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  HOWTO: How to stay updated
  Kjetil Bakkeskaug, Kjell Sundby and Stein Gjoen,
  v0.32, 20 May 2002

  This document describes how to stay updated and abreast of the devel�
  opment that takes place in the Linux world of development.  Although
  most of this text is Linux specific there is also a lot of general
  information on searching efficiently for specific information that can
  be useful for a wider audience.

  Table of Contents

  1. Introduction

     1.1 Copyright
     1.2 Disclaimer
     1.3 News
     1.4 Credits

  2. Documentation Installed on Your Hard Disk

  3. Subscription

     3.1 Usenet News
     3.2 Mailing Lists
     3.3 Magazines

  4. Meetings

  5. Searching

  6. Conclusion


  1.  Introduction

  Development in the world of Linux takes place at an incredible speed
  and it can be difficult to keep abreast with the latest development.
  This HOWTO gives you a few guidelines on how to get the information
  you need, fast and efficiently. Most are quite familiar with using the
  World Wide Web (WWW) and Usenet News but as will be shown here there
  are many other methods that can be as good or even better.

  There are now many new translations available and special thanks go to
  the translators for the job and the input they have given:

  �  Polish translation
     <> by Tomasz
     Sienicki tsca (at)

  �  French Translation <> by
     Jean-Albert Ferrez Jean-Albert.Ferrez (at)

  �  Portuguese Translation <> by
     Duarte Loreto dnloreto (at)

  �  Japanese translation <> by Satoru
     Takahashi hisai (at)
  1.1.  Copyright

  This HOWTO is copyrighted 1998 Kjell Sundby, Kjetil Bakkeskaug and
  Stein Gjoen.  Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify
  this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License,
  Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software
  Foundation with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no
  Back-Cover Texts.

  If you have any questions, please contact <{linux-}>

  1.2.  Disclaimer

  Use the information in this document at your own risk. We disavow any
  potential liability for the contents of this document. Use of the
  concepts, examples, and/or other content of this document is entirely
  at your own risk.

  All copyrights are owned by their owners, unless specifically noted
  otherwise.  Use of a term in this document should not be regarded as
  affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark.

  Naming of particular products or brands should not be seen as

  You are strongly recommended to take a backup of your system before
  major installation and backups at regular intervals.

  1.3.  News

  Updated links to LinuxNetMag

  Did a major link check but linkrot sets in quickly.

  Added link to Penguin Magazine.

  Added more information on the workings of mailing lists. Also proper
  indexing is now added.

  Renamed Dejanews to Deja and one chapter title. Also added note on
  translation now underway. Minor typos fixed.

  Added link to Polish translation

  Added link to Linux Focus and Linux Magazine.

  Added links to French and Japanese translations as well as several
  online resources.

  Link rot is setting in, numerous corrections made. Also expanded on
  searching choices.

  1.4.  Credits

       Tomasz Sienicki | tsca <tsca (at)>
       Satoru Takahashi <hisai (at)>

  2.  Documentation Installed on Your Hard Disk

  When you start out with a Linux installation you will normally get
  quite a bit of information along, not just the installation pamphlet
  but also substantial online help and information files as well as
  HOWTO files. This gives you a good starting point but after a while
  you will find yourself interested in knowing more, updating your
  system and basically staying informed. For simplicity this kind of
  information is here divided into several types, the type you subscribe
  to, information you search for as well as a bit on getting more
  specific help efficiently.

  Even if you don't get printed information of some kind with your Linux
  packages you will along with any self respecting distribution get a
  number of directories with documentation of some kind, ranging from
  the tersest README files for most software packages to the more in
  depth HOWTOs, of which this is one.

  Have a look in the document archive <file:///usr/doc> where most
  packages store their main documentation and README files etc.  Also
  you will here find the HOWTO archive <file:///usr/doc/HOWTO> of ready
  formatted HOWTOs and also the mini-HOWTO archive
  <file:///usr/doc/HOWTO/mini> of plain text documents.

