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Old 02-28-2001, 03:22 AM   #1
Registered: Nov 2000
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 74

Rep: Reputation: 15

Would it be an idea to put a list of basic unix commands or a tutorial somewhere on this site? A lot of starters have no idea what they're doing, or how to do simple things.

Old 02-28-2001, 08:47 AM   #2
Registered: Feb 2001
Posts: 84

Rep: Reputation: 15
I found these FAQ's in an backup from last year. It's from a newsgroup (don't remember which one). There are 6 parts.
This is part one. If you think it might help some people here, i will post the rest. Let me know.

Credits to original poster.

Linux Frequently Asked Questions with Answers

This is the list of Frequently Asked Questions for Linux, the free,
POSIX compatible operating system kernel that runs on many modern
computer systems. Linux uses free, GNU system utilities and
application software, although commercial programs are available also.
Originally written for 386/486/586 Intel/ISA bus machines, Linux
versions exist for Alpha, Sparc, MIPS, ARM, 680x0, PPC, and many other
platforms. (Please refer to the question, "What is Linux?" below.)
This FAQ is meant to be read in conjunction with the Linux
Documentation Project's HOWTO series. ("Where Can I Get Linux Material
by FTP?" and, "Where Can I Get the HOWTO's and Other Documentation?")
The INFO-SHEET and META-FAQ also list sources of Linux information.
Please read them, and, "You Still Haven't Answered My Question!"
before posting to a Usenet news group. You can also get Postscript,
HTML, and SGML versions of this document. ("Formats in Which This FAQ
Is Available.")

