1.7. Getting Help
First, we should mention that Linux has a rich community of volunteers and
Distributions such as Red Hat, Novell's SUSE, and Mandriva have become quite adept at providing commercial support for their own distributions of Linux and for other open source projects. Following a concept originated by Bernard Golden called the Open Source Maturity Model, Linux companies have done an
Additionally, these Linux companies have established community projects to keep them from becoming stale.
Mature Linux companies also provide extended business offerings, including training, professional sales and support (24 x 7 x 365), indemnification, and quality documentation.
In addition to the companies already mentioned, you will find a channel full of their business
As you become more accustomed to running Linux, you will probably discover many facets that may pleasantly surprise you. Many people not only use Linux but consider the community their home base. Good luck in the coming days.
Chapter 2. Preinstallation and Installation
This chapter represents your first step in installing Linux. We describe how to obtain the Linux software, in the form of one of the various prepackaged distributions , and how to prepare your system. We include ways to partition disks so that Linux can coexist with Windows or another operating system.
As we have mentioned, there is no single "official" distribution of the Linux software; there are, in fact, many distributions, each serving a particular purpose and set of goals. These distributions are available via anonymous FTP from the Internet and via mail on CD-ROM and DVD, as well as in retail stores.
2.1. Distributions of Linux
Because Linux is free software, no single organization or entity is responsible for releasing and distributing the software. Therefore,
You are now faced with the task of deciding on a particular distribution of Linux that
You might also want to consider that distributions have different target groups. Some are
How can you decide among all these distributions? If you have access to Usenet news, or another computer conferencing system such as web-based discussion
A particularly interesting type of distribution is the so-called live CD, such as Knoppix (http://www.knoppix.org). These distributions boot from CD and do not require any installation at all; they keep all information in RAM, but can still access your hard drive and other hardware. Besides being a very
2.1.1. Getting Linux via Mail Order or Other Hard Media
If you don't have high-speed Internet access, you can get many Linux distributions via mail order on CD-ROM or DVD. Many
Linux is free software, but distributors are allowed by the GPL to charge a fee for it. Therefore, ordering Linux via mail order might cost you between U.S. $5 and U.S. $150, depending on the distribution. However, if you know people who have already purchased or downloaded a release of Linux, you are free to
Another advantage with buying a distribution is that you often get installation support; that is, you can contact the distributor by phone or email and get help if you run into trouble during the installation.
Many Linux user groups offer their own distributions; see if there's a user group near you. For special platforms like Alpha, a user
2.1.2. Getting Linux from the Internet
If you have access to the Internet, the
When downloading the Linux software, be sure to use binary mode for all file transfers (with most FTP
You might run into a minor problem when trying to download files for one system (such as Linux) with another system (such as Windows), because the systems are not always prepared to handle each other's files sensibly. However, with the hints given in this chapter, you should be able to complete the installation process nevertheless.
Some distributions are released via anonymous FTP as a set of disk images. That is, the distribution consists of a set of files, and each file contains the binary image of a floppy. In order to copy the contents of the image file onto the floppy, you can use the RAWRITE.EXE program under Windows. This program copies, block for block, the contents of a file to a floppy, without regard for disk format. RAWRITE.EXE is available on the various Linux FTP sites, including ftp://ftp.ibiblio.org in the directory /pub/Linux/system/Install/rawwrite .
Be forewarned that this is a labor-
To proceed, download the set of floppy images and use
with each image in
If you have access to a Unix workstation with a floppy drive, you can also use the dd command to copy the file image directly to the floppy. A command such as dd of=/dev/rfd0 if=foo bs=18k will "raw write" the contents of the file foo to the floppy device on a Sun workstation. Consult your local Unix gurus for more information on your system's floppy devices and the use of dd .
Each distribution of Linux available via anonymous FTP should include a README file describing how to download and prepare the floppies for installation. Be sure to read all available documentation for the release you are using.
Today, some of the bigger Linux distributions are also distributed as one or a few ISO images that you can burn on a CD-ROM or DVD. Downloading these is