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Copyright 2007 Osamu Aoki GPL, (Please agree to GPL, GPL2, and any version of GPL which is compatible with DSFG if you update any part of wiki page)


= The system tips =

Here, I will describe basic tips to configure and manage system from the console.

== Recording the user interaction ==
Copyright 2007, 2008 Osamu Aoki GPL, (Please agree to GPL, GPL2, and any version of GPL which is compatible with DSFG if you update any part of wiki page)

Generated HTML is at "[http://people.debian.org/~osamu/pub/getwiki/html/ch10.en.html Debian Reference: Chapter 10. System tips]".

I welcome your contributions to update this wiki page. You must follow these rules:
 * Do not use Edit(GUI) button of MoinMoin.
 * You can update anytime for:
  * grammar errors
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  * clearly broken script.
 * Before updating this wiki content:
  * Read "[http://wiki.debian.org/DebianReference/Test Guide for contributing to Debian Reference]".

= System tips =

Here, I will describe basic tips to configure and manage systems, mostly from the console.

== The screen program ==

{{{screen}}} is a very useful tool for people to access remote sites via unreliable or intermittent connections since it support interrupted network connections.

|| List of programs to support interrupted network connections. || 1 || 2 || 3 ||
|| '''package''' || '''popcon''' || '''size''' || '''description''' ||
|| {{{screen}}} || - || - || terminal multiplexer with VT100/ANSI terminal emulation ||
|| {{{xmove}}} || - || - || allows you to move programs between X Window System displays ||

=== The use scenario for the screen command ===

{{{screen}}}(1) not only allows one terminal window to work with multiple processes, but also allows '''remote shell process to survive interrupted connections'''. Here is a typical use scenario of the {{{screen}}}(1) program.

 1. You login to a remote machine.
 1. You start the {{{screen}}} command on a single console.
 1. You execute multiple programs in {{{screen}}} windows created with {{{^A c}}} ("Control-A" followed by "c").
 1. You switch among the multiple {{{screen}}} windows by {{{^A n}}} ("Control-A" followed by "n").
 1. Suddenly you need to leave your terminal, but you don't want to lose your active work by keeping the connection.
 1. You '''detach''' the {{{screen}}} session by any methods such as:
    * brutally unplugging your network connection,
    * typing {{{^A d}}} ("Control-A" followed by "d") and manually logging out from the remote connection, or
    * typing {{{^A DD}}} ("Control-A" followed by "DD") to have {{{screen}}} detach and log you out.
 1. You log in again to the same remote machine (even from a different terminal).
 1. You enter the "{{{screen -r}}}" command.
 1. The {{{screen}}} program will magically '''reattach''' all previous {{{screen}}} windows with all actively running programs.

{i} You can save connection fees for metered network connections such as dial-up and packet ones, because you can leave a process active while disconnected, and then re-attach it later when you connect again.

=== Key bindings for the screen command ===

In a {{{screen}}} session, all keyboard inputs are sent to your current window except for the command keystroke, by default {{{^A}}} ("Control-A"). All {{{screen}}} commands are entered by typing {{{^A}}} plus a single key [plus any parameters]. Here are important ones to remember:

|| List of key bindings for screen. || ||
|| '''key binding''' || '''meaning''' ||
|| {{{^A ?}}} || show a help screen (display key bindings) ||
|| {{{^A c}}} || create a new window and switch to it ||
|| {{{^A n}}} || go to next window ||
|| {{{^A p}}} || go to previous window ||
|| {{{^A 0}}} || go to window number 0 ||
|| {{{^A 1}}} || go to window number 1 ||
|| {{{^A w}}} || show a list of windows ||
|| {{{^A a}}} || send a Ctrl-A to current window as keyboard input ||
|| {{{^A h}}} || write a hardcopy of current window to file ||
|| {{{^A H}}} || begin/end logging current window to file ||
|| {{{^A ^X}}} || lock the terminal (password protected) ||
|| {{{^A d}}} || detach screen session from the terminal ||
|| {{{^A DD}}} || detach screen session and log out ||

See {{{screen}}}(1) for details.

=== A screen-like program for X window system ===

The {{{xmove}}} package enables support for mobile X clients; that is, X clients can move between displays. See {{{xmove}}}(1).

