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Top Ten Linux Configuration Tools?

Cliff posted about 10 years ago | from the what-no-admin-should-be-without dept.

Software 651

jman251 asks: "I am presenting at a conference in September on a couple of Linux-centric topics. One of these is a collection of tips, tricks, and tools for configuring, securing, and maintaining a Linux-based server. I have a short list of tools I use, but would like some community input on the subject. What tools do you use that make your admin responsibilities easier or more automated on the Linux platform?"

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They all start with "nano -wiR /etc/" (3, Interesting)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | about 10 years ago | (#9699990)

vim (0, Flamebait)

mnemonic_ (164550) | about 10 years ago | (#9700003)

Fuck you, vim 4 lyfe.

Hey, I could have started with, "One word: EMACS" (1, Interesting)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | about 10 years ago | (#9700114)

:D
But that's would be too easy. Seriously, I had to tell the truth (nano is awesome, so is vim, but then so is nano).
And I don't think anyone can fill a top ten list with configuration tools... people use rarely more than one, if any. I know I don't.

Re:They all start with "nano -wiR /etc/" (1)

Pillager (6026) | about 10 years ago | (#9700009)

Don't you mean 'vi /etc/'?

Re:They all start with "nano -wiR /etc/" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9700033)

No, vim.

Re:They all start with "nano -wiR /etc/" (1)

BJH (11355) | about 10 years ago | (#9700079)

$ which vi /bin/vi
$ ls -l /bin/vi
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 20 Jan 28 2003 /bin/vi -> /etc/alternatives/vi*
$ ls -l /etc/alternatives/vi
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 9 Jan 28 2003 /etc/alternatives/vi -> /bin/vim*

Re:They all start with "nano -wiR /etc/" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9700178)

you should update your .sig
It's now :Results 1 - 10 of about 370,000,000 for b [definition]. (0.23 seconds)

Re:They all start with "nano -wiR /etc/" (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9700040)

What kind of crappy editor requires extra flags to be able to edit long lines?

FLAMEBAIT? What the hell... (1)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | about 10 years ago | (#9700151)

I wasn't kidding (personally).

Only one... (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | about 10 years ago | (#9699991)

Make :)

rm (5, Funny)

bobthemuse (574400) | about 10 years ago | (#9699994)

rm -rf /home

That'll teach those pesky users....

Re:rm (4, Insightful)

Punk Walrus (582794) | about 10 years ago | (#9700011)

Only as root... and then you created them, so hush! :)

Xconfigurator (2, Interesting)

superpulpsicle (533373) | about 10 years ago | (#9699996)

Xconfigurator used to be the key thing if you had any graphical needs. But the KDE GUI makes all that graphical tweaking as transparent as windows desktop nowadays.

Re:Xconfigurator (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 years ago | (#9700080)

Does KDE actually write new X config files now? Because if it doesn't, changing resolutions is dependent on the config files.

Re:Xconfigurator (2, Insightful)

fore1337 (573128) | about 10 years ago | (#9700117)

I like using XConfigurator
You're right about not needing it lately. However it's been useful for notebook displays of uncommon resolution. (my 14" 1400x1050) Xconfigurator is the only way I know how to get it working properly.

Interesting, but... (-1, Offtopic)

Ass, Ltd. Ho! (714400) | about 10 years ago | (#9699998)

Kingsley Chidubem First Bank of Nigeria PLC Fairfield Towers 270 Mbaise Road, Owerri Nigeria Telephone: 234 80 33484307 Alt. E-mail: kingsley_chidubem@latinmail.com Dear Sir, I am Kingsley Chidubem, an Auditor with First Bank of Nigeria PLC and Accounts Manager of the Late Mr. James Winthrop ,who died in a ghastly motor accident on 17 November 2001 together with his wife and only daughter. Before his death, James was owed Eleven Million and Seven Hundred Thousand United States Dollars (US$11,700,000:00) by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for contracts executed for them and for which payment is now due. As his Banker during his lifetime, all my efforts to locate a Next of Kin to claim this money has proved abortive including genealogy searches. I therefore want to present you as his Next of Kin .This will facilitate the payment of his contract proceed into your nominated Bank Account. For your assistance, I propose to give you 35% of the money. 60% shall be for my humbleself, while the remainder 5% will be set aside to defray all our expenses. I have all the relevant documents to facilitate the payment of this money to your Bankers. This transaction is 100% guaranteed and will be concluded in ten(10) Bank working days on receipt of your cooperation. Please urgently contact me on receipt of this message. Sincerely yours, Kingsley Chidubem P.S. FIRST POST YOU FUCKING BITCHES!!! ALL-NEW Yahoo! Messenger - sooooo many all-new ways to express yourself

Re:Interesting, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9700099)

wedding hazelnuts! [snipurl.com]

Webmin all the way (5, Interesting)

tntguy (516721) | about 10 years ago | (#9700002)

Webmin [webmin.com] . Grab Usermin [webmin.com] while you're there.

