Cover image for Linux for dummies
Linux for dummies
Hall, Jon, 1963-
Personal Author:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Indianapolis, IN : IDG Books Worldwide, Inc., 1999.
Physical Description:
xxii, 360 pages ; 24 cm 1 computer laser optical disc (4 3/4 in.)
General Note:
Prev. ed. by Craig Witherspoon.

Includes index.
Title Subject:
Format :



Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QA76.76.O63 W59 1999 Book and Software Set Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A LINUX handbook. It includes information on: understanding the LINUX command system and putting it to work; applying helpful configuration utilities; selecting a shell program and tailoring it to fit specific needs; setting up the whole operating system as a Web or internal network; maintaining a LINUX system; and more. It covers Web features, including using a Web browser, email, ftp, IRC, Telnet, WAIs News, TCP/IP, explaining a range of different acronyms. The accompanying CD-ROM includes a version of Red Hat LINUX for Intex x86 PCs and a version of Apache, a Web server for LINUX.

Author Notes

Jon "maddog" Hall is the Executive Director of Linux International, a non-profit organization focused on promoting the existing advantages and compatibility of LINUX. He also works for Compaq Computer Corporation in the Unix Software Development Group.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
About This Bookp. 1
Foolish Assumptionsp. 2
Conventions Used in This Bookp. 2
What You're Not to Readp. 6
Icons in This Bookp. 6
Where to Go from Herep. 7
Part 1 Introducing Linuxp. 9
Chapter 1 Linux and Youp. 11
Free as in Freedomp. 11
Using Linux in Different Waysp. 13
Personal workstationp. 13
File and print serverp. 14
Internet/intranet service providerp. 14
Three-tier client/serverp. 15
Turnkey systemp. 16
Chapter 2 Accessorizing Linuxp. 17
Distributions and Compendiumsp. 17
Free or Not?p. 19
Character-Cell or Graphical?p. 21
Text Editorsp. 22
Character-cell text editorsp. 22
Graphical text editorsp. 23
Commercial text editorsp. 24
Mail Interfacesp. 25
Character-cell interfacesp. 25
Graphical mail interfacesp. 27
Commercial mail interfacesp. 27
Multimedia Programsp. 29
Part II Installing Linuxp. 31
Chapter 3 Discovering What's in Your Systemp. 33
Hardware Supported by Linuxp. 34
Finding Out What You Havep. 36
The Information You Need to Knowp. 37
Disk controllersp. 38
Disk drivesp. 38
Getting Information from Windows 95p. 40
Getting Information from MS-DOS or Windows 3.1p. 46
Leave a Trail of Bread Crumbsp. 49
Chapter 4 Making Room for Linuxp. 51
Installing from a CD-ROMp. 51
Making boot and supplemental disks in MS-DOSp. 52
Making boot and supplemental disks in Linuxp. 53
Move Over and Make Room for Linuxp. 54
Nondestructive repartitioningp. 54
Defragmentingp. 55
FIPSp. 57
Destructive repartitioningp. 59
Chapter 5 Installation: Down to the Final Stretchp. 63
Beginning the Installationp. 63
Choosing a Disk Partitioning Toolp. 69
Slicing and dicing your disk with the Disk Druidp. 71
Making life difficult with fdiskp. 75
Viewing partitionsp. 76
Deleting partitionsp. 77
Creating a partitionp. 78
Creating multiple partitionsp. 80
Changing partition typesp. 80
Changing the boot designationp. 83
Saving the partition table and exiting fdiskp. 85
Making the Perfect File Systemp. 85
Formatting partitionsp. 86
Installing Linux componentsp. 87
Configuring your mousep. 88
