The Linux OS

4.1. The Linux OS

Topics covered in this section include:

Section 4.1.1 Getting Started
Section 4.1.2 Switching from Other Operating Systems
Section 4.1.3 Distributions
Section 4.1.4 Installation
Section 4.1.5 Kernel
Section 4.1.6 Boot Loaders and Booting the OS
Section 4.1.7 Parallel Processing
Section 4.1.8 Partitions and Filesystems
Section 4.1.9 RAID
Section 4.1.10 Printing
Section 4.1.11 Shell
Section 4.1.12 Using Linux

4.1.1. Getting Started

  • INFO-SHEET, Linux Information Sheet

    Updated: Sep 1998. Provides basic information about the Linux operating system, including an explanation of Linux, a list of features, some requirements, and some resources.

  • Unix-and-Internet-Fundamentals-HOWTO, The Unix and Internet Fundamentals HOWTO

    Updated: Aug 2013. Describes the working basics of PC-class computers, Unix-like operating systems, and the Internet in non-technical language.

4.1.2. Switching from Other Operating Systems

  • DOSEMU-HOWTO, The dosemu HOWTO

    Updated: Dec 2002. DOSEMU stands for DOS Emulation, and is an application that enables the Linux OS to run many DOS programs.

  • DOS-Win-to-Linux-HOWTO, From DOS/Windows to Linux HOWTO

    Updated: Aug 1999. Written for all the DOS and Windows users who have decided to switch to Linux.

  • Linux+Windows-HOWTO, Linux + Windows HOWTO

    Updated: Dec 2001. Aimed at assisting those who wish to use the features of both Linux and Windows on the same host.

  • VMS-to-Linux-HOWTO, From VMS to Linux HOWTO

    Updated: Sep 2004. Aimed at all those who have been using VMS and now need or want to switch to Linux.

4.1.3. Distributions

  • Linux From Scratch HOWTO

    Describes the process of creating your own Linux system from scratch from an already installed Linux distribution, using nothing but the source code of software that we need.

    Replaced by the Linux From Scratch book.

4.1.4. Installation

  • Pre-Installation-Checklist, GNU/Linux Pre-Installation Checklist

    Updated: Nov 2000. An aide-memoire which may make installation of Linux a pleasant experience for you.

  • Installation-HOWTO, The Linux Installation HOWTO

    Updated: Jul 2002. How to obtain and install Linux software. It is the first document which a new Linux user should read to get started.

  • Post-Installation-Checklist, GNU/Linux Post-Installation Checklist

    Updated: Jun 2001. Provides a checklist for steps you should take immediately after installing GNU/Linux.

  • Compaq-Remote-Insight-Board-HOWTO, HOWTO Use a Compaq Remote Insight Lights Out Edition for a Headless, Remote Linux Installation

    Updated: Apr 2002. Describes the installation of Linux on a headless Compaq ProLiant server with a Compaq Remote Insight Lights-Out Edition card without physical access to the system.

  • Debian-Jigdo, Debian Jigdo mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Dec 2005. Describes why you should use jigdo (a tool for obtaining Debian ISOs), a little bit about how it works and how you use it to get and update Debian ISOs.

  • Glibc-Install-HOWTO, Glibc Installation HOWTO

    Updated: Mar 2004. Explains how you install a new version of glibc on your system.

  • Hardware-HOWTO, Linux Hardware Compatibility HOWTO

    Updated: May 2007. Lists most of the hardware supported by Linux and helps you locate any necessary drivers.

  • Installfest-HOWTO, Linux Installfest HOWTO

    Updated: Jan 2012. Provides some guidelines that should help you run a successful installfest.

  • Install-From-ZIP, Linux Install From PPA-Zip drive mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Apr 1998. How to install Linux from a parallel port zip drive using the Slackware Linux distribution.

  • Install-Strategies, Linux Installation Strategies

    Updated: May 2001. Discusses a few installation strategies for those who intend to dual-boot between Windows and Linux.

  • Linux+DOS+Win95+OS2, The Linux-DOS-Win95-OS2 mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Nov 1997. Presents a procedure to make 4 operating systems co-exist on a single hard disk.

  • Linux+FreeBSD, The Linux+FreeBSD mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Mar 2000. How to use Linux and FreeBSD on the same system.

  • Linux+Solaris, Linux+Solaris mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Apr 2000. Describes how to use Solaris and Linux together on one machine. It addresses common questions like multibooting and file-sharing.

  • Linux+Win95, Linux + Windows 95 mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Apr 2001. Details how to install Linux on a machine that currently runs Windows 95.

  • Linux+WinNT, Linux+WindowsNT mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Jul 2010. Covers some ways on how to install both Linux and Windows NT on the same computer and how to boot either of them from within LILO menu.


