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gluPerspective & co-ordinate confusion.

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Hi, I'm using gluPerspective, but I'm not understanding the meaning of the 'fovy' parameter? Also, the 'z-near' has to be greater than 0.0 - from what I've read setting it on 0.0 can lead to nasty effects? So does this imply that the camera so to speak that you initially look down to set the perspective is at 0,0,0? Finally, why can't the z-near be < 0.0 (essentially behind the camera)? Thanks for your time. NB.

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