How Linux Works CTDP Guide Version 0.6.0 June 1, 2000


Most of this documentation is based on analysis of script files and learning about how the system works based on information in code and man pages. Some of this document is based on man pages produced by the Linux community. Some other documentation is based on files in under /usr/doc such as /usr/doc/initscripts-4.48/sysconfig.txt.


This document explains the operation of Linux using the following categories:

  • Booting - Explains how Linux boots from LILO, the kernel, init, getty, login, the shell, startup scripts, and the mounting of filesystems.
  • Configuring for startup - Explains how to configure LILO, and the Kernel with respect to the root filesystem and more.
  • System - Explains much about running the system with regard to users, system configuration and where information is stored, controlling processes and more.
  • Networking
  • X - Explains how X works beginning with the startup script "startx".
  • Text - Explains how the system uses text support and how to configure it at various levels.
  • More - More about the kernel and configuration files.


The goal of this document is to help the reader understand the overall operation of Linux. The Linux kernel plays a very prominent role in the operation of the system.