    Updated: Mar 1998. Will hopefully let you build and use a Parallel Line Interface Protocol.

  • PLIP-Install-HOWTO, PLIP Install HOWTO

    Updated: Jul 2002. How to install a Gnu/Linux distribution on a computer without Ethernet card, nor cdrom, but just a local floppy drive and a remote nfs server attached by a Null-Modem parallel cable.

  • RedHat-CD-HOWTO, Burning a RedHat CD HOWTO

    Updated: Oct 2003. How to make your own CDs from the Red Hat Linux distribution equivalent to the ones commercially available from Red Hat.

  • Saving-Space, Saving Space mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Apr 1999. Directions for squeezing your Linux installation into the least possible space. Particularly aimed at notebook users.

  • Small-Memory, Small Memory Mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Dec 2000. How to run Linux on a system with a small amount of memory.

  • Swap-Space, Linux Swap Space Mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Dec 2002. How to share your Linux swap partition with Windows.

  • TimeSys-Linux-Install-HOWTO, TimeSys Linux Install HOWTO

    Updated: May 2005. A quick-start guide for installing TimeSys Linux on a typical desktop workstation.

  • Upgrade, Upgrading Your linux Distribution mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Mar 2002. Hints and tips on upgrading from one linux distribution to another.

4.1.5. Kernel

  • BogoMips, BogoMips mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Mar 2006. Some information about BogoMips, compiled from various sources.

  • BootPrompt-HOWTO, The Linux BootPrompt HOWTO

    Updated: Mar 2003. A compilation of all the possible boot time arguments that can be passed to the Linux kernel at boot time. Includes all kernel and device parameters.

  • IO-Perf-HOWTO, I/O Performance HOWTO

    Updated: May 2002. Covers information on available patches for the 2.4 kernel that will improve the I/O performance of your Linux operating system.

  • Kernel-HOWTO, The Linux Kernel HOWTO

    Removed: November 2003. This HOWTO has been removed for review.

  • KernelAnalysis-HOWTO, KernelAnalysis-HOWTO

    Updated: Mar 2003. Explains some things about the Linux Kernel, such as the most important components, how they work, and so on.

  • Kerneld, The Linux kerneld mini-HOWTO

    Updated: May 2000. Explains how you can use the kerneld function in the Linux kernels.

  • libdc1394-HOWTO, Libdc1394 Library Support for IEEE 1394 Cameras HOWTO

    Updated: Apr 2007. Discusses how to set up the libdc1394 library on Linux for support of IEEE 1394 (FireWire) cameras.

  • Linux-Crash-HOWTO, Linux Crash HOWTO

    Updated: Jan 2002. Describes the installation and usage of the LKCD (Linux Kernel Crash Dump) package.

  • Module-HOWTO, Linux Loadable Kernel Module HOWTO

    Updated: Sep 2006. Explains what Linux loadable kernel modules (LKMs) are, and how to use and create them.

  • Modules, Linux Modules Installation mini-HOWTO

    Updated: n/a How to successfully set up Linux with modules configured and working.

  • PA-RISC-Linux-Boot-HOWTO, PA-RISC/Linux Boot HOWTO

    Updated: Jun 2006. Outlines the procedures for getting the current PA-RISC/Linux development kernel to boot on your PA-RISC system. It also explains the functions of PALO, the kernel loader for PA/Linux.

  • Process-Accounting, Enabling Process Accounting on Linux

    Updated: Feb 2001. Describes the basics of enabling process accounting on Linux.

4.1.6. Boot Loaders and Booting the OS

  • Bootdisk-HOWTO, The Linux Bootdisk HOWTO

    Updated: Jan 2002. How to design and build your own boot/root diskettes for Linux.

  • Disk-on-Chip-HOWTO, Disk on Chip HOWTO

    Updated: Sep 2006. Discusses how to make the Flash Drives Linux bootable. Describes how to boot from such a drive, instead of from the normal hard drive.

  • From-PowerUp-To-Bash-Prompt-HOWTO, From Power Up To Bash Prompt

    Updated: Nov 2000. A brief description of what happens in a Linux system from the time that you turn on the power, to the time that you log in and get a bash prompt.


    Updated: Jul 2010. Lilo (LILO) is the most used Linux Loader for the x86 flavour of Linux. This describes some typical Lilo installations. Intended as a supplement to the Lilo User's Guide.

  • Linux-i386-Boot-Code-HOWTO, Linux i386 Boot Code HOWTO

    Updated: Feb 2004. Describes Linux i386 boot code, serving as a study guide and source commentary. In addition to C-like pseudocode source commentary, it also presents keynotes of toolchains and specs related to kernel development.

