5. About This Book

When Olaf joined the Linux Documentation Project in 1992, he wrote two small chapters on UUCP and smail, which he meant to contribute to the System Administrator's Guide. Development of TCP/IP networking was just beginning, and when those “small chapters” started to grow, he wondered aloud whether it would be nice to have a Networking Guide. “Great!” everyone said. “Go for it!” So he went for it and wrote the first version of the Networking Guide, which was released in September 1993.

Olaf continued work on the Networking Guide and eventually produced a much enhanced version of the guide. Vince Skahan contributed the original sendmail mail chapter, which was completely replaced in this edition because of a new interface to the sendmail configuration.

The version of the guide that you are reading now is a revision and update prompted by O'Reilly & Associates and undertaken by Terry Dawson.[1] Terry has been an amateur radio operator for over 20 years and has worked in the telecommunications industry for over 15 of those. He was co-author of the original NET-FAQ, and has since authored and maintained various networking-related HOWTO documents. Terry has always been an enthusiastic supporter of the Network Administrators Guide project, and added a few new chapters to this version describing features of Linux networking that have been developed since the first edition, plus a bunch of changes to bring the rest of the book up to date.

The exim chapter was contributed by Philip Hazel,[2] who is a lead developer and maintainer of the package.

The book is organized roughly along the sequence of steps you have to take to configure your system for networking. It starts by discussing basic concepts of networks, and TCP/IP-based networks in particular. It then slowly works its way up from configuring TCP/IP at the device level to firewall, accounting, and masquerade configuration, to the setup of common applications such as rlogin and friends, the Network File System, and the Network Information System. This is followed by a chapter on how to set up your machine as a UUCP node. Most of the remaining sections is dedicated to two major applications that run on top of TCP/IP and UUCP: electronic mail and news. A special chapter has been devoted to the IPX protocol and the NCP filesystem, because these are used in many corporate environments where Linux is finding a home.

The email part features an introduction to the more intimate parts of mail transport and routing, and the myriad of addressing schemes you may be confronted with. It describes the configuration and management of exim, a mail transport agent ideal for use in most situations not requiring UUCP, and sendmail, which is for people who have to do more complicated routing involving UUCP.

The news part gives you an overview of how Usenet news works. It covers INN and C News, the two most widely used news transport software packages at the moment, and the use of NNTP to provide newsreading access to a local network. The book closes with a chapter on the care and feeding of the most popular newsreaders on Linux.

Of course, a book can never exhaustively answer all questions you might have. So if you follow the instructions in this book and something still does not work, please be patient. Some of your problems may be due to mistakes on our part (see the section Section 9", later in this Preface), but they also may be caused by changes in the networking software. Therefore, you should check the listed information resources first. There's a good chance that you are not alone with your problems, so a fix or at least a proposed workaround is likely to be known. If you have the opportunity, you should also try to get the latest kernel and network release from one of the Linux FTP sites or a BBS near you. Many problems are caused by software from different stages of development, which fail to work together properly. After all, Linux is a “work in progress.”



Terry Dawson can be reached at terry@linux.org.au.


Philip Hazel can be reached at ph10@cus.cam.ac.uk.