  The kernel source <file:///usr/src/linux> is, of course, the ultimate
  documentation. In other words, use the source, Luke.  It should also
  be pointed out that the kernel comes not only with source code which
  is even commented (well, partially at least) but also an informative
  documentation directory <file:///usr/src/linux/Documentation>.  If you
  are about to ask any questions about the kernel you should read this
  first, it will save you and many others a lot of time and possibly

  The online documentation is excellent for browsing and searching but
  don't dismiss the printed version altogether; if you cannot even get
  the machine to boot, how are you going to be able to read that piece
  of information you need to get the system going again?

  3.  Subscription

  This basically means you set up a subscription of some sort and then
  follow the news as they come in. Be careful not to bite over more than
  you can chew, information overload is more than a buzzword. There is
  also rather more junk out there than is just annoying, it is a real
  problem these days. Read critically and be prepared to unsubscribe.

  There are two distinct medias for getting continuous updates: news and
  mailing lists, though sometimes news is gatewayed to mail and vice
  versa. In general news is a larger volume, larger noise source
  compared to mailing lists. Trying to follow too many newsgroups is
  like drinking from a fire hose.

  3.1.  Usenet News

  Getting access to Usenet News is outside the scope of this HOWTO,
  there are others that will help you with getting and reading News
  directly from a Linux system. If you have never used News before you
  should be careful to read the introductory information thoroughly. In
  spite of looking like an anarchy it does have its own distinct
  culture, follow a newsgroup for some time before posting yourself.
  Most importantly, look out for postings called Frequently Asked
  Questions or FAQ as they will show you the ropes for the group it is
  posted to, and most likely give you the answer to what you are looking
  for. Asking an FAQ will earn you severe negative credibility points as
  well as a place in many killfiles.

  FAQs should be posted regularly but if you cannot find it you can
  always find it at the main FAQ archive <> at MIT.

  These are also available as web pages <>.

  Still, there is a lot of noise, spam and junk in News and this is
  where killfiles come in. You will need a news reader with killfile
  capability and when properly set up it will scan through a newsgroup
  according to a search key of your own design and mark all flagged
  postings as already read so you don't have to be bothered by the
  noise. This improves the signal-to-noise ratio and lets you
  concentrate on the important parts. Similarly, if you make noise in
  News others will killfile you so if you later were to ask for help
  they will never see your post.

  Now to business: the following is a list of useful newsgroups:

  �  announcements <news:comp.os.linux.announce>

  �  answers, HOWTOs, FAQs etc. <news:comp.os.linux.answers>

  �  development of applications <news:comp.os.linux.development.apps>

  �  development of the system <news:comp.os.linux.development.sys>

  �  hardware <news:comp.os.linux.hardware>

  �  misc <news:comp.os.linux.misc>

  �  networking <news:comp.os.linux.networking>

  �  setting up linux <news:comp.os.linux.setup>

  �  X11 on linux <news:comp.os.linux.x>

  Many national hierarchies also have Linux groups, such as the
  Norwegian <news:no.linux> Linux groups. If you cannot find your
  national or local group you might be able to use Deja
  <> to find the names for you.

  3.2.  Mailing Lists

  Unlike Usenet News a mailing list is centralised, someone sends a mail
  to the server and the server in return mails everyone that is
  subscribed to that particular list. These lists are generally low
  volume but also very low noise. Any breaches of the charter will be
  looked harshly upon. Equally seriously it will delay the development
  or the project that the list is dedicated to. When you subscribe you
  will normally get an introductory mail describing the charter, again
  you are strongly recommended to read this very carefully.

  There are many types of mail servers that can handle a list and you
  will need some information on how and where you can subscribe.

  One of the most common list servers is Majordomo which is what the
  list server at <> is
  running. To learn how it works you send a mail message with the word
  help in the body. If you send it something it cannot parse you will
  get this help message anyway.  If you instead mail it the word lists
  you will be returned a list of all mailing lists it serves, and that
  can be a considerable number.