Webmin is nice (3, Informative)

arfonrg (81735) | about 10 years ago | (#9700004)

I use it on several of my servers to do basic configuration.

Re:Webmin is nice (1, Informative)

rainman_bc (735332) | about 10 years ago | (#9700038)

I like webmin as well. Much less overhead than KDE or X... Definately gets the job done for most server management needs.

Re:Webmin is nice (1)

Terragen (727874) | about 10 years ago | (#9700063)

I'll second that - Webmin is a great tool.

Re:Webmin is nice (1, Funny)

cdrudge (68377) | about 10 years ago | (#9700180)

Remember that SCO has contributed [caldera.com] to webmin. Using webmin obviously means that you are violating their IP rights and will be sued for $1b per day of infringement. Of course you likely were already violating their IP rights by using the Linux kernel, java, and if you use RedHat, rpm.

Re:Webmin is nice (4, Informative)

John Hurliman (152784) | about 10 years ago | (#9700112)

I'd put Webmin on my #1 list for best Linux admin tools. phpmysql is probably second (or the postgresql equivalent), and all the necessary toolkit apps like nmap, ethereal, netcat, etc.

Re:Webmin is nice (0)

nharmon (97591) | about 10 years ago | (#9700124)

Webmin is a good "bandaid" for people learning server administration and need to do something quickly. However, it does come with some inherit security problems. Most notably there have been exploits in the past that allow free shell access. Also, it requires you to run httpd, which on many servers is not worth the security risk.

Dave Lettermans Top 10 (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9700006)

su
df
du
ls
rm
passwd
chown
vi
more
bash

Hey, you asked for it - No clicky links to read.

Re:Dave Lettermans Top 10 (2, Insightful)

vicviper (140480) | about 10 years ago | (#9700128)

su
df
du
ls
rm
passwd
chown
vi
more
bash

s/more/less/

Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 3.6).

The one true Text Editor! (1, Troll)

teamhasnoi (554944) | about 10 years ago | (#9700007)

Pico! All bow before it!

Re:The one true Text Editor! (1)

mishan (146987) | about 10 years ago | (#9700113)

cat is the only "one true" text editor, but emacs is the "one true" text-editing, interactive lisp environment. pico is simply the "one true" piece of crap which doesn't even have a "Goto Line" function; use nano instead.

Re:The one true Text Editor! (1)

Le'BottomEh (750785) | about 10 years ago | (#9700171)

If you are talking about going to a specific line number, it is: Ctrl W T

Re:The one true Text Editor! (1)

Cowculator (513725) | about 10 years ago | (#9700196)

Try ^W ^T in pico. It looks like a perfectly good "Goto Line" to me...

Re:The one true Text Editor! (5, Funny)

alexborges (313924) | about 10 years ago | (#9700146)

Vi user 1: KILL THE TROLL

Vi user 2: Mesmerize this so-called-pico-mesiah

Slashdot winfiend1: I for one....

Slashdot winfiend2: Imagine a ....

Emacs user 1: Damn, the vimers beat us to the hangin!... we cant say kill him, they already did...

Emacs user 2: Its Gnu-Pic.... oh wait...

Add tool name here - once. (1)

ehack (115197) | about 10 years ago | (#9700008)

Add a one-liner with the tool name here to create a quick overview.

Webmin for President :) (1)

ehack (115197) | about 10 years ago | (#9700036)

Webmin for me :)

Re:Add tool name here - once. (2, Interesting)

AkaXakA (695610) | about 10 years ago | (#9700045)

PHPMyAdmin

Not The FP (5, Insightful)

jo42 (227475) | about 10 years ago | (#9700010)


man and vi

Seriously.

Re:Not The FP (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9700051)

stikeout man and replace it with google.

No Seriously.

Re:Not The FP (1)

john_anderson_ii (786633) | about 10 years ago | (#9700148)

I agree.