Configuring X Window Systemp. 89
Configuring your system for networkingp. 94
Setting the system clockp. 95
Setting up services for Linuxp. 96
Installing a printerp. 97
Choosing a creative root passwordp. 100
Creating a boot diskp. 101
Pulling Linux Up by the Bootstrapsp. 102
Tada! Completing the Installationp. 104
Chapter 6 Solving Problems with the X Window System Installationp. 107
Discovering Your Hardware's True Identityp. 107
Running SuperProbep. 109
Configuration Conflagrationp. 110
Start Your Enginesp. 115
It Worked!p. 117
Shutting Down the Systemp. 117
Chapter 7 Using Linux for the First Timep. 119
Giving Linux the Bootp. 119
Power Incarnatep. 120
Creating a General Account with X Window Systemp. 122
Creating a General Account without X Window Systemp. 125
Ending Your First Sessionp. 126
Part III Using Linuxp. 127
Chapter 8 Working with Files and Commandsp. 129
Linux File Factsp. 129
Files 101p. 130
File typesp. 130
Files and directoriesp. 132
Directories and subdirectoriesp. 132
The root directoryp. 132
What's in a name?p. 132
Home againp. 133
Getting Around with pwd and cdp. 133
Where am I?p. 133
Every directory has a parent and lots of relativesp. 134
Changing your working directoryp. 135
Going homep. 136
Using cat to Create and Add to Filesp. 136
Manipulating Files and Directoriesp. 139
Creating directoriesp. 139
Moving and copying files and directoriesp. 140
Removing filesp. 142
Removing directoriesp. 143
I Grant Your Permissionp. 143
Making Your Own Rulesp. 145
Have It Your Wayp. 147
Oh Danny Boy, the Pipesp. 149
Chapter 9 Working with Editorsp. 151
Text Editor Basicsp. 151
Two for onep. 152
Saving yourselfp. 153
Working with edp. 153
Some ed commandsp. 155
ed tu, Brutus?p. 157
Here's vip. 159
Moving around in a filep. 161
Deleting and moving textp. 162
Controlling the environmentp. 163
Some vi commandsp. 163
xedit, the Simple Editorp. 164
What about emacs?p. 168
Chapter 10 Avoiding Shell Shockp. 169
Bashing Ahead!p. 170
Linux is at your commandp. 171
Regular expressions: wildcards and one-eyed jacksp. 171
I command youp. 172
History, herstoryp. 175
Bang-bangp. 176
Back to the futurep. 177
Do what I want, not what I saidp. 177
Your Wish Is My Commandp. 180
From the Simple to the Sublimep. 184
Passing information to your shellp. 187
First, the conditionsp. 190
Putting your ideas togetherp. 191
Multitaskingp. 194
Chapter 11 Windows on the Worldp. 197
The Amazing X Window Systemp. 197
But I don't do windows!p. 198
With these smarts, why should I play dumb?p. 199
Now the good stuff!p. 199
Two interfaces in onep. 200
Starting X Window Systemp. 200
Window Tricksp. 204
Moving dayp. 205
Resizing to your heart's contentp. 206
Making a molehill out of a mountainp. 207
Making a mountain out of a molehillp. 207
Virtual Work on Your Virtual Deskp. 208
Bye, Windowp. 212
Stopping X Window Systemp. 212
Chapter 12 Calendars, Calculators, and Music Makersp. 213
Your Linux Calendarp. 213
Your Linux Calculatorp. 216
Your Sound Systemp. 219
The world's most intelligent music machinep. 222
Xmixer: Sounds for the rest of usp. 226
Part IV Maintaining Your Systemp. 229
Chapter 13 File System Managementp. 231
Mounting and Dismountingp. 232
The command syntaxp. 232
Sleuthing for other file usersp. 233
Configuring file systemsp. 234
Reforming Corrupted File Systemsp. 239
Adding More Disk Storagep. 240
Adding a Disk Drivep. 241
Configuring a drivep. 242
