Linux Frequently Asked Questions with Answers
This is the list of Frequently Asked Questions about Linux, the free
Unix for 386/486/586 [see Q1.1 `What is Linux ?' for more details]. It should be read in conjunction with the HOWTO documents, which are
and mirror sites thereof -- see Q2.5 `Where can I get Linux material by FTP ?'. See Q2.1 `Where can I get the HOWTOs and other documentation
?' for a list of the HOWTOs and more information. The
INFO-SHEET and META-FAQ, found in the same place, also list other sources
of Linux information.
The Linux Documentation Project documentation is available on
/pub/Linux/docs/LDP. These documents (more are in preparation) are invaluable to the newcomer or
for use as a reference work.
Please check out these documents and this FAQ, especially
Q12.1 `You still haven't answered my question !', before posting your question to a newsgroup.
See Q13.2 `Formats in which this FAQ is available' for details of where to get the PostScript, Emacs
Info, HTML (WWW) and plain ASCII versions of this document.
A new version of this document appears approximately monthly.
If this copy is more than a month old it may be out of date.
- Section 1. Introduction and General Information
- Q1.1. What is Linux ?
- Q1.2. What software does it support ?
- Q1.3. Does it run on my computer ? What hardware is supported
- Q1.4. What ports to other processors are there
- Q1.5. How much hard disk space does Linux need
- Q1.6. Is Linux PD ? Copyrighted ?
- Section 2. Network sources and resources
- Q2.1. Where can I get the HOWTOs and other documentation
- Q2.2. Where should I look on the World Wide Web for Linux stuff
- Q2.3. What newsgroups are there for Linux ?
- Q2.4. How do I install Linux ?
- Q2.5. Where can I get Linux material by FTP ?
- Q2.6. I don't have FTP access. Where do I get Linux
- Q2.7. I don't have Usenet access. Where do I get information
- Q2.8. What mailing lists are there ?
- Q2.9. Are the newsgroups archived anywhere ?
- Section 3. Compatibility with other operating systems
- Q3.1. Can Linux share my disk with DOS ? OS/2 ? 386BSD ? Win95
- Q3.2. How do I access files on my DOS partition or floppy
- Q3.3. Can I use my Stacked/DBLSPC/etc. DOS drive
- Q3.4. Can I access OS/2 HPFS partitions from Linux
- Q3.5. Can I access BSD FFS, SysV UFS, Mac, Amiga, etc filesystems
- Q3.6. Can I run Microsoft Windows programs under Linux
- Q3.7. How can I boot Linux from OS/2's Boot Manager
- Q3.8. How can I share a swap partition between Linux and MS Windows
- Section 4. Linux's handling of filesystems, disks and
- Q4.1. How can I get Linux to work with my large disk
- Q4.2. How can I undelete files ?
- Q4.3. Is there a defragmenter for ext2fs etc. ?
- Q4.4. How do I format and create a filesystem on a floppy
- Q4.5. I get nasty messages about inodes, blocks, and the
- Q4.6. My swap area isn't working.
- Q4.7. How do I remove LILO so my system boots DOS again
- Q4.8. Why can't I use
fdformat except as root ?
- Q4.9. Is there something like Stacker or Doublespace for Linux
- Q4.10. My ext2fs partitions are checked each time I
- Q4.11. My root filesystem is read-only !
- Q4.12. I have a huge
/proc/kcore ! Can I delete it ?
- Q4.13. My AHA1542C doesn't work with Linux.
- Section 5. Porting, compiling and obtaining programs
- Q5.1. How do I port XXX to Linux ?
- Q5.2. What is
ld.so and where do I get it ?
- Q5.3. Has anyone ported / compiled / written XXX for Linux
- Q5.4. Can I use code or a compiler compiled for a 486 on my 386
- Q5.5. What does
gcc -O6 do ?
- Q5.6. Where are
- Q5.7. I get errors when I try to compile the kernel.
- Q5.8. How do I make a shared library ?
- Q5.9. My executables are (very) large.
- Q5.10. Does Linux support threads or lightweight processes
- Q5.11. Where can I get `lint' for Linux ?