  Other mailing lists use several addresses, one where you send your
  requests such as subscribe and unsubscribe, and one where you send
  your contributions to the list which is usually also the address from
  which the list is also redistributed to you.  Again, sending it the
  message help or something it cannot parse will give you the help
  information.  An example: you send the word subscribe to the address and then you get mail from and
  contribute to the list address
  until you unsubscribe.

  A few tips before you start sending in to mailing lists:

  �  Do not send subscribe etc. to the list itself, only to the server
     address, otherwise you will look silly and you will annoy people.
     There can be several thousand subscribers to a list and if such
     errors were to pour in the noise would be too much.

  �  When you subscribe you will often get an introductory message sent
     to you automatically. Read it carefully as this should answer most
     of the initial questions.

  �  Do not gateway mailing lists to news without asking first as this
     can cause mailing loops as well as spam.

  As mentioned above,
  <>.  is one of the main mailing list
  servers and here is an abbreviated index of what is available for the
  Linux community:

  �  linux-8086            (Linux on Intel 8086 processors)

  �  linux-admin           (Administration of Linux systems)

  �  linux-alpha           (Linux on the Alpha processor platform)

  �  linux-apps            (Applications)

  �  linux-arm             (Linux on the Arm processor platform)

  �  linux-bbs             (Linux Bulletin Board Systems)

  �  linux-c-programming   (C-programming with Linux)

  �  linux-config          (Configuration)

  �  linux-console         (Console)

  �  linux-diald           (Dial on demand daemon)

  �  linux-doc             (Linux documentation)

  �  linux-fido            (Linux fido network)

  �  linux-fsf             (Linux and the Free Software Foundation)

  �  linux-ftp             (Linux File Transfer Protocol)

  �  linux-gcc             (Linux and the GNU C compiler)

  �  linux-gcc-digest      (Digests of the above)

  �  linux-hams           Amateur Radio and Linux discussions

  �  linux-hppa            (Linux on the HP Precision Architecture
     processor platform)

  �  linux-ibcs2           (Linux and the Intel Binary Compatibility

  �  linux-ipx             (Linux and Novell IPX networking protocol)

  �  linux-isdn            (Linux and Integrated Services Digital

  �  linux-japanese                (Linux and Japanese extensions)

  �  linux-kernel          (Linux kernel)

  �  linux-kernel-announce (Announcements for the above)

  �  linux-kernel-digest   (Digests of the linux-kernel list)

  �  linux-kernel-patch    (Linux kernel patches)

  �  linux-laptop          (Linux on laptops)

  �  linux-linuxss

  �  linux-lugnuts         (Linux User Groups)

  �  linux-mca             (Linux and the IBM Micro Channel Architecture

  �  linux-mips            (Linux on the MIPS processor platform)

  �  linux-msdos           (Linux and MSDOS)

  �  linux-msdos-devel     (Linux - MSDOS development)

  �  linux-msdos-digest    (Digest of the linux-msdos list)

  �  linux-net             (Linux and networking)

  �  linux-new-lists               (New mailing lists for Linux)

  �  linux-newbie          (Linux and the inexperienced)

  �  linux-newbiew

  �  linux-nys

  �  linux-oasg

  �  linux-oi

  �  linux-opengl          (Linux and the OpenGL graphics system)

  �  linux-pkg

  �  linux-ppp             (Linux and the Point-to-Point Protocol)

  �  linux-pro

  �  linux-qag

  �  linux-raid            (Linux and Redundant Array of Inexpensive
  �  linux-scsi            (Linux and Small Computer Systems Interface)

  �  linux-serial          (Linux and the serial system)

  �  linux-seyon           (Linux terminal system)

  �  linux-smp             (Linux Symmetric Multi Processing)

  �  linux-sound

  �  linux-standards

  �  linux-svgalib         (Linux and the SVGA library)