== Data recording and presentation ==
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Many programs record their activities under the {{{/var/log/}}} directory. Many programs record their activities under the "{{{/var/log/}}}" directory.
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See @{@thesystemmessage@}@ and @{@thekernelmessage@}@.

=== Log analyzer ===

Here are notable log analyzers ("{{{~Gsecurity::log-analyzer}}}" in {{{aptitude}}}).

|| List of system log analyzers. || 1 || 2 || 3 ||
|| '''package''' || '''popcon''' || '''size''' || '''description''' ||
|| {{{logwatch}}} || - || - ||log analyser with nice output written in Perl ||
|| {{{fail2ban}}} || - || - || bans IPs that cause multiple authentication errors ||
|| {{{analog}}} || - || - || web server log analyzer ||
|| {{{awstats}}} || - || - || powerful and featureful web server log analyzer||
|| {{{sarg}}} || - || - || squid analysis report generator ||
|| {{{pflogsumm}}} || - || - || Postfix log entry summarizer ||
|| {{{syslog-summary}}} || - || - || summarize the contents of a syslog log file ||
|| {{{lire}}} || - || - || full-featured log analyzer and report generator ||
|| {{{fwlogwatch}}} || - || - || Firewall log analyzer ||
|| {{{squidview}}} || - || - || monitors and analyses squid access.log files ||
|| {{{visitors}}} || - || - || fast web server log analyzer ||
|| {{{swatch}}} || - || - || Log file viewer with regexp matching, highlighting, & hooks ||
|| {{{crm114}}} || - || - || The Controllable Regex Mutilator and Spam Filter (CRM114) ||
|| {{{icmpinfo}}} || - || - || Interpret ICMP messages ||

(!) [http://crm114.sourceforge.net/ CRM114] provides language infrastructure to write '''fuzzy''' filters with the [http://www.laurikari.net/tre/ TRE regex library]. Its popular use is spam mail filter but it can be used as log analyzer.

## only I greater than or equal to 0.2 are visible. Rests say below.
##|| {{{acidbase}}} || - || - || Basic Analysis and Security Engine ||
##|| {{{acidlab}}} || - || - || Analysis Console for Intrusion Databases ||
##|| {{{anteater}}} || - || - || MTA log analyser written 100% in C++ ||
##|| {{{asql}}} || - || - || Run SQL queries against apache logs ||
##|| {{{awffull}}} || - || - || web server log analysis program ||
##|| {{{fwanalog}}} || - || - || firewall log-file report generator (using analog) ||
##|| {{{graphdefang}}} || - || - || grapher for MIMEDefang spam and virus logs ||
##|| {{{ip2host}}} || - || - || Resolve IPs to hostnames in web server logs ||
##|| {{{isoqlog}}} || - || - || Mail Transport Agent log analysis program ||
##|| {{{jdresolve}}} || - || - || fast alternative to apache logresolve ||
##|| {{{logtool}}} || - || - || Syslog-style logfile parser with lots of output options ||
##|| {{{logtools}}} || - || - || Russell's misc tools for managing log files. ||
##|| {{{lwatch}}} || - || - || A simple log colorizer ||
##|| {{{modlogan}}} || - || - || A modular logfile analyzer ||
##|| {{{prelude-lml}}} || - || - || Hybrid Intrusion Detection System [ Log Monitoring Lackey ] ||
##|| {{{prom-mew}}} || - || - || procmail reader for Mew ||
##|| {{{rmagic}}} || - || - || Report Magic for Analog ||
##|| {{{sma}}} || - || - || Sendmail log analyser ||
##|| {{{squidtaild}}} || - || - || Squid log monitoring program ||
##|| {{{tcpxtract}}} || - || - || extracts files from network traffic based on file signatures ||
##|| {{{tenshi}}} || - || - || log monitoring and reporting tool ||
##|| {{{tua}}} || - || - || The UUCP Analyzer ||
##|| {{{uutraf}}} || - || - || an UUCP traffic analyzer and cost estimator ||
##|| {{{wflogs}}} || - || - || The modular firewall log analyzer of the WallFire project ||
##|| {{{wwwstat}}} || - || - || httpd logfile analysis package ||
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The simple use of the {{{script}}}(1) command to record the shell activity produces a file with control characters. This can be avoided by using the {{{col}}}(1) command: The simple use of the {{{script}}}(1) command (see: @{@recordingtheshellactivities@}@) to record shell activity produces a file with control characters. This can be avoided by using the {{{col}}}(1) command:
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In some odd environment where you lack access to the {{{script}}} command, for example, during the boot process in the initramfs, you can use following instead: If you don't have the {{{script}}} command (for example, during the boot process in the initramfs), you can use following instead:
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{i} Some {{{x-terminal-emulator}}} such as {{{gnome-terminal}}} have recording capability. You may wish to extend line buffer for scrollback.

