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Newsgroups: comp.os.linux,news.answers
Subject: Linux Frequently Asked Questions 1/2 [monthly posted]
Summary: Linux, a small unix for 386-AT computers, that has the advantage
	 to be free.
Message-ID: <6576@geocub.UUCP>
Date: 11 May 92 19:09:17 GMT
Expires: 11 Jun 92 09:00:27 GMT
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Archive-name: linux-faq/part1
Last-Modified: 92/05/11  20:51:19
Version: 1.7

*							*
*   Answers to Frequently asked questions about Linux   *
*							*

This post contains Part 1 of the Linux FAQ

Hi Linuxers!

The originall FAQ 1st version was posted in Dec. 19, by Robert Blum,

Most credits of this work to Linus, Robert and Ted, the rest was
either on the list posted by many (real) activists, not me ;-), either
in some other news groups, or else by direct posting to me (thanks
Humberto, Dan, Michael, Drew, Audoin). I haven't systematically
copyrighted them, so thanks to every one who participated even
indirectly to this FAQ.

Many of the questions could be avoided, if people had read the FAQ of
the following newsgroups: 
comp.lang.c,, comp.unix.questions 
[The last-change-date of this posting is always "two minutes ago".  :-)]

This is the introduction to a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ
for short) about Linux with answers (Yeap!).  This article contains a
listing of the sections, followed by the question/answer part.

This FAQ is supposed to reduce the noise level ;-) in the comp.os.linux
newsgroup, and spare the time of many activists. I will post it twice a 
month, since there are more and more new incomers, and new features.

BTW This FAQ is available at the main Linux sites in the doc
directory, the addresses are given in section II. of this FAQ.

Please suggest any change, rephrasing, deletions, new questions,
answers ...  
Please include "FAQ" in the subject of messages sent to me about FAQ.  
Please use whatever will be the From part 
of this message.

Thanks in advance,

Future Plan:
	- verification/location/organization for files available 
	via FTP (I've tried what a mess!!). In fact I can't handle
	this, so if there is some kind soul...
	- reorganization of the FAQ. I don't know what will be the
	next step of this, may be numbering and subsectionning.

	0.	WARNINGS			(part1)
	IV.	LINUX and DOS			(part1)
	VII.	FEATURES			(part2)
	VIII.	MORE HINTS			(part2)

In what follows I consider Linuxv0.95c+ as the current version, the
Linuxv0.96 should be out in a very short while. Linus Torvalds wrote
the following about the 0.96 release:

0.96 has a lot of changes; it contains a lot of new files, as well as
some reorganizations in the old ones.

The main new things are:
- The SCSI distribution is now in the standard package.
- X11r5 as ported by Orest Zborowski is supported. It's still in 
beta-testing (join the X11 channel see the USEFUL ADRESS section)
- Hopefully better interrupt latency
- Reorganization of the vfs routines and minix filesystem driver
- ps/uptime patches + added readahead, so having computationnaly
intensive background processes is not as noticeable anymore while
doing IO.

Due to my hardware restriction(386SX, IDE drives, 8MB RAM, 2MB swap
file and VGA card); some information provided in this FAQ about X11,
and SCSI drivers are not my own. I just grab them from the various
mailing lists and comp.os.linux.


QUESTION: What is linux?

ANSWER: Linux is a small unix for 386-AT computers, that has the added
advantage of being free. It is still in beta-testing, but is slowly
getting useful even for somewhat real developement.  The current
version is 0.95c+, date: April 9th 1992. The previous version v0.95a
(March 17th) has been patched a bit. 

   Linux 0.95(c+) is a freely distributable UNIX clone.  It implements a
subset of System V and POSIX functionality.  LINUX has been written
from scratch, and therefore does not contain any AT&T or MINIX
code--not in the kernel, the compiler, the utilities, or the
libraries.  For this reason it can be made available with the complete
source code via anonymous FTP.  LINUX runs only on 386/486 AT-bus
machines; porting to non-Intel architectures is likely to be
difficult, as the kernel makes extensive use of 386 memory management
and task primitives.

QUESTION: What is the current state of Linux?

ANSWER: do "finger", or read the
comp.os.linux newsgroup.

QUESTION: I've just heard about linux, what should I do to get it?

ANSWER: First read all this FAQ, and the INFO-SHEET monthly post, then
go to the nearest ftp site (see below), download the Images there are
two a rootimage and a bootimage (in general in the images directory),
for the present version, you need boot-image095c+ and root-image095a
(or letter after), then download the INSTALL and RELNOTES files.  Find
the rawrite utility (for example at tsx-11 it's in
/pub/linux/INSTALL), then rawrite the images on HIGH density floppies
(5.25 or 3.5), finally boot on the root diskette and that's it.  BTW
From another Unix system a "dd" works fine. On "my" sun I use the
following "uncompress -c root-image.Z > /dev/fd0", assuming I had a
formatted floppy in /dev/hd0

After playing a while, you should want to install linux on HD (there
are scripts on the v0.95c+ images for that purpose), see also section
III for INSTALLATION. Then you will need
a compiler (gcc) and utilities, all can be found at the different
places described in section II below.

QUESTION: Does it run on my computer?

ANSWER: Linux has been written on a clone-386, with IDE drives and a
VGA screen. It should work on most similar setups. The harddisk should
be AT-standard, and the system must be ISA.  A high density floppy
drive -- either 5".25 or 3".5

IDE and MFM seem to work with no problem. It works, also, for some
ESDI drive (Joincom controller with Magtron drive after you have
commented out the "unexpected hd interrupt"-message from hd.c). There
exists a high-level SCSI driver, under which low-level drivers are
placed; a ST-01/ST-02 low driver has been completed see the FEATURES
and the USEFUL ADDRESSES sections.

Otherwise the requirements seem relatively small: a 386 (SX, DX or any
486).  Any video card of the following: Hercules, CGA, EGA, (S)VGA.

It needs at least 2M to run, and 4M is definitely a plus. It can
happily use up to 16M (and more if you change some things). 

BTW On some high speed machine (486/33 DTK, 64KB cache, 4MB RAM), 
there might be some trouble with the HD driver ; on possible cure is
to switch off the "turbo" i.e. set the speed to 8MHz instead of 33MHz 

QUESTION: Why the suggested 4Meg, for Linux?

ANSWER: Linux uses the first 640k for kernel text, kernel data and
buffercache. Your mother board may eat up 384K because of the chipset.
Moreover there is: init/login, a shell, update possibly other daemons.
Then, while compiling there is make and gcc (1.40 ~530k; 2.01 ~770k).
So you don't have enough real memory and have to page.

QUESTION: How would this operate in an OS/2 environment?

ANSWER: Linux will coexist with *any* other operating system(s) which
respects the "standard" PC partionning scheme - this includes Dos,
Os/2, Minix etc.

QUESTION: Will linux run on a PC or 286-AT? If not, why?

ANSWER: Linux uses the 386 chip protected mode functions extensively,
and is a true 32-bit operating system. Thus x86 chips, x<3, will
simply not run it.

QUESTION: Will Linux run on a 386 Laptop?

ANSWER: It works for some at least.

QUESTION: How big is the 'complete' Linux package?

ANSWER: Well, the boot and root image diskettes are about 750Ko
compressed.  The kernel sources are about 200Ko compressed, and the
libc sources are another 170Ko compressed.  The GNU C (1.40) compiler 
is 670Ko, the GNU C (2.01) package which enclose C and C++ compiler is
about 3Mo; and the other miscellaneous unix utilities are probably a 
bit over a megabyte.

Now add sources to whatever you want to port and compile yourself.
The sources to GNU emacs are about 3 megabytes, compressed.  Groff (a
troff replacement) is just over 1 megabyte.

If you think this is big, remember that the OS/2 2.0 Limited
Availability release is 20 1.44 megabyte diskettes.

QUESTION: (Dan) How long has Linux been publicly available?

ANSWER (partial): Few months, v0.10 went out in Nov. 91, v0.11 in Dec.
and the current version 0.95c+ is available since April 9th. But even
it is pretty recent it is quite reliable. There are very few and small
bugs and in its current state it is mostly useful for people who are
willing to port code and write new code.
As Linux is very close to a reliable/stable system, Linus decides that
v0.13 will be known as v0.95
Believe it or not: the whole story started (nearly) with two processes
that printed AAAA... and BBBB...
BTW consult the digest#136 Vol2 for a complete story

QUESTION: What is the proper pronounciation for "Linux"?

