Fedora Core continues the strong legacy left behind by Red Hat Linux and has benefited from contributions from the global open-source community as well as from the sponsorship of Red Hat. This makes it the most exciting Linux distribution currently available, and one that is very easy to get to grips with.
If you're new to Linux and to Sams Publishing's Unleashed books about Linux, congratulationsyou've picked one of the best books on the market about Fedora Core. Get ready for an exciting, safe, and productive journey as you read this book and install the included software.
This book provides information to match the latest developments found in Fedora and, as always, includes a free copy of the latest distribution on DVD and CD-ROM. Linux, the kernel of a free operating system, is no longer the new kid on the block because it has been available for more than 10 years now. Linux forms the core of a stable, mature, and secure operating system. From embedded devices (such as PDAs) to laptops, desktops to servers, and mainframes to new 64-bit CPUs, Linux continues to be in the vanguard and a major force in the free software marketplace.
Make no mistake: While Linux has been deployed in many corporate- and enterprise-level environments, it is also steadily advancing toward use on millions of desktops. Thousands of open-source programmers around the world improve, test, and update the Linux kernel and Linux-related software packages. Their efforts have contributed much to the success of Linux for many types of users. Fedora Core incorporates many of these software packages, along with the latest stable version of the Linux kernel. This means you can put Fedora to work right away.
This book contains everything you need to plan, install, configure, maintain, administer, rebuild, and use Fedora. You can use this software at school, at home, or in the workplace. You can also make as many copies of Fedora as you want and freely distribute those copies to anyone interested in using Linux.
After an introduction to Red Hat and the Fedora Core project, you will see to how to set up and plan for an install. You will then get step-by-step directions on how to install Fedora in a variety of ways. Following directions on configuration, you will be introduced to basic system administration, followed by instructions on advanced administration techniques and concepts. Sections on programming, productivity, and multimedia round out the host of skills you'll acquire and learn when you use this book. Keep in mind, however, that this book assumes you have at least some experience with using a computer operating system.
What Is Linux?
Linux is the core, or kernel, of a free operating system first developed and released to the world by Linus Benedict Torvalds in 1991.He is an engineer and had previously worked for the CPU design and fabrication company Transmeta, Inc. Fortunately for all Linux users, Torvalds chose to distribute Linux under a free software license named the GNU General Public License (GPL).
Note - The free online resource Wikipedia has a great biography of Linus Torvalds that examines his life and notable achievements. It even includes a transcript of his first announcement of Linux.Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Foundation. Stallman, the famous author of the Emacs editing environment and GCC compiler system, crafted the GPL to ensure that covered software would always be free and available in source code form. The GPL is the guiding document for Linux and its ownership, distribution, and copyright. Torvalds holds the rights to the Linux trademark, but thanks to a combination of his generosity, the Internet, thousands of programmers around the world, GNU software, and the GNU GPL, Linux will remain forever free and unencumbered by licensing or royalty issues. See the later section "Licensing" to learn more about the GNU GPL and other software licenses.
Linux, pronounced "lih-nucks," is free software. Combining the Linux kernel with GNU software toolsdrivers, utilities, user interfaces, and other software such as The X.Org Foundation's X Window Systemcreates a Linux distribution. There are many different Linux distributions from different vendors, but many are derived from or closely mimic Red Hat's distribution of LinuxRed Hat Linux.The Fedora Project, sponsored by Red Hat, is an open-source project supported by a worldwide community of software developers. Although Fedora is not supported by Red Hat, it incorporates improvements made to the Linux kernel and helps contribute to Red Hat's commercial Linux distributions and software. At the same time, Fedora also benefits from improvements made by Red Hat software engineers to Red Hat's products. Despite this symbiotic relationship, Fedora Core is a free operating system, built entirely from free software, and is guided by a process open to all free software developers.
Roots of Red Hat and Fedora
In 1994, Marc Ewing and Bob Young combined forces to create Red Hat (named after a Cornell University lacrosse team hat) to develop, release, and market an easily installed, easily managed, and easy-to-use Linux distribution. Five years later, Durham, North Carolinabased Red Hat would have one of the most successful initial public offerings (IPOs) on the stock market. In 2001, Red Hat introduced a line of products aimed at the corporate and enterprise markets and created versions of its Red Hat Linux distributions and associated software in a product line known as Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Additional software, services, and distributions were added to the product over the next several years, such as the Advanced Server (with support for seven CPU architectures), ES (for small- to mid-range enterprise use), and WorkStation (WS) releases.
