2. Raven OverView

If you forgot to snarf the Issue-Zero overview, of the first 5 Raven Issues, here's a few words.

2.1 Raven
2.2 Raven/EyeView 25
2.3 Linux As An Internet Server
2.4 An Internet Workstation
2.5 Windows-95 aside
2.6 Action List
2.7 Issue-0-Base-Station-Zero
2.8 Issue-1-Hardware - The Tower
2.9 Issue-2-SysBuild - Linux OS
2.10 Issue-3-Internet-Working
2.11 Issue-4-Users-view: Now what's this?
2.12 Issue-5-Planning
2.13 Download
2.14 Other places - Linux FAQ's and HOWTO's
2.15 Browser access



Raven is a growing collection of technical documents about Linux (or any modern unix[1]).

[1] users of FreeBSD, Solaris, HPUX, SVR4, -etc- You will have to decide for yourself how applicable this is to you.


Raven/EyeView 25

Raven Eye_View costs 25, and you get 5 issues. It is not FREE, (hence not a member of the LDP), but it is OPEN. It is shareware, running on the honesty system, from your CDROM. Send a sterling cheque to:

Graham Swallow
87 Burley Road
BH23 8BA
United Kingdom

Choose it ...

Why isn't it FREE ? Linux is! Basically, I told my landlord that Linux is a free OS, so how about some free rent? He indicated that the front garden has plenty of space for my things.

If you don't send me pizza vouchers, I can't buy pizza. You could always send them to MicroSoft, and (so I hear) they even accept telephone orders from an 0800 number <grin>

The idea is that you choose to step forward and pay 25 for the EyeView collection of 5 issues, because you value it, and wish there was more such activity in the Linux arena.

Individual Issues

You will eventually be able to buy 5 issues individually, as well as selected refcards, ie you pick items where you find value. However I don't yet have the admin system in place, and I want to have the freedom to move text between issues, so for the moment it's easier to buy the site. And remember, these are start up times for me, support me now, I appreciate it.

Retail Outlets

I'm UK based, and don't have credit card facilities. If you are located in Goa, and wish to buy Raven locally, ask your nearest Linux or hardware supplier. Hopefully, they will only charge a small commission, as they are getting your other business, if not you are quite capable of being independent and sorting it out yourself - right!

How to Quote ...

You can quote a few paragraphs on the Internet, News groups, (etc) That's what it's there for! Just do it sensibly, and with proper attrubition. I.E. provide the URL where you found it.

The Book - not in ages :-(

Linux keeps changing, Raven too. The book is probably a year away, so don't wait for it. By then, you will have Linux up and running, and won't need printed docs.


Linux As An Internet Server

Linux has the full TCP/IP, it is as good an Internet server as any UNIX or NT server. Internet was implemented and designed on Unix machines!

I have worked with commercial UNIX for over a decade, and IMHO Linux is as good as "the real thing". You do have to stay within it's limits, but then you have to do that with commercial UNIX's, and that means getting the hardware from the same source. i.e. Linux is worth the money that you don't pay!


An Internet Workstation

Linux doesn't have as much software as DOS, but until recently UNIX Licences cost 1000. Now you can get an equivalent system with a library of extra facilities for 20 on 6 CDROM's!

X11 is free from DEC, MIT, gcc is free from FSF, and the University of Internet is rolling out new material all the time. Your CDROM collection plus online access should give you everything you need to run a machine for free plus costs.

You want a machine that acts as your personal Internet Workstation, where you read your EMAIL, access your local servers NEWS and browse the W.W.Web, using the standard tools.


Windows-95 aside

ASIDE: some twat started the carefully worded rumour that "Linux can do everything that a WIN-95 can do and better".

The idea is to mislead people, who forget where they heard the rumour, and get disappointed when Linux can't run WIN-95 programs, doesn't have such an installed base and range of programs.

WIN-95 (and other versions) is incompattible with Linux. Many things can be done on either machine, using different programs. There are spreadsheets, word-processors, databases and desktop utilities that "do the job" on linux, and also such programs on DOS. BUT: they will probably come from different manufacturers, and feel totally different.

So watch what you read, and be careful out there. Some of those troll'ers are professionals.


