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:
Introduction to TCP/IP
Configuring network and serial hardware
Domain Name Service
Serial line communications using SLIP and PPP
NIS and NFS
Administering electronic mail, including smail and Sendmail+IDA
Administering Netnews, including C News, NNTP, and several news readers