5. Usenet Newsgroup Archives

The ability to search for and retrieve information from archived posts to the Linux-related (Usenet) newsgroups represents a powerful means of troubleshooting in Linux.

Search engines permit one to search the archives by stipulating the forum, keywords, authors, dates, language and combinations thereof. Because the number of Linux-related newsgroups is large, the likelihood of finding useful information is high.

The main web site that currently provides access to Usenet archives using a search engine is http://groups.google.com. The most effective way to do a search is to use its Advanced Groups Search page.

I would like to relate a brief anecdote to demonstrate the efficacy of this approach. The first time I attempted to build a kernel, I was presented with this error message when I invoked a "make" command:

make[1]: as86: Command not found
make[1]: *** [bootsect.o] Error 127
make[1]: Leaving directory `/usr/src/linux/arch/i386/boot'
make: *** [zImage]
Error 2

I had no idea what as86 was, but I entered it as the keyword in the Subject field of the Advanced Groups Search page at groups.google.com, and was presented with a large number of posts from folks who had encountered the same problem. Respondents had provided the reason and solution: I did not have an assembler/linker necessary to create machine code, and the bin86 package provided it. I downloaded and installed a RPM package of the latter and was on my way. This entire process took about 10 minutes!