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Old 03-07-2001, 05:32 AM   #1
Registered: Feb 2001
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1.11. Is Linux *nix?

Not officially, until it passes the Open Group's certification tests,
and supports the necessary API's. Even very few of the commercial
operating systems have passed the Open Group tests. For more
information, see

[Bob Friesenhahn]

2. Topics of Current Interest.

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

There is a DeCSS Resource Site at For information about the
legal action to bar distributing DeCSS, refer also to 2600's Web site:, and the Electronic Freedom Foundation,

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

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has issued a report to Congress that
recommends regulations to guarantee privacy for customers of Internet
Service Providers. The text of the report is at The FTC E-commerce
site is at

The New York Times on the Web has a resource page of electronic
privacy information resources at
Access is free but requires registration.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center maintains a Web page at The site also has pointers to information about
international laws that affect cryptographic software.

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

At present, the Linux FAQ uses the OASIS DocBook SGML DTD. HTML output
is produced using James Clark's Jade DSSSL parser with modified
versions of Norman Walsh's modular style sheets. Question numbers are
generated with Perl. The text version is formatted from HTML with
lynx, and split into segments using the standard GNU text utilities,
and the segments are posted to Usenet. The DocBook utilities are
located at

3. Network Sources and Resources

3.1. Where Can I Get the Latest Kernel Version?

Make that versions. The 2.0. series kernels are still available for
older machines. Following Linus's even/odd versioning scheme, the
latest production kernel is 2.2.x. The updates to this kernel are bug
fixes. Active development is proceeding on the 2.3.x versions of the
kernel, and a feature freeze has recently been announced for the 2.4
series production kernels.

Linux kernel version 2.2. was released on January 25, and a bug fix
version 2.2.1 was released several days later. New versions are always
being released. The kernel contains numerous improvements in features
and performance compared to the kernel versions 2.0.x.

Among the 2.2 kernel's many improvements are a video frame buffer,
faster (although bigger) memory management, support for more hardware
devices, improved security, and improved POSIX compatibility. The
Linux kernel, in many of these instances, is superior to commercial

To read more about the features in kernel version 2.2.x, the
unofficial, draft press releases are located at

If you want to download the source code, FTP to,
where "xx" is the two-letter Internet domain abbreviation of your
country; e.g., "us" for United States, "ca" for Canada, or "de" for
Germany. Kernel versions 2.2.x are archived in the directory
pub/linux/kernel/v2.2, as are patches for the prerelease versions. The
kernel source code is archived as a .tar.gz file, and as a .tar.bz2

Follow the instructions in any of the standard references to compile
the 2.2 kernel, as you would with any other custom kernel. The
Documentation subdirectory also contains information by the authors of
various subsystems and drivers, and much of that information is not
documented elsewhere.

If you want to participate in kernel development, the latest 2.3
version kernels are available from as well. Make sure
you sign on to the linux-kernel mailing list to find out what people
are working on. ("What Mailing Lists Are There?")

There is a story about the features of the 2.4 series kernels at

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

Look in the following places, and the sites that mirror them.


For a list of Linux FTP sites, see, ("Where Can I Get Linux Material
by FTP?")

If you don't have access to FTP, try the FTP-by-mail servers at,, or

A complete list of HOWTO's is available in the file HOWTO-INDEX at The
mini-HOWTO's are indexed at

In addition, translations available from and mirrors
worldwide. The HOWTO's and other documentation have been translated
into the following languages:

Chinese (zh) Croatian (hr) French (fr)
German (de Hellenic (el) Indonesian (id)
Italian (it) Japanese (ja) Korean (ko)
Polish (pl) Slovenian (sl) Spanish (es)
Swedish (sv) Turkish (tr)

Additional documents are always in preparation. Please get in touch
with the coordinators if you are interested in writing one. Contact
and submission information is at

There is also a LDP HOWTO page at

The Guide Series produced by the Linux Documentation Project is
available from Please read them if you are
new to Unix and Linux.

