARCs; most sun4c, sun4m, and sun4u machines
now run Linux, with support for sun4 in development. Red Hat Linux is
(as of this writing) the only Linux distribution available for SPARCs;
Linux is being actively ported to the PowerPC architecture, including
PowerMac (Nubus and PCI), Motorola, IBM, and Be machines. See
<http://www.cs.nmt.edu/~linuxppc/> and <http://www.linuxppc.org/>
Ports to other machines, including MIPS (see
<http://linus.linux.sgi.com> and <http://lena.fnet.fr/>) and ARM, are
under way and showing various amounts of progress. Don't hold your
breath, but if you are interested and able to contribute, you may well
find other developers who wish to work with you.
Linux is no longer considered to be in beta testing, as version 1.0
was released on March 14, 1994. There are still bugs in the system,
and new bugs will creep up and be fixed as time goes on. Because
Linux follows the ``open development model'', all new versions will be
released to the public, whether or not they are considered
``production quality''. However, in order to help people tell whether
they are getting a stable version or not, the following scheme has
been implemented: Versions n.x.y, where x is an even number, are
stable versions, and only bug fixes will be applied as y is
incremented. So from version 1.2.2 to 1.2.3, there were only bug
fixes, and no new features. Versions n.x.y, where x is an odd number,
are beta-quality releases for developers only, and may be unstable and
may crash, and are having new features added to them all the time.
>From time to time, as the currect development kernel stabilizes, it
will be frozen as the new ``stable'' kernel, and development will
continue on a new development version of the kernel. Note that most
releases of the Linux kernel, beta or not, are relatively robust;
``stable'' in this context means ``slow to change'' in addition to
The current stable version is 2.0.35 (this will continue to change as
new device drivers get added and bugs fixed), and development has also
started on the experimental 2.1.x kernels. The Linux kernel source
code contains a file, Documentation/Changes, which explains changes
that you should be aware of when upgrading from one kernel version to
another. However, the great majority of Linux users simply update
their Linux distribution occasionally to get a new kernel version.
Most versions of Linux, beta or not, are quite robust, and you can
keep using those if they do what you need and you don't want to be on
the bleeding edge. One site had a computer running version 0.97p1
(dating from the summer of 1992) for over 136 days without an error or
crash. (It would have been longer if the backhoe operator hadn't
mistaken a main power transformer for a dumpster...) Others have
posted uptimes in excess of a year. One site still had a computer
running Linux 0.99p15s over 600 days at last report.
One thing to be aware of is that Linux is developed using an open and
distributed model, instead of a closed and centralized model like much
other software. This means that the current development version is
always public (with up to a week or two of delay) so that anybody can
use it. The result is that whenever a version with new functionality
is released, it almost always contains bugs, but it also results in a
very rapid development so that the bugs are found and corrected
quickly, often in hours, as many people work to fix them.
In contrast, the closed and centralized model means that there is only
one person or team working on the project, and they only release
software that they think is working well. Often this leads to long
intervals between releases, long waiting for bug fixes, and slower
development. The latest release of such software to the public is
sometimes of higher quality, but the development speed is generally
For a discussion of these two models, read ``The Cathedral and the
Bazaar'' at <http://sagan.earthspace.net/~esr/writings/cathedral-
bazaar/> by Eric Raymond.
As of September 1, 1998, the current stable version of Linux is
2.0.35, and the latest development version is 2.1.119.
2�2.�. L�Li�in�nu�ux�x F�Fe�ea�at�tu�ur�re�es�s
+�o multitasking: several programs running at the same time.
+�o multiuser: several users on the same machine at the same time (and
n�no�o two-user licenses!).
+�o multiplatform: runs on many different CPUs, not just Intel.
+�o multiprocessor: SMP support is available on the Intel and SPARC
platforms (with work currently in progress on other platforms), and
Linux is used in several loosely-coupled MP applications, including
Beowulf systems (see <http://cesdis.gsfc.nasa.gov/linux-
web/beowulf/beowulf.html>) and the Fujitsu AP1000+ SPARC-based
+�o multithreading: has native kernel support for multiple independent
threads of control within a single process memory space.