Following the release of Red Hat Linux 9 in mid-2003, Red Hat announced that it was discontinuing the sale of consumer-based Linux distributions. Previously, the distributions had been available in boxed sets with manuals on store shelves or in CD-ROM image format for free download over the Internet. Red Hat then created the Fedora Project and formally opened its new home on October 22, 2003.
Today, the company has grown from a handful of employees to more than 600 in 22 locations around the world.
Red Hat was one of the first companies to adopt, promote, and use open source as a business model for supporting development, technical service, support, and sales of free software to the computer industry. Its business practices have spawned a shift in paradigm of proprietary attitudes prevalent in the monopolistic software industry, and the company is a role model and business leader in the open source movement. You learn more about Red Hat and Fedora Core in Chapter 1, "Introducing Fedora."
Caution - The Fedora Core CD-ROMs and DVD distribution included with this book are not supported by Red Hat.In the United States, call 1-866-273-3428, extension 4555.Linux is a trademark owned by Linus Torvalds.
Do NOT contact Red Hat for any type of support when using or attempting to install the software included with this book. Although every effort has been made to ensure that information in this book matches the included software, you should instead contact Sams Publishing for any problems related to the CD-ROMs contained in this book:
Only users who purchase the "official" Red Hat Enterprise Linux products from Red Hat are entitled to support from Red Hat.
If you purchase an official Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution from Red Hat, you might find commercial software included on the distribution's CD-ROMs or DVD. These software packages are often included as an enticement to purchase more feature-laden or corporate versions, but you should carefully read any accompanying licensing agreements and be careful to not make unauthorized copies.
Software licensing is an important issue for all computer users and can entail moral, legal, and financial considerations. Many consumers think that purchasing a copy of a commercial or proprietary operating system, productivity application, utility, or game conveys ownership, but this is not true. In the majority of cases, the End User License Agreement (EULA) included with a commercial software package states that you have only paid for the right to use the software according to specific terms. This generally means you may not examine, make copies, share, resell, or transfer ownership of the software package. More onerous software licenses enforce terms that preclude you from distributing or publishing comparative performance reviews of the software. Even more insidious licensing schemes (and supporting legislation, especially in the United States), contain provisions allowing onsite auditing of the software's use!
This is not the case with the software included with this book. Although you cannot resell copies of this book's CD-ROMs labeled as "Fedora Core Linux," you are entirely free to make copies, share them with friends, and install the software on as many computers as you wantwe encourage you to purchase additional copies of this book to give them as gifts, however. Be sure to read the README file on the first CD-ROM included with this book for important information regarding the included software and disk contents. Look under the /usr/share/apps/LICENSES directory after you install Fedora to find a copy of the GNU GPL (along with copies of other software licenses). You will see that the GPL provides unrestricted freedom to use, duplicate, share, study, modify, improve, and even sell the software.
You can put your copy of Fedora to work right away in your home or at your place of business without having to worry about software licensing, per-seat workstation or client licenses, software auditing, royalty payments, or any other types of payments to third parties. However, you should be aware that although much of the software included with Fedora is licensed under the GPL, some packages on this book's CD-ROMs are licensed under other terms. There is a variety of related software licenses, and many software packages fall under a broad definition known as open source. Some of these include the Artistic License, the BSD License, the Mozilla Public License, and the Q Public License.Over the last year, many individuals; small office/home office (SOHO) users; businesses; corporations; colleges; nonprofits; and local, state, and federal agencies in a number of countries have incorporated Linux with great success. And today, Linux is being incorporated into many IS/IT environments as part of improvements in efficiency, security, and cost savings. Using Linux is a good idea for a number of reasons. These reasons include
Linux provides an excellent return on investment (ROI)There is little or no cost on a per-seat basis. Unlike commercial operating systems, Linux has no royalty or licensing fees and a single Linux distribution on CD-ROM can form the basis of an enterprise-wide software distribution, replete with applications and productivity software. Custom corporate CD-ROMs can be easily crafted to provide specific installs on enterprise-wide hardware. This feature alone can save hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in information service/information technology costsall without the threat of a software audit from the commercial software monopoly or the need for licensing accounting and controls of base operating system installations.