And, of course, a number of people have written documentation
independently of the LDP:

* Linux Administrators Security Guide, by Kurt Seifried.
* Newbie's Linux Manual.
* One-Page Linux Manual.
* Short beginners' manual for Linux. Also available in Dutch.
* Virtual Frame buffer HOWTO, by Alex Buell.
* X11 & TrueType Fonts, by Peter Kleiweg.

There is a FAQ for Linux kernel developers at

To find out about Linux memory management, including performance
tuning, see Rik van Riel's Web page at

The Linux Consultants HOWTO has a directory of Linux consultants at

Gary's Encyclopedia lists over 4,000 Linux related links. Its URL is

There is also a FAQ specifically for the Red Hat Linux distribution,

And the Home Page of this FAQ is

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

In addition to the Linux Documentation Project Home Page,, there are many pages that provide beginning
and advanced information about Linux.

These two pages provide a good starting point for general Linux
information: Linux International's Home Page, at,
and the Linux Online's Linux Home Page at

Both of these pages provide links to other sites, information about
general information, distributions, new software, documentation, and

The tutorial, Unix is a Four Letter Word..., is located at It is a general
introduction to Unix operating systems and is not Linux specific.

Additionally, here is a certainly incomplete list of Web pages devoted
to Linux:

* Adventures in Linux Programming.
* Dave Central Linux Software Archive.
* Erlug Webzine (Italian).
* Ext2 File System capabilities (draft).
* Free Unix Giveaway List.
Lists offers of free Linux CDs. Also available via E-mail:, with the Subject: send giveaway_list.
* Information on Linux in corporate environments.
* Jeanette Russo's Linux Newbie Information.
* Linux Cartoons.
* Linux Educational Needs Posting Page.
* Linux in Business: Case Studies.
* Linux Inside.
* Linux Links.
* Linux Memory Management Home Page.
* Linux Newbie Project.
* Linux on the Thinkpad 760ED.
* Linux Parallel Port Home Page.
* Linux MIDI & Sound Applications.
* Linux Start.
* Linux Tips and Tricks Page.
* Linux Today PR.
* My Linux Contributions by Richard Gooch.
* Micro Channel Linux Web Page.
* Parallel port scanners and SANE.
* PegaSoft Portal.
* Red Hat and ISDN4Linux
* SearchLinux.
* USB Linux Home Page.
* VLUG: The Virtual Linux Users Group.

3.4. What News Groups Are There for Linux?

Comp.os.linux.announce is the moderated announcements group; you
should read this if you intend to use Linux: it contains information
about software updates, new ports, user group meetings, and commercial
products. It is the only newsgroup that may carry commercial postings.
Submissions for that group should be e-mailed to

Comp.os.linux.announce, however, is not archived on DejaNews or Alta
Vista. The only archive for the news group seems to be

[Axel Boldt]

Also worth reading are the following other groups in the
comp.os.linux.* hierarchy--you may find many common problems too
recent for the documentation but are answered in the newsgroups.

* alt.uu.comp.os.linux
* alt.uu.comp.os.linux.questions
* comp.os.linux.admin
* comp.os.linux.advocacy
* comp.os.linux.alpha
* comp.os.linux.answers
* comp.os.linux.development
* comp.os.linux.development.apps
* comp.os.linux.development.system
* comp.os.linux.embedded
* comp.os.linux.hardware
* comp.os.linux.m68k
* comp.os.linux.misc
* comp.os.linux.networking
* comp.os.linux.portable
* comp.os.linux.powerpc
* comp.os.linux.questions
* comp.os.linux.redhat
* comp.os.linux.setup
* comp.os.linux.test
* comp.os.linux.x

Remember that Linux is POSIX compatible, and most all of the material
in the comp.unix.* and* groups will be relevant. Apart
from hardware considerations, and some obscure or very technical
low-level issues, you'll find that these groups are good places to

Please read ("You Still Haven't Answered My Question!") before
posting. Cross posting between different comp.os.linux.* groups is
rarely a good idea.