Action List

You want a cheap, powerful, open workstation, running Linux. What does that require?

First things first (after the Base Station), you should plan. But that's boring, vague and unknown, so it's deferred to Issue-05. Luckilly thats already available. What are the core details ? You need to:

Your exact shopping list will be miles different from mine, you might have your PC already running DOS. Then get a second disk (3 gig), and try to find out the actual CHIP-TYPES of your hardware.

The SVGA chip you buy, will be completely different from the one I got, but it will be an SVGA+

To bridge the difference, you will have to focus on details relevent to your card,. Since your machine is likely to be different from everyone elses, you will have to focus on several details, more or less the entire machine.



Issue Zero is the binder thet holds the first 5 Issues together. It is the Eye-View binder. It is the central station that brings them together, and adds the repeated notices. It is a good place to find tables-of-contents, and cross-references elsewhere (Of course it's under contruction - this is the Internet).

NB: probably omitted this release. (Pending)


Issue-1-Hardware - The Tower

I want a cheap, powerful, open workstation, running Linux. What hardware does that require?

Buying and Building a PC (Intel 486, 386 or more). Getting the hardware together. What to get, how to plug it together. If you already have a guaranteed pre-built machine, you will still need to understand the components to configure them. Linux runs on non-Intel architectures, but most people should go for a standard PC.

Yes - you need to budget 1500 for the workstation. If you have more, get a better machine, but don't under-estimate other costs. If that is too much for your budget, you should be able to buy a proportion of the components you need for about 800, and get the rest later.

You may need assistance from a friend (or work) with a second machine.

You don't have to get an Intel based PC, there are options for Sun Sparc's, Apple Mac's, DEC Alphas, etc. Just be sure that you know someone else who can support you, and test it to your own satisaction.


Issue-2-SysBuild - Linux OS

Issue-2 covers many features of the Linux OS that you must configure when installing. You don't have to follow my worked examples, but you'll be glad you did!

Features that you need to know about, Such as /etc/fstab, modules, compiling a kernel, lilo < 1024 cylinders, read it carefully and you will avoid many pitfalls, that others didn't.



This gives you a 'drop-in and change the values' configuration for a connection to the Internet. It documents the files you need to setup, by providing a 'live' example of a machine with a modem and an ethernet card.


Issue-4-Users-view: Now what's this?

So you've got Linux running, and want to do something.

Issue-4 shows you how to compile a few packages from the CDROM's. There are zillions of utilities on the sunsite CDROM's. When you find one that you want, you need to know how to compile it.

It shows you how to convert that postscript file into dot-matrix code files, and feed them to a paper shredding device.



Maybe it should have been first, but planning can be a bit vague, (so many options to plan for), and I prefer to start with something definite (Hardware).

How to allocate your own IP address, How to layout your disks (700 MB for now and 350 MB for later). How to design your network to reduce problems later.



If you are reading this on-line over the Internet, you may prefer to download the archive, uncompress it and read it off-line. Look for the tgz file.

If you are currently running DOS, look for the .ZIP file. I prefer to use long file names, the ZIP has them truncated to 8.3 If you try to locally browse long names with DOS, you may have to work a bit harder, clicking on files from the directory listing. (*pending*)

Raven is built to be download-able, so that you can fetch it. I also have text versions of the first issues, for access whilst your HTML browser is down. See Base Station Zero, or one of:


Other places - Linux FAQ's and HOWTO's


Browser access

If you have X11 running, use Netscape, Chimera or any decent browser. Raven has been designed with access as a core feature. If you are running from a text console, use lynx.

Arena has problems with setting font colors. Even with CSS1 it refuses to change P text to anything from dark blue. If you must use such a broken browser, download the files and replace the background with a plain texture. lynx works just fine.

The next major release is planned to use CSS1, but it will take time for the browsers to get debugged, and common place.

If you have downloaded, and untar'd the files locally, you can use elvis (a vi clone). Pressing Return when the cursor is over a relative (file) URL follows the link, and CTRL-T returns back to where you were. Now who told you that? Another hint is to search for HREF which usually takes you to the next URL. Use the "/" and the n commands.