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Getting help with Linux

I also like to frequent the 2GB+ Linux software repository at Sunsite, a machine hosted by the University of North Carolina. (There are mirrors of it worldwide.) They also host an excellent hands-on tutorial for complete newbies who want to learn how to use Linux.

Answers on the Net

Not only is the Net where all the developments are taking place, but this is also where some of the best help and documentation can be found. If you want to learn how to do something with Linux, or have a question about some aspect of your Linux system, here is the way to go about finding an answer on the Net:

Check the HOWTOs: The Linux HOWTOs are part of the Linux Documentation Project and a useful collection of up-to-the-minute tutorials on how to do various things with your system.

Look it up at the LDP: The Linux Documentation Project is an intense collection of free documentation on Linux, including HOWTOs and several full-fledged Linux books (some of which are available from O'Reilly and others).

Search netnews: Usenet, or "netnews," is a huge, ongoing discussion base on the Net, and the Linux newsgroups are among Usenet's busiest. Searching it with tools such as DejaNews and AltaVista and entering "Linux" and key terms that relate to your search will often yield positive results.

Wade through Linux links: The Linux Resources Page is hosted by the pro-Linux consultants at SSC (publisher of Linux Journal), and contains links to just about every Linux resource on the Net. Worth searching here are the archives to Linux Gazette, Linux Journal's digital sister publication.

Ask on IRC: The #linux and #linuxhelp channels on IRC can provide you with instant help from a live person. Used sparingly, this can be an excellent resource for quickly finding out just what you need to know.

Post on netnews: If you still haven't found your answer, open up your news-reader software and post your question to the appropriate Linux newsgroup on Usenet. A live human, not a pre-recorded cassette, will answer and help you for free. There's one catch though: Once you too become a Linux guru, return the favor and spend a little time on Usenet helping out a newbie with a problem which you know the solution to.