+�o runs in protected mode on the 386.
+�o has memory protection between processes, so that one program can't
bring the whole system down.
+�o demand loads executables: Linux only reads from disk those parts of
a program that are actually used.
+�o shared copy-on-write pages among executables. This means that
multiple process can use the same memory to run in. When one tries
to write to that memory, that page (4KB piece of memory) is copied
somewhere else. Copy-on-write has two benefits: increasing speed
and decreasing memory use.
+�o virtual memory using paging (not swapping whole processes) to disk:
to a separate partition or a file in the filesystem, or both, with
the possibility of adding more swapping areas during runtime (yes,
they're still called swapping areas). A total of 16 of these 128
MB (2GB in recent kernels) swapping areas can be used at the same
time, for a theoretical total of 2 GB of useable swap space. It is
simple to increase this if necessary, by changing a few lines of
+�o a unified memory pool for user programs and disk cache, so that all
free memory can be used for caching, and the cache can be reduced
when running large programs.
+�o dynamically linked shared libraries (DLL's), and static libraries
too, of course.
+�o does core dumps for post-mortem analysis, allowing the use of a
debugger on a program not only while it is running but also after
it has crashed.
+�o mostly compatible with POSIX, System V, and BSD at the source
+�o through an iBCS2-compliant emulation module, mostly compatible with
SCO, SVR3, and SVR4 at the binary level.
+�o all source code is available, including the whole kernel and all
drivers, the development tools and all user programs; also, all of
it is freely distributable. Plenty of commercial programs are
being provided for Linux without source, but everything that has
been free, including the entire base operating system, is still
+�o POSIX job control.
+�o pseudoterminals (pty's).
+�o 387-emulation in the kernel so that programs don't need to do their
own math emulation. Every computer running Linux appears to have a
math coprocessor. Of course, if your computer already contains an
FPU, it will be used instead of the emulation, and you can even
compile your own kernel with math emulation removed, for a small
+�o support for many national or customized keyboards, and it is fairly
easy to add new ones dynamically.
+�o multiple virtual consoles: several independent login sessions
through the console, you switch by pressing a hot-key combination
(not dependent on video hardware). These are dynamically
allocated; you can use up to 64.
+�o Supports several common filesystems, including minix, Xenix, and
all the common system V filesystems, and has an advanced filesystem
of its own, which offers filesystems of up to 4 TB, and names up to
255 characters long.
+�o transparent access to MS-DOS partitions (or OS/2 FAT partitions)
via a special filesystem: you don't need any special commands to
use the MS-DOS partition, it looks just like a normal Unix
filesystem (except for funny restrictions on filenames,
permissions, and so on). MS-DOS 6 compressed partitions do not
work at this time without a patch (dmsdosfs). VFAT (WNT, Windows
95) support and FAT-32 is available in Linux 2.0
+�o special filesystem called UMSDOS which allows Linux to be installed
on a DOS filesystem.
+�o read-only HPFS-2 support for OS/2 2.1
+�o HFS (Macintosh) file system support is available separately as a
+�o CD-ROM filesystem which reads all standard formats of CD-ROMs.
+�o TCP/IP networking, including ftp, telnet, NFS, etc.
+�o Appletalk server
+�o Netware client and server
+�o Lan Manager/Windows Native (SMB) client and server
+�o Many networking protocols: the base protocols available in the
latest development kernels include TCP, IPv4, IPv6, AX.25, X.25,
IPX, DDP (Appletalk), Netrom, and others. Stable network protocols
included in the stable kernels currently include TCP, IPv4, IPX,
DDP, and AX.25.
3�3.�. H�Ha�ar�rd�dw�wa�ar�re�e I�Is�ss�su�ue�es�s
3�3.�.1�1.�. M�Mi�in�ni�im�ma�al�l c�co�on�nf�fi�ig�gu�ur�ra�at�ti�io�on�n
The following is probably the smallest possible configuration that
Linux will work on: 386SX/16, 1 MB RAM, 1.44 MB or 1.2 MB floppy, any
supported video card (+ keyboards, monitors, and so on of course).