ANSWER: (Linus himself)
'li' is pronounced with a short [ee] sound: compare prInt, mInImal etc. 
'nux' is also short, non-diphtong, like in pUt.  It's partly due to
minix: linux was just my working name for the thing, and as I wrote it
to replace minix on my system, the result is what it is...  linus' minix
became linux. 

I originally intended it to be called freax (although buggix was one
contender after I got fed up with some of the more persistent bugs :)
and I think the kernel makefiles up to version 0.11 had something to
that effect ("Makefile for the freax kernel" in a comment).  But arl
called the linux directory at pub/OS/Linux, and the name
stuck.  Maybe just as well: freax doesn't sound too good either (freax
is obviosly free + freak + the obligatory -x). 

QUESTION: What's about the copyright of linux.

ANSWER: This is an except of the RELEASE Notes v.095a: Linux is
NOT public domain software, but is copyrighted by Linus Torvalds. The
copyright conditions are the same as those imposed by the GNU
copyleft: get a copy of the GNU copyleft at any major ftp-site (if it
carries linux, it probably carries a lot of GNU software anyway, and
they all contain the copyright).

QUESTION: Should I be a UNIX and/or a DOS wizard to install/use Linux?

ANSWER: Not at all, just follow the install rules, of course it will be
easier for you if you know things about Unix. Right now Linux is used
by more than 400 persons, very few of them enhance the kernel, some
adds/ports new soft, most of us are only (but USEFUL) beta testers.
Last but not least, various Linuxers work on manpages, newuser_help,
file-system organization. So join us and choose your "caste"

QUESTION: What are the differences, pros and cons compared to Minix ?

ANSWER (partial): 
- Linux is not as mature as Minix, there is less working software right now.  
- Linux only works on 386 and 486 processors.  
- Linux needs 2M of memory just to run, 4M to be useful.  
- Linux is a more traditional unix kernel, it doesn't use message passing.

- Linux is free, and freely distributable, BUT copyrighted.  
- Linux has some advanced features such as:
  - Memory paging with copy-on-write
  - Demand loading of executables
  - Page sharing of executables
  - Multi-threaded file system
  - job control and virtual memory, virtual consoles and pseudo-ttys.
- Linux is a more traditional unix kernel, it doesn't use message

QUESTION: Does Linux use TSS segments to provide multitasking?


QUESTION: If my PC runs under Linux, is it possible to ftp, rlogin,
rsh etc.. to other Unix boxes?

ANSWER: Not yet, but kermit has been ported to Linux, and the ka9q too.

QUESTION: Does linux do paging? Can I have virtual memory on my small

ANSWER: Linux0.95(a) does do paging in a better way than Linux0.12.

QUESTION: Can I have tasks spanning the full 4GB of addressable 386
memory? No more 64kB limits like in coherent or standard minix?

ANSWER: Linux does limit the task-size, but at a much more reasonable
64MB (MEGA-byte, not kilos), so bigger programs are no problem.

QUESTION: Does the bigger program sizes mean I can run X?

ANSWER: X is ported to linux, it's in beta and needs some special
hardware stuff. As I said in the 0. section, there should be some
support in the next Linux release.


QUESTION: Where can I get linux?

ANSWER: Linux can be gotten by anonymous ftp from
1) Major Sites
		directory /pub/OS/Linux
	Tupac-Amaru.Informatik.RWTH-Aachen.DE (
		directory /pub/msdos/replace
US: (
		directory /pub/linux

2) Mirroring sites (some of them)
		directory /pub/OS/Linux
		directory /pub/os/Linux (
		directory pub/linux (
		directory pub/Linux
US: (
		directory linux (
		directory pub/Linux/mirrors
		directory misc/linux

You might want to check out which of these is the most up-to-date.
Moreover is mirroring hpb, nic and tsx.

If you don't have ftp-capability, you are in trouble. See next Q/A.  If
you have no uncompress utility, there are a lot even for DOS, have a
look on SIMTEL, or else use facilities provided by some sites to
uncompress for you. Don't do that if you can, because it's lengthy,
expensive and causes troubles to other users on ftp sites.

QUESTION: I do not have FTP access, what can I do to get linux?

ANSWER: Try to contact a friend on the net with those access, or try
mailserver/ftpmail server otherwise contact ty...@ATHENA.MIT.EDU. You
might try mailing "" with "help" in the body of
the mail.  If you choose ftpmail server (example:,
with "help" in the body, the server will send back instructions and
command list. As an exemple to get the list of files available at tsx-11
in /pub/linux send:

		subject: anything
		reply <your e-mail>
		chdir /pub/linux
		dir -R

In Europe is accessible via e-mail (send
"help" in the body to

QUESTION: Is there a newsgroup or mailing-list about linux? Where can
I get my questions answered? How about bug-reports?

ANSWER: comp.os.linux is formed, and alt.os.linux is dying little by 
little, for those who can't access to the news you can ask for digest to:
Linux-Activists-requ...@NEWS-DIGESTS.MIT.EDU. On the other hand, mail
sent to Linux-Activi...@NEWS-DIGESTS.MIT.EDU are posted to

DO NOT mail "I want to [un]subscribe" to the newsgroup, use
the request-address. IF not your mail-box will be over-crowded by

Questions and bug-reports can be sent either to the newsgroup or to
"", depending on which you find more
appropriate. Moreover there is a BUGLIST file available in the
different main site (at least you can find it at tsx-11, in

People are working on the organization of Linux, this is done on
a separate mailing-list.

linux-standards: Discussion of distribution and directory standards
for the Linux operating system, including directory structure, file
location, and release disk format.

Requests to be added to this list must be sent to:

Others on the man pages and users guide.

For information/development of SCSI drivers.

And last but not least there is the original mailing-list, which is
now a multi-channel list. 

QUESTION: Does there exist a place where the traffic of the newsgroup
is kept?

ANSWER: Yes, on nic and tsx-11 (see the ftp addresses above), and since
12th March, a Gopher server is up at
( The archives go back to Nov. 18. 91


QUESTION: Does there exist *any* reliable information that can help me
to install Linux, 'cause I know very few things about Dos and/or Unix?

ANSWER: Yes, there is a lot of effort which has been done recently.
You should read the following files:
Beginner's Guide: Installation 	by 	I. Reid
(Dos) Beginner's guide		by	C. Boyer
Info-sheet			by	R. Blum
Install-0.xx			by	L. Torvalds (?)
Relnotes-0.xx			by	L. Torvalds (?)

QUESTION: Does there exists a simple way to get all (or nearly) the
Linux stuff? 

ANSWER: You can grab an 'interim' version of Linux at in
/pub/linux/mcc-interim/0.95c+/images (thanks to A. V. Le Blanc). The
README files are in /pub/linux/mcc-interim/0.95c+ These files are
mirrored at in /pub/Linux/mirrors/uk.mirror/mcc-interim

QUESTION: What are the files provided in the interim distrib?

ANSWER: (16 April 92) The kernel supplied is the 0.95c+ one, there are
also 4 binaries floppy including C and C++ compilers.
boot-UK.Z (or boot-US.Z) 	this is the boot/root image disk 
util-UK.Z (or util-US.Z)	this disk is mounted on /mnt
comp.image			the Gnu C 2.1 compiler (and everything)
				+shoelace for Linux
comp2.image			the GNU C++ 2.1 compiler (and all)

QUESTION: Ok, I've got the interim distribution, what should I do now?

ANSWER: You should read the README file provided, and follow the
instructions. Roughtly, you have to uncompress boot-?? and util-??
then rawrite them on HD floppies. After that boot on the boot-?? disk
and follow the instructions (some are also on-line provided); remove
the floppy and put the util one. 
QUESTION: I have copyed all the rootimage stuff on my HD, how can I
use the hard-disk as root?

