Linux is a freely-distributable implementation of Unix for inexpensive personal machines (it was developed on 386s, and now supports 486, 586, Pentium, PowerPC, Sun Sparc, ARM and DEC Alpha hardware, and even the IBM System 390 mainframe!). It supports a wide range of software, including X Windows, Emacs, TCP/IP networking (including SLIP), and many applications.
This document assumes that you have heard of and know about Linux, and now want to get it running. It focuses on the Intel base version, which is the most popular, but much of the advice applies on Power PCs, Sparcs and Alphas as well.
If you are new to Linux, there are several sources of basic information about the system. The best place to find these is at the at Linux Documentation Project home page. You can find the latest version of this document there.
You should probably start by browsing the resources under General Linux Information; the Linux INFO-SHEET and the Linux META-FAQ. The `Linux Frequently Asked Questions' document contains many common questions (and answers!) about Linux -- it is a ``must read'' for new users.
The Linux Documentation Project is writing a set of manuals and books about Linux, all of which are freely distributable on the net and available from the LDP home page.
The book ``Linux Installation and Getting Started'' is a complete guide to getting and installing Linux, as well as how to use the system once you've installed it. It contains a complete tutorial to using and running the system, and much more information than is contained here. You can browse it, or download a copy, from the LDP home page.
Finally, there is a rather technical Guide to x86 Bootstrapping. This document is NetBSD- rather than Linux-oriented, but contains useful material on disk configuration and boot managers for multi-OS setups.
Please do not email me asking for installation help. Even if I had the time to handle such requests, troubleshooting by mail is much less efficient than asking help from your local Linux user's group. You can find worldwide contact information for Linux user groups on the LDP site.
New versions of the Linux Installation HOWTO will be periodically posted to comp.os.linux.help and comp.os.linux.announce and news.answers. They will also be uploaded to various Linux WWW and FTP sites, including the LDP home page.
If you have questions or comments about this document, please feel free to mail Eric S. Raymond, at <firstname.lastname@example.org>. I welcome any suggestions or criticisms. If you find a mistake with this document, please let me know so I can correct it in the next version. Thanks.
Please do not mail me questions about how to solve hardware problems encountered during installation. Consult Linux Installation and Getting Started, bug your vendor, or consult the Linux newsgroup comp.os.linux.setup. This HOWTO is intended to be rapid, painless guide to normal installation -- a separate HOWTO on hardware problems and diagnosis is in preparation.