This should allow you to boot and test whether it works at all on the
machine, but you won't be able to do anything useful. See
<http://rsphy1.anu.edu.au/~gpg109/mem.html> for minimal Linux
In order to do something, you will want some hard disk space as well,
5 to 10 MB should suffice for a very minimal setup (with only the most
important commands and perhaps one or two small applications
installed, like, say, a terminal program). This is still very, very
limited, and very uncomfortable, as it doesn't leave enough room to do
just about anything, unless your applications are quite limited. It's
generally not recommended for anything but testing if things work, and
of course to be able to brag about small resource requirements.
3�3.�.2�2.�. U�Us�sa�ab�bl�le�e c�co�on�nf�fi�ig�gu�ur�ra�at�ti�io�on�n
If you are going to run computationally intensive programs, such as
gcc, X, and TeX, you will probably want a faster processor than a
386SX/16, but even that should suffice if you are patient.
In practice, you will want at least 4 MB of RAM if you don't use X,
and 8 MB if you do. Also, if you want to have several users at a
time, or run several large programs (compilations for example) at a
time, you may want more than 4 MB of memory. It may still work with a
smaller amount of memory, but it will use virtual memory (using the
hard drive as s�sl�lo�ow�w memory) and that will be so slow as to be unusable.
If you use many programs at the same time, 16 MB will reduce swapping
considerably. If you don't want to swap appreciably under normal
load, 32 MB will probably suffice for a single user. If you run lots
of memory-intensive applications at once, 64 MB may be necessary to
avoid lots of swapping. Of course, if you run memory-hungry
applications, you may want more.
The amount of hard disk you need depends on what software you want to
install. The normal basic set of Unix utilities, shells, and
administrative programs should be comfortable in less than 10 MB, with
a bit of room to spare for user files. For a more complete system,
get Red Hat, Debian, or another distribution, and assume that you will
need 60 to 600 MB, depending on what you choose to install and what
distribution you get. Add whatever space you want to reserve for user
files to these totals. With today's prices on hard drives, if you are
buying a new system, it makes no sense to buy a drive that is too
small. Get at least 2 GB, preferably 4 GB or more, and you will not
regret it. Linux will happily handle very large hard drive such as
the recently popular 11 GB IDE hard drives or 18 GB SCSI hard drives.
Add more memory, more hard disk, a faster processor and other stuff
depending on your needs, wishes and budget to go beyond the merely
usable. In general, one big difference from DOS is that with Linux,
adding memory makes a large difference, whereas with DOS, extra memory
doesn't make that much difference. This of course has something to do
with DOS's 640KB limit, which is completely nonexistent under Linux.
3�3.�.3�3.�. S�Su�up�pp�po�or�rt�te�ed�d h�ha�ar�rd�dw�wa�ar�re�e
Anything that runs 386 protected mode programs. All models of
386s 486s, Pentiums, Pentium Pros, Pentium IIs, and clones of
these chips should work. (286s and below may someday be
supported on a smaller kernel called ELKS (Embeddable Linux
Kernel Subset), but don't expect the same capabilities). A
version for the 680x0 CPU (for _�x = 2 with external MMU, 3, 4,
and 6) which runs on Amigas and Ataris can be found at
tsx-11.mit.edu in the 680x0 directory. Many DEC Alphas, SPARCs,
and PowerPC machines are supported. Ports are also being done
to the ARM, StrongARM, and MIPS architectures. More details are
PCI, ISA, EISA, and VLB busses. MCA (mostly true blue PS/2s)
support is incomplete but improving (see above). Linux puts
higher demands on hardware than DOS, Windows, and in fact most
operating systems. This means that some marginal hardware that
doesn't fail when running less demanding operating system may
fail when running Linux. Linux is an excellent memory tester...
