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Welcome to Fedora Linux: A Complete Guide to Red Hat's Community Distribution. I've based this book on the premise that the best way to learn Linux is to use it; each lab deals with a specific task or problem and starts with solutions. It then expands the discussion to explain the principles underlying the solutions and shows you where you can learn more about the topic if you want to dig deeper. Although the labs do build on each other in some small ways, I expect that most readers will jump from lab to lab according to their needs and interests rather than read the book linearly from front to back. Where appropriate, I have have included both graphical user interface and command-line techniques; use whichever approach suits your needs and style.

This book is written for experienced computer users, regardless of their previous experience with Linux. It covers both desktop and server configurations, and is ideally suited to an administrator or power user migrating to Fedora Linux from another environment, such as Windows, Mac OS X, or Unix.

This book is targeted at Fedora Core 6 but will also be useful to users of Fedora Core 5 and Fedora Core 7. Fedora is more than an operating system; it includes a wide range of applications, programming languages, and tools, and many of these packages are the subject of their own books. This book does not cover each topic in exhaustive detail; instead, it is designed to give you the most critical information in an accessible format and show you how the packages work within the context of Fedora.

At the time of writing, Fedora Core 6 was being finalized; my apologies for the inevitable little discrepancies between the screenshots and descriptions in this book and the final version of Fedora Core 6.

How This Book Is Organized

Each chapter in this book contains a number of labs. Each lab covers a task or problem and contains four sections:

How Do I Do That?

A description of techniques that may be used to accomplish the task or solve the problem

How Does It Work?

An explanation of how the solution and the underlying technology work

What About...

An exploration of related concepts and ideas

Where Can I Learn More?

Pointers to additional information if you want to dig into the topic in greater detail

The labs are grouped into 10 chapters:

Chapter 1, Quick Start: Installing Fedora

Covers the installation of Fedora Core using a variety of installation media and methods.

Chapter 2, Using Fedora on Your Desktop

Introduces the use of Fedora on the desktop, including the use and customization of the GNOME and KDE graphical user interfaces and the configuration of basic features such as the display and printing.

Chapter 3, Using Fedora on Your Notebook

Deals with the issues specific to using Fedora on a notebook computer, including power management, hopping between networks, and configuring external video for presentations.

Chapter 4, Basic System Management

Covers basic system management tasks, including user and group administration, file management, remote access, and service configuration.

Chapter 5, Package Management

Discusses package managementadding, removing, and updating softwareand shows you how to take advantage of the thousands of packages available through Fedora's software repositories.

Chapter 6, Storage Administration

Deals with storage administration using logical volume management and RAID arrays. It also covers data backup, including unattended overnight backups.

Chapter 7, Network Services

Is the server chapter. It covers the Samba file server (compatible with Windows systems), as well as DHCP, DNS, web, email, and print services. Web-based applications including Wikis and webmail round out the coverage.

Chapter 8, Securing Your System

Deals with security using Fedora's security facilities including SELinux, PAM, and ACLs.

Chapter 9, The Fedora Community

Discusses the Fedora community and how you can become involved.

Chapter 10, Advanced Installation

Deals with advanced installation options, including resizing a Windows partition to make room for Fedora, automating the installation process with Kickstart, and using Xen virtualization.

What You Need to Use This Book

Since this is a hands-on book, you'll want to have a computer available on which to run Fedora. Although you can use these labs with a production system, it's a good idea to use a noncritical machine so that you can freely experiment. And although it's not required, a good Internet connection is very helpful because it makes it easy to obtain software updates.

If you have Fedora installed, that's greatbut if you don't, Chapter 1 will take you through the process.

Conventions Used in This Book

The following typographical conventions are used in this book:


Indicates new terms, URLs, email addresses, filenames, file extensions, pathnames, and directories.

Constant width

Indicates commands, options, switches, the contents of files, or the output from commands.

Constant width bold

Shows commands or other text that should be typed literally by the user. Also used to highlight key portions of code or files.

Constant width italic

Shows text that should be replaced with user-supplied values.


This is the shell prompt for a regular user, which indicates that the command interpreter is ready to accept a new command. The normal Fedora shell prompt includes additional information before the dollar sign, including the username, hostname, and current directory; I've left those out to reduce clutter in the examples.


This is the shell prompt for the system administrator, known as root or the superuser. Use the command su - to switch from a normal account to the superuser account.

This icon signifies a tip, suggestion, or general note.

This icon indicates a warning or caution.

Using Code Examples

This book is here to help you get your job done. In general, you may use the code in this book in your programs and documentation. You do not need to contact O'Reilly for permission unless you're reproducing a significant portion of the code. For example, writing a program that uses several chunks of code from this book does not require permission. Selling or distributing a CD-ROM of examples from O'Reilly books does require permission. Answering a question by citing this book and quoting example code does not require permission. Incorporating a significant amount of example code from this book into your product's documentation does require permission.

We appreciate, but do not require, attribution. An attribution usually includes the title, author, publisher, and ISBN. For example: "Fedora Linux by Chris Tyler. Copyright 2007 O'Reilly Media, Inc., 978-0-596-52682-5."

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Thank you to the open source community and to Red Hat and the Fedora community in particular for developing, integrating, and supporting such a powerful collection of software.

I'd like to thank my editor, Brian Jepson, for his patient and skillful work and many suggestions; to David Brickner for getting me started on this project; and to Behdad Esfahbod for his thoughtful and detailed technical review.

My deep gratitude to my loving wife Diane and my girls Saralyn and Laura, who have patiently kept the family going without me for the past eight months. And above all, my humble thanks to God for the skills and understanding he has given memay they be used to His glory.

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