Section 1.6. Sources of Linux Information

As you have probably guessed, many sources of information about Linux are available, apart from this book.

1.6.1. Online Documents

If you have access to the Internet, you can get many Linux documents via web and anonymous FTP sites all over the world. If you do not have direct Internet access, these documents may still be available to you; many Linux distributions on CD-ROM contain all the documents mentioned here and are often available off the retail shelf.

A great number of web and FTP archive sites carry Linux software and related documents. Appendix A contains a listing of some of the Linux documents available via the Internet.

Examples of available online documents are the Linux FAQ, a collection of frequently asked questions about Linux; the Linux HOWTO documents, each describing a specific aspect of the systemincluding the Installation HOWTO, the Printing HOWTO, and the Ethernet HOWTO; and the Linux META-FAQ, a list of other sources of Linux information on the Internet.

Additional documentation , individually hosted "HOWTOs," blogs, knowledge bases, and forums exist that provide significant material to help individuals use Linux. Distributors maintain diverse mailing lists and forums dealing with a variety of subjects from using Linux on a laptop to configuring web servers. Such web sites and digests of mailing lists have largely taken over for Linux-related Usenet newsgroups; see "Usenet Newsgroups" later in this chapter.

The central Linux Documentation home page is available to web users at This page contains many HOWTOs and other documents, as well as pointers to other sites of interest to Linux users, including the Linux Documentation Project manuals (see the following section).

1.6.2. Books and Other Published Works

There are a number of published works specifically about Linux. In addition, a number of free books are distributed on the Internet by the Linux Documentation Project (LDP), a project carried out over the Internet to write and distribute a bona fide set of "manuals" for Linux. These manuals are analogs to the documentation sets available with commercial versions of Unix: they cover everything from installing Linux to using and running the system, programming, networking, kernel development, and more.

The LDP manuals are available via the Web, as well as via mail order from several sources. O'Reilly has published the Linux Network Administrator's Guide from the LDP.

Aside from the growing number of Linux books, books about Unix still exist (though many have ceased publication). In general, these books are equally applicable to Linux. So far as using and programming the system is concerned, simpler Linux tasks don't differ greatly from original implementations of Unix in many respects. Armed with this book and some other Linux or Unix books on specialized topics, you should be able to tackle a majority of Linux tasks.

There are monthly magazines about Linux, notably Linux Journal and Linux Magazine. These are an excellent way to keep in touch with the many goings-on in the Linux community. Languages other than English have their own Linux print publications as well. (European, South American, and Asian publications have become commonplace in the last few years.)

1.6.3. Usenet Newsgroups

Usenet is a worldwide electronic news and discussion forum with a heavy contingent of so-called newsgroups , or discussion areas devoted to a particular topic. Much of the development of Linux has been done over the waves of the Internet and Usenet, and not surprisingly, a number of Usenet newsgroups are available for discussions about Linux.

There are far too many newsgroups devoted to Linux to list here. The ones dealing directly with Linux are under the comp.os.linux hierarchy, and you'll find others on related topics such as

1.6.4. Internet Mailing Lists

If you have access to Internet electronic mail, you can participate in a number of mailing lists devoted to Linux. These run the gamut from kernel hacking to basic user questions. Many of the popular Linux mailing lists have associated web sites with searchable archives, allowing you to easily find answers to common questions. We list some of these resources in the Appendix.

Part I: Enjoying and Being Productive on Linux
Part II: System Administration