General discussion


Where do you go on the web for Linux help?

By CharlieSpencer ·
I've been screwing around with Fedora Core 5 for a few weeks now, and mostly pestering apotheon, jaqui, jmgarvin, stress junkie, and the rest of the usual TR suspects when I need help. While the quality and quantity of responses I get from TR members is better than what I'm getting elsewhere, I'd like to expand my list of available help resources. Right now I also head over to,, and when I need help, but I'm a little disappointed in the number of responses and their accuracy.

What are the top three web sites you recommend a newbie visit when looking for assistance with a problem?

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You probably won't like this but here it is.

by stress junkie In reply to Where do you go on the w ...

This may sound like I'm joking or not giving you a serious response, but the absolute truth is that when I need help with Linux I use and If you look at my account at you will see that I have never asked a question there.

Sometimes before I look at google or ask I go to these sites. These may be related to a particular distro but they have information that applies to any Linux installation.

Nobody's documentation is better than Gentoo's.

HowToForge has a huge amount of information.

Looking for software? Check out these sites.

I know that jmgarvin has mentioned some Red Hat specific sites such as this one for software.

As mentioned earlier, when these sites fail me I use google or

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My primary source

by Jaqui In reply to Where do you go on the w ...

of information is

The Linux documentation Project

they are constantly working on including distro agnostic documentation for as many different packages as they can. Being volunteer driven they suffer from a lack of manpower, but they have a very complete set of documentation viewable online, most of which is also included in all distros. [ the how tos in the docs. ]

I tend to look for answers in the docs before looking for answers from people, since I learn more, and usually find the answers that way. :)

if TLDP doesn't have anything that helps, then the software package's specific help resources, usually email list based, or irc based, is the next best source.

I just recently checked out a special configuration question for ssh, which I was able to get the issue resolved through the ssh help email list. :)
a configuration setting that limits root access to a remote system to a "trusted" group of people, by stopping su from being used unless they are on a specific machine on their end.

Easy... Compile sshd with the match keyword patch
and use it to ensure that members of the admin group can only log in using public/private key

Also make these users a member of the wheel group, and ensure that only they can su - check out etc/pam.d/su.

For example, in /etc/ssh/sshd_config add:
Match Group admins
PubkeyAuthentication yes
PasswordAuthentication no
ChallengeResponseAuthentication no

In /etc/pam.d/su ensure the following is uncommented:

# Uncomment the following line to require a user to be in the "wheel" group.
auth required
/lib/security/$ISA/ use_uid

I use this method to ensure that admins can only log in using public/private keys and have access to perform admin functions while (hopefully) ensuring that "normal" users cannot mess about.

This also has the advantage that if any user uploads their own keys to ~/.ssh that they will not be able to gain admin rights!!!

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aah, it aint sooo bad B-)

by dawgit In reply to Where do you go on the w ...

in addition to those sugested by Stress Junkie & Jaqui, (I didn't have that, thank you Mr. Jaqui) try: The UNIX Forums @ (I know, it looks to official to be serious, but it is an open forum) covers all things, including Linux (as well as others) and programs you might need to know how to set-up. -d

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by apotheon In reply to Where do you go on the w ...

I think you're looking for the wrong answer -- or, more specifically, asking the wrong question. In general, I tend to find that there are no specific websites that suit my needs when I'm looking for information. I, like SJ, use Google when I'm trying to find something on the Web. Generally, however, I think the best source of such information is people rather than places. If you have access to the right people, they'll often know how to solve the problem or at least have an idea of what the real problem is -- and, if not, they'll generally have ideas for where to look, having already done a fair bit of manpage and Google searching that will provide some help.

Finding the right people for Linux problems in particular is probably best accomplished via Linux User Groups. Find a couple of good LUGs, and use them.

Start by joining several LUG mailing lists, especially in your area. See which lists are most helpful to you and use them constantly and thoroughly.

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My places

by jmgarvin In reply to Where do you go on the w ...

I go to: (they have TONS of answers about Linux in general and setting up various things)

Good luck!

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to highlight

by jdclyde In reply to My places

Had to read the other posts before I posted. Several said google, but garvin is the one that posted the specific google I was going to and I didn't want it to get lost in the group.

specifically to linux and will be more help than any one or three individual sites.

After that idea, I have to agree the next thing is the LUGs. They have monthly meetings, and usually each will have their own form of discussion where people can post questions and get answers from people locally.

The other site isn't known quite as well, but you may have heard about it. I believe it is called tech republic, and if you can get past all the sillyness of some of the regulars it can be quite informative!

Hope the linux adventure is going well.

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by CharlieSpencer In reply to Where do you go on the w ...

Thanks for the worthwhile suggestions. I didn't mention I was already using Google / Linux; I could have save a couple of you some keystrokes.

I haven't been too impressed with the local LUG. At the two meetings I attended, most (all?) of the dozen members present were from the academic community. The topics discussed were more theoretical than practical, and using Linux in a business or Windows environment was never mentioned. Responses to my questions were usually "Just try it! If you break it, you can always start over!" Long-time readers of my rants know how I feel about that.

The next closest LUGs meet over 2.5 hours away. At least one of them is also based at a university, so I don't hold much hope for it. None of them have updated their web sites since the first of the year.

Maybe LUGs are different in bigger cities or in areas where information technology plays a bigger part in the regional economy.

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a couple of points

by apotheon In reply to Thanks.

1. Much of the value of a LUG isn't at the meetings -- it's in the mailing list. Sign up on the mailing list and ask your questions there. Attending the meetings can be fun too, but I tend to use the meetings as a social experience to break up the monotony of nightclubs and movie-watching gatherings, and occasionally to find out about something nifty and Linux-related that is new to me, rather than as a means of solving any system administration issues I may be having.

2. Don't assume a LUG is irretrievably academic in nature just because its meetings are held at a university. Universities are convenient places for technical club meetings. Having meetings there doesn't guarantee you'll have only ivory tower academics attending.

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vanlug list is more

by Jaqui In reply to a couple of points

an old hardware give away or sales list. :)
I get about 4 emails a month from the list, one being the next meeting agenda, the other three being giving away hardware or selling it.

one list member had 17 17" monitors to give away, he only asked for help in installing the flat screens, since he is in a wheelchair and can't move everything around himself.

one member is selling a 6 cpu server box. fully functional pentium 150s all six ov them.. or was is pentium pro 100s? ~scratching head~

seems most vanlug members are confident in their skills and aren't asking questions.

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Response from LUG to be expected.

by stress junkie In reply to Thanks.

Hobbyists and system administrators trying to learn are very inclined to try stuff and reinstall the OS after it totally breaks. That's our nature. It's a great way to learn because you aren't shy about trying things.

Professional support from any vendor may not have been any more productive. You probably got more attention than you would get with a Microsoft problem from the Microsoft telephone support, for instance.

And let's not forget that you really don't deserve any help because you started the American Civil War. You *******!

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