ANSWER: There are three ways to answer this: 
a) You have downloaded the linux sources and a compiler, in that case
recompile the kernel to make a new boot-floppy according to your
environment. If you have dowloaded the sources of linux-095c+, you
just have a look in the main Makefile to set your national keyboard,
your root drive and the flags for the compiler version you use; if you
have grabed linux-095a then you have to set your keyboard in
kernel/chr_drv/keyboard.S (.S not .s). "make disk " will compile the
kernel and create a new boot floppy, or else "make" and then "cp Image
b) You have nothing except the images and DOS, in that case you should
have read the INSTALLATION notices provided at your ftp site, but
well: you have to change the boot image at offset 508.  The word (in
386-order, i.e low-byte first) tells the system which device to use as
root: initially it's 0 which means that we want to use a floppy of the
same type as the boot-disk (this is the reason why HIGH density floppy
is required for the boot-image).  In order to use the HD as root, this
value has to be changed to point to the correct device. For that
purpose you can download the program enclosed in INSTALL-0.10
(provided some slight modification according to the new minor/major
numbers) use the program written by Henning Spruth wich can be found
in digest#149 vol1 (there are both the C code and the uuencoded DOS
executable) or else any sector editor.
c)If you have Linux running, the command rdev will change the boot device
of a floppy or of a Linux image file.  In the 'interim' release,
because the boot disk is in memory, there are instructions for unmounting
the utilities disk and making a floppy which will boot with the newly
installed file system as root.

QUESTION: How can I be sure I won't be writing over anything
important?  I have to use DOS on my machine, and I don't want to
lose any files.

ANSWER: Back up everything. Just in case. Then, write some easily
recognizable pattern to the partition you have reserved for linux,
using some DOS tool. You can then use "cat /dev/hdX" under linux to
examine which of the partitions you used.

QUESTION: Linux mkfs doesn't accept the size I give the device,
although I double-checked with fdisk, and it's correct.

ANSWER: Be sure you give the size in BLOCKS, ie 1024 bytes, not
sectors. The mkfs doesn't work for very big partition (over than 64
Megs). Also, make doubly certain that you have the correct partition.

There are a few rules about this: /dev/hda (linux0.95a and latter) 
corresponds to /dev/hd0 (under minix) and /dev/hdb (linux0.95a ..) 
to /dev/hd5 (minix).  DO NOT USE THEM, they are the whole raw
disk, not partitions. Also if a partition is on drive 1 under minix
(ie /dev/hd1-4), it is drive 1 under linux as well.  Moreover, there
is no real consensus on whether partition #1 is the first partition on
the disk, or is the first entry in the partition table.  Some parition
programs sort this information on the screen only, some will write the
sorted information back to the hard disk.  Linux assumes that the
first entry is hda1, and so if some utility starts sorting/reordering
the table these things can change.  Moreover, use very carefully extended
partition they are still in beta-test (this is in the installation notes). 

REMARK Minix does some reordering.

A useful hack is to make each of your partitions a different size.
Then after any editting or possible change to the partition table you
can boot a floppy system and run fdisk (linux's, not DOS) to see if
the assignments still hold.

QUESTION: I have a one partitionned 40Mb disk. If I run mkfs, what

ANSWER: If you do that, you will have an empty 40Mb Linux file system.
You should, at least, make on your hard disk, one partition per
operating system you want to use. 

QUESTION: I mounted the linux filesystem, and copied the files from
the root-disk to the harddisk. Now I cannot find them any more, and
somethimes linux dies with a "panic: trying to free unused inode".

ANSWER: You have probably forgot to sync before rebooting. Linux, like
all unices, use a "buffer cache" to speed up reads and writes to disk.
On a machine that has enough memory, this buffer-cache is 1.5MB, and
if you forget to sync before exiting, it may not be fully written out
to disk. Re-mkfs and re-install (or try to use the preliminary fsck,
but remember that although fsck tries to correct the faults it finds,
it may fail.)


QUESTION: Is it possible to access to DOS world from Linux

ANSWER: Yes, there is the mtools package (with patches for devices.c)
The original sources of mtools can be found at any places not only at
nic, tupac and tsx-11, and the patches for Linux (with fix for big DOS
partitions are in the directory patches or ports). Moreover you should
download the file patch.Z to apply patches :)
It is possible to find the compiled mtools stuff at mcc (see above for
the address)
BTW An improved version of mtools is on in
/pub/OS/Linux/tools/mtools.n.tar.Z, where all tools are in a single
executable; the device configuration are set in /etc/mtools one per
line. In the package, you will find a readme file, the compiled
program, an example of /etc/mtools and diffs to mtools-2.0.5.tar.Z.
Itt's also provided in the 'interim' release (in the util-?? disk).

QUESTION: the mtools package won't work. I get an ENOENT error message
for all devices.

ANSWER: mtools needs to be told which device to look for. If you have
the mtools.n.tar.Z package set correctly your /etc/mtools file; if you
use the older mtools stuff (see Q/A above) use 'ln' or 'mknod' to
create a special file called "/dev/dos?", where ? is A, B, C, X or Y.
A and B are for floppies (12 bits), C is for hard disk and X, Y for
any. This file should point to the device you want to read.  About the
minor/major pair have a look in section INSTALLATION HINTS.

QUESTION: Whenever I use mtools to read a 720K in an 1.44MB drive, I
get a long sequence of reset-floppy-errors, why? 

ANSWER: This is what happens if you use the /dev/PS0 device (b 2 28),
to read a 720k floppy you have to use another device, for example
/dev/ps0 (b 2 16).

QUESTION: I've got the mtools.n.tar.Z package, but I can't read
anything even with the etc/mtools file properly set. Any clue ?

ANSWER: To use the binary you have to link (or simlink) the mtools
binary with mattrib, mcd, mcopy, mdel, mdir, mformat, mkmanifest,
mlabel, mmd, mrd, mread, mren, mtype and mwrite.
Then You just need to use the proper mstuff with the apropriate

QUESTION: What is as86.tar.Z ?

ANSWER: It's the port of Bruce Evans' minix assembler, you need it to 
be able to recompile Linux at your convenience. In fact this is ONLY
used for boot/setup.S and boot/bootsect.S they create 80x86 REAL mode
BTW as86 should not work on keyboard.S, instead, you must use gcc -E
and then (g)as.

QUESTION: Turbo (Microsoft) Assembler won't compile the Linux boot
code.  In fact, some of the opcodes in these files look completely
unfamiliar.  Why?

ANSWER: The Linux boot codes are written in Bruce Evans' minix
assembler, which has the same opcodes as the original minix assembler
ported to linux get as86.tar.Z Anyway there are a few differences
between these and normal DOS assemblers.

Path: sparky!uunet!mcsun!corton!geocub!numero6!corsini
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux,news.answers
Subject: Linux Frequently Asked Questions 2/2 [monthly posted]
Summary: Linux, a small and free unix for 386-AT computers.
Message-ID: <6577@geocub.UUCP>
Date: 11 May 92 19:10:03 GMT
Expires: 11 Jun 92 09:00:27 GMT
Sender: ln...@geocub.UUCP
Followup-To: poster
Organization: Greco Prog. CNRS & LaBRI, Bordeaux France
Lines: 1140
Approved: news-answers-requ...@MIT.Edu

Archive-name: linux-faq/part2
Last-Modified: 92/05/11  20:51:19
Version: 1.7

*							*
*   Answers to Frequently asked questions about Linux   *
*							*

This post contains Part 2 of the Linux FAQ. It must be read *after* the
first part. It contains the following sections:

	VII.	FEATURES			(part2)
	VIII.	MORE HINTS			(part2)



QUESTION: While running du I get "Kernel panic: free_inode: bit
already cleared".  Also, du produces a ENOENT error for all the files
in certain of my directories.  What's going on?

ANSWER: These are both consistent with a bad file-system.  That's
relatively easy to produce by not syncing before rebooting, as linux
usually has 1.5MB of buffer space held in memory (unless you have <=4M
RAM, in which case the buffers are only about 0.5MB). Also linux
doesn't do anything special about the bit-map blocks, and as they are
used often, those are the thing most likely to be in memory. If you
reboot, and they haven't been written to disk ...

Just do an fsck on the device, the -a flag might repair it otherwise,
the only thing to do is to reinstall the filesystem from the Images.

A sync is done only every 30 seconds normally (standard unix
practice), so do one by hand (some people think you should do 3 syncs
after each other, but that's superstition), or by logging out from the
startup-shell, which automatically syncs the system. Unmounting a
filesystem also syncs it (but of course you can never unmount root).