  �  linux-tape            (Linux and tape storage)

  �  linux-term            (A Linux communications program)

  �  linux-userfs          (Linux User File System)

  �  linux-word

  �  linux-x11             (Linux and the X Window System, Version 11)

  �  linux-x25             (Linux and the X25 Networking Protocol)

  �  sparclinux            (Linux on the SPARC processor platform)

  �  ultralinux            (Linux on the Ultra-SPARC processor platform)

  There are of course a number of other lists on other server. As this
  is in a constant state of flux there is little point in naming all but
  the most important here. Instead you could check out a web page that
  maintains such a list of lists
  <> on
  various servers of interest to Linux users. It also offers an user
  friendly interface to subscribe or unsubscribe to the various lists

  There is also a web page listing a huge number of lists concerning
  much more than Linux at Publicly Available Mailing Lists

  3.3.  Magazines

  Many have been disappointed at the lack of information on Linux in the
  trade press. This is probably because certain commercial products
  would not stand up for any comparison and the advertisers would not
  stand it at all. Fortunately there is one Linux specific journal,
  called the Linux Journal. More information on subscription etc. can be
  found at the SSC <> home page. A table of contents
  is usually also available online.

  Another commercial paper magazine is the Linux Magazine
  <> which also offers table of contents and
  some excerpts online.

  Also Unix Review <> (formerly known as
  Performance Computing) gives a lot of Linux coverage.

  Some popular e-zines are

  �  Linux Gazette <>

  �  Linux Focus <> (available in a number of

  �  Linux Research <>

  �  Linux Today <>

  �  Linux News <>

  �  Linux Netmag (English) <> and Linux
     Netmag (German) <>

  �  Penguin Magazine <>

  and probably a few others as new ones seem to pop quite frequently.

  Check out LinuxHQ <> for up to date information
  on current news services.

  New web pages with literally daily news on linux are popping up
  everywhere, many are quite professional in layout as well as in scope.
  One of the bigger ones is Freshmeat <> which
  serves out news daily.

  For those who cannot afford the time to follow the net on an hourly
  basis yet need the important news quickly there is the Linux Weekly
  News <>, which gives you a weekly update of important
  news, including securities alerts and also announcements of new and
  updated software.

  You can also find directions to IRC online chat lines at

  There are also a number of more hardware oriented web sites worth
  visiting, such as Toms Hardware <>,
  Anandtech <> for general hardware reviews, and
  Storage review <> for the latest in disk,
  tape and other storage technology..

  4.  Meetings

  Linux has been created through a massive networked effort, mostly by
  heavy use of the Internet. Still, there is the chance of meeting real
  people, face to face, in Linux user groups (LUG) that are all over the
  world. Search the lists that are published regularly, there could be
  one near you.

  Conferences, install fests, creating new user groups and more is
  regularly announced on Usenet News announcements
  <news:comp.os.linux.announce>.  Such events are excellent venues for
  staying on top of events and also for getting help.

  5.  Searching

  There are many avenues open when searching for something particular.
  Remember you can also use the web search engines and that some, like

  �  Altavista <>

  �  Excite <>

  �  Hotbot <>

     can also search Usenet news.

  There are numerous search engines available but they are not all equal
  neither in method of rating relevance nor in size of database.  For
  established, authoritative pages I recommend using Google
  <> since it scores pages by the number of links
  pointing to them.  People often link to pages they find important or
  useful and Google uses this.

  Google takes time to score a page properly so it is not that useful
  for searching for the newest or more exotic topics. For that I
  normally recommend either the very fast and wide spanning AllTheWeb
  <> or meta engines, web systems that forwards
  your request to a number of other search engines, receives the
  results, collates and scores before presenting you with the result.
  My favourite meta engine is Go2Net <> formerly
  known as MetaCrawler.

  Such preferences are all subjective and the systems improve
  continuously so you need to experiment yourself. There is no perfect
  search engine and as less than 10 percent of all pages are indexed you
  need to try several engines if you don't succeed at first.