Linux can be put to work on the desktopLinux, in conjunction with its supporting graphical networking protocol and interface (the X Window System), has worked well as a consumer Unix-like desktop operating system since the mid-1990s. The fact that Unix is ready for the consumer desktop is now confirmed with the introduction, adoption, and rapid maturation of Apple Computer's BSD Unix-based Mac OS Xsupported, according to Apple, by more than 3,000 OS X-specific programs that are known as native applications. This book's CD-ROMs contain more than 1,300 software packages, including Internet connection utilities, games, a choice of three office suites, thousands of fonts, and hundreds of graphics applications.
Linux can be put to work as a server platformLinux is fast, secure, stable, scalable, and robust. Latest versions of the Linux kernel easily support multiple-processor computers (optimized for eight CPUs), large amounts of system memory (up to 64GB RAM), individual file sizes in excess of hundreds of gigabytes, a choice of modern journaling file systems, hundreds of process monitoring and control utilities, and the (theoretical) capability to simultaneously support more than four billion users. IBM, Oracle, and other major database vendors all have versions of their enterprise software available for Linux.
Linux has a low entry and deployment cost barrierMaintenance costs can also be reduced because Linux works well on a variety of PCs, including legacy hardware, such as some Intel-based 486 and early Pentium CPUs. Although the best program performance will be realized with newer hardware because clients can be recompiled and optimized for Pentium-class CPUs, base installs can even be performed on lower-end computers or embedded devices with only 8MB of RAM. This feature provides for a much wider user base; extends the life of older working hardware; and can help save money for home, small business, and corporate users.
Linux appeals to a wide hardware and software industry audienceVersions of Linux exist for nearly every CPU. Embedded systems developers now turn to Linux when crafting custom solutions using ARM, MIPS, and other low-power processors. Linux is the first full operating system available for Intel's Itanium CPU, as well as the AMD64 group of CPUs; ports have also been available for HP/Compaq's Alpha and Sun Microsystem's SPARC CPUs for some time. PowerPC users regularly use the PPC port of Linux on IBM and Apple hardware.
Linux provides a royalty-free development platform for cross-platform developmentBecause of the open-source development model and availability of free, high-quality development tools, Linux provides a low-cost entry point to budding developers and tech industry startups.
Big-player support in the computer hardware industry from such titans as IBM now lends credibility to Linux as a viable platformIBM has enabled Linux on the company's entire line of computers, from low-end laptops through "Big Iron" mainframes. New corporate customers are lining up and using Linux as part of enterprise-level computing solutions. It has been used on some of the world's fastest computers, including IBM's Blue Gene.
Look forward to even more support as usage spreads worldwide throughout all levels of business in search of lower costs, better performance, and stable and secure implementations.
Who This Book Is For
This book is for anyone searching for guidance on using Fedora Core, which is for Intel-based PC platforms. Although the contents are aimed at intermediate to advanced users, even new users with a bit of computer savvy will benefit from the advice, tips, tricks, traps, and techniques presented in each chapter. Pointers to more detailed or related information are also provided at the end of each chapter.
Fedora's installer program, named Anaconda, makes the job of installing Linux as easy as possible. However, if you are new to Linux, you might need to learn some new computer skills, such as how to research your computer's hardware, how to partition a hard drive, and occasionally how to use a command line. This book will help you learn these skills and show you how to learn more about your computer, Linux, and the software included with Fedora. System administrators with experience using other operating systems will be able to use the information presented in this book to install, set up, and run common Linux software services, such as the Network File System (NFS), a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server, and a web server (using Apache, amongst others).
What This Book Contains
Red Hat Fedora 4 Unleashed is organized into seven parts, covering installation and configuration, Fedora on the desktop, system administration, Fedora as a server, programming and housekeeping, and a reference section. A two-CD set of the Fedora Core CD-ROMs is included, as is a DVD, so you will have everything you need to get started. This book starts by covering the initial and essential tasks required to get Fedora installed and running on a target system.
