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      Linux Commands, Config Files and Useful System Folders

     

    The following commands, standard configuration files and system folders aim to give all variations of Linux users (from novice, intermediate to advanced) a reference point to assist with the setup, management and upgrades of any Linux system:

     

      Command List

     
    COMMAND
     
    DESCRIPTION
    man -k "<search string>"
    -
    Searches the man pages for the <search string specified>, good for when you don't 100% know what your looking for.
    ifconfig
    -
    This lists all the ethernet adapters and there details including the IP addresses and base addresses.
    ifup <eth#>
    -
    Bring an ethernet interface (eth#) up.
    ifdown <eth#>
    -
    Take an ethernet interface (eth#) down.
    rpm -ivh <filename.rpm>
    -
    Installs a program from an RPM package to its default install directory.
    rpm -u <filename.rpm>
    -
    Updates a program from an RPM package to its default install directory.
    mount -t iso9660 /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom
    -
    Mounts a CDROM drive in the ISO9660 format so that it can be accessed through /mnt/cdrom
    pump -h <hostname> -i eth0
    -
    This is a built in DHCP client program for Red Hat 6.2, it establishes and IP address from your <hostname> and assigns it to your ethernet interface eth0 so that you can connect to the net through your cable connection.
    gunzip <filename.gz>
    -
    Uncompresses an GZIP file so that it can either be used or untared.
    gzip <filename>
    -
    Compresses a tar file so it can be stored to transferred easily.
    tar -xvf <filename.tar>
    -
    This extracts all files and directories from a TAR compresses file into its default directory in your current working directory.
    tar -xzvf <filename.tar.gz>
    -
    Extras all the files from a tarball (a TAR file that is also GZIP'ed). This allows a single command to do both extractions.
    tar -cf <filename.tar> /<directory>/*
    -
    This will create a new TAR file with the name specified by <filename.tar> which will contain all the files in the <directory> and all sub-directories. (You can then GZIP it)
    samba {start|stop|restart|status}
    -
    This runs or stops the SAMBA service which allows Windows machines to see and browse your Linux computer.
    locate -u
    -
    This updates the locate database so that you can have up to date search information. Same as updatedb, must be run as root.
    locate <filename>
    -
    This will list all directories for which your search <filename> is located in.
    alias name="execute_string"
    -
    This aliases a command <name> to an executable string, e.g. alias cdrom="mount -t ......" would allow easy mounting of the CD-ROM drive by simply running the cdrom command.
    rm -rf <directory>
    -
    This removes a <directory> and all its contents without prompting for confirmation on each file (be careful with this).
    du -c -h
    -
    This calculates the total amount of disk space used up on your Linux box in human readable format, i.e. MB / GB etc.
    <command> > /dev/null
    -
    This executes a <command> and redirects all its output to the null device and hence displays nothing on the screen.
    <command> >> <filename>
    -
    This executes a command and redirects it to append to a file given by <filename>
    chmod <options> <filename/directory>
    -
    Changes the READ / WRITE / EXECUTE permissions of a file or directory based on USER / GROUP.
    chown <user> <filename/directory>
    -
    Similar to the above, but it changes the owner of the file to <user>.
    chgrp <group> <filename/directory>
    -
    Once again similar to above, changes the the group if of a file or directory to that of <group>.
    man <command>
    -
    Displays the manual entries for the given <command>, is very useful for finding out all the options of a command.
    <command1> | <command2>
    -
    This is the PIPE command and allows the output of the <command1> to become the input of <command2>.
    pwd
    -
    Lists the full directory path of your current working directory.
    passwd
    -
    Allows the current user to change their password.
    adduser <options>
    -
    Allows the root (superuser) to add another authorized user to the database of users for your Linux box. (/etc/passwd)
    groupadd <options>
    -
    Allows the root (superuser) to add another authorized group to the database of groups for your Linux box. (/etc/group)
    su
    -
    Prompts the current user for the superuser password, if correct they are given all root privileges. This is useful when logging into your server from a remote terminal as you can only login as root from the box itself.
    shutdown -h -t 30 now "message"
    -
    This sends the "message" out to all terminals and shuts down the box after 30 seconds from the time you hit enter, the -h means that it will halt otherwise you can select a reboot option, this is especially good if you have an ATX motherboard as it will auto power off once the system has halted.
    cat <filename> | more
    -
    This will display the contents of the file <filename> and then PIPE it to a command called more which will display it one screen at a time so you can read it easily.
    [TAB] Key
    -
    Command completion, The golden key it will work out what the rest of your command is from the options it has available.
    ls -al
    -
    Lists files for the current directory, showing permissions groups and owners.
    cp [source] [target]
    -
    Copy a file to another location, this can also be used to copy multiple files and directories at once.
    ps aux
    -
    Displays all current running processes and programs. This will include the system and other users processes.
    kill [-9] [processes id]
    -
    Kills specified processes, this is good for a program that you want to shut down immediately. Use -9 to force stubborn program to die..
    kill -1 -1
    -
    This will kill all of your tasks, good for if you have a Telnet session crash and processes are still running.
    killall <program name>
    -
    If you want to kill a program from a script then you will need this, it will find the appropriate PID and terminate the program.
    pidof <program name>
    -
    Can be used to find the PID of a certain program that is running on your machine.
    df
    -
    Calculates the amount of free disk space for all mounted drives on your system.
    ln -s <folder> <linked folder>
    -
    This creates a symbloic link from the <linked folder> to the <folder>, this means it you can use <linked folder> and it will really be <folder>.
    fsconf
    -
    Filesystem configuration utility (makes changes to the /etc/fstab file).
    lpdconfig
    -
    A print-spooling configuration utility.
    netconf
    -
    A TCP/IP services configuration utility.
    linuxconf
    -
    Comprehensive interface for administering your Red Hat system.
    userconf
    -
    User and Group configuration utility.
    xconf
    -
    X11 configuration utility.
    ntsysv
    -
    Used to configure what services are started at boot time.
    scp -r username@ip_address:path/to/* .
    -
    Secure copy (remote copy program). Uses SSH encryption to transfer files between systems (requires user account permisssions etc).
    find ./ -name <file_name>
    -
    If you can't use locate, then find is a more standardised Linux search program.
    dmesg
    -
    Print or control the kernel ring buffer, best way to monitor boot up messages by the Linux kernel and anylse to find problems etc
    lsmod
    -
    Shows the status of modules loaded with the Linux kernel (useful for seeing if your drivers (if modules) are loaded and working etc)
    modprobe
    -
    Program to add or remove modules from the Linux kernal (use this to add or remove your device drivers/modules).
    who
    -
    Lists who is currently logged into a Linux system, detailing username, connect method, date connected and IP address information.
    top
    -
    Provides a dynamic real-time view of a running system, use this as part of your system performance analysis.
    lsof
    -
    Lists all open files belonging to all active processes.
    vi
    -
    vi is a powerful text editing application that can be scripted, add modules and increase functionality, its a *must* for all Linux users.
    shred
    -
    Securely deletes a file by overwrite its contents
    arp
    -
    Manipulates the systems kernal ARTP cache, used mainly for clearing or updating the systems address mappings.
    head -n # <filename>
    -
    Output the first part of files, where the options such as -n are used it will display only # number of lines etc (man head for more info)
    tail -n # <filename>
    -
    Output the last part of files, where the options such as -n are used it will display only # number of lines etc (man tail for more info).
    nice
    -
    Runs a program with modified scheduling priority, i.e. a higher or lower priority to that of a normal process, guarantees more cpu time.
    nohup
    -
    Run a command immune to hangups, with output to a non-tty.
    stty
    -
    Change and print terminal line settings. Change the way your terminal sessions act or behaves to better suit you as a user.
    talk
    -
    Talk to another user currently logged in (doesn't matter which machine logged into as long as the usernames remain the same).
    !!
    -
    To automatically re-display the last command you typed at the prompt, type: !! and press enter.
    diff
    -
    Find the difference between two files, great for checking files (particularly code or configs) to see where they differ etc.
    screen
    -
    Allows you to run programs in a re-attachable virtual terminal.
    mc
    -
    Powerful filemanager that can browse rpm, tar, ftp, ssh, etc
    hwclock
    -
    Hardware Clock date/time, without arguments displays hardware date/time info, with --systohc will sync system to hardware
    chkconfig
    -
    Updates and queries runlevel information for system services 
    TOP
     
