If you are new to the world of Linux, there
are a number of resources to explore and become familiar with. Having
access to the Internet is helpful, but not essential.
- Linux Documentation Project guides
The Linux Documentation Project is a group of volunteers who have
worked to produce books (guides), HOWTO documents, and manual pages on
topics ranging from installation to kernel programming. The LDP works
- Linux Installation and Getting Started
By Matt Welsh, et al. This book describes how to obtain, install, and use
Linux. It includes an introductory Unix tutorial and information on systems
administration, the X Window System, and networking.
- Linux System Administrators Guide
By Lars Wirzenius and Joanna Oja. This book is a guide to general Linux system
administration and covers topics such as creating and configuring users,
performing system backups, configuration of major software packages, and
installing and upgrading software.
- Linux System Adminstration Made Easy
By Steve Frampton. This book describes day-to-day administration and
maintenance issues of relevance to Linux users.
- Linux Programmers Guide
By B. Scott Burkett, Sven Goldt, John D. Harper, Sven van der Meer, and
Matt Welsh. This book covers topics of interest to people who wish to
develop application software for Linux.
- The Linux Kernel
By David A. Rusling. This book provides an introduction to the Linux
Kernel, how it is constructed, and how it works. Take a tour of your
- The Linux Kernel Module Programming
By Ori Pomerantz. This guide explains how to write Linux kernel modules.
More manuals are in development. For more information about the LDP
you should consult their World Wide Web server at https://www.linuxdoc.org/ or one of its many
- HOWTO documents
The Linux HOWTOs are
a comprehensive series of papers detailing various aspects of the
system—such as installation and configuration of the X Window
System software, or how to write in assembly language programming
under Linux. These are generally located in the
HOWTO subdirectory of the FTP sites listed later,
or they are available on the World Wide Web at one of the many Linux
Documentation Project mirror sites. See the Bibliography at the end
of this book, or the file HOWTO-INDEX for a list
of what's available.
You might want to obtain the Installation HOWTO, which
describes how to install Linux on your system; the Hardware
Compatibility HOWTO, which contains a list of hardware known to
work with Linux; and the Distribution HOWTO, which lists
software vendors selling Linux on diskette and CD-ROM.
The bibliography of this book includes references to the HOWTO documents
that are related to Linux networking.
- Linux Frequently Asked Questions
The Linux Frequently Asked Questions with Answers
(FAQ) contains a wide assortment of questions and answers about the
system. It is a must-read for all newcomers.
If you have access to anonymous FTP, you
can obtain all Linux documentation listed above from various sites,
including metalab.unc.edu:/pub/Linux/docs and tsx-11.mit.edu:/pub/linux/docs.
These sites are mirrored by a number of sites around the world.
There are many Linux-based WWW sites available. The home site for the
Linux Documentation Project can be accessed at https://www.linuxdoc.org/.
The Open Source Writers Guild (OSWG) is a
project that has a scope that extends beyond Linux. The OSWG, like
this book, is committed to advocating and facilitating the production
of OpenSource documentation. The OSWG home site is at
Both of these sites contain hypertext (and other) versions of many Linux
number of publishing companies and software vendors publish the works
of the Linux Documentation Project. Two such vendors are:
Specialized Systems Consultants, Inc. (SSC)
P.O. Box 55549 Seattle, WA 98155-0549
Linux Systems Labs
18300 Tara Drive
Clinton Township, MI 48036
Both companies sell compendiums of Linux HOWTO documents and other
Linux documentation in printed and bound form.
& Associates publishes a series of Linux books. This one is a work
of the Linux Documentation Project, but most have been independently
authored. Their range includes:
- Running Linux
An installation and user guide to the system describing how to get the most
out of personal computing with Linux.
- Learning Debian GNU/Linux, Learning Red Hat Linux
More basic than Running Linux, these books
contain popular distributions on CD-ROM and offer robust directions
for setting them up and using them.
- Linux in a Nutshell
Another in the successful "in a Nutshell" series, this book focuses on
providing a broad reference text for Linux.
Linux Journal and Linux
Magazine are monthly magazines for the Linux community,
written and published by a number of Linux activists. They contain
articles ranging from novice questions and answers to kernel
programming internals. Even if you have Usenet access, these magazines
are a good way to stay in touch with the Linux community.
Linux Journal is the oldest magazine and is
published by S.S.C. Incorporated, for which details were listed
previously. You can also find the magazine on the World Wide Web at
Linux Magazine is a newer, independent
publication. The home web site for the magazine is https://www.linuxmagazine.com/.
If you have access to Usenet news, the following Linux-related newsgroups
A moderated newsgroup containing announcements of new software,
distributions, bug reports, and goings-on in the Linux community. All
Linux users should read this group. Submissions may be mailed to
General questions and answers about installing or using Linux.
Discussions relating to systems administration under Linux.
Discussions relating to networking with Linux.
Discussions about developing the Linux kernel and system itself.
A catch-all newsgroup for miscellaneous discussions that don't
fall under the previous categories.
There are also several newsgroups devoted to Linux in languages other
than English, such as fr.comp.os.linux in French and de.comp.os.linux in German.
There is a large number of specialist Linux mailing lists on which you
will find many people willing to help with questions you might have.
The best-known of these are the lists hosted by Rutgers University.
You may subscribe to these lists by sending an email message formatted
Some of the available lists related to Linux networking are:
Discussion relating to Linux networking
Discussion relating to the Linux PPP implementation
Discussion relating to Linux kernel development
There are many ways of obtaining help online, where volunteers
from around the world offer expertise and services to assist
users with questions and problems.
The OpenProjects IRC Network is an IRC network devoted entirely to
Open Projects—Open Source and Open Hardware alike. Some of its
channels are designed to provide online Linux support services. IRC
stands for Internet Relay Chat, and is a network service that allows
you to talk interactively on the Internet to other users. IRC networks
support multiple channels on which groups of people talk. Whatever you
type in a channel is seen by all other users of that channel.
There are a number of active channels on the OpenProjects IRC network
where you will find users 24 hours a day, 7 days a week who are
willing and able to help you solve any Linux problems you may have, or
just chat. You can use this service by installing an IRC client like
irc-II, connecting to servername irc.openprojects.org:6667, and joining the
Many Linux User Groups around the world offer direct
support to users. Many Linux User Groups engage in activities such as
installation days, talks and seminars, demonstration nights, and other
completely social events. Linux User Groups are a great way of meeting other
Linux users in your area. There are a number of published lists of Linux
User Groups. Some of the better-known ones are:
- Groups of Linux Users Everywhere
- LUG list project
- LUG registry
There is no single distribution of the Linux software; instead, there
are many distributions, such as Debian, RedHat, Caldera, Corel, SuSE,
and Slackware. Each distribution contains everything you need to run a
complete Linux system: the kernel, basic utilities, libraries, support
files, and applications software.
Linux distributions may be obtained via a number of online sources, such as
the Internet. Each of the major distributions has its own FTP and web site.
Some of these sites are:
Many of the popular general FTP archive sites also mirror various
Linux distributions. The best-known of these sites are:
Many of the modern distributions can be installed directly from the
Internet. There is a lot of software to download for a typical
installation, though, so you'd probably want to do this only if you
have a high-speed, permanent network connection, or if you just need
to update an existing installation.
Linux may be purchased on CD-ROM from an increasing number of software
vendors. If your local computer store doesn't have it, perhaps you
should ask them to stock it! Most of the popular distributions can be
obtained on CD-ROM. Some vendors produce products containing multiple
CD-ROMs, each of which provides a different Linux distribution. This
is an ideal way to try a number of different distributions before you
settle on your favorite one.