1. Introduction and General Information

1.1. What is Linux?

1.2. Where Do I Start?

1.3. What Software Does Linux Support?

1.4. Does Linux Run on My Computer? What Hardware Is Supported?

1.5. What Ports to Other Processors Are There?

1.6. How Much Hard Disk Space Does Linux Need?

1.7. How Much Memory Does Linux Need?

1.8. How Much Memory Can Linux Use?

1.9. Does Linux Support Universal System Bus Devices?

1.10. Is Linux Public Domain? Copyrighted?

1.11. Is Linux *nix?

2. Topics of Current Interest.

2.1. What Resources Are There for Linux DeCSS and Other Open
Source DVD Software?

2.2. Where Is Information About Electronic Privacy Laws that
Affect ISP's?

2.3. How Is the DocBook Version of the FAQ Produced?

3. Network Sources and Resources

3.1. Where Can I Get the Latest Kernel Version?

3.2. Where Can I Get the HOWTO's and Other Documentation?

3.3. Where Should I Look on the World Wide Web for Linux Stuff?

3.4. What News Groups Are There for Linux?

3.5. What Other FAQ's Are There for Linux?

3.6. Where Can I Get Linux Material by FTP?

3.7. I Don't Have FTP Access. Where Do I Get Linux?

3.8. I Don't Have Usenet Access. Where Do I Get Information?

3.9. What Mailing Lists Are There?

3.10. Where Are Linux Legal Issues Discussed?

3.11. Are the News Groups Archived Anywhere?

3.12. Where Can I Find Out About Security Related Issues?

4. Compatibility with Other Operating Systems

4.1. Can Linux Share My Disk with DOS? OS/2? 386BSD? Win95?

4.2. How Do I Access Files on My DOS Partition Or Floppy?

4.3. Does Linux Support Compressed Ext2 file Systems?

4.4. Can I Use My Stacked/DBLSPC/Etc. DOS Drive?

4.5. Can I Access OS/2 HPFS Partitions from Linux?

4.6. Can Linux Access Amiga File Systems?

4.7. Can Linux Access BSD, SysV, Etc. UFS?

4.8. Can Linux Access SMB File Systems?

4.9. Can Linux Access Macintosh File Systems?

4.10. Can I Run Microsoft Windows Programs under Linux?

4.11. Where Can I Get Information about NFS Compatibility?

4.12. Can I Use True Type Fonts with Linux?

4.13. How Can I Boot Linux from MS-DOS?

4.14. How Can I Boot Linux from OS/2's Boot Manager?

5. File Systems, Disks, and Drives

5.1. How Can I Get Linux to Work with My Disk?

5.2. How Can I Undelete Files?

5.3. How Do I Make Backups?

5.4. How Do I Resize a Partition (Non-Destructively)?

5.5. Is There a Defragmenter for Ext2fs, Etc.?

5.6. How Do I Format and Create a File System on a Floppy?

5.7. Does Linux Support Virtualized File Systems Like RAID?

5.8. Does Linux Support File System Encryption?

5.9. I Get Nasty Messages about Inodes, Blocks, and the Like.

5.10. My Swap Area Isn't Working.

5.11. How Do I Add Temporary Swap Space?

5.12. How Do I Remove LILO So My System Boots DOS Again?

5.13. Why Can't I Use fdformat Except as Root?

5.14. My Ext2fs Partitions Are Checked Each Time I Reboot.

5.15. My Root File System Is Read-Only!

5.16. I Have a Huge /proc/kcore! Can I Delete It?

5.17. The AHA1542C Doesn't Work with Linux.

5.18. Where Do I Find the Journalling File System?

6. Porting, Compiling and Obtaining Programs

6.1. How Do I Compile Programs?

6.2. How Do I Install GNU Software?

6.3. Where Do I Get Java?

6.4. How Do I Port XXX to Linux?

6.5. What Is and Where Do I Get It?

6.6. How Do I Upgrade the Libraries without Trashing My System?

6.7. Has Anyone Ported/Compiled/Written XXX for Linux?

6.8. Can I Use Code or a Compiler Compiled for a 486 on My 386?

6.9. What Does "gcc -O6" Do?

6.10. Where Are linux/*.h and asm/*.h?

6.11. I Get Errors when I Try to Compile the Kernel.

6.12. How Do I Make a Shared Library?

6.13. My Executables Are (Very) Large.

6.14. Does Linux Support Threads or Lightweight Processes?

6.15. Where Can I Get lint for Linux?

6.16. Where Can I find Kermit for Linux?

6.17. I Want to Use Linux with My Cable Modem.

6.18. Is There an ICQ Program That Runs under Linux?

7. Solutions to Common Miscellaneous Problems

7.1. PPP Connection Dies when Sending Large Files.

7.2. Free Dumps Core.

7.3. How Do I Keep Track of All My Bookmarks in Netscape?

7.4. The Computer Has the Wrong Time.

7.5. Setuid Scripts Don't Seem to Work.

7.6. Free Memory as Reported by free Keeps Shrinking.

7.7. When I Add More Memory, the System Slows to a Crawl.

7.8. Some Programs (E.g. xdm) Won't Let Me Log in.

7.9. Some Programs Let Me Log in with No Password.

7.10. My Machine Runs Very Slowly when I Run GCC / X / ...

7.11. I Can Only Log in as Root.

7.12. My Screen Is All Full of Weird Characters Instead of

7.13. I Have Screwed Up My System and Can't Log in to Fix It.

7.14. I Forgot the root Password.

7.15. I've Discovered a Huge Security Hole in rm!

7.16. lpr and/or lpd Don't Work.

7.17. Timestamps on Files on MS-DOS Partitions Are Set

7.18. How Do I Get LILO to Boot the Kernel Image?

7.19. I Upgraded the Kernel and Now My PCMCIA Card Doesn't Work.

8. How Do I Do This or Find Out That...

8.1. How Do I Know If My Notebook Runs Linux?

8.2. How Do I Install Linux Using FTP?

8.3. How do I resume an interrupted FTP transfer?

8.4. How Do I Configure Linux at Boot Time?

8.5. How Can I Get Scrollback in Text Mode?

8.6. How Do I Get E-mail to Work?

8.7. How do I prevent Sendmail from pausing for up to a minute at
each command?

8.8. How Do I Switch Virtual Consoles? How Do I Enable Them?

8.9. How Do I Set the Time Zone?

8.10. How Do I Get Dial-up PPP to Work?

8.11. What Version of Linux and What Machine Name Am I Using?

8.12. What is a "core" File?

8.13. How Can I Enable or Disable Core Dumps?

8.14. How Do I Upgrade/Recompile My Kernel?

8.15. Can I Have More than 3 Serial Ports by Sharing Interrupts?

8.16. How Do I Configure Emacs to Start with My Default Settings?

8.17. How Do I Make a Rescue Floppy?

8.18. How Do I Remap My Keyboard to UK, French, Etc.?

8.19. How Do I Get NUM LOCK to Default to On?

8.20. How Do I Set (Or Reset) My Initial Terminal Colors?

8.21. How Can I Have More Than 128Mb of Swap?

9. Miscellaneous Information and Questions Answered

9.1. How Do I Program XYZ Under Linux?

9.2. What's All This about ELF? glibc?

9.3. How Do I Determine What Packages Are Installed on My System?

9.4. What Is a .gz file? And a .tgz? And .bz2? And... ?

9.5. What Does VFS Stand For?

9.6. What is a BogoMip?

9.7. What Online/Free Periodicals Exist for Linux?

9.8. How Many People Use Linux?

9.9. How Many People Use Linux? (Redux.)

9.10. How Should I Pronounce Linux?

9.11. Where Can I Find Out about Free Software Projects?

10. Frequently Encountered Error Messages

10.1. Modprobe Can't Locate Module, XXX, and Similar Messages.

10.2. Unknown Terminal Type "linux" and Similar.

10.3. INET: Warning: old style ioctl... called!

10.4. ld: unrecognized option '-m486'

