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Linux, a UNIX-compatible operating system that runs on personal computers, is a pinnacle within the free software movement. It is based on a kernel developed by Finnish student Linus Torvalds and is distributed on the Net or on low-cost disks, along with a complete set of UNIX libraries, popular free software utilities, and traditional layered products like NFS and the X Window System. Linux is sweeping Europe, winning adherents in North America, and generating enthusiasm worldwide.
Part of Linux's appeal is the unstructured and far-flung manner in which it grew. Self-styled hackers from many countries created it. Maintenance and support are distributed in a similar manner. And even its documentation -- from installation instructions through manual pages and full-length guides -- is the product of a volunteer effort, the Linux Documentation Project.
Networking is a fundamental part of Linux. As a stand-alone computer system it is impressive enough, but sooner or later you, the user, are going to want to send someone a file, mount a file system from another computer, read Usenet news, or search the World Wide Web. Whether you want a simple UUCP connection or a full LAN with NFS and NIS, you are going to have to build a network.
One of the most successful books to come from the Linux Documentation Project is the Linux Network Administrator's Guide by Olaf Kirch. It touches on all the essential networking software included with Linux, plus some hardware considerations. Topics include:
If you are running a one- or two-system LAN using Linux, you probably only need simple connectivity between your systems. However, if you are setting up a Linux server for your network and its connection to the Internet, you've got a lot of work to do in installation, configuration, and maintenance---and you probably require some assistance. Olaf Kirch wrote Linux Network Administrator's Guide as part of the Linux Documentation Project to cover just such information. Although you can download the book for free, the O'Reilly version of the book looks (better layout and graphics) and feels better than the online version and has a superlative index.
This book details all the tasks associated with e-mail setup and maintenance, news group setup, and essential network applications such as rcp and rlogin. In some cases you may find the level of detail not sufficient to complete the task. In those cases, Kirch tells you where to find more detailed information on the Internet. This methodology has kept the book to a very handy size, which makes it an easy-to-use, versatile resource for anyone managing a Linux network. --Robert Frankland
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