GNU/Linux Desktop Survival Guide
by Graham Williams
Local and international networks provide access to a variety of resources beyond your own computer. Most computers today connect to the international networks, called the Internet, either through an Ethernet (as in the nebulous aether world out there) network card or through a WiFi (as in HiFi but for computers) adaptor what connects the Internet wirelessly to your computer. Once connected you have an IP (Internet Protocol) address assigned to your computer by which all communications is effected. IP addresses are sequences of numbers.
Two things need to happen to get your network going: loading a driver for your network hardware and specifying your network address and configuration.
An Ethernet based network is usually started up at boot time by the system initialisation script /etc/init.d/networking. For pcmcia network cards, for example, the /etc/pcmcia/ tree provides its own scrips, including /etc/pcmcia/network, that is called whenever a network card is found in the PCMCIA socket.