Another (sad) possibility is that you have bad blocks on your disk.
Not very probable, as they would have to be in the inode-tables, just
a couple of blocks in size. Again there aren't programs available to
read a disk for bad sectors and put them in some kind of
"bad-sector-file".  On IDE drives this is no problem (bad sectors are
automatically mapped away).

QUESTION: How can I partition my hard-drive to use Linux?

ANSWER: There are (at least) two ways to answer this. The easy way is
probably to use a program which will do it for you, such as the MS-DOS
fdisk, Minix fdisk, Xenix/Unix fdisk, or programs such as edpart.exe 
or part.exe. With the 0.95a distribution, there is pfdisk. To use it
have a look in the beginner's guide written by I. Reid, it's clear and
it had worked for me like a charm. In the mcc-interim release ther is
also fdisk-0.92, which runs under Linux and manages partition tables
(it also creates extended partitions).

On the other hand, you can use a disk editor and modify the contents
of the partition table directly. This has been already done, and an
extensive explanatory note can be found in the mailing-list archives 
(25th Jan. 92). You must also edit the bpb on the Dos partition you
are shrinking, otherwise Dos will step on Linux.

BTW It might be useful to set three (3) separated partitions for
Linux, one for the root, another one for the usr and a third one for
swap, as an illustration, my root partition is 10Meg, the usr is 22Meg
and the swap partition is 8Meg (twice the size of RAM on my box). As 
an experience I have used MS-DOS fdisk to partition my two hd and got 
no peculiar difficulties.
You can, as long as you stay within the 64MB per filesystem
limit, have swap, root, etc, ... all on there.

QUESTION: I heard something about repartition a hard disk without
deleting everything on it, any clue?

ANSWER: It's not a program but a partition procedure which requires
a) a partitionning program
b) a sector editor
The procedure itself can be found (at least) in digest#132 Vol2.

QUESTION: What must I do to mkfs a floppy?

ANSWER: blocks are of size 1K so 1.44 floppy is 1440 blocks. The
floppy has to be formatted before this will work.

QUESTION: When I run kermit under Linux, I get "Warning, Read access
to lock directory denied". What am I doing wrong?

ANSWER: Nothing, you just need to create /usr/spool/uucp (kermit 4.6?)
or /usr/spool/locks (this is for the kermit5A), which is where kermit
like to lock files.

QUESTION: When I try to (un)compress many files in one command, the
command partially fails?

ANSWER: This is a bug, many partial fixes are floating around but ..
You can solve it by a bash command "for i in whateverfiles;do 
compress $i; done". Another possibility is to download the
new tar and compress binaries (at tsx /pub/linux/binaries/usr.bin). 

QUESTION: I can do this as root but not as non-root, is it a bug?

ANSWER: Except for the make utility, the problem is caused by an
incorrect permission flag. The most common problems are about /tmp
which should be 1777 and /dev/ttys? which might be 766. So as root do

	chmod 1777 /tmp ; chmod 766 /dev/ttys?

QUESTION: When I use make as non root, it doesn't work, why?

ANSWER: ?????, the message is either (null) setuid ..., or (null)
setgid... I don't know how to fix it. May be this is fixed in the
gmake-3.62 version enclosed in gmake-3.62.tar.Z (at tsx in
pub/linux/binaries), or with the make.a provided in the gcc-2.1
package or even the one provided in mcc-interim.
BTW This problem does not exist with the pmake (make for BSD 4.3 Reno
and BSD 4.4) package (I'm sure of that 'cause I use this one). 

QUESTION: Sometimes, I get "mount can't open lock file"; what does this

ANSWER: This can happened for two reasons: 
A) You try to mount something as non-root. In that case you can either
retry as root, or set the setuid bit to mount.
B) You are root. mount wants to open /etc/mtab and /etc/mtab~ - the
first one for reading, the second as lock file. If there is already a
mtab~ remove it. This can happen if you used once gnuemacs on mtab.
To forbid that case, just add the following entry in your /etc/rc file:
rm -f /etc/mtab

QUESTION: When I try "mount /dev/hd?? /user", I get error 2.

ANSWER: Be sure, that your mount point /user does exist; if not perform 
a "mkdir /user". 

Special gcc information are located in section IX. A special section is
devoted to it since it's *the* compiler of Linux.

QUESTION: Where can I find the basic starting help?

ANSWER: You have to download the INSTALL notes, and more specially
the 0.11, 0.12 and the current one 0.95(a). A special help for 
beginners is available on major Linux sites (tsx-11,
/pub/linux/docs/guide.1a written by Chuck Boyer).

QUESTION: I've got all the things on site ??? but I don't know what
goes where.

ANSWER: Read this carefully, it's a mess right know and I hope this
problem will be fixed when the ABC-release will be out. It heavily
rely on the compiler you use:
A) The following information are for those using gcc-1.40 or previous
release (1.37): include.tar.Z goes to /usr/include; system.tar.Z
contains the latest sources of the system files (mkswap, mkfs, fsck
and fdisk).  In version 0.12 utilbin.tar.Z has been replaced by
fileutil.tar.Z and utils.tar.Z which contains a new tar to handle the
symbolic links, make, uemacs kermit and minor programs (sed,...).
Other utilities have been ported separately.
B) For those who use gcc-2.1 there are nearly everything in the
package that you can find at banjo in pub/Linux/GCC in the
2.1shared.tar.Z file. You could find more sources in system095a.tar.Z
file (at tsx in sources/system/system0.95a)
C) The 'mcc-interim' release comes with gcc 2.1, which it installs in the
correct place.  If you have tar and compress, you can install gcc from
the 'interim' comp.image and g++ from the comp2.image even if you don't
have the rest of the 'interim' version.

QUESTION: When I use the images, and I type "tar xvf ..." I got
"command not found". What did I wrong?

ANSWER: Nothing except that you have not used the install script on
the image, in the distribution of 0.95a and latter the tar file is 
in compressed form (lack of place). You have first to copy tar.Z on 
another disk/diskette and uncompress it, this command is available 
on your diskettes (either uncompress or compress -d); this is one of
the feature provided by the install script. 

QUESTION: It seems that $#@! ported on linux don't run correctly

ANSWER: Possible, but check first if the size of your file corresponds
to the one on the ftp sites, if it is then check the BUGLIST available
on the main linux sites. If the bug is not reported, do a complete
report of the error, try to correct it and send your result to

QUESTION: Does anyone port this to linux?, if not i'll compile it

ANSWER: First check on the sites, have a look to the info-sheet
monthly post and also available on sites. Have a look in the "old"
digest files and mail-archives of linux-activists, these are kept at
least at tsx-11 and nic possibly at tupac. Look also at the GNU(*)
utilities to see if someone has already written a freely distribuable
version. Ask then on the list/news.

(*) GNU stands for GNU's Not Unix, which (besides being a recursive
acronym) is a project started by the Free Software Foundation (the FSF)
to write a freely distributable version of Unix.  The GNU kernel is
named HURD, and is based on Mach.  It is currently being written, and is
not yet done.  Many of the GNU utilities, however, are completed and are
much more functional than the original Unix utilities.  Since they are
freely available, Linux is using them as well.

QUESTION: I've ported *** to Linux, what should i do to add it in the 
standard distribution?

ANSWER: Read first the previous Q/A, then to make something available to
others you have to contact Alan Clegg ( about
putting your code in the ABC-Release of Linux v0.95a. The ABC-Release
is a standardized set of Linux sources and binaries that will be
available in an easy installable format, and which will be maintained
in a standard way. Submissions should conform to the Linux File System 
standard version 1.0 (this file is kept at in

QUESTION: I want to port *** to Linux, what are the flags?

ANSWER: Recall that Linux implements subset of SYSV and POSIX, so
-DUSG and -DPOSIX work in general. Moreover throw away most of the ld
flags such as -lg, since the libg.a is missing for some version of gcc
(see section IX. for more details).

QUESTION: Linux lacks on ****/ Linux has a bug in ***, what are the
rules to enhance/correct the kernel?

