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Finding information and resources

There is plenty of information, and there are plenty of free resources, available on the internet, but it is difficult to determine which are good, and provided without excessive security risks or conditions.
I asked some visitors to the 2009 BETT education exhibition at Olympia, London whether they were aware that resources were available on some university mirror sites. Few knew they existed.
I then asked on the UK government based stands how teachers were expected to find the information. The reply was initially stunned silence, then a mix of suggestions that the universities themselves should inform teachers, and excuses that they could not provide information about resources which might carry illegal content or show any bias, despite actively promoting an expensive near-monopoly proprietary supplier over several years.
There are many resources made available to the public without charge by universities, but this is not without cost, so requests for additional content are welcome, but are carefully considered before resources are provided.

There are software distributions for different hardware versions, compiled to match specific processor types. They use international standard text characters and multiple human languages, and will use the standard full keyboard for any language. Some keyboards available in the UK do not have the \ and | keys which are often required.

There are plenty of printed books and manuals covering a very wide range of subjects, varying from general basic information to extensive coverage of individual topics, such as the excellent series of books from O'Reilly, although not all bookshops will stock the technical ranges, and you would be very fortunate to find any high quality second hand books that are still up to date. Commercial operating system distributions may be supplied with printed manuals dedicated to using those distributions.

There are many sources of information on the internet, with many references available via standard search engines such as google. CD, DVD, and BlueRay (BR) disc images require a careful download as binary, not text, files, and are designed to be copied direct to disc unaltered, not as a file inside a standard filing system, although some will still work if copied direct to a USB memory.

Look for internet websites and user correspondence lists covering the various packages and distributions, providing community help, and details of other facilities available that you may have missed.

A beginners guide to the Unix and Linux operating systems, Eight simple tutorials which cover the basics of Unix / Linux commands, UNIX Tutorial for Beginners http://www.ee.surrey.ac.uk/Teaching/Unix

Another introductory course: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/linux/library/l-lpic1-v3-map/index.html

There are many universities and colleges that run courses from beginner to advanced, including
The Open University http://www.open.ac.uk is offering courses for new users as well as more advanced courses, see http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/course/t155.htm
University of Westminster http://westminster.ac.uk includes computer science, security, and forensics courses
London School of Mathematics and Programming: https://londonsmp.co.uk

The Linux Documentation Project: HOWTOs, Guides, FAQs, man pages, and online magazines, for all users. http://www.tldp.org/

There are several more advanced publications available such as the Debian Administrator's Handbook, which is not just for administrators, http://debian-handbook.info/get/

The Free Software Foundation, Europe, http://www.fsfeurope.org

University of Oxford software mirror, http://mirror.ox.ac.uk/

University of Kent software mirror, http://www.mirrorservice.org/

Centre for Scientific Computing, University of Warwick, http://anorien.csc.warwick.ac.uk/

The UK TeX Archive at Cambridge University, http://www.tex.ac.uk/
with other mirrors at ftp://ftp.csx.cam.ac.uk/pub
and ftp://ftp-uxsup.csx.cam.ac.uk/

Virgin Media Mirrors, http://mirrors.virginmedia.com/

SourceFORGE Open Source Projects, http://sourceforge.net/

Freshmeat (Linux development), http://news.freshmeat.net

Heanet (Eire), http://www.heanet.ie/services

Linux information http://www.linux.org/

If you are interested in the development and use of web tools and web design, see https://developer.mozilla.org

Linux User Groups

Free Open Source Software is provided for the community by the members of that community, and there are many active community groups, see https://lug.org.uk

The Greater London Linux User Group: an active newsgroup with contributors worldwide, http://www.gllug.org.uk/

London Perl Mongers, http://london.pm.org

UK Unix and Open Systems User Group, http://www.ukuug.org

The Hackspace Foundation is dedicated to providing "hacker spaces" in the UK, physical places where members can meet to learn, socialise, and collaborate on projects, with various associated spaces around the UK providing a wide range of equipment and facilities for a wide range of interests http://hackspace.org.uk

A well established centre providing facilities in Sheffield http://www.access-space.org

Some other references

Linux is Not Windows

Alice: a teaching tool that is also suitable for younger programmers, http://www.alice.org

Of interest to anyone involved in education, http://www.edugeek.net

A special distribution aimed at children aged 2 to 12 years, http://www.doudoulinux.org

If you are serious about helping anyone, from pre-school age to long since retirement, learn about computers, programming, and even using them in industry, consider a RaspberryPi computer from https://www.raspberrypi.org/

Some other distributions based on Debian are mentioned at the end of http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/debian-handbook/

Most software packages have their own dedicated websites, for example https://www.python.org/ but see also
Python for Software Design, How to Think Like a Computer Scientist, suitable for a beginner programmer, http://www.greenteapress.com/thinkpython

Slashdot: Technology, Linux, and Open Source related news, http://slashdot.org

Information about website creation is available from https://webplatform.github.io/ while the Debian distribution includes the Bluefish package to help you build and maintain your website, "http://bluefish.openoffice.nl".

