Starshine Technical Services


Linux: The Operating System

Linux is the most widely used free operating system. (Technically Linux is an operating system kernel, and any collection of software which has been ported to it; see the GNU Project Home Page to split those hairs). GNU/Linux is one of several freely available operating systems.

Linux and FreeBSD are a couple of our principle hobbies -- they are also tools that we use extensively. There are two people behind starshine.org, Heather Stern and Jim Dennis.

Jim's Linux Interests

It's convenient for me, then, that I work for Linuxcare providing support, training, certification and professional services for Linux

In the Linux community I'm probably best known for my work as the Linux Gazette Answer Guy over the last three years. My wife, Heather Stern has been doing all my HTML editing for the Answer Guy column for the last couple of years. She's created a separated comprehensive index. I also recently published a book Linux System Administration with my co-authors M Carling and Stephen Degler. One minor contribution I've made is to create a patch to allow tripwire to complile cleanly under Linux. However, this is probably unnecessary now. If you like, read a discussion of why you don't need my old tripwire patch. Linux is a big subject, which I spend a fair amount of time investigating. Since Linux is a "product" of the Internet almost all of the work and documentation that's relevant to it is available on the web.

I have some local mirrors to the LDP, Linux Gazette. I also have a page of links to LDP documents and other documentation resources arranged by topic

The official sources for the Linux kernel are now at The Linux Kernel Archives which is apparently sponsored by Transmeta Inc. -- the company where Linus Torvalds works.

Linus is, of course the "father" of Linux. He started the phenomenon back in about 1992 (?) and invited readers of the comp.os.minix newsgroup (actually I think it was "alt.os.minix" back then, but things have changed since then) to play with his code.

The Linux Project? Given the anarchy that characterizes the development of Linux its a little hard to call it a "project." In one sense Linux is "just" a kernel. The sources for that kernel are maintained by Linus -- and parts of it have been written by lots of people. In addition to the official kernel

In other senses Linux is an incarnation of the GNU project. It provided a kernel to allow the Free Software Foundation's code function as a stand alone operating system. Richard Stallman (rms) the founder of the GNU project has occasionally raised some controversy regarding this. By contrast, GNU is a project -- which a central spokesperson and an official plan and policy. It is also working on it's own kernel, called the HURD ("HIRD of Unix Replacement Daemons" where HIRD, in turn, stands for "HURD of Interfaces Representing Depth *)

While the Linux kernel is released under the GNU Public License (GPL) it is not part of the GNU project. So, although, large parts of a typical Linux distribution or installation are GNU -- it isn't quite right to say that Linux is "just" a GNU system.

It is conceivable that someone could create a complete Linux distribution using all BSD, public domain, and other non-GNU software (although it would probably still need to be built with gcc, the GNU C compiler). In fact I think there are some "X terminals" which are really a combination of the Linux Kernel and XFree86 without basically no officially GNU "products" embedded in the system. Like said, Linux is the product of concerted anarchy.

As a result of all this wonderful anarchy it's difficult to say anything definitively about the subject. I can't simply point to one place with a link that says the official Linux web site. However, here's a sampler of the sites that I think are the best overall resources for Linux:

  • Linux Resources
    -- Links maintained by SSC (publishers of The Linux Journal) Despite my interest and efforts I can't keep this page as up-to-date as I'd like. Here are a couple of "canned searches:" Linux Mailing Lists
    -- A Yahoo! Query
  • Linux User's Support Team
  • Linux Applications and Utilities Page
  • Linux Applications and Utilities Page - (mirror/text)
  • New Linux Applications and Utilities
  • LinuxWare.com
  • Linux Software -- Excellent List of HW Vendor Drivers.
  • Sparc-Linux Info
  • FAQ -- Linux - SPARC
  • Red Hat Errata -- As one of the most popular distributions in the world it pays to keep up on the latest fixes.
  • Yahoo! - Computers and Internet:Operating Systems:Unix:Linux:Projects
  • Consultants-HOWTO-1.html
  • The Linux HOWTO Index: HOWTO Index
  • Groups of Linux Users Everywhere (GLUE)
  • Beowulf Project Clustering for high performance
  • Linux High Availability HOWTO (Linux HA) Clustering for failover and robustness
  • The Linux HOWTO Index: HOWTO Index
  • Keyboard and Console HOWTO
  • Key Setup mini-HOWTO
  • Linux Applications -- Linux Software Map
  • LyX, the word-processor front-end for LaTeX
  • Linux+DOS+Win95 mini-HOWTO
  • Linux+OS2+DOS mini-HOWTO
  • Linux+DOS+Win95+OS2 mini-HOWTO
  • Linux+Win95 mini-HOWTO
  • Linux+WinNT mini-HOWTO
  • Sven's Collection of Netscape-plugins for LINUX
  • Wired News: I2O Spec. vs. Free Software Is I2O engineered to sandbag Linux and other GNU software?
  • linuxwww.db.erau.edu:/pub/linux
  • linuxwww.db.erau:/pub/linux/distrib/redhat-contrib/i386 JTD: Stopped here Wed Aug 6 19:03:00 PDT 1997
  • Linux Applications and Utilities Page
  • The Linux Game Tome
  • Linux - THE POWER OS
  • The Linux-PAM System Administrators' Guide
  • A Linux-GSSAPI page (General Security Service API)
  • Orange Linux (TSCEC Orange Book)
  • PAM - Pluggable Authentication
  • The Linux Sound HOWTO: Supported Hardware
  • The Linux Ultra Sound Project
  • Beginner's Linux Pages
  • How to do CU-SeeMe under Linux
  • QSeeMe 0.7a -- CU-SeeMe for Linux
  • Linux Plug-and-Play
  • LinuxWare.com -- Linux Support Hangout
  • Linux Gazette Front Page
    Here are a few links to places where you can find info on these subjects:
    Linux International
    Home of a number of fine mailing lists. This is a non-profit organization that co-ordinates volunteer efforts and donations (cash and hardware).
    Linux Organization
    This is not be be confused with the previous entry But they don't have an about page that details the differences.
    SSC Publications
    Home of the Linux Journal

    Later I'll create a bunch of links to Companies like Yggdrasil, InfoMagic, Caldera, WGS, RedHat, I-Connect (Debian distributor), and others.