ANSWER: Before anything check if some one else is working on that
subject, contact those people, since end february a BUGLIST (thanks to
Michael Johnson) is kept on the major sites. Test your improvment (it
should work is NOT enough), then send the patches in cdiffs form to
Linus and/or the list, moreover the localization must be clear. This
does NOT mean that bug-reports and patches are not accepted. Moreover,
you should sent a brief note to Michael:; contact
also he organizes the ABC-Release.

QUESTION: What are the device minor/major numbers?

		Memory devices: Major = 1 (characted devices) minor
0	/dev/ram 
1	/dev/mem 
2	/dev/kmem - not implemented (easy, but I haven't done it) 
3	/dev/null 
4	/dev/port (implemented, but untested - don't play with it)

example: "mknod /dev/null c 1 3"

		Floppy disks: Major = 2 (block devices)

minor = drive + 4*type, drive = 0,1,2,3 for A,B,C or D-diskette

type	1: 360kB floppy in 360kB drive (5.25")
	2: 1.2M floppy in 1.2M drive (5.25")
	3: 360kB floppy in 720kB/1.44Mb drive (3.5")
	4: 720kB floppy in 720kB/1.44Mb drive (3.5")
	5: 360kB floppy in 1.2M drive (5.25")
	6: 720kB floppy in 1.2M drive (5.25")
	7: 1.44M floppy in 1.44M drive (3.5")

Thus minor nr for a 1.44Mb floppy in B is: 1 + 4*7 = 29, and to read
an old 360kB floppy in a 1.2M A-drive you need to use minor= 0 + 4*5 
= 20.

Example: "mknod /dev/PS0 b 2 28" (b for block: 2 for floppy, 28 for
1.44 in A)

		Hard disks: Major = 3 (block devices) minor
0	/dev/hda - The whole hd0, including partition table sectors
1	/dev/hda1 - first partition on hd0 
4	/dev/hda4 - fourth partition on hd0 
5	/dev/hda5 - Extended partition
64	/dev/hdb  - The whole hd1, again including partition table info 
65	/dev/hdb1 - first partition on hd1
68	/dev/hdb4 - fourth partition on hd1
69	/dev/hdb5 - extended partition on hd1

NOTE! Be /very/ careful with /dev/hda and /dev/hdb - you seldom need
them, and if you write to them you can destroy the partition tables:
something you probably don't want.  The only things that use /dev/hda
are things like "fdisk" etc.

NOTE 2!! The names for hd's are no longer the same as under minix,
there is a straightforward correspondance, but I think
minix orders the partitions in some way (so that the partition numbers
will be in the same order as the partitions are physically on the
disk).  Linux doesn't order anything: it has the partitions in the
same order as in the partition table (ie /dev/hd?1 might be physically
after /dev/hd?2).

NOTE 3!! Extended partitions are recently detected, use them VERY
carefully, they should work, but backup everything before.

			Tty's: Major = 4 (character devices) minor
0	/dev/tty0 	- general console 1 -
63			- reserved for virtual console
64-127			- reserved for serial io
128-			- reserved for pty's

And more particularly we have: 
64	/dev/ttys1 	- com1
65	/dev/ttys2 	- com2
66	/dev/ttys3	- com3
67	/dev/ttys4	- com4

			lp: Major=6 (character devices) minor since 095c+
0	/dev/lp0
1	/dev/lp1
2	/dev/lp2

			Scsi: Major=8 (block devices)
Minors are assigned in increments of 16 to SCSI disks as they are
found, scanning  from host 0, ID 0 to host n, ID `7, excluding the
host ID. For more information read the SCSI.note file available with
patches for SCSI (see the FEATURES section).

NOTE 4!! all the numbers given are in decimal form (the one you can
see if you perform ls -l on /dev).

QUESTION: How to start Linux from drive B?

ANSWER: There is a DOS utility called boot_b.exe (look at DOS ftp).
Another simple way is to open the box and invert the cables.

QUESTION: The program boot_b works fine /but/ once the first disk is
read the system go back to the first drive, any hints?

ANSWER: Yes, change the bootimage in just the same way that you change
it to boot on the hard drive, execept that the major/minor pair is
different. All these information are in the file INSTALL-0.10.
Remember that if you use a sun or other endian machine, you will need
to reverse the byte order when you run the filter program (also in the
same file).


QUESTION: I've read that linux has virtual consoles, what must I do to
get them?

ANSWER: Yes there are, you can access them with the left <alt>-key
together with <Fn>-key. With the Linux 0.95a Images distribution, 4
consoles are available, getty runs on them. 

BTW: the serial ports are now /dev/ttys0, /dev/ttys1, /dev/ttys2 and
/dev/ttys3. tty0 is the general console. tty128- are reserved to pty's

QUESTION: When Linux boots, I get the following message "8 virtual
consoles"; how can I acess to the 5-8 vc's ?

ANSWER: If you want the getty to run on the 5-8, you should add the
corresponding entries in /etc/inittab. You can also just run sh on
them by using the doshell soft.
And then in either case, the ALT-F[5-8] will access the corresponding

QUESTION: What kind of shell is /bin/sh ?

ANSWER: Until v0.95 it's the Bourne Again Shell, bash-1.11 and 
compilation was straightforward (Linus dixit), just "make" 
that's all or nearly. But as the shell comes bigger and bigger the
v0.95a /bin/sh is ash the BSD 4.3 sh.
BTW I think that next time, it will be rc which is much more better
than ash and tiny wrt bash. If you want to test it, it's (at least) at
nic in /pub/unix/shells and the file is rc-1.2.tar.Z . The compilation
is straightforward (just a few things to modify in Makefile and
Also a port of tcsh6.1 has been done recently (beginning of April)

QUESTION: I've been able to install Linux on my box, but Ctrl-Z nor
switching jobs from background to foreground seem to work, why?

ANSWER: These feature are not provided with the bin/sh (ash) of the
Images, you should download bash to get jobs possibilities.

QUESTION: Does there exist a man page for **** ?

ANSWER: Download man.tar.Z from your favorite linux ftp site, there is
most of the fileutils man page -- either **** or g****, example there
is nothing on ld, but there is for gld :) --, check the whatis
database provided. The files in the cat1 dir are pre-formatted man
pages that the man program can use. Quite recently the man pages for
section 2 have been written (thanks Drew) and can be found, at least
at tsx-11 in /pub/linux/docs/man/man2.tar.Z 

BTW there is no roff,troff nor nroff for Linux. Cawf 2.0 works just
fine for simple man pages, and a partial ms support too. Quite
recently the port of groff has been done (due to gcc2.x port), you can
found it (at least on tsx-11) in pub/linux/binaries/usr.bin/groff.

Moreover Michael Johnson is the coordinator for man pages under Linux,
he is looking for volunteers, so contact

QUESTION: What are the editors available in linux?

ANSWER: Right now there are uemacs, elvis-1.4 (1.5). The port of emacs
18.57 has been done by John T Kohl, files can be found at the
different sites: 
at nic 		it's in the directory xtra
at tsx-11	it's in the directory ports/emacs-18.57.
And recently the port of emacs-18.58 has been done by Bernd Wiegmann
which corrects some pty's problems (that one can be found in
binaries/emacs-18.58 at tsx-11). Also the port of mg (micro gnu) has
been done and can be found at least at (
in pub/linux, mg is the binary and mg.tar.Z is the sources file. You
can also find a PD ed, and elvis has an ex mode. Finnally there are
joe, vile-3.11 and recently elle (Elle Looks Like Emacs).

QUESTION: Does there exist a printer package for Linux?

ANSWER: The lp patches which implement a parallel printer interface
and feature a greatly improved driver design, have been applied in
linux0.95c+.  The original patches can be found in lp095.tar.Z
Once you have successfully recompiled the kernel v0.95c+, you need 
to create new devices in the /dev directory (see the major/minor
information). Printing, then, can be achieved by :
cat filename > /dev/lp1

QUESTION: Does there exist a ps for Linux?

ANSWER: Yes, a very simple one is implemented by default, just press
the scroll-lock key; ctrl-shift-scrollock gives a kind of memory
status. There is also a much more complete ps/memory package it's
ps095.tar.Z. I have tested it, it's GREAT and well documented.
In the kernel v0.95c+, you do not need to apply the patches, just
follow the rest of the information provided. 

