I have installed Linux on many PCs, and I've noted that current
distributions are terrific, but often come with annoying lack of basic
configuration. Most programs will work out of the box, but some won't. This
is a shame: I don't see any reason why the newcomer should bear with the old
and trite ``backspace problem'', or think that
emacs doesn't have
colours, or list directories contents in black and white.
To help myself remember what needs to be configured first, I wrote a summary that I later expanded to become this HOWTO. Here you will find a handful of configuration examples for the most common applications. These examples are based on my personal experience installing Red Hat-based Linux boxes, so if you use other distributions, be aware. Please don't take any tips in this work as gospel: they just happen to work for me. In any case, if you want to know more you'll have to read the package docs and one of more HOWTOs on the subject. This HOWTO is just a summary---hopefully, handy and useful.
There can be endless hardware configurations for a PC, but in my experience one is quite common: a PC fitted with a large HD split into three partitions (one for DOS/Windows, one for Linux, one for the swap), modem, CD-ROM drive, printer, mouse. This is the hardware I'll assume you want to configure, but it's easy to adapt the following tips to different configurations. It's implicitly assumed that you'll be root when editing/fixing/hacking.
And now, sleeves up.