      Configuration Files
     
    CONFIG FILE
     
    DESCRIPTION
    /etc/lilo.conf
    -
    Configures LILO, the Linux boot manager.
    /etc/fstab
    -
    Configures automatically mounted file systems.
    /etc/smb.conf
    -
    Configures Samba, Windows file sharing.
    /etc/rc.d/rc.local
    -
    Add any extra startup commands and programs here. e.g. your IP forwarding script.
    /etc/rc.d/rc.#
    -
    Where # is a number 0 through to 6, When a system starts, the init command runs a rc.# for a particular runlevel.
    /etc/profile
    -
    System wide shell environment profile, edit this to change user environment information.
    /etc/cron.<frequency>
    -
    .hourly, .daily, .weekly, .monthly, Used to schedule automated task execution from within your Linux system environment.
    TOP
     
      Standard Linux Directories
     
    DIRECTORY
     
    DESCRIPTION
    /
    -
    The 'root' folder, this is the base of the Linux folder structure, all folders and files will appear logically below '/' even though they may be part of another file system, partition or even computer system (i.e. when mounted).
    /bin
    -
    Binaries folder
    /boot
    -
    System boot folder (usually a good idea to have it on a seperate 100MB or so parition) this is where your kernal boot image is stored.
    /dev
    -
    Devices folder, this where you will find information and gain access to all devices on your system (serial, floppy, ide, scsi etc)
    /etc
    -
    Used by most programs and Linux systems to store configuration (*.conf) files in a common area for maintainability and backups etc.
    /home
    -
    Home folders, all your users (except root) will have a home folder contained within this folder, also a good idea to put on a separate partition for systems with large user bases, this is to ensure user files don't compromise system stability by filling the drive.
    /lib
    -
    Libraries folder, used to store modules (.o files) and other similar files.
    /mnt
    -
    Mount folder, where you should mount any devices, any automatically mounted devices will show up in here.
    /proc
    -
    Process information, you can view live information on your entire system from this folder. e.g. /proc/cpuinfo, /proc/net/ etc
    /root
    -
    The root (or in Windows world 'Administrator') users home folder.
    /sbin
    -
    Should contain only binaries essential for booting, restoring, recovering, and/or repairing the system in addition to the binaries in /bin.
    /src
    -
    Source folder, a good idea to keep all your program source separate from other binaries for maintainability and convenience.
    /tmp
    -
    Temporary folder used by programs and users for storing non important runtime files that can be deleted when no longer in use.
    /usr
    -
    User program binaries, useful for separating user applications from the systems/admin application binaries (/bin).
    /var
    -
    Folder for storage of files that an be of variable size, i.e. your log files are usually stores in /var/log/appname. Good idea to separate again on another partition or physical disk to ensure that log file growth doesn't compromise system stability.
    TOP

     

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