QUESTION: It's nice to have the df utility, but it would be nicer if
it would give statistics of the root file system. Would it be
difficult to do?

ANSWER: surely not, in your file /etc/rc, instead of the line
			> etc/mtab
put the following
		  	echo "/dev/hdX (root)" > /etc/mtab
where the X is the hard drive you use as root partition. 

QUESTION: How do I make swapping work?

ANSWER: Quite simply, you need the swapon and the mkswap binaries.
Then you can choose between a swap partition or a swap file.
The mkswap is used to write the "swap signature", whilst the swapon
binary is to activate the swapping. 

First of all you need a partition :), I assume it's the second of your
first disk namely /dev/hda2, and it's 10MB big
A) swap partition:
you have to indicate it's a swap area, this is done via mkswap
(instead of mkfs) which needs the name of the partition and the size
in blocks (a block is 1Ko big); the optional -c flag is for bad block
checking. So for our example you should perform:
mkswap [-c] /dev/hda2 10000
Then you need to indicate that you want linux to use the swap area,
this is done via swapon. In general it is set in the /etc/rc file,
just put the following entry:
/bin/swapon /dev/hda2
B) swap file:
The process is quite close; you need a partition, and a swap file.
Assume that I prefer a swap area of 4MB (I want to keep some place in
/dev/hda2). I need first to "dd" the file.
dd if=/dev/hda2 of=/swap_file bs=1024 count=4096
bs stands for block size, and count is the number of blocks
then I have to put the "swap signature" on that file:
mkswap /swap_file 4096
At this point, you should 'sync', just to be sure the signature is
effective. And finally add an entry in the rc file:
/bin/swapon /swap_file

QUESTION: When I boot I get one of the following messages:
"Unable to find swap signature" or "Bad swap-space bitmap"

ANSWER: You probably forgot to make your swap-device, use the mkswap

QUESTION: How do I know if it is swapping?

ANSWER: You will notice it :)) First of all, Linux tells you at boot
time, "Adding swap: XXX pages of swap space", and if you start running
out of memory, you will notice that the disk will work overtime, and
things slow down. Generally a 2Meg RAM will make the system swap
constantly while running gcc, 4 Meg will swap occasionnaly when
optimizing big files (and having other things active, such as make).
Also, the command 'free' (from the ps package) reports total enabled
swap space and current swap use.

QUESTION: How is it possible to remove a swap file?

ANSWER: Simply perform a rm on that file, and remove the swapon of
your /etc/rc file.

QUESTION: How is it possible to remove a swap device?

ANSWER: mkfs the device, and remove the swapon of your /etc/rc file.

QUESTION: Is there any way to tell how much swap space you are using
or have left? 

ANSWER: The free program provided with the ps package handles this.

QUESTION: Is there only the %$#@ keyboard ?

ANSWER: There are Dannish, Finnish, French, German, Uk and US
keyboards. Set it in the main Makefile of the kernel sources, then  
compile the kernel again.

QUESTION: (special FINNISH/US) I booteed up with the new image and
everything work except that some keyboard keys produce wrong
characters. Does anyone know what is happening?

ANSWER: images of 0.95a are US product (and so are US-keyboard
oriented), BUT linux sources are FINNISH product, and so the default
keyboard is set to be FINNISH. The solution is in the previous Q/A.

QUESTION: Does there exist shared libs ?

ANSWER: They seem to work. The kernel features are in Linux 0.12
already. They work for gcc-2.1.

QUESTION: Does Linux work for SCSI drives?

ANSWER: Not directly, you need the patches for SCSI which are
available on the main sites *and* at in
/pub/scsi. You will find also a special SCSI FAQ, read it, it 
contains much more information than the one provided here.
You should, also, contact the linux-scsi list or directly 

QUESTION: What SCSI hosts are supported?

ANSWER: (4/10/92) Adaptec 1542, Seagate ST01/ST02 and Ultrastor 14F

QUESTION: Does these SCSI drives support extended partition?

ANSWER: Not yet.

QUESTION: Linux is supposed to work with ESDI drive. However I have
trouble with my Magtron MT-4115E (Joincom controler), any clue?

ANSWER: (Linus) Some harddisk don't like linux (even though they
should). Maybe not a bug but a deficiency.
(Mika) I had to remove the printk "unexpected hd interrupt" statement
in hd.c because I was getting so many of those messages. Be warned
that if there is any read error the system just hangs, even the
ctrl-alt-del won't work. You should be able to use your ESDI drives if
you could live with those nuisances.

QUESTION: There are a lot of patches available (fd patch, lp patch
login patch ...) can I be fairly confident the subsequent patches will

ANSWER: This is not true yet for the current version; but it will be
so I kept it :) 
No you can't, patching is a real beta tester art :)).  People are not
working on the same patched release, so you have to check if the
patches you already applied works on the same kernel part, if not,
/great/, just apply them. If yes, check if there is an order, patch
creator knows that, and (should) try to warn patch user (in other
words: beta tester) otherwise you should edit the patch files (and
possibly make a brief note to others on this list/newsgroup or even a
cdiff) before applying them, another solution is to keep cool and wait
for the next version of Linux where, in general, the modifications
have been done but this behavior is /not/ Linux helpful.

QUESTION: I got the patches on some ftp sites, and applied them to the
kernel and tried to compile. It didn't !!. Are the patches buggy?

ANSWER: Before remake, just do a make clean in the directories
involved by the patches. This will force a rebuild of the .o and .a
If you have a RCS running on your source tree, did you checked a
patched version of the files changed before /any/ CO either by you or

Finally, make sure the patches succeded. Normally, failed patches on a
file FILE will leave a FILE# file. Moreover you will get a "chunk
failed" message. It is possible to capture the output while patching,
with the following:

	patch -p0 < patchfile | 2>&1 patch.result | more

QUESTION: Does Linux permit/support bitmapped graphics on vga/svga 

ANSWER: (this will be out of date for Linuxv096)
No, there is no interface for graphics operations on Linux
(yet). Some work has been done by Orest Zborowski (mmap/munmap, and
vga demonstration). The (un)mmap was patches for 0.12 kernel, but I've
been told that new versions (for 0.95a) will be out in a short while.
There are also IOpermissions bitmap hacks and a socket emulation

QUESTION: What about X11 ?

ANSWER: (General Information grabbed from various sources)
There is a X11 channel available , contact the request adress with
help in the body: 
To use this BETA X11 you need the pre-0.96 release of Linux (or the
next 0.96); you also need to download stuff at in

QUESTION: What is the hardware requirement for X11 so far?

ANSWER: (Linus 05.05.92) X won't work with CGA card - it won't even
work with normal VGA cards: you need SVGA (and even not any will do).
The supported one are et[3|4]000 and some other (pvga? and tvga?).
Resolution range from 640x480 to 1192x900 (close to that), all at 256
colours, depending on what kind of card/monitor you have.

As to memory: I'm using 8MB ram, and no swapping with a couple of
xterms, xclock (nothing major). If I want to compile the kernel in an
xterm I need to start up swapping.

Speed depends heavily on the SVGA card, Harddisk space is totally up
to you but 10MB is a minimum.


This part is recent and try to keep track of the different information
that appeared in comp.os.linux and on the list since beginning of
March. I tried to update it for v0.95(c+), so there might be some
mistakes. Moreover take care to use the correct library and include
stuff, and the ad-hoc gcc you use !!!

QUESTION: How can I backup my Hd under Linux ?

ANSWER: I know at least two ways. One possibility is tar and mtools,
another possibility is the diskbackup/diskrestore of Diamano Bolla
(digest37 vol. #2) which saves big hd to floppies using the
stdin/stdout. These utilities have been uploaded to the major sites in
file disksplit.tar.Z.
An example usage (Roger Binns) is:

tar cvf - bin dev usr etc .. | compress | diskbackup

and to restore:

diskrestore | uncompress | tar xvf -

BTW: Don't use the previous version (digest44 vol.#1) with 0.95a

QUESTION: How to use setterm: for the novice?