There may well be Linux groups local to your institution or
area--check there first.

See also ("I Don't Have Usenet Access. Where Do I Get Information?")

Other regional and local newsgroups also exist--you may find the
traffic more manageable there. The French Linux newsgroup is
fr.comp.os.linux. The German one is de.comp.os.linux. In Australia,
try aus.computers.linux. In Croatia there is hr.comp.linux. In Italy,
there is it.comp.linux.

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

There are a number of special-interest FAQ's on different subjects
related to system administration and use, and also on unrelated topics
like Flying Saucer Attacks (the music) and support for recovering

The official Usenet FAQ archives are at The FAQ's are on the Web at, which also has a complete library of Usenet
RFC's and other references.

Here are some FAQ's that might be especially useful, and their home

* A FAQ for new users.
* BASH Frequently Asked Questions
* Frequently Asked Questions about Open Source.
* GNU Emacs.
* GNU Linux in Science and Engineering.
* Gnus 5.x.
* List of Periodic Information Postings
* Sendmail.

3.6. Where Can I Get Linux Material by FTP?

There are three main archive sites for Linux:

* (Finland).
* (US).
* (US).

The best place to get the Linux kernel is Linus Torvalds uploads the
most recent kernel versions to this site.

Of the U.S. distributions, Debian GNU/Linux is available at Red Hat Linux's home site is, and Linux Slackware's is

The Small Linux distribution, which can run in 2 MB of RAM, is located

The contents of these sites is mirrored (copied, usually approximately
daily) by a number of other sites. Please use a site close to you--it
will be faster for you and easier on the network.

* (South Africa)
* (South Africa).
* (Hong Kong).
* (Hong Kong).
* (Japan).
* (Korea).
* (Malaysia).
* (Singapore).
* (Thailand).
* (Australia).
* (Australia).
* (Australia).
* (Austria).
* (Czech Republic).
* (Finland).
* (France).
* (France).
* (France)
* (France).
* (Germany).
* (Germany).
* (Germany).
* (Germany).
* (Germany).
* (Germany).
* (Germany).
* (Germany).
* (Italy).
* (Italy).
* (Italy).
* (Italy).
* (Netherlands).
* (Netherlands).
* (Norway).
* (Poland).
* (Spain).
* (Spain).
* (Spain).
* (Spain).
* (Spain).
* (Spain).
* (Turkey).
* (UK).
* (UK)
* (Canada).
* (US).
* (US).
* (US).
* (US).
* (US).
* (Brazil).

Please send updates and corrections to this list to the Linux FAQ
maintainer, Not all of these mirror all of
the other "source" sites, and some have material not available on the
"source" sites.

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

The easiest thing is probably to find a friend with FTP access. If
there is a Linux user's group near you, they may be able to help.

If you have a reasonably good email connection, you could try the
FTP-by-mail servers at, or

Linux is also available via traditional mail on CD-ROM. The file, and
the file
contain information on these distributions.

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

A digest of comp.os.linux.announce is available by mailing the word
"subscribe" (without the quotes) as the body of a message to Subscribing to this list
is a good idea, as it carries important information and documentation
about Linux.

Please remember to use the *-request addresses for your subscribe and
unsubscribe messages; mail to the other address is posted to the news

3.9. What Mailing Lists Are There?

The Linux developers now mainly use the Majordomo server at Send a message with the word "lists"
(without the quotes) in the body to get a list of lists there. Add a
line with the word, "help," to get the standard Majordomo help file
that lists instructions for subscribing and unsubscribing to the

Please do not post off-topic material to the mailing lists. Most of
them are used by Linux developers to talk about technical issues and
future developments. They are not intended for new users' questions,
advertisements, or public postings that are not directly related to
the mailing list's subject matter. Comp.os.linux.announce is the place
for all public announcements. This is a common Internet policy. If you
don't observe this guideline, there's a good chance that you'll be

There is a linux-newbie list where, "no question is too stupid."
Unfortunately, it seems that few experienced users read that list, and
it has very low volume.