If you're new to Linux, and more specifically, Fedora, first read the chapters in Part I, "Installation and Configuration." You'll get valuable information on
An overview of Fedora and Linux and their roles in various computing environments
Planning for an installation by examining hardware requirements and the need for organizing how the system is installed
Detailed steps that take you by the hand through various types of installations
Critical advice on key configuration steps to fully install and configure Linux to work with your system's subsystems or peripherals, such as pointers, keyboards, modems, USB devices, power management, andfor laptop usersPCMCIA devices
Initial steps needed by new users transitioning from other computing environments
Configuration and use of the X Window System, the graphical interface for Linux
Part II, "Fedora Desktop," is aimed at users who want to get productive with Fedora and covers the following:
Becoming familiar with the X Window system and looking at GNOME and KDE
Discovering the many productivity applications that come with Fedora
Surfing the Internet and working with email and newsgroups
Using Fedora to listen to music and watch video
Setting up local printers for Fedora
A look at the current state of gaming for Linux
Moving beyond the productivity and desktop areas of Fedora, Part III, "System Administration," covers
Managing users and groups
Automating tasks and using shell scripts
Monitoring system resources and availability
Backup strategies and software
Network connectivity, including sharing folders and securing the network
Internet connectivity via dial-up and broadband connections
Part IV, "Fedora As a Server," looks at the opportunities provided by every Fedora system by covering
Building and deploying web servers
Database creation, management, and manipulation
File and print servers
Using FTP for serving files across the Internet and local networks
Building and deploying email servers using Postfix as well as managing mailing lists
Creating remote access gateways and services
Configuring DNS for your network
Using LDAP for storing information on users and security
Configuring a local news server
Part V, "Programming Linux," provides a great introduction into ways in which you can extend Fedora's capabilities even further using the development tools supplied with it. This part covers
Programming in Perl, using variables and scripting
An introduction to the Python language
Writing PHP scripts and linking them to databases
C and C++ programming tools available with Fedora, and how to use the GNU C Compiler (gcc)
Part VI, "Fedora Housekeeping," looks at some of the more advanced skills you need to keep your system running in perfect condition, including
There is also an extensive reference in Part VII, "Appendix," which gives you scope to explore in even more depth some of the topics covered in this book.
Conventions Used in This Book
A lot of documentation is included with every Linux distribution, and Fedora Core is certainly no exception. Although the intent of Red Hat Fedora 4 Unleashed is to be as complete as possible, it is impossible to cover every option of every command included in the distribution. However, this book offers numerous tables of various options, commands, or keystrokes to help condense, organize, and present information about a variety of subjects.
This edition is also packed full of screenshots to illustrate nearly all Fedora-specific graphical utilitiesespecially those related to system administration or the configuration and administration of various system and network services.
To help you better understand code listing examples and sample command lines, several formatting techniques are used to show input and ownership. For example, if the command or code listing example shows typed input, the input is formatted in boldface like this:
If typed input is required, as in response to a prompt, the example typed input also is in boldface, like so:
Delete files? Y/n y
All statements, variables, and text that should appear on your display use the same boldface formatting. Additionally, command lines that require root or superuser access are prefaced with a pound sign like this:
# printtool &
Command-line examples that can be run by any user are prefaced with a dollar sign ($), like so:
The following elements provide you with useful tidbits of information that relate to the discussion of the text:
Note - Notes provide additional information you might want to make note of as you are working; augment a discussion with ancillary details; or point you to an article, a whitepaper, or another online reference for more information about a specific topic.
Tip - A tip can contain special insight or a timesaving technique, as well as information about items of particular interest to you that you might not find elsewhere.
Caution - A caution warns you about pitfalls or problems before you run a command, edit a configuration file, or choose a setting when administering your system.
Sidebars Can Be Goldmines - Just because it is in a sidebar doesn't mean that you won't find something new here. Be sure to watch for these elements that bring in outside content that is an aside to the discussion in the text. You will read about other technologies, Linux-based hardware, or special procedures to make your system more robust and efficient.
Other formatting techniques used to increase readability include the use of italics for placeholders in computer command syntax. Computer terms or concepts also are italicized upon first introduction in text.
Finally, you should know that all text, sample code, and screenshots in Red Hat Fedora 4 Unleashed were developed using Fedora and open-source tools.
Read on to start learning about and using the latest version of Fedora Core. Experienced users will want to consider the new information presented in this edition when planning or considering upgrades. New users, or users new to Fedora, will benefit from the details presented in this book.
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