Zen And The Art Of The Internet

-(Entire Document 06/17/92)

Please note: This document has been converted from postscript to ASCII so that it may be viewed on-line in INFORMU. The author has indicated that a new version is likely in the near future, so we have made minimal changes in format--please forgive irregularities in formatting, such as misplaced dashes. Chapters are indicated by a series of =====.

Footnotes have been left where they were in the text and are proceeded by the word footnote. Since the page numbers have lost their meaning, we have removed the index.
MU Campus Computing June, 92

Zen and the Art of the Internet =========================================================================
A Beginner's Guide to the Internet
First Edition January 1992

by Brendan P. Kehoe
This is revision 1.0 of February 2, 1992.
Copyright (c) 1992 Brendan P. Kehoe

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this guide provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.

Permission is granted to copy and distribute modified versions of this booklet under the conditions for verbatim copying, provided that the entire resulting derived work is distributed under the terms of a permission notice identical to this one.

Permission is granted to copy and distribute translations of this booklet into another language, under the above conditions for modified versions, except that this permission notice may be stated in a translation approved by the author.


The composition of this booklet was originally started because the Computer Science department at Widener University was in desperate need of documentation describing the capabilities of this "great new Internet link" we obtained.

It's since grown into an effort to acquaint the reader with much of what's currently available over the Internet. Aimed at the novice user, it attempts to remain operating system "neutral"--little information herein is specific to Unix, VMS, or any other environment. This booklet will, hopefully, be usable by nearly anyone.

Some typographical conventions are maintained throughout this guide. All abstract items like possible filenames, usernames, etc., are all represented in italics. Likewise, definite filenames and email addresses are represented in a quoted 'typewriter' font. A user's session is usually offset from the rest of the paragraph, as such:

prompt> command
The results are usually displayed here.

The purpose of this booklet is two-fold: first, it's intended to serve as a reference piece, which someone can easily grab on the fly and look something up. Also, it forms a foundation from which people can explore the vast expanse of the Internet. Zen and the Art of the Internet doesn't spend a significant amount of time on any one point; rather, it provides enough for people to learn the specifics of what his or her local system offers.

One warning is perhaps in order--this territory we are entering can become a fantastic time-sink. Hours can slip by, people can come and go, and you'll be locked into Cyberspace. Remember to do your work!

With that, I welcome you, the new user, to The Net.

Chester, PA


Certain sections in this booklet are not my original work--rather, they are derived from documents that were available on the Internet and already aptly stated their areas of concentration. The chapter on Usenet is, in large part, made up of what's posted monthly to news.announce.newusers, with some editing and rewriting. Also, the main section on archie was derived from 'whatis.archie' by Peter Deutsch of the McGill University Computing Centre.

It's available via anonymous FTP from archie.mcgill.ca. Much of what's in the telnet section came from an impressive introductory document put together by SuraNet. Some definitions in the one are from an excellent glossary put together by Colorado State University.

This guide would not be the same without the aid of many people on The Net, and the providers of resources that are already out there. I'd like to thank the folks who gave this a read-through and returned some excellent comments, suggestions, and criticisms, and those who provided much-needed information on the fly. Glee Willis deserves particular mention for all of his work; this guide would have been considerably less polished without his help.

Andy Blankenbiller, Army at Aberdeen
Alan Emtage, McGill University Computer Science Department
Brian Fitzgerald, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
John Goetsch, Rhodes University, South Africa
Jeff Kellem,Boston University's Chemistry Department
Bill Krauss, Moravian College
Steve Lodin, Delco Electronics
Mike Nesel, NASA
Bob Neveln, Widener University Computer Science Department
Wanda Pierce, McGill University Computing Centre
Joshua Poulson, Widener University Computing Services
Dave Sill, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Bob Smart, CitiCorp/TTI
Ed Vielmetti, Vice President of MSEN
Craig Ward, USC/Information Sciences Institute (ISI)
Glee Willis, University of Nevada, Reno
Chip Yamasaki, OSHA