10.5. GCC says, "Internal compiler error."

10.6. Make Says, "Error 139."

10.7. Shell-Init: Permission Denied when I Log in.

10.8. No Utmp Entry. You Must Exec ... when Logging in.

10.9. Warning--bdflush Not Running.

10.10. Warning: obsolete routing request made.

10.11. EXT2-fs: warning: mounting unchecked file system.

10.12. EXT2-fs warning: maximal count reached.

10.13. EXT2-fs warning: checktime reached.

10.14. df Says, "Cannot read table of mounted file systems."

10.15. fdisk Says, "Partition X has different

10.16. fdisk: Partition 1 does not start on cylinder boundary.

10.17. fdisk Says Partition n Has an Odd Number of Sectors.

10.18. A Mtools Utility Says It Cannot Initialize Drive XYZ.

10.19. At the Start of Booting: Memory tight

10.20. My Syslog says, "end_request: I/O error, ...."

10.21. "You don't exist. Go away."

10.22. "Operation not permitted."

11. The X Window System

11.1. Does Linux Support X?

11.2. How Do I Get the X Window System to Work?

11.3. Where Can I Get a Ready-Made XF86Config for My System?

11.4. What Desktop Environments Run on Linux?

11.5. xterm Logins Show Up Strangely in who, finger.

12. How to Get Further Assistance

12.1. You Still Haven't Answered My Question!

12.2. What to Put in a Request for Help.

12.3. I Want to Mail Someone about My Problem.

13. Acknowledgments and Administrivia

13.1. Feedback Is Invited.

13.2. Formats in Which This FAQ Is Available.

13.3. Authorship and Acknowledgments.

13.4. Disclaimer and Copyright.

1. Introduction and General Information

1.1. What is Linux?

Linux is the kernel of operating systems that look like and perform as
well or better than the famous operating system from AT&T Bell Labs.
Linus Torvalds and a loosely knit team of volunteer hackers from
across the Internet wrote (and still are writing) Linux from scratch.
It has all of the features of a modern, fully fledged operating
system: true multitasking, virtual memory, shared libraries, demand
loading, shared, copy-on-write executables, proper memory management,
and TCP/IP networking.

Most people, however, refer to the operating system kernel, system
software, and application software, collectively, as "Linux," and that
convention is used in this FAQ as well.

Linux was written originally for 386/486/586-based PC's, using the
hardware facilities of the 80386 processor family to implement its
features. There are now many ports to other hardware platforms. ("What
Ports to Other Processors Are There?")

There are also Linux distributions specifically for mobile and
handheld platforms. An API specification and developers kit for the
Crusoe Smart Microprocessor developed by Transmeta Corporation are at Information on the Linux distribution for
the Compaq iPAQ is at

Refer also to the Linux INFO-SHEET for more details as well as the
answers to "Where Can I Get the HOWTO's and Other Documentation?",
"Does Linux Run on My Computer? What Hardware Is Supported?", and
"What Ports to Other Processors Are There?", below. A reasonably
up-to-date archive of the major and more specialized distributions is
on-line at

The Linux kernel is distributed under the GNU General Public License.
("Is Linux Public Domain? Copyrighted?")

There is a historical archive of all versions of the Linux kernel at

1.2. Where Do I Start?

There are a handful of major Linux distributions. For information
about them, and how they are installed, see Matthew Welsh's
Installation and Getting Started, or IGS for short. It's located at
the Linux Documentation Project Home Page,,
and on the Linux FAQ home page,

Postings on the comp.os.linux.* Usenet News groups, including the FAQ,
are archived on Search for
"comp.os.linux" to retrieve articles from the Linux News groups.
("What News Groups Are There for Linux?")

The information in IGS is somewhat dated now. More up-to-date
information about first-time Linux installation is located in the
LDP's Installation HOWTO, also located at the LDP Home Page.

