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16. Further Information

There is wealth of information one should go through when setting up a major system, for instance for a news or general Internet service provider. The FAQs in the following groups are useful:

16.1 News groups

Some of the most interesting news groups are:

Most newsgroups have their own FAQ that are designed to answer most of your questions, as the name Frequently Asked Questions indicate. Fresh versions should be posted regularly to the relevant newsgroups. If you cannot find it in your news spool you could go directly to the FAQ main archive FTP site. The WWW versions can be browsed at FAQ main archive WWW site.

Some FAQs have their own home site, of particular interest here are

16.2 Mailing Lists

These are low noise channels mainly for developers. Think twice before asking questions there as noise delays the development. Some relevant lists are linux-raid, linux-scsi and linux-ext2fs. Many of the most useful mailing lists run on the vger.rutgers.edu server but this is notoriously overloaded, so try to find a mirror. There are some lists mirrored at The Redhat Home Page. Many lists are also accessible at linuxhq, and the rest of the web site is a gold mine of useful information.

If you want to find out more about the lists available you can send a message with the line lists to the list server at vger.rutgers.edu ( majordomo@vger.rutgers.edu). If you need help on how to use the mail server just send the line help to the same address. Due to the popularity of this server it is likely it takes a bit to time before you get a reply or even get messages after you send a subscribe command.

There is also a number of other majordomo list servers that can be of interest such as the EATA driver list ( linux-eata@mail.uni-mainz.de) and the Intelligent IO list linux-i2o@dpt.com.

Mailing lists are in a state of flux but you can find links to a number of interesting lists from the Linux Documentation Homepage.

16.3 HOWTO

These are intended as the primary starting points to get the background information as well as show you how to solve a specific problem. Some relevant HOWTOs are Bootdisk, Installation, SCSI and UMSDOS. The main site for these is the LDP archive.

There is a a new HOWTO out that deals with setting up a DPT RAID system, check out the DPT RAID HOWTO homepage.

16.4 Mini-HOWTO

These are the smaller free text relatives to the HOWTOs. Some relevant mini-HOWTOs are Backup-With-MSDOS, Diskless, LILO, Large Disk, Linux+DOS+Win95+OS2, Linux+OS2+DOS, Linux+Win95, NFS-Root, Win95+Win+Linux, ZIP Drive . You can find these at the same place as the HOWTOs, usually in a sub directory called mini. Note that these are scheduled to be converted into SGML and become proper HOWTOs in the near future.

The old Linux Large IDE mini-HOWTO is no longer valid, instead read /usr/src/linux/drivers/block/README.ide or /usr/src/linux/Documentation/ide.txt.

16.5 Local Resources

In most distributions of Linux there is a document directory installed, have a look in the /usr/doc directory. where most packages store their main documentation and README files etc. Also you will here find the HOWTO archive ( /usr/doc/HOWTO) of ready formatted HOWTOs and also the mini-HOWTO archive ( /usr/doc/HOWTO/mini) of plain text documents.

Many of the configuration files mentioned earlier can be found in the /etc directory. In particular you will want to work with the /etc/fstab file that sets up the mounting of partitions and possibly also /etc/mdtab file that is used for the md system to set up RAID.

The kernel source in /usr/src/linux is, of course, the ultimate documentation. In other words, use the source, Luke. It should also be pointed out that the kernel comes not only with source code which is even commented (well, partially at least) but also an informative documentation directory. If you are about to ask any questions about the kernel you should read this first, it will save you and many others a lot of time and possibly embarrassment.

Also have a look in your system log file ( /var/log/messages) to see what is going on and in particular how the booting went if too much scrolled off your screen. Using tail -f /var/log/messages in a separate window or screen will give you a continuous update of what is going on in your system.

You can also take advantage of the /proc file system that is a window into the inner workings of your system. Use cat rather than more to view the files as they are reported as being zero length. Reports are that less works well here.

16.6 Web Pages

There is a huge number of informative web pages out there and by their very nature they change quickly so don't be too surprised if these links become quickly outdated.

A good starting point is of course the Linux Documentation Homepage. that is a information central for documentation, project pages and much, much more.

For diagrams and information on all sorts of disk drives, controllers etc. both for current and discontinued lines The Ref is the site you need. There is a lot of useful information here, a real treasure trove.

Please let me know if you have any other leads that can be of interest.

16.7 Search Engines

When all fails try the internet search engines. There is a huge number of them, all a little different from each other. It falls outside the scope of this HOWTO to describe how best to use them. Instead you could turn to the Troubleshooting on the Internet mini-HOWTO, and the Updated mini-HOWTO.

If you have to ask for help you are most likely to get help in the Linux Setup news group. Due to large workload and a slow network connection I am not able to follow that newsgroup so if you want to contact me you have to do so by e-mail.


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