Vim and regex (3, Insightful)

sielwolf (246764) | about 10 years ago | (#9700018)

That's all ya need ;p

Doom... (4, Interesting)

lordbry (46768) | about 10 years ago | (#9700020)

As admin tool.

http://www.cs.unm.edu/~dlchao/flake/doom/

Re:Doom... (1)

lordbry (46768) | about 10 years ago | (#9700094)

Perhaps I should have explained myself better...

Someone took the code for doom and wrote the above mentioned admin tool with doom as the interface.

Try checking out the link before modding something down.

An important message for you and your loved ones. (1)

YourMissionForToday (556292) | about 10 years ago | (#9700021)

"It's true; until they took action over people fellating baboons in the childrens area of Burger King restaurants, I just couldn't stop myself from joining in."

mc (1)

Coneasfast (690509) | about 10 years ago | (#9700023)

most configuration takes place in config files, in /etc , etc... sometimes you can never find the right tool for configuration, so i just stick to editing them manually

i like using 'mc' as a good editor and file manager, helps me setup and configure my system very quickly

Webmin (1)

Gramie2 (411713) | about 10 years ago | (#9700024)

I find Webmin indispensable. There are plugins for almost any application/daemon imaginable!

In a word (4, Interesting)

Camel Pilot (78781) | about 10 years ago | (#9700027)

"What tools do you use that make your admin responsibilities easier or more automated on the Linux platform"

Perl is your friend

Re:In a word (0, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 years ago | (#9700052)

"Perl is your friend"

yet, most PERL programmers are not.

Re:In a word (1)

DoctorHoe (635071) | about 10 years ago | (#9700164)

Actually "Perl is your friend" is 4 words.

Re:In a word (1)

kidgenius (704962) | about 10 years ago | (#9700130)

I prefer to manage my systems instead of writing poetry.

Hmm.. (5, Funny)

wbav (223901) | about 10 years ago | (#9700028)

Most of the pc's I see are windows, so I'd have to say my most used tool is fdisk.

Knoppix is a nice solution too when I don't have time.

Re:Hmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9700211)

Using fdisk is a great start to making a Linux box more easily maintained! What's the next step - are you sticking with Windows 2000, or have you jumped to 2003? :)

Computer Management.. (5, Funny)

bdigit (132070) | about 10 years ago | (#9700030)

I use Computer Management. It's located under Administrative Tools in the Control Panel. It's really great for... wait a minute... looks around... wrong site...

takes a couple steps back...

Re:Computer Management.. (1)

nharmon (97591) | about 10 years ago | (#9700213)

Bah, computer management sucks. Try Start->Run->MMC.exe

don't forget (1)

Evanrude (21624) | about 10 years ago | (#9700031)

aptitude

Webmin (1)

PhoenixIce (706254) | about 10 years ago | (#9700047)

The key tool for me (besides manually editing the files) is without a doubt webmin (http://www.webmin.com/).

-Brint
http://bekit.net

Has to be said... (1, Offtopic)

Alphanos (596595) | about 10 years ago | (#9700054)

Portage [gentoo.org] ;).

(For any who don't know, portage is Gentoo's awesome application distribution system, which makes it very easy to keep software up to date.)

Re:Has to be said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9700121)

when it doesn't install a "unistd.h" with syntax errors.

It also has to be said... (2, Insightful)

hndrcks (39873) | about 10 years ago | (#9700159)

...when you have portaged the very latest version and compiled it from source for your processor and architecture... it still isn't configured.

...which I believe is what this poll is about. Top Ten Configuration Tools.

Make your life easier... (2, Informative)

MadWicKdWire (734140) | about 10 years ago | (#9700055)

My at least top 4...

grep
gawk
xargs
for

Shouldn't you be asking (1, Offtopic)

MattGWU (86623) | about 10 years ago | (#9700057)

"What's your favorite text editor?" Seems more accurate, but you definately do not want to re-open that can of worms.

P.S.: Jed.

Re:Shouldn't you be asking (1, Interesting)

kidgenius (704962) | about 10 years ago | (#9700086)

OOwriter :-)

Re:Shouldn't you be asking (1, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 years ago | (#9700143)

there is nothing wrong with that question.
The real problem is when someone asks:"What is the best text editor?"

Silly question, cause the answer is edlin.

