TUCoPS :: Linux :: Discontinued :: linuxwrk.txt

Linux - How to get it working

---(OOooOO)--------Linux, how to get it werking-------------------------(OOo-
---(OOooOO)--------by Bodie---------------------------------------------(OOo-

I don't care what anyone says, you can't be a hacker unless you have some
form of unix on your machine, how are ya gunna do anything with the iron grip
of windoze on your computer?.  This file will describe how to get linux on
your machine and get up and running.

Most people now want to dual boot with both windows and linux on their
system, this is what i use, because no matter what people say there are
programs that can only be run in windoze and some of these can be extreemly
useful.  If you want to do this, take my advise and ignore all the windows
documention, you need to install windows first and then install linux on top
of that.  The reason for this is that windows doesn't play well with others
(it doesn't really play well with anything else full stop, but thats another

Installations of linux vary widely in their setup procedure, make sure you 
read the manual first if you have any problems.  If that doesn't solve it, 
feel free to mail me and i'll see what i can do to help

After you have done this you will need a copy of partition magic, I think 
this is shareware now but if you can't find a copy, mail me and i'll get one 
to ya.  Once you have partition magic installed, you will need to set 2 
partitions for linux, one will be a swap partition - and the other will be 
the main linux partition.  Many people have different opinions about how big 
the swap partition should be, but i have one about 100Mb and that does me
fine. The main partition should be as large as you can make it.  The
important thing at this stage is to leave both partitions unformatted.
Partition magic doesn't currenty have support for linux partitions and you
will be able to format it later during the installation of linux.

The next thing you will need to do is to make a boot disk, if you bought a
copy of linux it is likely that boot disks came with it, if you got a copied
version or got it any other way, you won't have a boot disk.  Creating a
boot disk is different on each version of linux, normally there will be a
utility that you can access from windows or dos that will allow you to create
one easily (look under the directory /dosutils or something similarly named,
if you have any problems mail me and i'll see what i can do).  Once you have
done this you will need to reboot the machine with the boot disk in the drive
(make sure you have floppy booting enabled in the BIOS else this won't work)
and the linux CD in the drive.  You will now boot into linux.

Make sure you have the full spec of all your hardware with you at this point

This is where each different version of linux has a different installation 
procedure.  I have installed Slackware, Red hat and SuSE and they have all 
had wildly different user interfaces for the installation procedure.  Basicly 
all you have to do at this stage is tell the system what partitions you have 
on your hard drive, what swap partitions you have made and which partition 
will be used as the main partition for linux, then it will format both the 
swap drives and main drive for the linux file system.  You can also access 
DOS drives from linux (something which is not easy to do in windoze) you just 
have to tell linux where to find the partitions.  

The hard drive lableing is very different thant he lableing used in windows.  
All linux devices are contained within a directory called '/dev'.  The First 
partition on the primary hard drive is labled '/dev/hda1'.  The second 
partition is labled '/dev/hda2' and so on.  If you have a second hard drive 
it is labled '/dev/hdb'.  This may seem strange to anyone who has been using 
DOS, but it means that linux system may run under what is called a single
root system.  This means that there is 1 top level directory called '/' and
all the directories are below that.  Hard drives can be access by mounting
them in a directory.  This creates a link between the device in /dev and the
directory the drive is mounted in.  You must specify a directory where they
will be mounted at install time, then accessing a seperate dirve will be just
like accessing another directory.