There are numerous Linux related mailing lists at Go to the categories page and choose

3.10. Where Are Linux Legal Issues Discussed?

On the linux-legal mailing list, of course. You can subscribe to it,
as with many of the other Linux related lists, by sending a message
with the word "help" in the body of the message to

3.11. Are the News Groups Archived Anywhere?

The Usenet Linux news groups are archived at,
and is unavailable until further notice,
apparently due to lack of support. contains
archives of comp.os.linux.announce. These are mirrored from, which also archives comp.os.linux,
comp.os.linux.development.apps, and comp.os.linux.development.system.

There is an `easy to access' archive of comp.os.linux.announce on the
World Wide Web at which supports
searching and browsing.

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

Look at, which has information about
security problems and software.

4. Compatibility with Other Operating Systems

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

Yes. Linux uses the standard MS-DOS partitioning scheme, so it can
share your disk with other operating systems. Note, however, that many
other operating systems may not be exactly compatible. DOS's FDISK.EXE
and FORMAT.EXE, for example, can overwrite data in a Linux partition,
because they sometimes incorrectly use partition data from the
partition's boot sector rather than the partition table.

In order to prevent programs from doing this, it is a good idea to
zero out--under Linux--the start of a partition you created, before
you use MS-DOS--or whatever--to format it. Type:

$ dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hdXY bs=512 count=1

where hdXY is the relevant partition; e.g., /dev/hda1 for the first
partition of the first (IDE) disk.

Linux can read and write the files on your DOS and OS/2 FAT partitions
and floppies using either the DOS file system type built into the
kernel or mtools. There is kernel support for the VFAT file system
used by Windows 9x and Windows NT.

There is reportedly a GPL'd OS/2 device driver that will read and
write Linux ext2 partitions.

For information about FAT32 partition support, see

See, ("What Software Does Linux Support?") for details and status of
the emulators for DOS, MS Windows, and System V programs.

See also, "Can Linux access Amiga file systems? ", "Can Linux access
Macintosh file systems? ", "Can Linux access BSD, SysV, etc., UFS? ",
and "Can Linux access SMB file systems? "

There are said to be NTFS drivers under development, which should
support compression as a standard feature.

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

Use the DOS file system, type, for example:

$ mkdir /dos
$ mount -t msdos -o conv=text,umask=022,uid=100,gid=100 /dev/hda3 /dos

If it's a floppy, don't forget to umount it before ejecting it!

You can use the conv=text/binary/auto, umask=nnn, uid=nnn, and gid=nnn
options to control the automatic line-ending conversion, permissions
and ownerships of the files in the DOS file system as they appear
under Linux. If you mount your DOS file system by putting it in your
/etc/fstab, you can record the options (comma-separated) there,
instead of defaults.

Alternatively, you can use mtools, available in both binary and source
form on the FTP sites. ("Where Can I Get Linux Material by FTP?")

A kernel patch (known as the fd-patches) is available which allows
floppies with nonstandard numbers of tracks and/or sectors to be used;
this patch is included in the 1.1 alpha testing kernel series.

4.3. Does Linux Support Compressed Ext2 file Systems?

The ext2compr project provides a kernel patch Information about them
is located at

There is also a Web site for the e2compr patches. The code is still
experimental and consists of patches for the 2.0 and 2.1 kernels. For
more information about the project, including the latest patches, and
the address of the mailing list, look up the URL at

[Roderich Schupp, Peter Moulder]

zlibc is a program that allows existing applications to read
compressed (GNU gzip'ed) files as if they were not compressed. Look at The author is Alain Knaff.

There is also a compressing block device driver, "DouBle," by
Jean-Marc Verbavatz, which can provide on-the-fly disk compression in
the kernel. The source-only distribution is located at This driver
compresses inodes and directory information as well as files, so any
corruption of the file system is likely to be serious.