Re:Shouldn't you be asking (4, Funny)

Sivar (316343) | about 10 years ago | (#9700195)

"Ed is the standard text editor." [gnu.org]

And ed doesn't waste space on my Timex Sinclair. Just look:

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root 24 Oct 29 1929 /bin/ed
-rwxr-xr-t 4 root 1310720 Jan 1 1970 /usr/ucb/vi
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root 5.89824e37 Oct 22 1990 /usr/bin/emacs

Of course, on the system *I* administrate, vi is symlinked to ed.
Emacs has been replaced by a shell script which 1) Generates a syslog
message at level LOG_EMERG; 2) reduces the user's disk quota by 100K;
and 3) RUNS ED!!!!!!

"Ed is the standard text editor."

Let's look at a typical novice's session with the mighty ed:

golem$ ed

?
help
?
?
?
quit
?
exit
?
bye
?
hell o?
?
eat flaming death
?
^C
?
^C
?
^D
?

---
Note the consistent user interface and error reportage. Ed is
generous enough to flag errors, yet prudent enough not to overwhelm
the novice with verbosity.

"Ed is the standard text editor."

Ed, the greatest WYGIWYG editor of all.

CVS (or insert your favorite alternative here) (5, Insightful)

-dsr- (6188) | about 10 years ago | (#9700058)

CVS or your favorite equivalent is vital in any multi-sysadmin environment. Operating without your configurations in CVS is like juggling priceless eggs in variable gravity.

Re:CVS (or insert your favorite alternative here) (4, Informative)

hackstraw (262471) | about 10 years ago | (#9700224)

Also, it kills me to see *NIX people still using passwords all the damn time. CVS + ssh keys = godlike.

Things I do. syslog to a common place. I have cloning scripts to dup a machine to a basic setup (poor mans jumpstart but faster and easier).

Perl and sed come in handy. Rsync (again with ssh keys) is good.

Oh yeah, /usr/local over nfs is good too. The only issue is that you may have to configure some packages to use a local filesystem for configuration files, keys, etc.

With these tips and tricks I can do whatever I need to do over a dialup connection anywhere in the world (I've only tested this from coast to coast in the US thought, but I believe it will scale worlwide :)

Hmmmmm. (5, Funny)

eigerface (526490) | about 10 years ago | (#9700067)


Emacs! No, vi! No, Arrrrrrgh!

Re:Hmmmmm. (1)

KjetilK (186133) | about 10 years ago | (#9700109)

GNU/Emacs! KjetilK ducks...

CSSH (2, Interesting)

olympus_coder (471587) | about 10 years ago | (#9700069)

Run all the servers (or lab gentoo boxes) at once. Great for mass updates,testing, etc.

Source Forge Page [sourceforge.net]

List is here... (3, Funny)

ReluctantBadger (550830) | about 10 years ago | (#9700071)

Surprisingly, Microsoft give a list of Linux support tools [microsoft.com] for use with their "Services For UNIX" software.

grep -sir foobar /etc/rc.d (1)

redelm (54142) | about 10 years ago | (#9700074)

What else could you want? I sup[pose you could pipe the found filenames into `vim` and get it to open on the regex.

Tripwire (5, Informative)

nharmon (97591) | about 10 years ago | (#9700075)

Tripwire is a very easy to use intrustion detection system. If you follow the documentation, and implement it properly (storing the statically linked binary + database files on read-only media), it will make things very hard on a potential hacker.

/bin/bash (5, Insightful)

llywelynelysium (746626) | about 10 years ago | (#9700078)

What good are all your commands with no shell? ? ?

Re:/bin/bash (1)

Will2k_is_here (675262) | about 10 years ago | (#9700201)

Agreed. Further, the most useful program is a personalized shell script.

BIND (2, Interesting)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 10 years ago | (#9700085)

I would really love a nice BIND configuration utility. Something where a whole package like webmin isnt necessary, but it makes life a whole lot easier. Redhats bindconf/redhat-bind-config was nice once upon a time, but getting it to run on anything but redhat requires about 2 gigs worth of obscure dependancies... I want something I can throw on say, a slackware machine, and it just go.

Even better would be something that also tied into dhcpd (these are the ISC daemons Im talking about, folks), that would serve to configuring them both, even on working together in a ddns/dhcp setup.

Bastille and Chkrootkit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9700088)

The Bastille project can be a bit of a pain to install sometimes (usually when I'm tired and not reading :) but it does help tighten up a server in a hurry. It's not complete or all encompasing but it does the easy (and tedious) things fast.

chkrootkit is nice for maintenance provided you don't leave it installed in a manner that can be trojaned. It's not fool-proof either, but can detect the script kiddies in a lot of cases.