Up to 1 GB on Intel; more on 64-bit platforms. Some people
(including Linus) have noted that adding ram without adding more
cache at the same time has slowed down their machine extremely,
so if you add memory and find your machine slower, try adding
more cache. Some machines can only cache certain amounts of
memory regardless of how much RAM is installed (64 MB is the
most one popular chipset can cache). Over 64 MB of memory will
require a boot-time parameter with kernels 2.0.35 and earlier,
as the BIOS was originally designed to be unable to report more
than 64MB. Recent 2.1.x kernels and later are able to detect
more memory in a system.
Generic AT drives (EIDE, IDE, 16 bit HD controllers with MFM or
RLL, or ESDI) are supported, as are SCSI hard disks and CD-ROMs,
with a supported SCSI adaptor. Generic XT controllers (8 bit
controllers with MFM or RLL) are also supported. Supported SCSI
adaptors: Advansys, Adaptec 1542, 1522, 1740, 27xx, and 29xx
(with some exceptions) series, Buslogic MultiMaster and
Flashpoint, NCR53c8xx-based controllers, DPT controllers, Qlogic
ISP and FAS controllers, Seagate ST-01 and ST-02, Future Domain
TMC-88x series (or any board based on the TMC950 chip) and
TMC1660/1680, Ultrastor 14F, 24F and 34F, Western Digital
wd7000, and others. SCSI, QIC-02, and some QIC-80 tapes are
also supported. Besides IDE and SCSU cdroms, several
proprietary CD-ROM devices are also supported, including
Matsushita/Panasonic, Mitsumi, Sony, Soundblaster, Toshiba,
ATAPI (EIDE), SCSI, and others. For exact models, check the
hardware compatibility HOWTO. N�N.�.B�B.�. These lists are incomplete,
and always will be. Distribution vendors maintain more up-to-
VGA, EGA, CGA, or Hercules (and compatibles) work in text mode.
For graphics and X, there is support for (at least) normal VGA,
some super-VGA cards (most of the cards based on Tseng,
Paradise, and some Trident chipsets), S3, 8514/A, ATI, Matrox,
and Hercules. (Linux uses the XFree86 X server, so that
determines what cards are supported. A full list of supported
chipsets alone takes over a page. See
Ethernet support includes 3COM 503/509/579/589/595/905
(501/505/507 are supported but not recomended), AT&T GIS (nee
NCR) WaveLAN, most WD8390-based cards, most WD80x3-based cards,
NE1000/2000 and most clones, AC3200, Apricot 82596, AT1700, ATP,
DE425/434/435/500, D-Link DE-600/620, DEPCA, DE100/101,
DE200/201/202 Turbo, DE210, DE422, Cabletron E2100 (not
recommended), Intel EtherExpress (not recommended), EtherExpress
Pro, EtherExpress 100, DEC EtherWORKS 3, HP LAN, HP PCLAN/plus,
most AMD LANCE-based cards, NI5210, ni6510, SMC Ultra, DEC 21040
(tulip), Zenith Z-Note ethernet, All Zircom cards and all
Cabletron cards other than the E2100 are unsupported, due to the
manufacturers unwillingness to release programming information
FDDI support currently includes the DEF_�x_�x cards from DEC.
Point-to-Point networking support include PPP, SLIP, CSLIP, and
PLIP. PPP support is available for both standard asyncronous
devices like modems, and syncronous connections like ISDN.
Limited Token Ring support is available.
Most 16450 and 16550 UART-based boards, including AST Fourport,
the Usenet Serial Card II, and others. Intelligent boards
supported include Cyclades Cyclom series (supported by the
manufacturer), Comtrol Rocketport series (supported by the
manufacturer), Stallion (most boards; supported by the
manufacturer), and Digi (some boards; supported by the
manufacturer). Some ISDN, frame relay, and leased line hardware
SoundBlaster, ProAudio Spectrum 16, Gravis Ultrasound, most
other sound cards, most (all?) flavours of bus mice (Microsoft,
Logitech, PS/2), etc.