- Q5.12. Where can I find `kermit' for Linux ?
- Section 6. Solutions to common miscellaneous problems
free dumps core.
- Q6.2. My clock is very wrong.
- Q6.3. Setuid scripts don't seem to work.
- Q6.4. Free memory as reported by
free keeps shrinking.
- Q6.5. When I add more memory it slows to a crawl.
- Q6.6. Some programs (e.g.
xdm) won't let me log in.
- Q6.7. Some programs let me log in with no password.
- Q6.8. My machine runs very slowly when I run GCC / X /
- Q6.9. I can only log in as root.
- Q6.10. My screen is all full of weird characters instead of
- Q6.11. I have screwed up my system and can't log in to fix
- Q6.12. I've discovered a huge security hole in
lpd aren't working.
- Q6.14. Timestamps on files on msdos partitions are set
- Q6.15. How do I get LILO to boot the
vmlinux file ?
- Section 7. How do I do this or find out that ... ?
- Q7.1. How can I get scrollback in text mode ?
- Q7.2. How do I switch virtual consoles ? How do I enable them
- Q7.3. How do I set the timezone ?
- Q7.4. What version of Linux and what machine name am I using
- Q7.5. How can I enable or disable
core dumps ?
- Q7.6. How do I upgrade/recompile my kernel ?
- Q7.7. Can I have more than 3 serial ports by sharing interrupts
- Q7.8. How do I make a bootable floppy ?
- Q7.9. How do I remap my keyboard to UK, French, etc.
- Q7.10. How do I get NUM LOCK to default to on ?
- Q7.11. How can I have more than 128Mb of swap ?
- Section 8. Miscellaneous information and questions answered
- Q8.1. How do I program XYZ under Linux ?
- Q8.2. What's all this about ELF ?
- Q8.3. What is a
.gz file ? And a
.tgz ? And ... ?
- Q8.4. What does
VFS stand for ?
- Q8.5. What is a BogoMip ?
- Q8.6. What is the Linux Journal and where can I get it
- Q8.7. How many people use Linux ?
- Q8.8. How should I pronounce Linux ?
- Section 9. Frequently encountered error messages
- Q9.1. Unknown terminal type
linux and similar
- Q9.2. During linking I get
Undefined symbol _mcount
lp1 on fire
INET: Warning: old style ioctl(IP_SET_DEV)
ld: unrecognized option '-m486'
- Q9.6. GCC says
Internal compiler error
shell-init: permission denied when I log in.
No utmp entry. You must exec ... when I log in.
Warning - bdflush not running
Warning: obsolete routing request made.
EXT2-fs: warning: mounting unchecked filesystem
EXT2-fs warning: maximal count reached
EXT2-fs warning: checktime reached
Cannot read table of mounted filesystems
Partition X has different physical/logical
fdisk: Partition 1 does not start on cylinder
partition n has an odd number of sectors
- Q9.19. mtools says
cannot initialise drive XYZ
- Q9.20. At the start of booting:
You don't exist. Go away.
- Section 10. The X Window System
- Q10.1. Does Linux support X Windows ?
- Q10.2. Where can I get an
XF86Config for my system ?
xterm logins show up strangely in
- Q10.4. I can't get X Windows to work right.
- Section 11. Questions applicable to very out-of-date
- Q11.1. Emacs just dumps core.
cannot use nnn sectors of this partition
- Q11.3. GCC sometimes uses huge amounts of virtual memory and
- Q11.4. My keyboard goes all funny after I switch
- Section 12. How to get further assistance
- Q12.1. You still haven't answered my question !
- Q12.2. What to put in a request for help
- Q12.3. I want to mail someone about my problem.
- Section 13. Administrative information and acknowledgements
- Q13.1. Feedback is invited
- Q13.2. Formats in which this FAQ is available
- Q13.3. Authorship and acknowledgements
- Q13.4. Disclaimer and Copyright
Ian Jackson / email@example.com
- 06 March 1996
Extracted from Linux Frequently Asked Questions with Answers,
Copyright Ian Jackson 1996.