There is also a package called tcx (Transparently Compressed
Executables), which allows you to keep infrequently compressed
executables compressed and only uncompress them temporarily when in
use. It is located at

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

Until recently, not very easily. You can access DOS 6.X volumes from
the DOS emulator ("What software does Linux support? "), but it's
harder than accessing a normal DOS volume via the DOS kernel option, a
module, or mtools.

There is a recently added package, dmsdos, that reads and writes
compressed file systems like DoubleSpace/DriveSpace in MS-DOS 6.x and
Win95, as well as Stacker versions 3 and 4. It is a loadable kernel
module. Look at

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

Yes, but Linux access to HPFS partitions is read-only. HPFS file
system access is available as an option when compiling the kernel or
as a module. See the Documentation/filesystems/hpfs.txt file in the
kernel source distribution. ("How Do I Upgrade/Recompile My Kernel?")
Then you can mount HPFS partition, using, for example:

$ mkdir /hpfs
$ mount -t hpfs /dev/hda5 /hpfs

4.6. Can Linux Access Amiga File Systems?

The Linux kernel has support for the Amiga Fast File System (AFFS)
version 1.3 and later, both as a compile-time option and as a module.
The file Documentation/filesystems/affs.txt in the Linux kernel source
distribution has more information.

See ("How Do I Upgrade/Recompile My Kernel?")

Linux supports AFFS hard-drive partitions only. Floppy access is not
supported due to incompatibilities between Amiga floppy controllers
and PC and workstation controllers. The AFFS driver can also mount
disk partitions used by the Un*x Amiga Emulator, by Bernd Schmidt.

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

Recent kernels can mount (read only) the UFS file system used by
System V; Coherent; Xenix; BSD; and derivatives like SunOS, FreeBSD,
NetBSD, and NeXTStep. UFS support is available as a kernel
compile-time option and a module.

See, ("How Do I Upgrade/Recompile My Kernel?")

4.8. Can Linux Access SMB File Systems?

Linux supports read/write access of Windows for Workgroups and Windows
NT SMB volumes. See the file Documentation/filesystems/smbfs.txt of
the Linux kernel source distribution, and ("How Do I Upgrade/Recompile
My Kernel?")

There is also a suite of programs called Samba which provide support
for WfW networked file systems (provided they're for TCP/IP).
Information is available in the README file at

The SMB Web site is, and there is also a Web
site at

4.9. Can Linux Access Macintosh File Systems?

There is a set of user-level programs that read and write the older
Macintosh Hierarchical File System (HFS). It is available at

Access to the newer, HFS+ file systems is still under development.

4.10. Can I Run Microsoft Windows Programs under Linux?

WINE, a MS Windows emulator for Linux, is still not ready for general
distribution. If you want to contribute to its development, look for
the status reports in the newsgroup.

There is also a FAQ, compiled by P. David Gardner, at

In the meantime, if you need to run MS Windows programs, the best
bet--seriously--is to reboot. LILO, the Linux boot loader, can boot
one of several operating systems from a menu. See the LILO
documentation for details.

Also, LOADLIN.EXE (a DOS program to load a Linux, or other OS, kernel
is one way to make Linux co-exist with DOS. LOADLIN.EXE is
particularly handy when you want to install Linux on a 3rd or 4th
drive on a system (or when you're adding a SCSI drive to a system with
an existing IDE).

In these cases, it is common for LILO's boot loader to be unable to
find or load the kernel on the "other" drive. So you just create a C:\LINUX directory (or whatever), put LOADLIN.EXE in it with a copy of
your kernel, and use that.

LOADLIN.EXE is a VCPI compliant program. Win95 will want to, "shutdown
into DOS mode," to run it (as it would with certain other DOS
protected-mode programs).

Earlier versions of LOADLIN.EXE sometimes required a package called
REALBIOS.COM, which required a boot procedure on an (almost) blank
floppy to map the interrupt vectors (prior to the loading of any
software drivers). (Current versions don't seem to ship with it, and
don't seem to need it).



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