Cfengine: It's all you need (5, Informative)

kognate (322256) | about 10 years ago | (#9700092)

cfengine (http://www.cfengine.org) is
the best automation tool for unix and unix-like
environments. Hands down.

It's a little hard to configure sometimes, but
worth the effort.

pateNTdead eyecon0meter kode helps filter (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9700093)

corepirate nazi payper liesense hypenosys stock markup FraUD marketeering scams.

it's also unbreakable, & wwworks on several (more than 3) dimensions.

lookout bullow.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators.... designers/providers of all the tools we need to survive/flourish vs. unprecedented evile, since/until forever. see you there?

Tim. (5, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 years ago | (#9700103)

It's easy to use, I just pick up the phone, ask Tim to fix this Linux thing.
Easy-peasy.
Or I just do what Vigor [sourceforge.net] tells me to do.

RCS and Bastille-Linux (3, Interesting)

mrhandstand (233183) | about 10 years ago | (#9700105)

Bastille after I have the server built. The interactive mode also provides a great security tutorial.

RCS to provide rollback and change control.

No professionally administered Linux box should be without it.

TweakUI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9700106)

TweakUI, I use it all the time!

I've been using Ruby for little utilities... (2, Interesting)

tcopeland (32225) | about 10 years ago | (#9700131)

...to help maintain various GForge [rubyforge.org] systems.

Nothing fancy, just twiddling configuration files (httpd.conf, etc), pushing data into a PostgreSQL database, automating StatCVS runs, etc. I keep them in CVS, of course, here [rubyforge.org] .

ifconfig (1)

hal2814 (725639) | about 10 years ago | (#9700134)

ifconfig

Getting a working TCP/IP connection is typically the first step in properly configuring my systems. ifconfig is also handy when figuring out network configuration errors.

Tools (1)

abrotman (323016) | about 10 years ago | (#9700138)

apt-get(debconf),vi,ssh

Need I say more?

Several points of view.... (4, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | about 10 years ago | (#9700144)

... the most important tool is the brain :) As an admin, whatever you do, if you don't think enough on it you deserve what could happen.

As "admin suite", i.e. a single program to do a lot of administrative tasks, maybe YaST could be a good start. I'm not use webmin, tried it some years ago and don't liked the idea, but could be useful for a lot of people too.

And about individual tools, well, bash, vi, perl, mc, awk, the gnu text/file/shell utilities (cat, grep, ls, cut, chmod, etc) are essential.

Last but not least, a "tool" is also something that help you to use what you have available already. Man pages, the HOWTO collection, a lot of O'Reilly books, and Google are examples of that kind of tools.

sudo, screen (3, Informative)

raddan (519638) | about 10 years ago | (#9700156)

sudo!

Learn it in detail. If you work with other people on the same machine, it will make your life a lot easier.

screen is pretty handy, too. Being able to detach sessions is also nice for when you've started sprouting icycles from your nostrils from the cold, cold server room.

admin tools (1)

wwest4 (183559) | about 10 years ago | (#9700158)

for monitoring/paging and secure intersite data exchange:

fetchmail (say what you want, it works for what i do)
nc
gpg
base64
curl and wget
good old cron, or self-referencing shell scripts

these tools can get you alot, using only SMTP as a transfer protocol. avoid asking the NOC to turn the firewall into swiss cheese.

free shell if you want it...

My Top 10: (4, Informative)

Punk Walrus (582794) | about 10 years ago | (#9700166)

Your needs may vary...
  • vi - Yeah, yeah... vi and emacs wars. I started with vi on a Sun system in 1989, and so it's what I like.
  • ifconfig - Without it, you're kind of lost, at least on the network.
  • testparm - I use a lot of Samba at work, and this is a great tool for checking what I screwed up in my smb.conf in vi!
  • man -k - Okay, what I want to do starts with...?
  • grep - Great trying to find that paramenter you want to change in httpd. or squid.conf. Even better, "grep -v '#'" to weed out all those comments...
  • tail -f - Great for keeping track of logs realtime in a vtty or xterm window. Like tail -f /var/log/messages
  • crontab -e - For keeping stuff on schedule.

That's all I can think of now. I'll think of others later.