  • Linux-Init-HOWTO, Linux 2.4.x Initialization for IA-32 HOWTO

    Updated: May 2001. A description of the Linux 2.4 kernel initialization sequence on IA-32 processors.

  • Linux+NT-Loader, NT OS Loader + Linux mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Sep 1997. Describes the use of the Windows NT boot loader to start Linux. This procedures have been tested with Windows NT 4.0 WS and Linux 2.0.

  • Linux+Win9x+Grub-HOWTO, Linux+Win9x+Grub HOWTO

    Updated: Jan 2002. How to use the GRUB bootloader to turn your computer into a Windows + Linux dual boot machine, without affecting your current Linux installation.

  • Loadlin+Win95-98-ME, The Loadlin+Win95/98/ME mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Feb 2001. Describes how to use Loadlin with Windows 95/98/ME to boot to Linux.

  • MILO-HOWTO, Alpha Miniloader HOWTO

    Updated: Nov 2000. Describes the Alpha Linux Miniloader (also known as MILO), a program for Alpha-based systems that can be used to initialize the machine and load Linux.

  • Multiboot-with-GRUB, Multiboot with GRUB Mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Jan 2001. How to install Windows 98, Windows 2000, DOS and Linux using GRUB.

  • Multiboot-with-LILO, Win95 + WinNT + Linux multiboot using LILO mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Mar 1998. How to multiboot between Windows 95, Windows NT, and Linux.

  • PA-RISC-Linux-Boot-HOWTO, PA-RISC/Linux Boot HOWTO

    Updated: Jun 2006. Outlines the procedures for getting the current PA-RISC/Linux development kernel to boot on your PA-RISC system. It also explains the functions of PALO, the kernel loader for PA/Linux.


    Updated: Nov 2000. Describes how to boot Linux/Alpha using the SRM console, which is the console firmware also used to boot Compaq Tru64 Unix (also known as Digital Unix and OSF/1) and OpenVMS.

4.1.7. Parallel Processing

  • Parallel-Processing-HOWTO, Linux Parallel Processing HOWTO

    Updated: Jun 2004. Discusses the four basic approaches to parallel processing that are available to Linux users: SMP Linux systems, clusters of networked Linux systems, parallel execution using multimedia instructions (i.e., MMX), and attached (parallel) processors hosted by a Linux system.


    Updated: Jul 2002. Reviews main issues related to SMP configuration under Linux.

4.1.8. Partitions and Filesystems

  • Filesystems-HOWTO, Filesystems HOWTO

    Updated: Jan 2007. About filesystems and accessing filesystems.

  • Cryptoloop-HOWTO, Cryptoloop HOWTO

    Updated: Mar 2004. Eplains how to create encrypted file systems using the Cryptoloop functionality. Cryptoloop is part of the CryptoAPI in the 2.6 Linux kernel series.

  • Disk-Encryption-HOWTO, Disk Encryption HOWTO

    Updated: Nov 2004. A method is described for encrypting a hard disk, either in whole or in part, with the encryption key stored on an external medium for increased security.

  • Ext2fs-Undeletion, Linux Ext2fs Undeletion mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Feb 1999. Presents a discussion of how to retrieve deleted files from a Second Extended File System.

  • LVM-HOWTO, Logical Volume Manager HOWTO

    Updated: Nov 2006. Describes how to build, install, and configure LVM for Linux.

  • NFS-Root, NFS-Root mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Sep 2002. How to setup a ``disc-less'' Linux workstation, which mounts it's root filesystems via NFS.

  • NFS-Root-Client-mini-HOWTO, NFS-Root-Client Mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Feb 1999. How to create client root directories on a server that is using NFS Root mounted clients.

  • Partition, Linux Partition HOWTO

    Updated: Dec 2005. Teaches you how to plan and layout disk space for your Linux system.

  • Partition-Rescue, Partition Rescue HOWTO

    Updated: Nov 2008. Describes how to rescue your Linux partition if it has been deleted.

  • Partition-Mass-Storage-Definitions-Naming-HOWTO, Partitions-Mass-Storage-Definitions-Naming-HOWTO

    Updated: May 2009.

  • Partition-Mass-Storage-Dummies-Linux-HOWTO, Partition-Mass-Storage-Dummies-Linux-HOWTO

    Updated: Apr 2009. A document about partitioning usual mass storage that can be magnetic rotating hard drives or Solid State Drives (SSD - including flash cards or USB keys).

  • SquashFS-HOWTO, SquashFS HOWTO

    Updated: Jul 2008. Describes the usage of SquashFS - a highly-compressed file system for Linux, which is intended for use in tiny/embedded Linux systems, as well as for read-only archiving and general in-file system compression.

  • Swap-Space, Linux Swap Space Mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Dec 2002. How to share your Linux swap partition with Windows.