4�4.�. A�An�n I�In�nc�co�om�mp�pl�le�et�te�e L�Li�is�st�t o�of�f P�Po�or�rt�te�ed�d P�Pr�ro�og�gr�ra�am�ms�s a�an�nd�d O�Ot�th�he�er�r S�So�of�ft�tw�wa�ar�re�e
Most of the common Unix tools and programs have been ported to Linux,
including almost all GNU software and many X clients from various
sources. Actually, ported is often too strong a word, since many
programs compile out of the box without modifications, or only small
modifications, because Linux tracks POSIX quite closely. There are
never enough applications for any operating system, but Linux is
gaining both end-user applications and server applications. Contact
the vendor of your favorite commercial Unix application and ask if
they have ported it to Linux.
Here is an incomplete list of software that is known to work under
B�Ba�as�si�ic�c U�Un�ni�ix�x c�co�om�mm�ma�an�nd�ds�s:�:
ls, tr, sed, awk and so on (you name it, Linux probably has it).
gcc, gdb, make, bison, flex, perl, rcs, cvs, prof.
L�La�an�ng�gu�ua�ag�ge�es�s a�an�nd�d E�En�nv�vi�ir�ro�on�nm�me�en�nt�ts�s:�:
C, C++, Objective C, Java, Modula-3, Modula-2, Oberon, Ada95,
Pascal, Fortran, ML, scheme, Tcl/tk, Perl, Python, Common Lisp,
and many others.
GNOME and KDE (desktops), X11R6 (XFree86 3.x), X11R5 (XFree86
GNU Emacs, XEmacs, MicroEmacs, jove, ez, epoch, elvis (GNU vi),
vim, vile, joe, pico, jed, and others.
bash (POSIX sh-compatible), zsh (includes ksh compatiblity
mode), pdksh, tcsh, csh, rc, es, ash (mostly sh-compatible shell
used as /bin/sh by BSD), and many more.
PPP, UUCP, SLIP, CSLIP, full TCP/IP communication toolset,
kermit, szrz, minicom, pcomm, xcomm, term (runs multiple shells,
redirects network activity, and allows remote X, all over one
modem line), Seyon (popular X-windows communications program),
and several fax and voice-mail (using ZyXEL and other modems)
packages are available. Of course, remote serial and network
logins are supported.
N�Ne�ew�ws�s a�an�nd�d m�ma�ai�il�l:�:
C-news, innd, trn, nn, tin, smail, elm, mh, exmh, pine, mutt,
TeX, groff, doc, ez, LyX, Lout, Linuxdoc-SGML, and others.
Nethack, several Muds and X games, and lots of others. One of
those games is looking through all the games available at tsx-11
All of these programs (and this isn't even a hundredth of what is
available) are freely available. Commercial software is becoming
widely available; ask the vendor of your favorite commercial software
if they support Linux.
5�5.�. W�Wh�ho�o u�us�se�es�s L�Li�in�nu�ux�x?�?
Linux is freely available, and no one is required to register their
copies with any central authority, so it is difficult to know how many
people use Linux. Several businesses now survive solely on selling
and supporting Linux, and the Linux newsgroups are some of the most
heavily read on the internet, so the number is likely in the millions,
but firm numbers are hard to come by. The best market research
currently indicates between 7.5 and 11 million users.
One brave soul, Harald T. Alvestrand <Harald.T.Alvestrand@uninett.no>,
has decided to try to count Linux users the hard way: one by one. If
you are willing to be counted as a Linux user, please use the web
forms available at <http://counter.li.org/> Alternatively, you can
send a message to email@example.com with one of the following
subjects: `I use Linux at home', `I use Linux at work', or `I use
Linux at home and at work'. He will also accept `third-party'
registrations; ask him for details.
He posts his counts to <news:comp.os.linux.misc> each month; they are
also available from <http://counter.li.org/>.
6�6.�. G�Ge�et�tt�ti�in�ng�g L�Li�in�nu�ux�x
6�6.�.1�1.�. A�An�no�on�ny�ym�mo�ou�us�s F�FT�TP�P
For freely-redistributable Linux documentation, see the Linux
Documentation Project sites at
Stay tuned to the <news:comp.os.linux.announce> newsgroup for further
At least the following anonymous ftp sites carry Linux.