{i} You may use {{{emacs}}} or {{{screen}}} command to perform recording too. {{{emacs}}} shell mode can be started by "M-x shell", and use "C-x C-w" to write the buffer to a file. {{{screen}}} command with "^A H" does the recording.
{i} Some {{{x-terminal-emulator}}} such as {{{gnome-terminal}}} can record. You may wish to extend line buffer for scrollback.

{i} You may use {{{screen}}} command with "{{{^A H}}}" (see @{@keybindingsforthescreencommand@}@) to perform recording of console.

{i} You may use {{{emacs}}} with "{{{M-x shell}}}", "{{{M-x eshell}}}", or "{{{M-x term}}}" to perform recording of console. You may later use "{{{C-x C-w}}}" to write the buffer to a file.

=== Customized display of text data ===

Although pager tools such as {{{more}}}(1) and {{{less}}}(1) (see @{@thepager@}@) and custom tools for highlighting and formatting @{@highlightingandfingplaintextdata@}@ can display text data nicely, general purpose editors (see @{@thetexteditor@}@) are most versatile and customizable.

{i} For {{{vim}}}(1) and its pager mode alias {{{view}}}(1), "{{{:set hls}}}" will enable highlighted search.

=== Customized display of time and date ===

The default display format of time and date by the "{{{ls -l}}}" command depends on the '''locale''' (see value @{@timestamps@}@). The "{{{$LANG}}}" variable is referred first and it can be overridden by the "{{{$LC_TIME}}}" variable.

The actual default display format for each locale depends on the version of the standard C library (the {{{libc6}}} package) used. I.e., different releases of Debian had different defaults.

If you really wish to customize this display format of time and date beyond the '''locale''', you should set the '''time style value''' by the "{{{--time-style}}}" argument or by the "{{{$TIME_STYLE}}}" value (see {{{ls}}}(1), {{{date}}}(1), "{{{info coreutils 'ls invocation'}}}").
 
|| Display examples of time and date for the "{{{ls -l}}}" command for {{{lenny}}}. || || ||
|| '''time style value''' || '''locale''' || '''display of time and date''' ||
|| "{{{iso}}}" || ''any'' || "{{{01-19 00:15}}}" ||
|| "{{{long-iso}}}" || ''any'' || "{{{2009-01-19 00:15}}}" ||
|| "{{{full-iso}}}" || ''any'' || "{{{2009-01-19 00:15:16.000000000 +0900}}}" ||
|| "{{{locale}}}" || "{{{C}}}" || "{{{Jan 19 00:15}}}" ||
|| "{{{locale}}}" || "{{{en_US.UTF-8}}}" || "{{{2009-01-19 00:15}}}" ||
|| "{{{locale}}}" || "{{{es_ES.UTF-8}}}" || "{{{ene 19 00:15}}}" ||
|| "{{{+%d.%m.%y %H:%M}}}" || ''any'' || "{{{19.01.09 00:15}}}" ||
|| "{{{+%d.%b.%y %H:%M}}}" || "{{{C}}}" or "{{{en_US.UTF-8}}}" || "{{{19.Jan.09 00:15}}}" ||
|| "{{{+%d.%b.%y %H:%M}}}" || "{{{es_ES.UTF-8}}}" || "{{{19.ene.09 00:15}}}" ||

{i} You can eliminate typing long option on commandline using command alias, e.g. "{{{alias ls='ls --time-style=+%d.%m.%y\ %H:%M'}}}" (see @{@commandalias@}@).