The most popular software to provide your website is Apache from http://apache.org and is known to be efficient, reliable, and secure, and have very low hardware requirements.

Linux Jobs List: https://mailman.lug.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/linuxjobs/

LinuxQuestions.org http://www.linuxquestions.org includes a Hardware Compatibility List at http://www.linuxquestions.org/hcl

ISP services and other internet information

The conventions, protocols, rules, and standards that govern the internet are developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force and published as a series of Requests For Comments (RFC's) "https://www.ietf.org/standards/rfcs/" and may then be adopted by the International Standards Organisation "https://www.iso.org". Watch out for RFC's dated 1st April.

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority "https://www.iana.org" allocates blocks of internet addresses to regional authorities such as the RIPE Network Coordination Centre "https://www.ripe.net"

UK Broadband information, http://www.thinkbroadband.com and http://www.samknows.com

http://www.Openreach.com provide information about their current installation work under Broadband "Fibre First", including a map, and much more under "Fibre for developers".

You do not have to rely on Openreach to supply a connection, although you may then be effectively tied to another supplier.
Many companies involved in providing networks, internet, and network services are members of The Independent Networks Cooperative Association "https://www.inca.coop/membership/current-members"

If you are desperate to get a really cheap ultra-fast internet connection have a look at https://b4rn.org.uk

http://mythic-beasts.com started as a students' hobby project to provide themselves with services they thought should be provided by all ISP's but it is now a rapidly growing professional service.

http://www.positive-internet.com Domain registration, hosting, and managed servers.

Security considerations

A search for UK Government CyberSecurity using Google provided several interesting links including


The UK government National Cyber Security Centre including guidance and a link to the Cyber-security Information Sharing Partnership (CiSP)

https://www.cpni.gov.uk/cyber provides information about cyber threats to national security

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-cyber-security-strategy-2016-to-2021 is a very large article providing predictions of future developments which will need careful attention, over timescales of up to 2 to 5, 6 to 9, and 10 or more years, covering a very wide range of technologies and from national infrastructure to toys.

Contributed information about security https://wiki.openrightsgroup.org/wiki/National_Cyber_Security_Plan

Suspicious emails should be sent complete with all their headers to

The lines beginning with
"From: "
together with much of the header are easily forged, but each machine that reads the email adds a
"Received: from "
line above what it has received before relaying or saving the email, allowing the route to be traced. Other information may be added to the header at the same time including spam, anti-virus, and sender checks. View other emails and compare their headers to discover what you should expect to see, but beware that it is also easy to add fake reports saying that it is virus-free.

My email reader normally strips most headers before displaying the email, but can
"View source"
to display an email complete with all its headers, and also
"Forward as attachment"
the entire email complete with all its headers.
When tested it did not appear to work because the reader stripped both the original headers and the headers related to the forwarding process before displaying the message, but I was still able to
"View source"
to see the entire forwarded message complete with the two sets of headers to confirm that they had been sent, although
"Forward inline"
does strip the original headers before sending.

I have been told that
From Microsoft Outlook it is very easy to send header.
Just open the email and click on file and select save as option, done !

It is too easy to include dangerous instructions in HTML text that is the same colour as the background and in a microscopic font size, and impossible to read directly if it is converted to 7-bit code before sending, or hidden in graphics, so my email reader is configured to open all emails as plain text, and show the HTML source complete without opening the HTML.

I use the command
"host domain_name"
to find the numerical IP address associated with any domain names shown, then
"whois IP_address"
will usually give the relevant address block, the contact details for the administrators, and the list of addresses for which that Internet Service Provider is responsible, rather than the sender details.

Suspicious SMS text messages should be forwarded to 7726.

Some firewall systems which turn a (possibly older) computer with multiple network connections into a dedicated firewall:

There is very comprehensive firewall software called Shorewall available for several distributions including Debian that can be used to build a totally configurable dedicated firewall system. https://shorewall.org although it is becoming difficult to find a computer that can provide enough ethernet connections to match the number of individual networks required. I managed to find a single plug-in card with four independent connections, and an old server that I could use, although the ethernet card was not compatible with most of my computers.

https://letsencrypt.org is a well known Certificate Authority (CA) that can supply free TLS security certificates using public/private keys for your system and websites.

Some of the distributions available

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