Commercial distributions have begun to appear on the shelves of many
book and electronics stores in the last year, in the U.S., and they
have been available in many other countries for some time. Some
hardware vendors now ship systems with Linux pre-installed.

There is a very thorough installation guide on line at

Some distributions can still be installed via anonymous FTP from
various Linux archive sites, but in many cases, the size of the
distribution makes this impractical. ("Where Can I Get Linux Material
by FTP?") There are also a large number of other releases which are
distributed less globally that suit special local and national needs.
Many of them are archived at

1.3. What Software Does Linux Support?

Linux supports GCC, Emacs, the X Window System, all the standard Unix
utilities, TCP/IP (including SLIP and PPP), and all of the hundreds of
programs that people have compiled or ported to it.

There is a DOS emulator, called DOSEMU. The latest stable release is
0.98.3. The FTP archives are at The Web
site is

The emulator can run DOS itself and some (but not all) DOS
applications. Be sure to look at the README file to determine which
version you should get. Also, see the DOSEMU-HOWTO (slightly dated at
this point--it doesn't cover the most recent version of the program),

Work has been progressing on an emulator for Microsoft Windows
binaries. ("Can I Run Microsoft Windows Programs under Linux?")

iBCS2 (Intel Binary Compatibility Standard) emulator code for SVR4 ELF
and SVR3.2 COFF binaries can be included in the kernel as a
compile-time option. There is information at

For more information see the INFO-SHEET, which is one of the HOWTO's
("Where Can I Get the HOWTO's and Other Documentation?" and "How Do I
Port XXX to Linux?")

Some companies have commercial software available, including Motif,
WordPerfect, and Framemaker. They often announce their availability on
comp.os.linux.announce-- try searching the archives. ("Are the News
Groups Archived Anywhere?")

1.4. Does Linux Run on My Computer? What Hardware Is Supported?

A minimal Linux installation requires a machine for which a port
exists, at least 2Mb of RAM, and a single floppy drive. But to do
anything even remotely useful, more RAM and disk space are needed.
Refer to: "What Ports to Other Processors Are There?", "How Much Hard
Disk Space Does Linux Need?", and "How Much Memory Does Linux Need?"

Intel CPU, PC-compatible machines require at least an 80386 processor
to run the standard Linux kernel.

Linux, including the X Window System GUI, runs on most current
laptops. Refer to the answer for: "How Do I Know If My Notebook Runs
Linux?" There are numerous sources of information about specific PC's,
video cards, disk controllers, and other hardware. Refer to the
INFO-SHEET, Laptop HOWTO, and the Hardware HOWTO. ("Where Can I Get
the HOWTO's and Other Documentation?")

1.5. What Ports to Other Processors Are There?

At present there doesn't seem to be a definitive list of the Linux
ports that are in existence. The URL's below are simply the ones that
people have submitted for inclusion in the FAQ. If you do know of a
definitive list, please let the FAQ maintainer know.

On Intel platforms, VESA Local Bus and PCI bus are supported.

MCA (IBM's proprietary bus) and ESDI hard drives are mostly supported.
There is further information on the MCA bus and what cards Linux
supports on the Micro Channel Linux Web page, Refer also to the answer for: "Where
Should I Look on the World Wide Web for Linux Stuff?"

There is a port of Linux to the 8086, known as the Embeddable Linux
Kernel Subset (ELKS). This is a 16-bit subset of the Linux kernel
which will mainly be used for embedded systems, at: Standard Linux does not run
8086 or 80286 processors, because it requires task-switching and
memory management facilities found on 80386 and later processors.

Linux supports multiprocessing with Intel MP architecture. See the
file Documentation/smp.tex in the Linux kernel source code

A project has been underway for a while to port Linux to suitable
68000-series based systems like Amigas and Ataris. The Linux/m68K FAQ
is located at
The URL of the Linux/m68k home page is

There is a m68k port for the Amiga by Jes Sorensen, which is located
at The installation
FAQ for the package, by Ron Flory, is at

There is also a linux-680x0 mailing list. ("What Mailing Lists Are

There is (or was) a FTP site for the Linux-m68k project on, but this address may no
longer be current.

Debian GNU/Linux is being ported to Alpha, Sparc, PowerPC, and ARM
platforms. There are mailing lists for all of them. See

One of the Linux-PPC project pages has moved recently. Its location is,
and the archive site is

There is a Linux-PPC support page at
There you will find the kernel that is distributed with Linux.

