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Top tools for junior Linux admins

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neat tools

One of the very first items I install on a Debian based machine is 'sysv-rc-conf' which gives a nice overview of all services and their runlevels. There's also 'rcconf' on Deb based boxes which is similar to ntsysv on RH based boxes, but you can't select the individual runlevel to run at, just simply enable/disable. Then of course there's chkconfig on RH boxes to set individual levels for services...

Surprised no one has brought up OMD yet ( for monitoring, which incorporates nagios, check_mk, pnp4nagios and few other tools, which makes monitoring a breeze.

htop is also a neat tool, I tend to replace top with htop on my machines by aliasing htop to top.

If you connect to many boxes via ssh, look into setting up the ssh config file, followed by an alias in your ${SHELL}rc file, e.g. alias box1='ssh box1' where box1 again is set in /home/$LUSER/.ssh/config with the settings required.

If you have to work with netcat a lot, consider swapping netcat for cryptcat (

deborphan is a useful tool for deb based boxes, finding orphaned deb installations which are no longer required.

of course learning awk and sed etc. is a given, though consider there are also other useful tools to use instead, such as tr in various cases rather than sed.

Get to know Kerberos. At some point in your SysAdm life you'll come across a large network with multiple users and systems, and you don't want to have every person having local accounts on each boxes accessed by ssh keys only...

Ideally learn to harden Linux machines from early on, makes life later on much easier too.

Also get yourself familiar with a version control system such as cvs,svn,git,mercury, and keep your config files in there, especially useful if you have a given config setting across various boxes, be it httpd confs, kerberos confs (nsswitch.conf, pam/system-auth, etc....), and any other used across various boxes.

Linux is not Windows, but it doesn't mean it's 100% safe/secure. Look into chkrootkit and rkhunter.

There are loads more of course. A forum I frequent and is quite useful is



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