{i} [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_8601 ISO 8601] is followed for these iso-formats.

=== Colorized shell echo ===

Shell echo to most modern terminals can be colorized using [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ANSI_escape_code ANSI escape code] (see "{{{/usr/share/doc/xterm/ctlseqs.txt.gz}}}"). E.g.:
{{{
$ RED=$(printf "\x1b[31m")
$ NORMAL=$(printf "\x1b[0m")
$ REVERSE=$(printf "\x1b[7m")
$ echo "${RED}RED-TEXT${NORMAL} ${REVERSE}REVERSE-TEXT${NORMAL}"
}}}

## I use "printf" here instead of "echo -e" for shell portability.

=== Colorized commands ===

Colorized commands are handy for inspecting their output in the interactive environment. I include following in my {{{~/.bashrc}}}.
{{{
if [ "$TERM" != "dumb" ]; then
    eval "`dircolors -b`"
    alias ls='ls --color=always'
    alias ll='ls --color=always -l'
    alias la='ls --color=always -A'
    alias less='less -R'
    alias ls='ls --color=always'
    alias grep='grep --color=always'
    alias egrep='egrep --color=always'
    alias fgrep='fgrep --color=always'
    alias zgrep='zgrep --color=always'
else
    alias ll='ls -l'
    alias la='ls -A'
fi
}}}

The use of alias limits color effects to the interactive command usage. It has advantage over exporting environment variable "{{{export GREP_OPTIONS='--color=auto'}}}" since color can be seen under pager programs such as "{{{less}}}".

{i} You can turn off these colorizing aliases in the interactive environment by invoking shell with "{{{TERM=dumb bash}}}".
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|| List of graphic image manipulation tools. || 1 || 2 ||
|| '''package''' || '''popcon''' || '''command''' ||
|| {{{xbase-clients}}} || 25829 || {{{xwd}}} ||
|| {{{gimp}}} || 8489 || GUI menu ||
|| {{{imagemagick}}} || 5479 || {{{import}}} ||
|| {{{scrot}}} || 134 || {{{scrot}}} ||

== Process operation ==
|| List of graphic image manipulation tools. || 1 || 2 || 3 ||
|| '''package''' || '''popcon''' || '''size''' || '''command''' ||
|| {{{xbase-clients}}} || 25829 || - || {{{xwd}}}(1) ||
|| {{{gimp}}} || 8489 || - || GUI menu ||
|| {{{imagemagick}}} || 5479 || - || {{{import}}}(1) ||
|| {{{scrot}}} || 134 || - || {{{scrot}}}(1) ||

=== Recording changes in configuration files ===

There are specialized tools to record changes in configuration files with help of DVCS system.

|| List of packages to record configuration history in VCS. || 1 || 2 || 3 ||
|| '''package''' || '''popcon''' || '''size''' || '''description''' ||
|| {{{etckeeper}}} || - || - || store configuration files and its metadata with [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Git_(software) Git] (default), [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercurial_(software) Mercurial], or [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bazaar_(software) Bazaar]. (new) ||
|| {{{changetrack}}} || - || - || store configuration files with [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revision_Control_System RCS]. (old) ||

I recommend to use the {{{etckeeper}}} package with {{{git}}}(1) which put entire "{{{/etc}}}" under VCS control. Its installation guide and tutorial are found in "{{{/usr/share/doc/etckeeper/README.gz}}}".

Essentially, running "{{{sudo etckeeper init}}}" initializes the git repository for "{{{/etc}}}" just like the process explained in @{@gitforrecordingcigurationhistory@}@) but with special hook scripts for more thorough setups.

As you change your configuration, you can use {{{git}}}(1) normally to record them. It will automatically record changes nicely every time you run package management commands, too.

{i} You can browse the change history of "{{{/etc}}}" by executing "{{{sudo GIT_DIR=/etc/.git gitk}}}" with clear view for new installed packages, removed packages, and version changes of packages.

== Data storage tips ==

Booting your system with Linux [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_CD live CDs] or [http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/debian-installer/ debian-installer CDs] in rescue mode make it easy for you to reconfigure data storage on your boot device. See also @{@thebinarydata@}@.