    Updated: Dec 2001. Explains how to use Umsdos (a linux file system) in different configurations, and its operation.

4.1.9. RAID

  • Antares-RAID-sparcLinux-HOWTO, Antares-RAID-sparcLinux-HOWTO

    Updated: May 2002. Describes how to install, configure, and maintain a hardware RAID built around the 5070 SBUS host based RAID controller by Antares Microsystems.


    Updated: May 2002. Explains how to install Linux on an Intel Pentium compatible computer with an ATA RAID Controller (onboard chip or seperate card), single or multiple processors and at least two hard disks.

  • Boot+Root+Raid+LILO, Boot + Root + Raid + Lilo : Software Raid mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Jul 2000. A cookbook for setting up root raid using the 0.90 raidtools for bootable raid mounted on root using standard LILO.

  • DPT-Hardware-RAID-HOWTO, Linux DPT Hardware RAID HOWTO

    Updated: Aug 2004. How to set up hardware RAID under Linux.

  • Root-RAID-HOWTO, Root RAID HOWTO cookbook

    Updated: Jul 2000. This document only applies to the OLD raidtools, versions 0.50 and under. The workarounds and solutions addressed in this HOWTO have largely been made obsolete by the vast improvment in the 0.90 raidtools and accompanying kernel patch to the 2.0.37, 2.2x and 2.3x series kernels. You may find the detailed descriptions useful, particularly if you plan to run root raid or use initrd.

    original description: A cookbook for creating a root mounted raid filesystem and companion fallback rescue system using linux initrd. Step-by-step instructions for both raid1 and raid5 md0 devices.

  • Software-RAID-HOWTO, Software-RAID HOWTO

    Updated: Jun 2004. This HOWTO is deprecated; the Linux RAID HOWTO is maintained as a wiki by the linux-raid community at http://raid.wiki.kernel.org/ How to use Software RAID under Linux. It addresses a specific version of the Software RAID layer, namely the 0.90 RAID layer made by Ingo Molnar and others. This is the RAID layer that will be standard in Linux-2.4, and it is the version that is also used by Linux-2.2 kernels shipped from some vendors. The 0.90 RAID support is available as patches to Linux-2.0 and Linux-2.2, and is by many considered far more stable that the older RAID support already in those kernels.

  • Software-RAID-0.4x-HOWTO, Software-RAID HOWTO (earlier implementation)

    Updated: Nov 1998. How to use Software RAID under Linux. RAID stands for "Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks". For users of the Linux MD kernel extension, the associated tools, and their use. This HOWTO addresses an earlier implementation.

4.1.10. Printing

  • Printing-HOWTO, The Linux Printing HOWTO

    Updated: Jun 2003. A collection of information on how to generate, preview, print and fax anything under Linux (and other Unices in general).

  • Printing-Usage-HOWTO, The Linux Printing Usage HOWTO

    Updated: Feb 1998. How to use the print system under Linux.

  • Debian-and-Windows-Shared-Printing, Debian and Windows Shared Printing mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Jul 2005. Demonstrates how to use command-line tools to configure your Debian system for printing. It explains how to send documents from Linux to Windows printers and how to share Linux printers with Windows PCs.

  • Print2Win, The Linux Print2Win mini-HOWTO

    Updated: Jul 2002. Contains the general configuration to get linux printing to a Windows print share.

4.1.11. Shell

  • Adv-Bash-Scr-HOWTO, Advanced Bash-Scripting HOWTO

    A guide to shell scripting, using Bash.

    Replaced by the Advanced Bash-Scripting Guide.

  • Bash-Prompt-HOWTO, Bash Prompt HOWTO

    Updated: Nov 2003. Creating and controlling terminal and xterm prompts is discussed, including incorporating standard escape sequences to give username, current working directory, time, etc.

  • Bash-Prog-Intro-HOWTO, BASH Programming - Introduction HOWTO

    Updated: Jul 2000. This article intends to help you to start programming basic-to-intermediate shell scripts.

4.1.12. Using Linux


    Updated: Nov 1999. RPM is the RPM Package Manager. It is an open packaging system available for anyone to use. It allows users to take source code for new software and package it into source and binary form such that binaries can be easily installed and tracked and source can be rebuilt easily. It also maintains a database of all packages and their files that can be used for verifying packages and querying for information about files and/or packages.

  • Software-Building-HOWTO, Building and Installing Software Packages for Linux

    Updated: Jul 1999. A comprehensive guide to building and installing "generic" UNIX software distributions under Linux.

  • Tips-HOWTO, The Linux Tips HOWTO

    Updated: Jun 1998. Contains those hard to find hints and tweekings that make Linux a bit nicer.