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Chapter 1:

Introducing Linux

The Complete Guide To Linux System


Administration
Objectives

• Describe how Linux was created and how it


compares to other operating systems
• List versions of Linux currently available
• Outline the skills required and challenges facing
a system administrator
• Log in and begin using a Linux system

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Objectives (continued)

• Explore a Linux file system from the command


line
• Locate additional information about commands
you want to use or learn about

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A Brief History

• Popular graphical computers


– Apple Macintosh
– Microsoft Windows
• Linux
– Alternative for people whose computing needs
require something different

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Understanding Operating Systems

• Software
– Collection of instructions that control the tasks a
computer performs
– Can be changed without disassembling the
computer and rewiring
• Operating system
– Software that helps other programs control
computer hardware and interact with users

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Understanding Operating
Systems (continued)
• Application
– Software program that provides service for
computer user
– Cannot act without “permission” from
operating system

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Operating System Functions

• Initialize computer hardware


• Allocate system resources to programs
• Keep track of multiple programs running at same
time
• Provide organized method for all programs to use
system devices

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Operating System Functions
(continued)
• Major operating system components:
– Kernel
– Device drivers
– Shell
– Utility programs
– Graphical user interface (GUI)

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The UNIX Operating System

• UNIX
– Operating system
– Originally created at AT&T Bell Labs in
early 1970s
– Designed to control networked computers that
were shared by many users
– Features and low cost of Linux effectively driving
UNIX out of market

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The Free Software Foundation
and the GNU Project
• Free software foundation (FSF)
– Software itself should not be restricted in
distribution by standard commercial license
agreement
• GNU project
– Completely free version of UNIX
– Written from scratch

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The Free Software Foundation and
the GNU Project (continued)
• Software license
– Legal definition of who can use software and how
it can be used
• GNU general public license (GPL)
– Very different from standard commercial software
license
– Author agrees to give away source code
– Anyone is licensed to redistribute it in any form

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The Free Software Foundation and
the GNU Project (continued)
• GNU GPL
– Any modifications to the source code must be
licensed under the GPL
– Sometimes called copyleft
– OpenSource
• Refers to software licensed under GPL
• Public domain
– No one has copyright to software
– Not same as GPL

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Linux Arrives

• Linus Torvalds
– Decided to create UNIX-like operating system
kernel for IBM-compatible PC
– Solicited help via Internet
– Released Linux kernel under GPL
• Linux development method
– Person identifies need and begins writing program
– Developer announces project on Internet

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Linux Arrives (continued)
• Linux development method (continued)
– Others respond and work on different parts of
project
– Person leading project releases software
– People download source code and try program;
send back information about problems
– Developers fix bugs
• Forking
– Creating new project based on existing source
code
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Motivating Free Software
Developers
• Why would so many people devote so much
effort to something without expecting any
reward?
– Fills developer’s specific technical need
– Respect of like-minded professionals
– Sense of contribution and community
– Valuable boost to developer’s resume

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The Strengths Of Linux

• Stability
• Security
• Speed
• Cost
• Multiprocessing and other high-end features
• Applications

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Linux In The Market

• Linux is packaged and sold


• Red hat software
– Current market leader

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Linux Distributions

• Linux distribution
– Productized version of Linux
• Includes operating system kernel along with other
components
• System utilities
– Related to managing Linux system
• Price
– Generally between $2 and $100

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Linux Distributions (continued)

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Red Hat Software

• Fedora distribution
– Free product
• Red Hat Enterprise Linux configurations
– WS (workstation)
– ES (enterprise server)
– AS (application server)
• Red Hat Enterprise Linux
– Sold as subscription service

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Red Hat Software (continued)

• Red Hat Enterprise Linux


– Updates from Red Hat Network (RHN)
• Red Hat
– Excels in service and support offered to large
companies using Linux

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Hardware Requirements

• Can run on very minimal hardware


• Recommend that computer have minimum of:
– 1 GB of free disk space
– 64 MB of RAM
• For Red Hat Enterprise Linux installations:
– 256 MB of RAM
– 300 MHZ CPU
– 800 MB of free disk space

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Version Numbering

• Version numbers assigned to:


– Each release of Linux kernel
– Each component of Linux distribution
– Linux distributions
• Most users select latest available version

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Version Numbering (continued)