=== Partition configuration ===

For partition configuration, although {{{fdisk}}}(8) has been considered standard, {{{parted}}}(8) deserves some attention. "Disk partitioning data", "partition table", "partition map", and "disk label" are all synonyms.

Most PCs use the classic [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_boot_record Master Boot Record (MBR)] scheme to hold [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disk_partitioning disk partitioning] data in the first sector, i.e., [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_block_addressing LBA] sector 0 (512 bytes).

(!) Some new PCs with [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extensible_Firmware_Interface Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI)], including Intel-based Macs, use [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GUID_Partition_Table GUID Partition Table (GPT)] scheme to hold [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disk_partitioning disk partitioning] data not in the first sector.

Although {{{fdisk}}}(8) has been standard for the disk partitioning tool, {{{parted}}}(8) is replacing it.

|| List of disk partition management packages || 1 || 2 || 3 || ||
|| '''package''' || '''pocon''' || '''size''' || '''description''' || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GUID_Partition_Table GUID Partition Table] ||
|| {{{util-linux}}} || - || - || Miscellaneous system utilities including {{{fdisk}}}(8) and {{{cfdisk}}}(8) || Not supported ||
|| {{{parted}}} || - || - || The GNU Parted disk partition resizing program || Supported ||
|| {{{gparted}}} || - || - || GNOME partition editor based on {{{libparted}}} || Supported ||
|| {{{qtparted}}} || - || - || KDE partition editor based on {{{libparted}}} || Supported ||
|| {{{gptsync}}} || - || - || Synchronize classic MBR partition table with the GPT one || Supported ||

## || {{{gnu-fdisk}}} || - || - || GNU replacements of console {{{fdisk}}}(8) and {{{cfdisk}}}(8) based on {{{libparted}}} || Supported () ||
## Exclusion of gnu-fdisk is intentional since it is little used and buggy from BTS.
## It does not list disk label like parted.
## parted family is new and recommended here.

<!> Although {{{parted}}}(8) claims to create and to resize filesystem too, it is safer to do such things using best maintained specialized tools such as {{{mkfs}}}(8) ({{{mkfs.msdos}}}(8), {{{mkfs.ext2}}}(8), {{{mkfs.ext3}}}(8), ...) and {{{resize2fs}}}(8).

(!) In order to switch between GPT and MBR, you need to erase first few blocks of disk contents directly (see @{@clearfilecontents@}@) and use "{{{parted /dev/sdx mklabel gpt}}}" or "{{{parted /dev/sdx mklabel msdos}}}" to set it. Please note "msdos" is use here for MBR.

=== Accessing partition using UUID ===

Although reconfiguration of your partition may yield different names for partitions, you can access them consistently. This is also helpful if you have multiple disks and your BIOS doesn't give them consistent device names.

 * The {{{mount}}}(8) command with "{{{-U}}}" options can mount a block device using [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universally_Unique_Identifier UUID], instead of using its file name such as "{{{/dev/sda3}}}".
 * The "{{{/etc/fstab}}}" file (see {{{fstab}}}(5)) can use [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universally_Unique_Identifier UUID].
 * Boot loaders (@{@stagecthebootloader@}@) may use [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universally_Unique_Identifier UUID] too.

{i} You can probe [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universally_Unique_Identifier UUID] of a block special device with the {{{vol_id}}}(8) command.

=== Filesystem configuration ===

For [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext3 ext3] filesystem, the {{{e2fsprogs}}} package provides:
 * {{{mkfs.ext3}}}(8) to create new [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext3 ext3] filesystem,
 * {{{fsck.ext3}}}(8) to check and to repair existing [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext3 ext3] filesystem, and
 * {{{tune2fs}}}(8) to configure superblock of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext3 ext3] filesystem.

The {{{mkfs}}}(8) and {{{fsck}}}(8) commans are provided by the {{{e2fsprogs}}} package as front-ends to various filesystem dependent programs ({{{mkfs.fstype}}} and {{{fsck.fstype}}}). For [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext3 ext3] filesystem, they are {{{mkfs.ext3}}}(8) and {{{fsck.ext3}}}(8) (they are hardlinked to {{{mke2fs}}}(8) and {{{e2fsck}}}(8)).