Textual name Numeric address Linux directory
============================= =============== ===============
tsx-11.mit.edu 18.104.22.168 /pub/linux
sunsite.unc.edu 22.214.171.124 /pub/Linux
ftp.funet.fi 126.96.36.199 /pub/Linux
net.tamu.edu 188.8.131.52 /pub/linux
ftp.mcc.ac.uk 184.108.40.206 /pub/linux
src.doc.ic.ac.uk 220.127.116.11 /packages/linux
fgb1.fgb.mw.tu-muenchen.de 18.104.22.168 /pub/linux
ftp.informatik.tu-muenchen.de 22.214.171.124 /pub/comp/os/linux
ftp.dfv.rwth-aachen.de 126.96.36.199 /pub/linux
ftp.informatik.rwth-aachen.de 188.8.131.52 /pub/Linux
ftp.Germany.EU.net 184.108.40.206 /pub/os/Linux
ftp.lip6.fr 220.127.116.11 /pub/linux
ftp.uu.net 18.104.22.168 /systems/unix/linux
wuarchive.wustl.edu 22.214.171.124 mirrors/linux
ftp.win.tue.nl 126.96.36.199 /pub/linux
ftp.stack.urc.tue.nl 188.8.131.52 /pub/linux
srawgw.sra.co.jp 184.108.40.206 /pub/os/linux
ftp.denet.dk 220.127.116.11 /pub/OS/linux
NCTUCCCA.edu.tw 18.104.22.168 /Operating-Systems/Linux
nic.switch.ch 22.214.171.124 /mirror/linux
sunsite.cnlab-switch.ch 126.96.36.199 /mirror/linux
cnuce_arch.cnr.it 188.8.131.52 /pub/Linux
ftp.monash.edu.au 184.108.40.206 /pub/linux
ftp.dstc.edu.au 220.127.116.11 /pub/linux
ftp.sydutech.usyd.edu.au 18.104.22.168 /pub/linux
tsx-11.mit.edu and fgb1.fgb.mw.tu-muenchen.de are the official sites
for Linux's GCC. Some sites mirror other sites. Please use the site
closest (network-wise) to you whenever possible.
At least sunsite.unc.edu and ftp.informatik.tu-muenchen.de offer
ftpmail services. Mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com-
muenchen.de for help.
If you are lost, try looking at
several distributions are enumerated. Red Hat Linux and Debian appear
to be the most popular distributions at the moment, at least in the
Most people now install Linux from CDROM's. The distributions have
grown to hundreds of MBs of Linux software, and downloading that over
even a 28.8 modem or an ISDN connection takes a l�lo�on�ng�g time.
There are essentially two ways to purchase a Linux distribution on
CDROM: as part of an archive of FTP sites, or directly from the
manufacturer. If you purchase an archive, you will often get several
different distributions to choose from, but support is generally not
included. When you purchase a distribution directly from the vendor,
you usually only get one distribution, but you usually get some form
of support, usually installation support.
6�6.�.3�3.�. O�Ot�th�he�er�r m�me�et�th�ho�od�ds�s o�of�f o�ob�bt�ta�ai�in�ni�in�ng�g L�Li�in�nu�ux�x
There are many BBSs that have Linux files. A list of them is
occasionally posted to comp.os.linux.announce. Ask friends and user
groups, or order one of the commmercial distributions. A list of
these is contained in the Linux distribution HOWTO, available as
<http://sunsite.unc.edu/LDP/HOWTO/Distribution-HOWTO.html>, and posted
regularily to the <news:comp.os.linux.announce> newsgroup.