  Also remember that Deja <> is a dedicated news
  searcher that keeps a news spool from early 1995 and onwards.

  Even though more and more things take place of the web these days, do
  not forget that there is a lot of information available on the various
  ftp servers around the world. Some web search engines also index ftp
  servers but the tool of choice is still the Archie servers, systems
  that regularly scan major ftp servers around the world and keep lists
  of files. These can be accessed in many ways, either by Archie clients
  like archie or the X11 version xarchie which should be available on
  any well maintained linux system. Failing that you can access archie
  servers using telnet to any of the servers listed

  �  Australia <telnet://>

  �  Austria <telnet://>

  �  Belgium <telnet://>

  �  Finland <telnet://>

  �  Germany <telnet://>

  �  Korea <telnet://>

  �  Italy <telnet://>

  �  Japan <telnet://>

  �  Poland <telnet://>

  �  Sweden <telnet://>

  �  Spain <telnet://>

  �  United Kingdom <telnet://>

  �  United States <telnet://>

  �  United States <telnet://>

  Of course you should try to use the server closest to you, and to see
  the list of current server you can either start the Archie client with
  no arguments or, if telnetting, by querying the server. Online help is
  available. Unfortunately not all servers are synchronised, so you
  might have to search a few before finding what you are looking for.

  Recently a more user friendly ftp index server entered the net, the
  ftpsearch <> engine, featuring many options
  and with a rather stark interface, in the best Unix tradition.

  Most of these offer help on efficient searching techniques, reading
  this can speed up your searches enormously. Investing a little time
  here will pay off in the long run.

  If you have trouble getting onto the Internet but have mail then you
  should have a look at the access via mail FAQ. Naturally you can get
  it over e-mail using the US, Canada and South America server
  <> entering only this line in the BODY
  of the note:

  send usenet/news.answers/internet-services/access-via-email

  or Europe, Asia etc server <> entering
  only this line in the BODY of the note:

  send lis-iis e-access-inet.txt

  or look through your news spool if you have one locally in
  news.answers newsgroup <news:news.answers>.

  Finally, you might wish to get more information from a person, say an
  author of a software package. usually you can find the e-mail address
  in the accompanying documentation which normally would be in the
  documentation subdirectory <file:///usr/doc/> but failing that and
  also if the given address is no longer valid you could find help in
  the FAQ for finding e-mail addresses

  6.  Conclusion

  Finding information fast and efficiently is more of an art than a
  science and we still have not touched on the really difficult part:
  how do you determine the actual quality of the information? It is
  outside the scope of this HOWTO to tell you that but it is still
  something you should keep in mind. You should at least check the
  information is recent enough to be current to your problem.

  As a bare minimum you should ensure a minimum of validity of the
  documentation to avoid misleading or malicious advice. A surprising
  number of people suggests things like rm -rf /  as a solution for a
  given problem. Some see it as an obvious prank, the unaware can end up
  destroying his or her setup. Just to avoid such things you should
  check out a few things before rushing ahead:

  �  Is there a name attached to the document? If people are serious
     about what they write it should not be anonymous.
  �  Is it dated? Documents tend to evolve as the technology advances.
     Be sure you are reading the latest version. Internet search engines
     can help you here.

  �  Are there any followups? Be sure to check any followups or comments
     to what you read, otherwise you might miss a warning or a

  If you keep this in mind you should not fall for too many of the scams
  that circulate on the net, from get well-cards for Craig Shergold,
  chain letters to the more recent problems of Trojans for Linux that
  tries to trick you into mailing off your password.

  There is a number of FAQs available that deals with more serious
  research method topics and you can also see a comprehensive on-line
  version <>.

  Finally, do not forget the Linux Documentation Project
  <> site that coordinates documentation for
  Linux. Updates and new documents are issued regularly, reflecting the
  development in the field.

  Quoted from someone's signature:

  Be alert! The world needs more lerts.

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