• Kernel version number components


– Major version number
– Minor version number
• Even indicates production release
• Odd indicates development release
– Patch-level number

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Linux Certification

• Industry certification programs


– Red Hat Certified Technician
– Red Hat Certified Engineer
– LPI Certification
– Linux Certified Administrator (LCA) Certification
– Linux+ Certification
– Novell Certified Linux Engineer

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Linux Certification (continued)

• Red Hat’s certification program


– Very highly regarded
– Training program consists of three courses

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The Work of a System
Administrator
• Linux is increasingly part of information
technology infrastructure of large organizations
• Knowledge of Linux can set you on path to a
fulfilling and profitable career

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Careers in Linux

• System administrator
• Network administrator
• Software engineer
• Trainer
• Technical writer
• Product marketing
• Business consultant

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The Duties of a System
Administrator
• Role
– Make technology work and continue to work for
those who do “real work” of organization
– Enable others to use technology benefits
• Responsibilities
– Create new user accounts
– Maintain system hardware
– Train end users

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The Duties of a System
Administrator (continued)
• Responsibilities
– Keep system running smoothly
– Document system
– Define procedures and policies
– Recover from emergencies
– Plan systems

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Ethics, Privacy, and the Law

• Working as system administrator involves many


ethical issues
• Fellow employees count on your work to do
theirs
• Best route to success comes through making
employer successful
• System administrators guild (SAGE)
– www.sage.org

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Starting To Use Linux

• Should have access to computer with Linux


installed

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Logging In

• Log in
– Identify yourself to operating system so that it
knows:
• You are authorized to use system
• Which parts of system to permit you to access
• User account
– Set of permissions to use system
– Has associated user name and password

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Logging In (continued)

• Modes
– Graphical
– Text

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Graphical Environments

• Popular desktops
– KDE desktop
– GNOME desktop
• Features
– Taskbar
– Main menu
– Desktop icons
– Multiple overlapping windows

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Opening a Terminal Window

• Terminal window
– Resembles console
– Enter commands from keyboard

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Exploring the File System

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File System Concepts

• Files are organized into directories


• Names are case sensitive
• Names can be long
• Names may contain many different types of
characters
• Can include file extensions
– Not required

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File System Concepts (continued)

• Directory relationships
– Parent directory
– Subdirectory
• Path
– List of directories
– Absolute path
– Relative path
• Linux does not have separate drives

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File System Concepts (continued)

• Root directory
– Parent of all directories
–/
• /Usr subdirectory
– Contains the greatest number of files and
subdirectories on newly installed systems

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Managing Files With
Graphical Utilities
• File manager
– Nautilus
– Displays contents of a directory as collection of
icons or file names
– Manage files and directories
– Choose Browse Filesystem on main menu
• Home directory
– Subdirectory where all personal files are stored

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Working at a Command Line
• Linux system administrators should be very
comfortable working at command line
– Much faster way to perform most tasks
– Some tasks cannot be use graphical interface
• Commands
– pwd − mv − slocate
– cd − ls − file
– mkdir − cat − cp
– rmdir − touch

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Working at a Command Line
(continued)
• Command-line prompt consists of:
– User name
– Name of computer at which you are working
– Last directory name in current working directory
– $ character

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Working at a Command Line
(continued)
• Parameters
– Define what command will operate on
• Options
– Alter how command operates
• Timestamp
– Information about date and time when event
occurred

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Finding Command Help

• Learn more details


• Explore additional Linux topics

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Reading Linux Documentation

• Linux documentation project (LDP)


– HOWTOS
• Linux on the internet
– www.google.com
• Documentation included with software packages
– Software packages provide some documentation
– /Usr/doc
– /Usr/share/doc

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Linux Command Information

• Man pages
– Online manual pages
– Man command
• Info page
– Definitive source of information
– Info command

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Summary

• Operating system
– Provides interface between computer hardware
and applications run by user
• Linux offers important features, such as:
– Stability
– Speed
– Security
– Flexibility
– Low cost

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Summary (continued)

• Several Linux certification programs are available


• Several versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux
• Most users rely on GUI to log in and use Linux
– Text-only mode also available
• Information in Linux is stored in directories
– Begins with root directory /

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Summary (continued)

• Linux files can include file extensions


– Few Linux programs rely on file extensions to
define what file contains
• Information about Linux is available online
– Part of LDP

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