Next you will probably see a list of programs that you can install if you
want to.  What you want to install is up to you but you may want to install a
lot of programming tools so you can install other packages that may requre 
libraries that are contained in these packages. Next just sit back, make a 
cup of tea and watch it install.  Reboot and you've got a linux system up and 
running....Congratulations :)

Once you have done this take a look around the file systems, try out some 
commands.  Some of the main command in linux are:

cd <directory> - same as DOS, change directory
mv <source> <destination> - Move a file (as there is no rename command in 
		linux, this serves as a good alternative)
cp <souce> <destination> - Copys a file 
ls - Lists the contents of a directory (similar to dir in DOS)
more - This basicly prints out any imput it gets, a very useful program
crypt - This is possibly the most useful program in unix, it encrypts files so 
		even the sysadmin can't read them, any sensitive information 
		on a foreign system or even your own system should be

I could spend my whole life explaining all the various commands available,
but i'm not gunna do that, 'cus you can look that u in a book if you want to
use them.  One more interesting feature of linux is input redirection.  This
allows you to pipe input from one program directly to another.  One of the
most common examples of this is:

ls | more

This uses the '|' charictor to redirect output from the ls program to more.  
This is often used when there is a long directory listing, ls displays the 
output so fast that no one could read it, but more allows you to read output 
one screen at a time.  The other input redirection charictors are '>' which 
allows you to write the output to a new file, and '>>' which allows you to 
add the output to the end of a file that already exists.

As i said earlier, the file system in linux is very different from the 
windows file system.  A simplified version of the file system is shown here:

                       / (ROOT) 
            |      |       |        |
           /bin  /users   /etc     /dev
            |      |       |        |
           ...    ...     ...      ...

There may be many other directorys as well, but these are the main ones.  The 
'/bin' directory contains all the executable programs that are available to 
users of the system.  Sometimes a link to another location is put in here so 
the file is executable from the /bin directory, but it is stored somewhere 
else on the system.  Sometimes programs are also stored in the '/usr/' 

The '/users' directory is used for storing user areas.  This is where 
individual users store all their files (unless you need to be using the root 
account it is a good idea to use a normal user account to avoid accedental 
damage to files or, if you are on the net, it allows another hacker to more 
easily hack your system).

The '/etc' directory is where all the config files are stored for the system.  
This directory contains the passwd file (and in some cases, the shadow file) 
It stores files that the system calls as variables for various programs.

The '/dev' directory is the place where all the devices that the system uses
is stored.  This includes the mouse, keyboard, hard drives and lots of other 
things, the basic idea is that when a device wants to input anything into the 
computer, it puts the data in these files, then the system captures this data 
and uses it.  When data has to be outputted to a device, it is put in one of 
these files and then is sent by the system to the device.  This may seen a 
complex way of doing things, but in actual fact, it makes it a lot easyer for 
programmers to perform operations on various devices, as they only have to 
access a file rather than a device. (if ya don't understand this bit it isn't 
important for the moment)

There may be several other directories under the root, but these are the main 
one's that you will have to wory about for the moment.  

The next thing you will have to do is set up X-Windows, this is a graphical 
interface for linux.  The thing about X is that there are many dufferent 
versions of the desktop enviroment, unlike windoze where you just have the 
standard enviroment.  This is good because you can decide on the style that 
suits you best.  Personally I prefer KDE at the moment but there are different 
one's coming out all the time.  to set up X you will need to have the full 
specs on your monitor and video card ready.  There are 2 ways to set up X, 
one is a graphical way, that is quick and easy, but may not work in some 
cases (i had hell with this).  To run this, at the command line type:


Or to run a command line setup interface type


You will then be presented with the usual menus that ask you about your 
hardware.  Get that up and running and you SHOULD have a decent working 
version of X.  A lot of things can go wrong here though, most people have 
problems of some sort.  The best thing to do, if you do have a problem is to 
go back to the config programs and make sure you had the right specs for your 
hardware.  Failing that you could try editing the '/etc/XF86Config' file.  
Although doing this is quite complicated and i would suggest reading up on 
how to do it first (or just wing it like most people :) )

Now you should have a fully working linux system installed, well done.  There 
is a lot more that i haven't mentioned in this file and the chances are you 
will have to read lots of other files to get various things working or learn 
about other programs.  Linux is an amazing thing if you make the most of it 
and ask what it can do rather than what it can't do.  Welcome to the new

Anyone who can get me a pre-release copy of star wars: I'll pay any money -

the usual bunch of people who know i appreciate them :)

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