1. Introduction

The traditional means of troubleshooting computer-related problems involves consulting user's manuals, books, friends - probably enticed with goodies - and, when all the former do not yield a solution, calling the technical support service of the vendor of the product in question. And, we all know pleasant and reliably efficacious the latter stratagem is. Unfortunately, this is the norm in the sphere of commercial proprietary products.

In contradistinction, Linux, and related distributions, utilities and applications software, have largely been developed according to the Open Source model, wherein developers have used electronic communication over the Internet - typically in the form of publicly-accessible Mailing Lists - to collaborate with their peers in the refinement of the associated source code. Such collaboration has also traditionally involved the online publication of user's manuals, lists of Frequently-Asked-Questions (FAQ's), knowledge bases, release notes, formal guides such as this document (HOWTO's) and tutorials. In addition, users often assist others through the forum of Usenet and other newsgroups and the posted messages are readily accessible in the form of searchable archives. These Linux-related newsgroups are renowned for their high level of user participation. In significant measure, Linux may be considered a product of the Internet.

Considered together, these resources enable access to a large, ever-expanding factual database, and my intent is to encourage and direct the reader to utilize these repositories when faced with an issue not addressed in the documentation that is included with each distribution of Linux. Linux veterans who assist newcomers through the forum of Usenet soon become aware of the frequency with which certain technical questions are repeatedly posted - questions the answers to which are readily available in one or more of the existent online repositories. So, to diminish the likelihood of being "flamed" in response to your posted question on Usenet or irc, read further!

Armed with a browser, Linux users may rapidly become adept at troubleshooting their systems. The key is knowing how and where to look. My objective is to guide the user - particularly the Linux newbie - in this quest.

1.1. Document Updates

The latest version of this document will always be available at the Linux Documentation Project. The document will also be available in SGML, PS, PDF, and other formats at that website.

1.2. Copyright and License

Copyright © 1999-2005, by Jean-Philippe Guérard. This material may be distributed only subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Open Publication Licence, v1.0 or later (see Appendix A).

1.3. Feedback and Corrections

I always welcome feedback and constructive criticism. You can reach me at . In particular, I wish to be notified about any errors in this document and resources you believe deserving of inclusion, but not presently covered herein. Because the assessment of the value of a particular resource is inherently subjective, I do not guarantee that I will include it, but I will certainly give any suggestion thoughtful consideration. In anticipation, Thanks.

1.4. Translations

This document has already been translated in several languages. If you have made a translation of this document, please e-mail me and I will add your translation to this list.

1.5. Document history

Howard Mann conceived and formulated the first version of this HOWTO. He kept managing and updating it until version 1.3. Maintainership was then taken over by Jean-Philippe Guérard, who is now in charge of this document.