topic # Topic Reading Homework Slides
1 tour of the configuration landscape & tools
system control mechanisms
init process
System Initialization/Service Mgmt.

Nemeth ch 3 "Booting and Shutting Down" pp. 77-82, 87-93, 100-101
describes the older SysVinit

overview article "Initializing and Managing Services in Linux: Past, Present and Future"
descibes the evolution from SysVinit to the newer systemd

Passing kernel boot parameters

The Linux BootPrompt-HowTo, about kernel parameters, to your level of interest

kernel parameters doc by (who publish the kernel)

man bootparam

Review: filesystem, processes

as review, Nemeth ch 6 "The Filesystem" (previous familiarity assumed but read if not)

as review, Nemeth ch 5 "Controlling Processes" (previous familiarity assumed but read if not)

system control

bootloaders -floppys

bootloaders - usb

boot sequence


The landscape

Sys Control Mechanisms



Logical Volume Management

2 user administration Nemeth ch 4 "Access Control and Rootly Powers"

Nemeth ch 7 "Adding New Users"

Nemeth, section 22.5 "PAM: Cooking Spray or Authentication Wonder?" pp. 908-912


PAM (pluggable authentication modules)

User administration

Pluggable Authentication Modules

User authentication alternatives


3 backup read about backup and backup tools. The textbook has a 40-page chapter 10 on it, but most of it concentrates on backup to media other than those we'll use, with software other than we'll use. The book talks about dedicated backup media such as tape. We will back up to a hard disk. It doesn't really matter, since linux uses the filesystem interface to refer to all manner of devices ("everything is a file"). A small syntax change can easily substitute one medium for another. Also, the book talks about dump/restore, amanda, and commercial products. But we'll use tar and rsync. Skim over chapter 10, and read fully what it has to say about tar (not much) and, in Chapter 19, about rsync (also not much).
More substantially, here is what you should read about those commands:

tar - see the GNU tar Reference Manual
read from section 1 "Introduction" - 1.1-1.4
read from section 2 "Tutorial Introduction to tar" - whole section
read from section 3 "Invoking GNU tar" - 3.1-3.4
from section 5 "Performing Backups and Restoring Files" - just scan it

read from A Tutorial on Using rsync
read from Snapshot-style backups with rsync - this method is more subtle than it looks, in its use of hard links. The core of it is the 5-line script in the section titled "Putting it all together." Read through that section, paying particular attention to the "review of hard links" and the use of the option (-l) of the cp command to only copy links to files, not their data itself. We will use this method in class.
read about the rsync algorithm, which makes rsync particularly efficient for dealing with large data volumes sent over low bandwidth channels because it identifies incremental changes within files and sends/applies only those deltas.

Linux backup programs - here is a listing. Very many of them are based on rsync

ssh section in Chapter 22
article "Getting Started with SSH"

ssh key setup

ssh passphrases and ssh-agent



ssh - Secure shell

netcat (nc)



4 logging Nemeth ch 11 "Syslog and Log Files"
(skip Solaris and AIX specific sections)

syslog replacement contenders:

rsyslog (adopted in recent Fedora)
- visit project home page
- read pgs 5-10 of this white paper

- glance at this article
- drop in to this website


journalctl tutorial


centralized logging
 with syslog
 with syslog-ng
 with rsyslog

encrypted logging
rsyslog w/ stunnel

rotating log files

monitoring log files

Centralized logging


Logging: logrotate

Logging: swatch


5 task scheduling Nemeth ch 9 "Periodic Processes" scheduled jobs (in-class) Scheduled processes
6 time synchronization and control

- "Linux, Clocks, and Time"

- wikipedia article

- time precision howto

- home of David Mills
  father of ntp protocol

- home of network time protocol

Unix time
Unix time

process and load analysis with top

linux process scheduling
 (observed with top)


Examining Load Average
 top (process display) exercise

demonstration programs
- as shown in class, with a readme file explaining how to use them, in file "" Examine and play with these on your own if you wish.

 process scheduling exercise


linux process scheduling



configuration management with ansible


9 remote management     Character and GUI forwarding
10 software maintenance and update Nemeth section 11.3 "Package management" and 11.4 "High-level package management systems" (scan only the parts about RHN and APT)

rpm economics

yum and rpm



yum (auto-update)

11 recompiling the kernel


Nemeth sections 28.3-28.5

fedora-specific instructions

general, traditional instructions

compiling the kernel-fedora10
Kernel building