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<TITLE>HOWTO-template for big HOWTOs : Getting Help</TITLE>
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<H2><A NAME="s9">9. Getting Help</A></H2>
(your index root)!assistance, obtaining
<EM>Your reader might still end up in a situation where extra help is
needed from someone else, perhaps on the net. In order to get fast and
efficient help it is best first to get some details on your system.
What details matter depends on type of problem. For disk problems you
need to know the disk controllers etc, for networking problems you
have to know what ethernet card is used and version of drivers etc.
Here is the place to suggest what details to have ready when asking
for help.</EM>
<P>In the end you might find yourself unable to solve your problems and need
help from someone else. The most efficient way is either to ask someone
local or in your nearest Linux user group, search the web for the nearest
<P>Another possibility is to ask on Usenet News in one of the many, many
newsgroups available. The problem is that these have such a high
volume and noise (called low signal-to-noise ratio) that your question
can easily fall through unanswered.
<P>No matter where you ask it is important to ask well or you will not be
taken seriously. Saying just <I>my disk does not work</I> is not going
to help you and instead the noise level is increased even further and if
you are lucky someone will ask you to clarify.
<P>Instead describe your problems in some detail that
will enable people to help you. The problem could lie somewhere you did
not expect. Therefore you are advised to list up the following information
on your system:
<LI>Chip set (LX, BX etc)</LI>
<LI>Bus (ISA, VESA, PCI etc)</LI>
<LI>Expansion cards used (Disk controllers, video, IO etc)</LI>
<LI>BIOS (On motherboard and possibly SCSI host adapters)</LI>
<LI>LILO, if used</LI>
<LI>Linux kernel version as well as possible modifications and patches</LI>
<LI>Kernel parameters, if any</LI>
<LI>Software that shows the error (with version number or date)</LI>
<LI>Type of disk drives with manufacturer name, version and type</LI>
<LI>Other relevant peripherals connected to the same busses</LI>
<P>Remember that booting text is logged to <CODE>/var/log/messages</CODE> which can
answer most of the questions above. Obviously if the drives fail you might not
be able to get the log saved to disk but you can at least scroll back up the
screen using the <CODE>SHIFT</CODE> and <CODE>PAGE UP</CODE> keys. It may also be useful to
include part of this in your request for help but do not go overboard, keep
it <EM>brief</EM> as a complete log file dumped to Usenet News is more than a
little annoying.
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