ANSWER:The setterm utility provides access to most of Virtual Consoles
(VCs) functionality.  You can set your screen up to blank at 10
minutes using:
	        setterm -blank 10

You can set colors, and clear the screen.  For a full list of commands,
just type "setterm" with no arguments.
There are a few tricks with the screen dumper can really make VCs go a 
long way.  Here are a few of the common ones that I use:

		setterm dump

Dumps the contents of the current VC to screen.dump (in the current dir).
		setterm dump 4
Dumps the contents of VC 4 to screen.dump
		setterm -file mydumpfile -dump 4

Dump the contents of VC 4 to the file mydumpfile

		setterm -file /dev/tty0 -dump 4

Dumps the contents of VC 4 to the current VC.
		setterm -file /dev/tty4 -dump

Dumps the contents of the current VC to VC 4.
		setterm -file /dev/ttys1 -dump
Dumps the contents of the current VC to the serial port.
Handy if you are logged on and want to paste a screen full without
having to resort to doing a file transfer.

		setterm -file mydumpfile -append 4
Appends to instead of overwriting the dump file.  Useful if you
have several screens you wish to concatenate.

QUESTION: I've tried clear/reset which exist on most of unix but it
doesn't work, have I missed something? 

ANSWER: setterm -clear or setterm -reset will solve your missing.  For
clear, you can also write a small script (which use the cl: part of
/etc/termcap wrt your TERM), or use bash where ctrl-l will do it for

QUESTION: I know there are VC, but where is the setterm stuff?

ANSWER: It's in the current distribution (i.e. on the images), the
source can be found in virtcons.tar.Z at nic.

QUESTION: While using emacs in 80x25 mode, the mode line is constantly
moving around, why?

ANSWER: This appear to be a bug in the scroll region handling of the
console. I have not tested the new termcap but with the one for 0.12 I
use the following function.

	 e(){TERM=vt100; /usr/bin/emacs}

QUESTION: What is the rdev program provided in the images?

ANSWER: It's a program from Werner Almesberger of ETH. With no
argument it prints the first line of /etc/mtab. With one argument, a
boot-image, it prints the device configured as the root device, and
with two arguments, a boot image and a device, it sets the device as
default root in the specified image.

QUESTION: How can I get Linux to boot directly from the harddisk?

ANSWER: Right now, this can be done via the shoelace stuff or the
bootany package, or by the bootlin package from
If you choose shoelace *please* do read the next Q/A (and also the
README provided with the shoelace stuff)

QUESTION: I use shoelace, but I want to change my root partition, what
is the process to get rid of it? 

ANSWER: With Norton utility you can put back a standard boot sector.
Another possibility is to restore the old boot sector (the one you
should have backup *before* installing shoelace).

QUESTION: Sometimes, when I want to remove a directory, I get an error
message, is it a (known) bug?

ANSWER: No, There is no bug at all, you probaly have another shell 
on another VC whose working directory is either the one you try to 
remove, either a subdirectory of it.

QUESTION: can anyone give me a sample /etc/inittab entry for login
from a pc attached to serial line /dev/ttys2? 

ANSWER: "Humberto speaking :)"
First step up the modem to turn off echo and enable auto answer, I do
this in kermit by connecting to the modem and typing "ate0s0=1"
followed by enter (w/o quotes). Then setup inittab to spawn getty on
the modem
ttys2:console:/etc/getty -m 1200 ttys2

Then it should work. Some modems can be permanently set to disable
echo and set auto answer, see your manual.

QUESTION: I've seen the login but I missed the passwd binaries, where
can I find them? 

ANSWER: You should find it in shadow-bin.tar.Z, at least at tsx in the
usr.bin directory. 

QUESTION: How can I setup a user account other than root ?

ANSWER: You can either use the adduser program, either do it manually.
In the later case, you have to:
a) edit /etc/passwd as root and add a line of the following format:
user:passwd:uid:gid:user name:home directory:login shell

user is the login name; uid is the numeric user id, it should be
unique; gid is the numeric group id, this number should correspond to
an entry in /etc/group. The passwd field should be left blank 'cause
it is stored in an encrypted form [to set this field just use the
passwd program].
b) Still as root, you shoud now create the home directory and set the
correct ownership.
mkdir /home/faq
chown faq /home/faq
chgrp 5 /home/faq

QUESTION: I've been trying to get Linux to run on my [3/4]86 box. It
can't even boot. Any suggestions?

ANSWER: The most common error/problem is writing the bootimage to a
low density disk. It fits, but the bootstrap code will only recognize
high density disk. So try to format explicitely disk as high density:
- for 3.5",  'format a: /n:18 /t:80 '
- for 5.25", 'format a: /n:15 /t:80 '

QUESTION: Does there exist games, languages (other than C), and
anything which make the system more friendly?

ANSWER: Yes, among other things there are rogue and yahtzee; TeX;
Prolog.. but in general, if you want some extra tool port it to Linux
this is also a good beta-testing exercice.

QUESTION: Could someone explain how to use rawrite?

ANSWER: Well, rawrite is a DOS util, which write sequential sector of
a formatted disk/floppy. When a floppy has been rawritten, you can
(under Linux) untar it (use x, v, z and f flags). As an example:
a) under Dos use rawrite
	source: kermit.z
	destination: a
b) boot under Linux, and perform a tar
tar zxvf /dev/PS0
tar zxvp < /dev/PS0

QUESTION: Does emacs handle the arrows-key

ANSWER: Yes it does, one simple way is to put some elisp code in your
.emacs, this is an except of mine:

(global-unset-key "\e[")
(setq esc-c-map(make-keymap))
(fset 'esc-c-prefix esc-c-map)
(define-key global-map "\e[" 'esc-c-prefix)
(define-key global-map "\e[B" 'next-line)
(define-key global-map "\e[A" 'previous-line)
(define-key global-map "\e[C" 'forward-char)
(define-key global-map "\e[D" 'backward-char)

The keycode was obtained by ^Q followed by the key

QUESTION: Whenever I use uemacs 3.1X on a symlink, the symlink does
not exist anymore, why?

ANSWER: (Tristram Mabbs) Since ue3.10, uemacs uses 'safe save' mode,
writing the file to a temporary and moving it OVER the original. In
the process, this deletes the original. To prevent this just add the
following in your emacs '.rc' file: set $ssave FALSE

QUESTION: Uemacs doesn't work anymore with 0.95a, whenever I want to
save a file; what can I do?

ANSWER: ^S and ^Q are used for flow control. One solution is ^X^W
followed by the	filename, or M-X save-file, try also ^XS it could work
for some version (not mine). Another possibility, 
if you have download the stty.tar.Z file, is to do stty -IXON 
before you first use uemacs (this can be included in your .profile).
And the last is to recompile the Peter Orbaek init-1.2 package.

QUESTION: I have an SVGA, but Linux detect an EGAc/EGAm; is it normal?

ANSWER: (Jim Winstead) This is correct actually. You have an EGA+ card
(SVGA) with a Color/Mono monitor. The only four possibilties are EGAc,
EGAm, *MDA and *CGA (according to the code in
The true test, if Linux detects your video card, is if you press
<RETURN> at the "Press <RETURN> to see SVGA- ..." boot-time message.
If you have a SVGA  recognized card, it will ask you to choose a
screen size. If not detected, the default is 80x50 mode. 
BTW if you have no SVGA, press the <space> and you are in 80x25 mode.

QUESTION: How can I change the keyboard repeat rate?

ANSWER: (Michael K Johnson) In boot/setup.S there are the lines:
! set the keyboard repeat rate to max
	mov	ax,#0x0305
	mov	bx,0x0000
	int	0x16

If you don't want to change the repeat rate at all, just comment out
these lines. If you want something in the middle, change the
	mov	bx,0x000
by	mov	bx,0x??yy
where ??yy is determined by (Ralf Brown's interrupt list)
bh= delay value (0x00 = 250ms to 0x03= 1000ms (one sec))
	this is the delay before the repeat is performed
bl= repeat rate (0x00 =30/sec to 0x1f=2/sec; 0x0c=10/sec [default])


I think this section is needed, 'cause a) gcc is the compiler under
Linux, and b) the gcc-2.x is in test, and many information change
constantly. In what follows information about gcc-1.37 and gcc-1.40 
are stable, and was spread along the previous release of this FAQ.
To conclude this short introduction, the most recent release of
gcc-2.1 can be found at the in /pub/Linux/GCC, and
also at under /pub/linux/?, and one of the 
"specialists" is Hongjiu Lu (

QUESTION: I don't know how to install gcc stuff, is there special

ANSWER: It depends on the release of gcc you are using. Right now
there are 3 packages : the original one gccbin.tar.Z contains all
the gcc-1.37 binaries distrib; the gcc-1.40 has been ported in dec. 91,
it's in newgcc.tar.Z and a few days ago the BETA (but stable) version
of gcc-2.1. Choose yours (I hope that the following will help you)

A) gccbin.tar.Z goes in /usr/local/lib except gcc which goes in 
/usr/local/bin. Moreover each gcc-xxx of /usr/local/lib should be 
linked with gxxx and xxx in /usr/local/bin. 