7�7.�. L�Le�eg�ga�al�l S�St�ta�at�tu�us�s o�of�f L�Li�in�nu�ux�x
Although Linux is supplied with the complete source code, it is
copyrighted software, not public domain. However, it is available for
free under the GNU General Public License, sometimes referred to as
the ``copyleft''. See the GPL for more information. The programs
that run under Linux each have their own copyright, although many of
them use the GPL as well. X uses the MIT X copyright, and some
utilities are under the BSD copyright. In any case, all of the
software on the FTP site is freely distributable (or else it shouldn't
8�8.�. N�Ne�ew�ws�s A�Ab�bo�ou�ut�t L�Li�in�nu�ux�x
A monthly magazine, called _�L_�i_�n_�u_�x _�J_�o_�u_�r_�n_�a_�l, was launched over four years
ago. It includes articles intended for almost all skill levels, and
is intended to be helpful to all Linux users. One-year subscriptions
are $22 in the U.S., $27 in Canada and Mexico, and $32 elsewhere,
payable in US currency. Subscription inquiries can be sent via email
to firstname.lastname@example.org, or faxed to +1-206-782-7191, or phoned to
+1-206-782-7733, or mailed to Linux Journal, PO Box 85867, Seattle, WA
98145-1867 USA. SSC has a PGP public key available for encrypting
your mail to protect your credit card number; finger email@example.com to
get the key.
There are several Usenet newsgroups for Linux discussion, and also
several mailing lists. See the Linux FAQ for more information about
the mailing lists (you should be able to find the FAQ either in the
newsgroup or on the FTP sites).
The newsgroup <news:comp.os.linux.announce> is a moderated newsgroup
for announcements about Linux (new programs, bug fixes, etc).
The newsgroup <news:comp.os.linux.answers> is a moderated newsgroup
to which the Linux FAQ, HOWTO documents, and other documentation
postings are made.
The newsgroup <news:comp.os.linux.admin> is an unmoderated newsgroup
for discussion of administration of Linux systems.
The newsgroup <news:comp.os.linux.development.system> is an
unmoderated newsgroup specifically for discussion of Linux k�ke�er�rn�ne�el�l
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
The newsgroup <news: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 <news:comp.os.linux.hardware> is for Linux-specific
The newsgroup <news:comp.os.linux.networking> is for Linux-specific
networking development and setup questions.
The newsgroup <news:comp.os.linux.x> is for Linux-specific X Windows
The newsgroup <news:comp.os.linux.misc> is the replacement for
comp.os.linux, and is meant for any discussion that doesn't belong
In general, d�do�o n�no�ot�t crosspost between the Linux newsgroups. The o�on�nl�ly�y
crossposting that is appropriate is an occasional posting between one
unmoderated group and <news:comp.os.linux.announce>. The whole point
of splitting the old comp.os.linux group into many groups is to reduce
traffic in each group. Those that do not follow this rule will be
flamed without mercy...
Linux is on the web at the URL <http://sunsite.unc.edu/LDP/>
9�9.�. T�Th�he�e F�Fu�ut�tu�ur�re�e
After Linux 1.0 was released, work was done on several enhancements.
Linux 1.2 included disk access speedups, TTY improvements, virtual
memory enhancements, multiple platform support, quotas, and more.
Linux 2.0, the current stable version, has even more enhancements,
including many performance improvements, several new networking
protocols, one of the fastest TCP/IP implementations in the world, and
far, far more. Even higher performance, more networking protocols,
and more device drivers will be available in Linux 2.2.
Even with over 3/4 million lines of code in the kernel, there is
plenty of code left to write, and even more documentation. Please
join the firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list if you would like to
contribute to the documentation. Send mail to
email@example.com with a single line containing the word
``help'' in the body (N�NO�OT�T the subject) of the message.
1�10�0.�. T�Th�hi�is�s d�do�oc�cu�um�me�en�nt�t
This document is maintained by Michael K. Johnson
<firstname.lastname@example.org>. Please mail me with any comments, no matter how
small. I can't do a good job of maintaining this document without
your help. A more-or-less current copy of this document can always be
found at <http://sunsite.unc.edu/LDP/>
Trademarks are owned by their owners. There is no warranty about the
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The content of this document is in the public domain, but please be
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