When I’m not fixing Windows or printers, I’m often to be found SysAdmining Unix and Linux. So I wanted to share my way of doing this, since I use it just about every day.
If you’ve not heard of SysAdmin before, it’s essentially the word for System Administrator or the management of a multi-user IT environment and the upkeep, configuration and reliable operation of IT systems, especially things like servers.
So, here goes with my tips for Unix, the Operating System (OS), which supports multiple concurrent users, and Linux, the open-source OS modelled on Unix.
- VI – This is the screen-oriented text editor originally created for the Unix operating system. It was created four decades ago and is admittedly more than a little user-unfriendly, but given that it’s on every single Unix machine in existence, you need to get to grips with it:
- There are two modes; ‘edit’ and ‘visual or command’ mode. It’s almost like the two modes of ‘keyboard’ and ‘mouse.’ Once you get the hang of it, its much faster than using Microsoft Word or Notepad.
- Know how to use exit (:x) , quit (:q) , save (:w), delete line (dd) and Vim – the text editor that’s a contraction of VI –IMproved. But also make use of the esoteric VI keystrokes, so that VI will still work when you use it, even on Solaris when the arrow keys never seem to be mapped properly.
- Grep and Tail
If you need to check out a log in real time, tail –f foo or cat foo| grep bar or even better (tail –f foo| grep bar). In a separate window, you can then run the process and study the log output you wanted to see.
- Locate and find
If you are in a hurry to locate the fubiz log file:
- Use apt-get install locate or yum install locate (if it’s not installed already)
- Locate fuzbiz.log – which will be much quicker and save you time long term.
- Or if you cannot use locate find .fubiz -print
- Bash Shell
There are some handy history commands !! and `!!` (tick not quote)
- Sendmail configuration – Have a look at this one as well.
Regular expressions – to be honest – I still need to learn these – I did try reading the perl re manual once .. so for number 6 – lets use ‘top’ instead
- Top – the Unix equivalent of Windows Task Manager
- Apache configuration – Again it’s a good idea to be au fait with this, preferably before you run into any problems with your system.
- Ping, ifconfig, traceroute & nslookup – These are basic network troubleshooting tools it’s worth being familiar with.
- diff to compare two files and find the differences – such an amazing tool
- rev – I have no idea why this exists
- Finally, document everything that will be hard to remember. Specifically, always have a record of any configuration changes; equally if you change more than a single line, create a backup file – and try and only change ONE thing at a time or it just becomes too complicated and confusing.
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