Wednesday, May 22, 2002

GNU/Linux in 20 websites or less

There are a growing number of folks where I work who are getting on
the linux bandwagon. Most of them are coming from a commercial UNIX
background and have questions about how Linux is different, wondering
where to get information, news and software.

Here is my short list of Linux websites for commercial UNIX refugees:

  1. Free Software Foundation -- This
    organization, started by Richard
    M. Stallman
    (better know simply as RMS) and where the acronym GNU
    (GNU is Not UNUX and is pronounced Guh-News) comes from.

  2. The GNU General
    Public Licence
    (aka GPL) and href="">Frequently Asked
    Questions about the GNU GPL are two very important pages you
    should read and understand. When people talk about 'free software' in
    this context, they are refering to the freedoms the software is
    licensed under, not the lack of a pricetag. The GPL is the prime
    reason why Microsoft is having a hard time competing with
    GNU/Linux/Open Source software.

  3. The Linux Documentation Project has
    a number of href="">
    excellent HOWTO
    documents, longer and
    FAQs on quite a
    number of topics.

  4. Slashdot (also known as
    /.) -- News for
    Nerds, Stuff that Matters
    . This is a great place to
    get a feel for what the hot topics of discussion is in the
    open source/free software world. You can join their daily
    mailing list of news items.

  5. -- when you
    need to look for open source software. This is an package
    announcement repository. This is very useful if you sort of
    know what you need (say "web log analysis") but don't know
    which packages are available. You can join their daily mailing
    list of new/updated packages.

  6. -- This
    is a site that provides all the web tools needed to manage an
    open source project -- mailing list, CVS code repositories,
    bug tracking, download servers, etc. Their search engine is
    also very useful for finding particular open source packages.
    Not everyone informs href="">freshmeat of new packages or

  7. -- A good general
    purpose starting point for information.

  8. --
    While not really a usefull website, they host the very useful
    openprojects IRC chat network. Point a IRC client to
    Useful/interesting channels are #linuxhelp and

  9. Major Linux Distributions:

    1. Red Hat -- North America,
      worldwide, primary commercial vendor.

    2. SuSE -- Strong European
      presence, known for high quality and very complete distribution
      First distribution to ship six(!) CDs.

    3. debian -- non-commercia
      distribution; has a strong university and world wide following.
      nice package manager. One simple command to find, download and
      install software for example apt-get install apache.
      To keep
      a system updated to the latest versions, simply apt-get upd
      apt-get -u upgrade

    4. Mandrake
      -- North America, worldwide, focuses more on the
      desktop and ease-of-install. A good alternative to
      Red Hat for the novice user.

  10. --
    "Fresh ISOs like Mom used to Burn". If you are looking to
    download linux installation CDs, this is the one place to go.
    If you don't have broadband, just buy some cheap cds (under
    $5) from one of the many sponsors. Also check out some of the
    niche, but interesting, linux distributions like href="">BrlSpeak for blind users or href=" ">K12LTSP which is lets you boot
    diskless workstations from an applications server and is
    perfect for a K - 12 education environment.

  11. Linux Weekly News -- Nice
    roll up of the week's news for the Linux community.

  12. --
    more news from the open source/Linux/BSD/GNU/etc world with a
    more journalistic slant.

    -- Listen to the weekly Tuesday night webcasts of various open
    source/Linux/BSD/GNU/etc pundits talk about the weeks news.

  14. Of course the best server hardware to run Linux on can be
    found here: HP and href="">Compaq. Also see the
    technical white papers on href="