how to edit linux system files?

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Operating Systems Linux Gentoo how to edit linux system files?
# 1  
Old 12-25-2008
how to edit linux system files?

i had heard that linux is open source.....which meant that i could edit it.
so how do i start out? i've already downloaded it. the name's "puppy linux".....someone please reply quick!!!

and by the way, may i know what shell scripting is?
# 2  
Old 12-25-2008
# 3  
Old 12-26-2008
dude i visited the link.....but i still didnt understand where to find the linux system files.....
# 4  
Old 12-26-2008
Please read up onbefore moving to such advanced topics like C programming, GCC, system calls, assembler and kernel hacking.

Also, it might be a good idea to get some experience in using a Linux system before starting to modify it's source.
# 5  
Old 12-28-2008
Originally Posted by pludi
Please read up onbefore moving to such advanced topics like C programming, GCC, system calls, assembler and kernel hacking.
well, i read up on it and thnx 4 the links.....they were quite useful!!!

Originally Posted by pludi
Also, it might be a good idea to get some experience in using a Linux system before starting to modify it's source.
but i still don't get it. how do i edit linux if i don't know where the system file is located? or is it that i have to compile my own version of linux to do that. if its like that, then why would they call it open source? open source means it code is editable right?
# 6  
Old 12-29-2008
In a nutshell:
  • Open Source means that you can get the source and modify it if you wish. But to run it you have to compile those changes
  • The Linux kernel always has to be compiled to run, since it's the operating system itself and thus can't be interpreted like a shell script.
  • The Linux kernel is usually located in /boot/, look for a file called vmlinuz* or similar
  • Other system files, like libraries and essential executables are located in /sbin, /bin, /lib and /usr/lib. This include the glibc and alike
  • The Kernel source can be installed through your distributions source package, or you can download it from
Again, if you want to start Kernel hacking, start by installing a distribution, getting used to it, move on to the command line and it's tools, so that you get a feeling for what the kernel does and how changes could affect it's behavior.
If you want a fast dive straight into it, start with Gentoo or Slackware, and later use that to build a LFS system.
# 7  
Old 12-29-2008
As has been explained to you, Linux (the Kernel) and many of the accompanying software is open source.

This means that you are free to edit the files as you wish without fear of reprisals in the form of copyright violations and such for the changes. Other software vendors do not allow you to make these changes to their code as they are proprietary.

Linux does not have "System Files" in so much as what you seem to be describing.

You cannot simply go in and muck about.

You CAN however change parameters of running machines, and do a lot more. What do you wish to change and what are you trying to learn from this?

read up on sysctl and how it can change parameters of the kernel on a running machine. However, be aware that changes you make can disrupt running processes as well as the stability of the machine.

As for editing files in linux, also look up "vi" or "vim" and use that to edit the files themselves, as they are text based editors found on nearly every UNIX or UNIX-Like operating system.
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