Places to obtain it
What are the options?
The most common way to make your 386 or higher PC into a Linux box is to
obtain a Linux "distribution", which generally includes the kernel and
various system and optional software packages.
Quote from Section 2.1 of
Linux Installation and Getting
Started by Matt Welsh:
"Because Linux is free software, no single organization or entity is
responsible for releasing and distributing the software. Therefore, anyone is
free to put together and distribute the Linux software, as long as the
restrictions in the GPL are observed. The upshot of this is that there are
many distributions of Linux, available via anonymous FTP or via mail order."
There are two ways to obtain a distribution: downloading and purchasing a
Downloading a distribution
This approach has the advantage of being free and not requiring a CD-ROM
drive, and the disadvantage of taking a very long time.
Here are some FTP sites and homepages:
Purchasing a distribution on CD-ROM
If you have a CD-ROM drive, it is recommended that you purchase a
distribution on CD-ROM. Not only do you not have to download anything, but
installation is usually alot simpler. Even if you have a non-standard CD-ROM
drive (e.g. one that connects to a SoundBlaster card), most distributions
provide boot disks that contain the required drivers.
What distributions are there?
Eric S. Raymond maintains a
HOWTO document on Linux
It contains information both on ftp sites and CD-ROM vendors.
What distribution does Linux International recommend?
Each distribution has its own following, large or small. The only way to
find out if a distribution is for you is to get it, install it, and try it
But under no circumstances should the above list be considered exhaustive
or a recommendation or advocation of any kind!
Are there mailing lists for users of particular distributions?
To subscribe to the Red Hat mailing list, send a message consisting of
the word subscribe to the address
Please remember, though, that even though some members of the Red Hat
staff are active on the list, it is a forum where Red Hat users help out
other Red Hat users, and not a source of official product support.
There are numerous Debian mailing-lists. The three most interesting
lists for users are: debian-announce, debian-user and debian-changes.
To subscribe to the mailing lists, send the word subscribe to one of
- There are a lot of experienced users on this list who can answer any
question you might have. There can be 20 messages a day or more on this list.
- Major system announcements. Averages less than one message per
- This is a list for announcements of new package uploads for the
Debian system. It may carry several announcements in a day.
Questions or comments about this service?
Last modified July 23, 1996. Maintained by
*Nathan L. Cutler