Dang! (5, Informative)

itwerx (165526) | about 10 years ago | (#9700168)

I can't believe with all these posts that the only one(s) that actually respond to the question are about Webmin!
Don't get me wrong, Webmin is great, it's at the top of my list fer shure, but that's not the be-all and end-all of systems management!! What about actual convenient tools like MRTG, Novell's eDirectory, RedCarpet, etc. etc.?
Heck, I'm reading this article hoping to pick up a few tips myself and all I'm seeing are scripting languages and text-editor flame wars, (all of which can/should be moderated Off-topic or Funny).
So, anybody actually got anything useful to contribute besides Webmin?

Linux Specific (1)

jasoncc (754385) | about 10 years ago | (#9700181)

These are 10 of my most commonly used utilities... iptables netstat top find ps ifconfig bash diff who cron

Cluster SSH (the gui version)... (1)

olympus_coder (471587) | about 10 years ago | (#9700183)

Lets you open a set of terminals and input the same to all in an interactive manner. Extremly handy on farms, clusters and labs.

Cluster SSH [sourceforge.net]

Lets see... (1)

slimyrubber (791109) | about 10 years ago | (#9700184)

In no random order.. Webmin/usermin linuxconf netconf cfengine Saint Nessus vim :) make menuconfig (cause my knowledge is failing me) 2 more :-/ COAS Yast

sme server (1)

coolguy81 (322371) | about 10 years ago | (#9700186)

I would suggest checking out SME Server [contribs.org] . Although it a complete OS rather than a config tool, it has a really simple web interface that can be used to administer the most common tasks of the server. Almost any non-linux user can have a stable web/intranet/mail/ftp server in a fraction of the time and there is almost no learning required :)

The coolest tool: (1)

john_anderson_ii (786633) | about 10 years ago | (#9700190)

screen Start a process, detach the process from you tty, log out, goof around, go to work, login remotely, reattach said process to your pty. Very useful.

google's getupdates (1)

bogolisk (18818) | about 10 years ago | (#9700193)

http://www.computerworld.com.au/index.php/id;13062 81842;fp;16;fpid;0

it's good for google's giant farm, it should be good for any lab.

bash/sed/awk (1)

Mateito (746185) | about 10 years ago | (#9700210)

Yeah... I never learned perl, so sue me :) Almost anything that needs to be done more than once can be done via: for i in `cat list.txt` do # something funky with awk and sed done

Same as other UNIX servers (1)

br00tus (528477) | about 10 years ago | (#9700214)

I do the same thing on Linux servers that I do on most UNIX servers.

The first thing I do is security - if any programs are running on any ports that I don't need, I shut it down. The only port open will be ssh, plus whatever the server is doing. I also unSUID any SUID programs I don't plan on using. Plus getting security updates.

Then I get programs I like to have on my servers if they're not there already. Like ntp, which I set up so that the clock will not drift. GNU findutils is another one - I run updatedb regularly and can locate filename, which is much quicker than find / -name filename. I also like the screen program, so I can have multiple sessions from one terminal. I like to use BASH.

I also do customizations - my shell prompt is usually hostname:/file/system$ I put PATHs I need in my PATH. And so forth.

Another thing I do on many systems is log at debug according to facility for syslog. Everything gets logged, according to its facility. If too much is being logged, I can lower it from debug. You usually don't have to, as only mail usually fills it up, but you usually want to log that.

All of this makes my life easier. I am logged into a host and know if I am me or root, what host it is, what directory I am in, where a file is located if I need to know, and the clock and all of the log files are logged normally. And with screen I can have multiple sessions on that host or multiple hosts in that one window.

One acronym.. (0, Offtopic)

slayer99 (15543) | about 10 years ago | (#9700217)

apt

my top 10 (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 years ago | (#9700218)

vi

man

The ultimate server admin tool (2, Interesting)

lspd (566786) | about 10 years ago | (#9700225)

netstat -nlp

Turn off all the services you don't need.

There's lots. (1)

drunkennewfiemidget (712572) | about 10 years ago | (#9700229)

Powertweak [freshmeat.net] , which provides basically a user interface for lots of fun /proc entries that most of us would have never otherwise taken the time to play with. Webmin is pretty damned useful. But the vast majority of all system maintenance comes by way of bash, perl, cron, and mysql. ALL of my configuration files are in a MySQL db that's rewritten every 5 minutes if the 'dirty' flag is set to 'y'. Extremely useful for writing your own front-ends for system configuration.

sed (1)

dtfinch (661405) | about 10 years ago | (#9700232)

sed leaves vi in the dust in terms of ease of use.

My Answer (1)

nealfunkbass (701961) | about 10 years ago | (#9700243)

My main computer tool is AOL (so that I can download the internet onto my hard drive)

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