B) newgcc.tar.Z goes in /usr, then uncompress and untar it. Files are
directed to /usr/lib, /usr/include and /usr/bin. You should link ar,
as, ld with gar, gas and gld, this will prevent some error while using
make (especially whilst re-compiling Linux kernel). Moreover, the
include files are not complete, you need first to install
include-0.12.tar.Z  (at tsx, /pub/linux/sources/system). Finally cpp
and cc1 are in /usr/lib, and they should be in /usr/bin, a solution is
to link them at the right place.
BTW include-0.12.tar.Z contains include/linux/*.h which are not
uptodate, you should link the one provided in linux-0.95a sources by
the following:
cd /usr/include
mv linux linux_orig
ln -s /usr/src/linux/include/linux linux

C) gcc-2.1 is splitted in 2 main files 2.1lib.tar.Z and 2.1misc.tar.Z,
some utilities and shared libraries are also provided. To install them
do the following:

First of all, backup the old compiler. YOU MUST BE SURE THERE IS NO
is all the stuff: binaries, header files, libraries and crt0.o. I
assume that whateverplace contains the 2.1files you have downloaded.

cd /usr
tar xvovzf whateverplace/2.1misc.tar.Z

read the FAQ in /usr/install/gcc2. Then

cd /usr
tar xvovzf whateverplace/2.1lib.tar.Z

QUESTION: I seem to be unable to compile anything with gcc. Why?

ANSWER: If you have only 2 MB RAM, gcc will die silently without
compiling anything. You must have at least 4 MB to do compilations

BTW Since swapping is possible, I have heard that compilation works 
with only 2Meg and a lot disk traffic :) Isn't it great?

QUESTION: I'm using a program that uses signal handlers which are
installed using sigaction() with the SA_NOMASK, and they get a general
protection error right after the signal handler tries to return.
What's going wrong?

ANSWER: You are using a libc.a that has an out-of-date signal.o and
sig_restore.o file, and they don't know how to deal with SA_NOMASK.
(The one in gccbin.tar.Z is out-of-date). Get the new libc.a and put
it in /usr/lib or /usr/local/lib. Again check your compiler version

QUESTION: gcc complains about not finding crt0.o and the system
include files What am I doing wrong ?

ANSWER: The include files normal place is in /usr/include. lib*.a and
*.o should be in /usr/lib or /usr/local/lib

QUESTION: While compiling some GNU packages gcc chokes on regex.c with
an insn code, what can I do?

ANSWER: There is a little bug in the port of gcc-1.37, this will be
corrected on the port of v2.x (with g++). Right now throw away the -O
flag (to compile regex) and every thing will be alright.

BTW there are some minor bugs with this release of gcc because it was
compiled under linux-0.10, whith odd libraries. These problems should 
have disappeared with the new gcc-1.40 package.

QUESTION: I tried to port a /new/ version of gnu stuff. But in the
linking phase, gcc complains about the missing libg.a. In fact it
depends on the gcc package you use.

ANSWER: Yes this is well known, throw away the flag -g that's all,
anyway libg.a is /only/ for debugging purpose.

QUESTION: How to compile programs which may be debugged with gdb?

ANSWER: There are 2 ways (and half) to handle this problem
1) As there is no libg.a, you should throw away the -g flag in link
phase, this means that the compilation must be done in two steps
example: instead of "gcc -g monprog.c -o monprog", use the following
"gcc -g -c monprog.c" and then "gcc -o monprog monprog.o"
Alas this method is not that good if you are using Makefile.
2) The other way is to create an empty libg.a as follows (Peter
Macdonald trick):
- create libfake.c containing libgfake() {}
- compile it with: gcc -c libfake.c
- create the libg.a with: ar r libg.a libfake.o
2bis) The more tricky Humberto method:
cd /usr/lib
ranlib libg.a

then gcc -g monprog.c -o monprog will produce a debuggable monprog

QUESTION: When compiling some code, cc1 complains about some insn
code, what's that? 

ANSWER: An insn is an internal representation that gcc uses when
compiling. The main part of gcc is to take ordinary c (or c++) code,
and compile it, while ding optimizations in insn part, which is
soft/hard independant. Then another part which is hard/Os dependant
takes the insns and translate it in assembly language. The fix is only
to turn off the optimization flag (-O) or download the new gcc release
(1.4) which has been made available at tsx-11 (newgcc.tar.Z and the
ad-hoc libraries newlibc.tar.Z).

QUESTION: While compiling some stuff, I'm getting the following 
error message:
Undefined symbol ___addsf3 referenced from text segment
as well as ___mulsf3 and __cmpsf2. 
These symbols are not in the program or in it's header files.

ANSWER: These are math helper functions, and you can usually compile
these programs to use the kernel floating point routines by adding
'-m80387' to the compiler switches. If the program does any wierd 
fp math (exp(), sin()) it'll die when you run it though.

QUESTION: What are the enhancement of the newgcc.tar.Z ?

ANSWER: There were some bugs in the old port that have been corrected, 
moreover this package contains 387 support 
there is libm.a (for those with 387)
	 libsoft.a (for those without, I for example)
	 libtermcap.a (from tput 1.10)

The -mstring-insns option is no longer needed nor supported :( [As
an example to recompile (successfully) linux0.12 you have to throw away 
this flag in all the Makefile]; conversly in linuxv0.95a, you have to
make the flags available if you compile with gcc-140

gcc-1.40 has some registers problem, you should had -fcombine-regs
flag while compiling (the linux kernel for example)

BTW Notice also that include files have changed (stdio.h which is no 
more ansi compliant).
For my personal use, gcc-1.40 works just fine.

QUESTION What's about gcc2.x ?

ANSWER: It has been ported to linux, but remember that gcc2.x is a
BETA, it is (pretty) stable and works. The files are 2.1lib.tar.Z and
2.1misc.tar.Z Uncompress and untar 2.1misc, read the FAQ enclosed and
play with it.  You can find these files at tsx-11 in
binaries/compilers/gcc-2.x. One of the most recent version is on in pub/Linux/GCC. Also provided 2.1shared.tar.Z file
which contains most of the utilities in .a form (to transform them as
binaries just "gcc -s -ladhoc_library binfile.a -o binfile"
-ladhoc_library is either -lm or -ltermcap

QUESTION: What can gcc-2.x do for me, that gcc-1.40 cannot?

ANSWER: Shared libraries: small programs shrink by an average factor
of 2~3, larger program by 50K. It also compiles C++, and so replace
both gcc-1.xx and g++1.xx. And also:
- ANSI and BSD 4.4 compatible stdio
- iostream for g++

QUESTION: I can't run g++ due to the lack of "expr"; where can I find
it ?

ANSWER: Either in the 2.1linux-distrib, it's in the file 2.1shared.tar.Z
(banjo pub/Linux/GCC); either in the shellutils-1.6.tar.Z (or whatever
is the last release) on


			        About USENET

USENET (Users’ Network) was a bulletin board shared among many computer
systems around the world. USENET was a logical network, sitting on top
of several physical networks, among them UUCP, BLICN, BERKNET, X.25, and
the ARPANET. Sites on USENET included many universities, private companies
and research organizations. See USENET Archives.

		       SCO Files Lawsuit Against IBM

March 7, 2003 - The SCO Group filed legal action against IBM in the State 
Court of Utah for trade secrets misappropriation, tortious interference, 
unfair competition and breach of contract. The complaint alleges that IBM 
made concentrated efforts to improperly destroy the economic value of 
UNIX, particularly UNIX on Intel, to benefit IBM's Linux services 
business. See SCO vs IBM.

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