Linux Essentials

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-04-03
  • Publisher: Sybex

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A unique, full-color introduction to Linux fundamentals Serving as a low-cost, secure alternative to expensive operating systems, Linux is a UNIX-based, open source operating system. Full-color and concise, this beginner's guide takes a learning-by-doing approach to understanding the essentials of Linux. Each chapter begins by clearly identifying what you will learn in the chapter, followed by a straightforward discussion of concepts that leads you right into hands-on tutorials. Chapters conclude with additional exercises and review questions, allowing you to reinforce and measure your understanding. Offers a hands-on approach to acquiring a foundation of Linux skills, aiming to ensure Linux beginners gain a solid understanding Uses the leading Linux distribution Fedora to demonstrate tutorials and examples Addresses Linux installation, desktop configuration, management of files and filesystems, remote administration, security, and more Includes additional exercises and review questions to strengthen your learning process This book is essential reading for anyone entering the world of Linux!

Author Biography

Roderick W. Smith, Linux+, LPIC-1, LPIC-2, is a recognized Linux open source programmer and networking expert. He is the author of over a dozen books on open source technologies. His books include CompTIA Linux+ Complete Study Guide; LPIC-1: Linux Professional Institute Certification Study Guide, 2nd Edition; LPIC-2: Linux Professional Institute Certification Study Guide, and Linux Administrator Street Smarts, all from Sybex.

