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. Also, they are distributed on many other networks, such as Fidonet and CompuServe.
There are a great number of web and FTP archive sites that 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 system—including 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.
Most of these documents are also posted regularly to one or more Linux-related Usenet newsgroups; see Section 1.10.3 later in this chapter.
The Linux Documentation home page is available to web users at http://www.linuxdoc.org. 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).
The Bibliography at the end of this book points you to a wealth of sources that will help you use your system. There are a number of published works specifically about Linux. Most noteworthy are the books from 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 Linux Documentation Project manuals are available via the Web, as well as via mail order from several sources. The Bibliography lists the manuals that are available and covers the means of obtaining them in detail. O’Reilly & Associates has published the Linux Network Administrator’s Guide from the LDP.
Aside from the growing number of Linux books, there are a large number of books about Unix in general that are certainly applicable to Linux—as far as using and programming the system is concerned, Linux doesn’t differ greatly from other implementations of Unix in most respects. In fact, this book is meant to be complemented by the large library of Unix books currently available; here, we present the most important Linux-specific details and hope you will look to other sources for more in-depth information.
Armed with a number of good books about using Unix, as well as the book you hold in your hands, you should be able to tackle just about anything. The Bibliography includes a list of highly recommended Unix books, for Unix newcomers and wizards alike.
Usenet is a worldwide electronic news and discussion forum with a heavy contingent of so-called “newsgroups”—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, there are a number of Usenet newsgroups 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.advocacy hierarchy, but you’ll probably find others on related topis like comp.windows.x.
If you have access to Internet electronic mail, you can participate in a number of mailing lists even if you do not have Usenet access. If you are not directly on the Internet, you can join one of these mailing lists as long as you are able to exchange electronic mail with the Internet. (For example, UUCP, Fidonet, CompuServe, and other networks all have access to Internet mail.)