Installing a drivep. 242
Partitioning a drivep. 243
Making the file systemp. 244
Living with Floppy Disksp. 244
Configuring a CD-ROM Drivep. 246
Chapter 14 Customizing Linuxp. 247
Tuning Your Linux Systemp. 247
You can never have enough memoryp. 247
Real versus virtual memoryp. 248
Do I have enough RAM?p. 248
Measuring performance with vmstatp. 249
Measuring performance with procinfop. 250
Enhancing Disk Performancep. 252
Sync or swimp. 253
Multiple swap partitionsp. 256
Kernel Buildingp. 256
Tailoring a kernel for your processorp. 256
Instructions and data not neededp. 259
Finishing the kernel rebuildp. 260
Part V Going Onlinep. 263
Chapter 15 Setting Up Your Internet Connectionp. 265
The Search for an ISPp. 265
Connecting Your Modemp. 267
Types of Modemsp. 268
Finding the serial linep. 268
Using modemtool(8)p. 271
Setting Up the Networking Softwarep. 271
Fire It Up!p. 278
Chapter 16 Surfing the Webp. 279
Customizing Netscapep. 279
Ready, Set, Go!p. 286
Getting E-Mailp. 289
Sending E-Mailp. 291
Part VI The Part of Tensp. 293
Chapter 17 Ten Sources of Helpp. 295
Books and More Booksp. 295
Linux HOWTOsp. 296
School Daysp. 297
In the Newsp. 297
User Groupsp. 297
Bring in the Cavalryp. 298
Commercial Applicationsp. 299
Visit Web Sitesp. 300
Attend Conferencesp. 300
Linux Kongressp. 301
Linux Expop. 301
Usenix/Freenixp. 301
CeBITp. 301
Comdexp. 301
IDG's Linux Worldp. 302
Try to Help Othersp. 302
Chapter 18 Ten Problem Areas and Solutionsp. 305
I Can't Boot Linux Anymorep. 305
My Disk Numbers Have Changed Since Installationp. 306
My CD-ROM Isn't Detectedp. 307
I Don't Know How to Remove LILO and Restore My MBRp. 307
I Can't Use LILO to Bootp. 308
The Is Command Doesn't Show Files in Colorp. 309
Linux Can't Find a Shell Script (Or a Program)p. 309
When I Start X Window System, I See a Grey Screenp. 310
I Don't Know How to Make X Window System Start at Boot Timep. 311
I Never Seem to Have the Correct Timep. 312
Part VII Appendixesp. 313
Appendix A Hardware Compatibilityp. 315
Hardware Architecturesp. 316
Laptopsp. 316
SMP Systemsp. 317
Memoryp. 317
Videop. 317
Hard Drive Controllersp. 318
Serial, Parallel, and Joystick Interfacesp. 319
Other Controllers (Multiport)p. 319
Nonintelligent cardsp. 320
Intelligent cardsp. 320
Network adaptersp. 320
Sound cardsp. 321
Tape Drivesp. 321
CD-ROM Drivesp. 322
CD-Writersp. 322
Modemsp. 322
Micep. 322
Printers and Plottersp. 323
Scannersp. 323
Touch Screensp. 324
Video Capture Boards, Frame Grabbers, and TV Tunersp. 324
UPS and Miscellaneous Devicesp. 324
PCMCIA Cardsp. 325
Appendix B The Linux man Pagesp. 327
Using the man Commandp. 327
Sections in the man Pagesp. 328
Topics in the man Pagesp. 329
Namep. 329
Synopsisp. 330
Descriptionp. 331
Optionsp. 331
Environmental variablesp. 332
Diagnosticsp. 333
Bugs/Deficienciesp. 334
Compatibility issuesp. 334
Caveatsp. 334
Disclaimersp. 334
Authorsp. 334
Acknowledgmentsp. 334
Debugging optionsp. 335
Configuration filesp. 335
Copyrightsp. 335
Copying permissions/distribution policyp. 335
POSIX compatibility/standards conformancep. 336
Filesp. 337
Future workp. 337
See also/related softwarep. 337
Finding the Right man Pagep. 338
Appendix C About the CDp. 341
System Requirementsp. 341
Using the CDp. 341
What You'll Findp. 342
If You Have Problems (Of the CD Kind)p. 342
Indexp. 343
IDG Books Worldwide End-User License Agreementp. 359
Installation Instructionsp. 361
Book Registration Information