Table of Contents

Introduction xvii

Chapter 1 Selecting an Operating System 1

What Is an OS?  1

What Is a Kernel? 1

What Else Identifies an OS? 2

Investigating User Interfaces  4

Using a Text-Mode User Interface  4

Using a Graphical User Interface 6

Where Does Linux Fit in the OS World?  8

Comparing Linux to Unix  8

Comparing Linux to Mac OS X  10

Comparing Linux to Windows 11

What Is a Distribution? 13

Creating a Complete Linux-Based OS 13

A Summary of Common Linux Distributions  14

Understanding Release Cycles 17

The Essentials and Beyond 18

Chapter 2 Investigating Linux’s Principles and Philosophy 21

Linux through the Ages  21

Understanding Linux’s Origins  22

Seeing Today’s Linux World 24

Using Open Source Software  24

Understanding Basic Open Source Principles  24

Linux as a Software Integrator  27

Understanding OS Roles 27

Understanding Embedded Computers  27

Understanding Desktop and Laptop Computers 28

Understanding Server Computers 29

The Essentials and Beyond 30

Chapter 3 Understanding Sof tware Licensing 33

Investigating Software Licenses 33

Copyright and Software 34

Using Licenses to Modify Copyright Terms  36

The Free Software Foundation 36

Understanding the FSF Philosophy 37

Free Software and the GPL  38

The Open Source Initiative 39

Understanding the Open Source Philosophy  39

Defining Open Source Software  40

The Creative Commons  41

Using Open Source Licenses  42

Understanding Open Source Licenses 42

Understanding Open Source Business Models  44

The Essentials and Beyond 45

Chapter 4 Using Common Linux Programs 49

Using a Linux Desktop Environment 49

Choosing a Desktop Environment 50

Launching Programs 52

Using a File Manager  54

Working with Productivity Software 56

Finding the Right Tool for the Job  57

Using a Web Browser  58

Using Email Clients  59

Using Office Tools 60

Using Multimedia Applications  61

Using Linux for Cloud Computing  62

Using Mobile Applications  62

Using Server Programs 63

Identifying Common Server Protocols and Programs 63

Installing and Launching Servers 67

Securing Servers  68

Managing Programming Languages 69

Choosing a Compiled vs. an Interpreted Language  69

Identifying Common Programming Languages  70

The Essentials and Beyond 72

Chapter 5 Managing Hardware 75

Learning About Your CPU  75

Understanding CPU Families 76

Identifying Your CPU 78

Identifying Motherboard Capabilities  78

Sizing Your Power Supply 80

Understanding Disk Issues 81

Disk Interfaces  81

Partitioning a Disk 81

Understanding Filesystem Issues  85

Using Removable and Optical Disks  88

Managing Displays  89

Understanding the Role of X  89

Using Common Display Hardware 90

Handling USB Devices  92

Managing Drivers  93

Understanding Types of Drivers 93

Locating and Installing Drivers  94

The Essentials and Beyond 95

Chapter 6 Get ting to Know the Command Line 99

Starting a Command Line  99

Launching a Terminal  100

Logging Into a Text-Mode Console  102

Logging In Remotely  103

Running Programs 103

Running Text-Mode Programs  104

Running GUI Programs 105

Running Programs in the Background 105

Manipulating Files  106

Obtaining File Listings  106

Changing Directories 108

Using Absolute and Relative File References 108

Using Common File Manipulation Commands  110

Using Shell Features 111

Using Command Completion  111

Using Command History 112

The Essentials and Beyond 114

Chapter 7 Managing Files 117

Manipulating Files  117

Creating Files 118

Copying Files  118

Moving and Renaming Files  120

Using Links 121

Deleting Files 122

Using Wildcards  123

Understanding Case Sensitivity 123

Manipulating Directories  124

Creating Directories 125

Deleting Directories 125

Managing Directories 127

The Essentials and Beyond 127

Chapter 8 Getting Help 131

Using man Pages 131

Understanding the Purpose of man Pages  131

Locating man Pages by Section Number  132

Searching for a man Page  133

Reading man Pages  134

Using less  135

Using info Pages  138

Understanding the Purpose of info Pages 138

Reading info Pages 139

Finding Additional Documentation 140

Locating Program Documentation on Your Computer 141

Locating Program Documentation Online 144

Consulting Experts  145

The Essentials and Beyond 146

Chapter 9 Using Programs and Processes 149

Understanding Package Management  149

Linux Package Management Principles  149

Understanding Package Systems 150

Managing RPM Systems  152

Managing Debian Systems 153

Understanding the Process Hierarchy 154

Identifying Running Processes  155

Using ps to Identify Processes 155

Using top to Identify Processes  157

Measuring Memory Use 159

Using Log Files  160

Locating Log Files 160

Producing More Verbose Log File Entries  162

Examining the Kernel Ring Buffer 162

The Essentials and Beyond 163

Chapter 10 Searching, Extracting, and Archiving Data 165

Using Regular Expressions 165

Searching for and Extracting Data  167

Using grep 168

Using find  170

Using wc  171

Redirecting Input and Output  172

Using Basic Redirection Operators  173

Using Pipes 175

Generating Command Lines  175

Archiving Data  176

Using tar 176

Using Compression 179

Using zip 180

The Essentials and Beyond 183

Chapter 11 Editing Files 185

Understanding the Role of Text Files 185

Choosing an Editor 187

Launching an Editor 189

Editing Files with pico or nano  189

Using Text Editor Conventions  190

Exploring Basic nano Text-Editing Procedures  190

Saving Your Changes from nano 193

Editing Files with Vi 193

Understanding Vi Modes  193

Exploring Basic Vi Text-Editing Procedures 194

Saving Your Changes from Vi  197

Using Configuration File Conventions 197

Editing Formatted Text Files  199

The Essentials and Beyond 200

Chapter 12 Creating Scripts 203

Beginning a Shell Script 204

Using Commands  204

Using Arguments  207

Using Variables  208

Using Conditional Expressions 210

Using Loops 212

Using Functions  213

Setting the Script’s Exit Value 214

The Essentials and Beyond 215

Chapter 13 Understanding Users and Groups 217

Understanding Accounts  217

Understanding Account Features  218

Identifying Accounts  220

Understanding Groups 222

Using Account Tools  223

Discovering Your Own Identity 224

Learning Who’s Online  225

Working as root 226

Why Work as root? 227

Acquiring root Privileges 227

Using root Privileges Safely 230

The Essentials and Beyond 232

Chapter 14 Creating Users and Groups 235

Creating New Accounts. 235

Deciding on a Group Strategy 235

Selecting a Good Password  236

Creating Accounts Using GUI Tools  239

Creating Accounts from the Shell 241

Modifying Accounts  244

Deciding When to Modify Accounts  244

Checking for Logged-in Users 245

Modifying Accounts Using GUI Tools  245

Modifying Accounts from the Shell 247

Deleting Accounts 250

Avoiding Account-Deletion Pitfalls  250

Deleting Accounts Using GUI Tools 251

Deleting Accounts from the Shell 251

Managing Groups  252

Managing Groups Using GUI Tools 252

Managing Groups from the Shell  253

The Essentials and Beyond 255

Chapter 15 Set ting Ownership and Permissions 257

Setting Ownership  257

Understanding Ownership 258

Setting Ownership in a File Manager  259

Setting Ownership in a Shell 260

Setting Permissions  261

Understanding Permissions 261

Setting Permissions in a File Manager 266

Setting Permissions in a Shell 266

Setting the umask  267

The Essentials and Beyond 268

Chapter 16 Navigating the Linux Filesystem 271

Understanding Where Things Go 271

User Files vs. System Files 271

The Filesystem Hierarchy Standard  273

Important Directories and Their Contents 274

Using Special Permission Bits and File Features 277

Using Sticky Bits  277

Using Special Execute Permissions 279

Hiding Files from View  280

Viewing Directories  281

The Essentials and Beyond 282

Chapter 17 Managing Network Connections 285

Understanding Network Features  285

Configuring a Network Connection 287

Deciding Whether to Use DHCP  288

Creating a Wi-Fi Connection 289

Using a Network Configuration GUI 293

Using Text-Based Tools  295

Testing Your Network Connection 299

Checking Your Routing Table  299

Testing Basic Connectivity  299

Finding Breaks in Connectivity 300

Testing DNS  302

Checking Your Network Status 302

Protecting Your System from the Bad Guys  303

The Essentials and Beyond 304

Appendix A Answers to Review Questions 307

Chapter 1 307

Chapter 2 308

Chapter 3 309

Chapter 4 310

Chapter 5 311

Chapter 6 312

Chapter 7 313

Chapter 8 314

Chapter 9 315

Chapter 10 316

Chapter 11 317

Chapter 12 318

Chapter 13 319

Chapter 14 320

Chapter 15 321

Chapter 16 322

Chapter 17 323

Appendix B LPI’s Certification Program 325

The Linux Essentials Certification 325

Certification Objectives Map  326

Index 329

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