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3.2 Getting Help

If your system fails to boot, or if you're unable to complete the Linux installation process, don't despair. The help you need is probably close by, in one of these sources:

  • The Debian Web Site

  • Linux FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  • Linux HOWTOs

  • The Debian mailing lists

  • USENET newsgroups

  • Internet Relay Chat (IRC)

The following sections describe these sources and explain how to access and use them. You should generally consult them in the order specified.

3.2.1 The Debian Web Site

The Debian Web site,, is your main source for information on Debian GNU/Linux. It provides documents, links, and resources galore.

3.2.2 FAQs

Linux FAQs present commonly asked questions and answers. The Debian GNU/Linux FAQ is available online at You can also find it on the CD-ROM that accompanies this book, in the /doc/FAQ directory. The Linux FAQ is available at

3.2.3 HOWTOs

Linux HOWTOs address specific topics of interest to Linux users. They're found in the /usr/doc/HOWTO direcotry of an installed Debian GNU/Linux system. You can also find them online at At this point in your Linux experience, you'll probably find the Installation-HOWTO useful. Use it to find workarounds for your installation and configuration problems.

The HOWTOs are generally available in plain text format. You can use Microsoft Windows WordPad, or another text editor of your choice, to access them.

3.2.4 The Debian Mailing Lists

Several Internet mailing lists address Debian GNU/Linux. You can find a list of these at Among the most useful mailing lists are these:


The main mailing list for Debian GNU/Linux users and developers.


Issues related to installing, updating and using Debian GNU/Linux on laptop computers.


Issues related to booting Debian GNU/Linux.


Important announcements directed to the Debian GNU/Linux community.


Issues related to security, including fixes to security problems.


Information on commercial products related to Debian GNU/Linux.


General news about Debian GNU/Linux and the Debian project.


Changes to Debian GNU/Linux releases are published here.

3.2.5 USENET Newsgroups

Several Internet newsgroups address Linux. You can find a list of these at If your Internet Service Provider (ISP) provides access to these newsgroups - as most do - you can read and post messages read by other Linux users around the world. If necessary, consult your ISP for information on accessing these newsgroups.

Don't post blindly to these newsgroups, or you may draw angry responses; instead, you should first attempt to find answers to your questions in the Linux FAQs and HOWTOs. Generally, the Linux community is quite willing to help even those who ask what some consider dumb questions; but, as a courtesy to all, it's best if you do some work on your own before seeking the help of others.

3.2.6 Internet Relay Chat (IRC)

IRC (Internet Relay Chat) lets you exchange typed messages in real time with people from all over the world. The server provides an IRC channel dedicated to Debian GNU/Linux. To connect to the server, you must have an installed IRC client such as BitchX, ircII, tkirc, or Zircon. If you're having trouble getting Debian GNU/Linux installed or configured, you can use a Windows-based IRC client to chat with Debian users, who can likely help you resolve your problem.

Connect to the server by typing:


Then join channel #debian by typing:

/join #debian

Previous: 3.1 Installing the Operating System and Applications Learning Debian GNU/Linux Next: 4. Issuing Linux Commands
3.1 Installing the Operating System and Applications Book Index 4. Issuing Linux Commands

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