Apple now supports MkLinux development on Power Macs, based on OSF and
the Mach microkernel. See

There are two sites for the Linux iMac port:, and

A port to the 64-bit DEC Alpha/AXP is at There is a mailing list at ("What Mailing Lists Are There?")

Ralf Baechle is working on a port to the MIPS, initially for the R4600
on Deskstation Tyne machines. The Linux-MIPS FTP sites are and Interested people may mail
their questions and offers of assistance to

There is (or was) also a MIPS channel on the Linux Activists mail
server and a linux-mips mailing list. ("What Mailing Lists Are

There are currently two ports of Linux to the ARM family of
processors. One of these is for the ARM3, fitted to the Acorn A5000,
and it includes I/O drivers for the 82710/11 as appropriate. The other
is to the ARM610 of the Acorn RISC PC. The RISC PC port is currently
in its early to middle stages, owing to the need to rewrite much of
the memory handling. The A5000 port is in restricted beta testing. A
release is likely soon.

For more, up-to-date information, read the newsgroup
comp.sys.acorn.misc. There is a FAQ at

The Linux SPARC project is a hotbed of activity. There is a FAQ
available from Jim Mintha's Linux for SPARC Processors page, The SPARC/Linux archives are

The Home Page of the UltraSPARC port ("UltraPenguin") is located at

There is also a port to SGI/Indy machines ("Hardhat"). The URL is

1.6. How Much Hard Disk Space Does Linux Need?

About 10Mb for a very minimal installation, suitable for trying Linux,
and not much else.

You can fit an installation that includes X into 80Mb. Installing
Debian GNU/Linux takes 500Mb-1GB, including kernel source code, some
space for user files, and spool areas.

Installing a commercial distribution that has a desktop GUI
environment, commercial word processor, and front-office productivity
suite, will claim 1-1.5 GB of disk space, approximately.

1.7. How Much Memory Does Linux Need?

At least 4MB, and then you will need to use special installation
procedures until the disk swap space is installed. Linux will run
comfortably in 4MB of RAM, although running GUI apps is impractically
slow because they need to swap out to disk.

Some applications, like StarOffice, require 32 MB of physical memory,
and compiling C++ code can easily consume over 100 MB of combined
physical and virtual memory.

There is a distribution, "Small Linux," that will run on machines with
2MB of RAM. Refer to the answer to: "Where Can I Get Linux Material by

1.8. How Much Memory Can Linux Use?

A number of people have asked how to address more than 64 MB of
memory, which is the default upper limit in most standard kernels.
Either type, at the BOOT lilo: prompt:


Or place the following in your /etc/lilo.conf file:


The parameter "XXM" is the amount of memory, specified as megabytes;
for example, "128M."

If an "append=" directive with other configuration options already
exists in /etc/lilo.conf, then add the mem= directive to the end of
the existing argument, and separated from the previous arguments by a
space; e.g.:

# Example only; do not use.
append="parport=0x3bc,none serial=0x3f8,4 mem=XXM"

Be sure to run the "lilo" command to install the new configuration.

If Linux still doesn't recognize the extra memory, the kernel may need
additional configuration. Refer to the
/usr/src/linux/Documentation/memory.txt file in the kernel source as a

For further information about LILO, refer to the manual pages for lilo
and lilo.conf, the documentation in /usr/doc/lilo, and the answer for:
"How Do I Configure Linux at Boot Time?", below.

1.9. Does Linux Support Universal System Bus Devices?

Linux supports a few dozen USB devices at present, and work is
underway to develop additional device drivers. There is a Web page
devoted to the subject, at There is also
LDP documentation, at: ("Where Should I Look on the World Wide Web for
Linux Stuff?")

1.10. Is Linux Public Domain? Copyrighted?

The Linux trademark belongs to Linus Torvalds. He has placed the Linux
kernel under the GNU General Public License, which basically means
that you may freely copy, change, and distribute it, but you may not
impose any restrictions on further distribution, and you must make the
source code available.

This is not the same as Public Domain. See the Copyright FAQ,, for

Full details are in the file COPYING in the Linux kernel sources
(probably in /usr/src/linux on your system).

The licenses of the utilities and programs which come with the
installations vary. Much of the code is from the GNU Project at the
Free Software Foundation, and is also under the GPL.

Note that discussion about the merits or otherwise of the GPL should
be posted to the news group gnu.misc.discuss, and not to the
comp.os.linux hierarchy.

For legal questions, refer to the answer: ("Where Are Linux Legal
Issues Discussed?")


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