Saturday, April 26, 2008

Basic administration commands

printtool (as root in X-terminal)
Configuration tool for your printer(s). Settings go to the file /etc/printcap.

setup (as root)
Configure mouse, soundcard, keyboard, X-windows, system services. There are many distibution-specific configuration utilities, setup is the default on RedHat. Mandrake 7.0 offers very nice DrakConf.

linuxconfig (as root, either in text or graphical mode).
You can access and change hundreds of setting from it. Very powerful--don't change too many things at the same time, and be careful with changing entries you don't understand.

xvidtune (in X-terminal).
Adjust the settings of the graphical display for all resolutions so as to eliminate black bands, shift the display right/left/up/down, etc. (First use the knobs on your monitor to fit your text mode correctly on the screen.) To make the changes permanent, display the frequencies on the screen and transfer them to the setup file /etc/X11/XF86Config.

alias ls="ls --color=tty"
Create an alias for the command "ls" to enhance its format with color. In this example, the alias is also called "ls" and the "color" option is only envoke when the output is done to a terminal (not to files). Put the alias into the file /etc/bashrc if you would like the alias to be always accessible to all users on the system. Type "alias" alone to see the list of aliases on your system.

adduser user_name
Create a new account (you must be root). E.g., adduser barbara Don't forget to set up the password for the new user in the next step. The user home directory is /home/user_name.

useradd user_name
The same as the command " adduser user_name ".

userdel user_name
Remove an account (you must be a root). The user's home directory and the undelivered mail must be dealt with separately (manually because you have to decide what to do with the files).

groupadd group_name
Create a new group on your system. Non-essential but can be handy even on a home machine with a small number of users.

Change the password on your current account. If you are root, you can change the password for any user using: passwd user_name

chmod perm filename (=change mode)
Change the file access permission for the files you own (unless you are root in which case you can change any file). You can make a file accessible in three modes: read (r), write (w), execute (x) to three classes of users: owner (u), members of the same group as the owner (g), others on the system (o). Check the current access permissions using: ls -l filename If the file is accessible to all users in all modes it will show: rwxrwxrwx The first triplet shows the file permission for the owner of the file, the second for his/her group, the third for others. A "no" permission is shown as "-". E.g., this command will add the permission to read the file "junk" to all (=user+group+others): chmod a+r junk This command will remove the permission to execute the file junk from others: chmod o-x junk Also try here for more info. You can set the default file permissions for the news files that you create using the command umask (see man umask).

chown new_ownername filename chgrp new_groupname filename
Change the file owner and group. You should use these two commands after you copy a file for use by somebody else.

su (=substitute user id)
Assume the superuser (=root) identity (you will be prompted for the password). Type "exit" to return you to your previous login. Don't habitually work on your machine as root. The root account is for administration and the su command is to ease your access to the administration account when you require it. You can also use "su" to assume any other user identity, e.g. su barbara will make me "barbara" (password required unless I am a superuser).

kernelcfg (as root in X terminal).
GUI to to add/remove kernel modules. You can do the same from the command line using the command "insmod", but "insmode" is less "newbie-friendly".

List currently loaded kernel modules. A module is like a device driver--it provides operating system kernel support for a particular piece of hardware or feature.

modprobe -l more
List all the modules available for your kernel. The available modules are determined by how your Linux kernel was compliled. Every possible module/feature can be compiled on linux as either "hard wired" (fast, non-removable), "module" (maybe slower, but loaded/removable on demand), or "no" (no support for this feature at all).

insmod parport insmod ppa (as root)
Insert modules into the kernel (a module is roughly an equivalent of a DOS device driver). This example shows how to insert the modules for support of the external parallel port zip drive (it appears to be a problem to get the external zip drive to work in any other way under RH6.0 ).
rmmod module_name (as root, not essential). Remove the module module_name from the kernel.

setserial /dev/cua0 port 0x03f8 irq 4 (as root)
Set a serial port to a non-standard setting. The example here shows the standard setting for the first serial port (cua0 or ttyS0). The standard PC settings for the second serial port (cua1or ttyS1) are: address of i/o port 0x02f8, irq 3. The third serial port (cua2 or ttyS2): 0x03e8, irq 4. The forth serial port (cua3 or ttyS3): 0x02e8, irq 3. Add your setting to /etc/rc.d/rc.local if you want it to be set at the boot time. See man setserial for good a overview.

fdisk (as root)
Linux hard drive partitioning utility (DOS has a utility with the same name).

cd /usr/src/linux-2.0.36 make xconfig (as root in X terminal).
Nice GUI front-end for configuration of the kernel options in preparation for compilation of your customized kernel. (The directory name contains the version of your Linux kernel so you may need to modify the directory name if your Linux kernel version is different than 2.0.36 used in this example. You also need the "Tk" interpreter and the kernel source code installed. ) The alternatives to "make xconfig" are: "make config" (runs a scripts that asks you questions in the text mode) and "make menuconfig" (runs a text-based menu-driven configuration utility). Try: less /usr/doc/HOWTO/Kernel-HOWTO for more information. After the configuration, you may choose to proceed with kernel compilation of the new kernel by issuing the following commands: make dep make zImage The last command will take some time to complete (maybe 0.5 h, depending on your hardware). It produces the file "zImage", which is your new Linux kernel. Next: make modules make modules_install Read: /usr/doc/HOWTO/Kernel-HOWTO for information on how to install the new kernel. You will probably also find it useful to read "man depmode". Configuration, compilation and installation of a new kernel is not difficult but it CAN lead to problems if you don't know what you are doing. Compilation of a kernel is a good way to test your hardware, because it involves a massive amount of computing. If your hardware is "flaky", you will most likely receive the "signal 11" error (read the beatiful /usr/doc/FAQ/txt/GCC-SIG11-FAQ). See this for details on kernel upgrade.

depmod -a (as root)
Build the module dependency table for the kernel. This can, for example, be useful after installing and booting a new kernel. Use "modprobe -a" to load the modules.

ldconfig (as root)
Re-create the bindings and the cache for the loader of dynamic libraries ("ld"). You may want to run ldconfig after an installation of new dynamically linked libraries on your system. (It is also re-run every time you boot the computer, so if you reboot you don't have to run it manually.)

mknod /dev/fd0 b 2 0 (=make node, as root)
Create a device file. This example shows how to create a device file associated with your first floppy drive and could be useful if you happened to accidentally erase it. The options are: b=block mode device (c=character mode device, p=FIFO device, u=unbuffered character mode device). The two integers specify the major and the minor device number.

fdformat /dev/fd0H1440
mkfs -c -t ext2
(=floppy disk format, two commands, as root)
Perform a low-level formatting of a floppy in the first floppy drive (/dev/fd0), high density (1440 kB). Then make a Linux filesystem (-t ext2), checking/marking bad blocks (-c ). Making the files system is an equivalent to the high-level format.

badblocks /dev/fd01440 1440 (as root)
Check a high-density floppy for bad blocks and display the results on the screen. The parameter "1440" specifies that 1440 blocks are to be checked. This command does not modify the floppy.

fsck -t ext2 /dev/hda2 (=file system check, as root)
Check and repair a filesystem. The example uses the partition hda2, filesystem type ext2.

dd if=/dev/fd0H1440 of=floppy_image
dd if=floppy_image of=/dev/fd0H1440
(two commands, dd="data duplicator") Create an image of a floppy to the file called "floppy_image" in the current directory. Then copy floppy_image (file) to another floppy disk. Works like DOS "DISKCOPY".

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