Similar commands are available for each filesystem supported by Linux.

|| List of filesystem management packages || 1 || 2 || 3 ||
|| '''package''' || '''popcon''' || '''size''' || '''description''' ||
|| {{{e2fsprogs}}} || - || - || Utilities for the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext2 ext2]/[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext3 ext3]/[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext4 ext4] filesystems. ||
|| {{{reiserfsprogs}}} || - || - || Utilities for the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reiserfs Reiserfs] filesystem. ||
|| {{{dosfstools}}} || - || - || Utilities for the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table FAT] filesystem. (Microsoft: MS-DOS, Windows) ||
|| {{{xfsprogs}}} || - || - || Utilities for the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XFS XFS] filesystem. (SGI: IRIX) ||
|| {{{ntfsprogs}}} || - || - || Utilities for the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NTFS NTFS] filesystem. (Microsoft: Windows NT, ...) ||
|| {{{jfsutils}}} || - || - || Utilities for the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JFS_(file_system) JFS] filesystem. (IBM: AIX, OS/2) ||
|| {{{reiser4progs}}} || - || - || Utilities for the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reiser4 Reiser4] filesystem. ||
|| {{{hfsprogs}}} || - || - || Utilities for [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hierarchical_File_System HFS] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HFS_Plus HFS+] filesystem. (Apple: Mac OS) ||
|| {{{btrfs-tools}}} || - || - || Utilities for the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Btrfs btrfs] filesystem. ||

{i} [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext3 Ext3] filesystem is the default filesystem for the Linux system and strongly recommended to use it unless you have some specific reasons not to. After Linux kernel 2.6.28 (Debian {{{squeeze}}}), [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext4 ext4] filesystem will be available and expected to be the default filesystem for the Linux system. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Btrfs btrfs] filesystem is expected to be the next default filesystem after [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext4 ext4] filesystem for the Linux system.

{i} Some tools allow access to filesystem without Linux kernel support (see @{@manipulatingfilehoutmountingdisk@}@).

=== Filesystem creation and integrity check ===

The {{{mkfs}}}(8) command creates the filesystem on a Linux system. The {{{fsck}}}(8) command provides the filesystem integrity check and repair on a Linux system.

<!> It is generally not safe to run {{{fsck}}} on '''mounted filesystems'''.

{i} Check files in "{{{/var/log/fsck/}}}" for the result of the {{{fsck}}}(8) command run from the boot script.

{i} Use "{{{shutdown -F -r now}}}" to force to run the {{{fsck}}}(8) command safely on all filesystems including root file system on reboot. See the {{{shutdown}}}(8) manpage for more.

=== Optimization of filesystem by mount options ===

Performance and characteristics of a filesystem can be optimized by mount options used on it (see {{{fstab}}}(5) and {{{mount}}}(8)). For example:

 * "{{{defaults}}}" option implies default options: "{{{rw,suid,dev,exec,auto,nouser,async}}}". (general)
 * "{{{noatime}}}" or "{{{relatime}}}" option is very effective for speeding up the read access. (general)
 * "{{{user}}}" option allows an ordinary user to mount the file system. This option implies "{{{noexec,nosuid,nodev}}}" option combination. (general, used for CD and floppy)
 * "{{{noexec,nodev,nosuid}}}" option combination is used to enhance security. (general)
 * "{{{noauto}}}" option limits mounting by explicit operation only. (general)
 * "{{{data=journal}}}" option for ext3fs can enhance data integrity against power failure with some loss of write speed.

{i} You need to provide kernel boot parameter "{{{rootflags=data=journal}}}" to deploy "{{{data=journal}}}" option for the root file system formatted with ext3fs.

=== Optimization of filesystem via superblock ===

Characteristics of a filesystem can be optimized via its superblock using the {{{tune2fs}}}(8) command. For example on "{{{/dev/hda1}}}":

 * Execution of "{{{sudo tune2fs -l /dev/hda1}}}" will display the contents of its filesystem superblock.
 * Execution of "{{{sudo tune2fs -c 50 /dev/hda1}}}" will change frequency of filesystem checks ({{{fsck}}} execution during boot-up) to every 50 boots.
 * Execution of "{{{sudo tune2fs -j /dev/hda1}}}" will add journaling capability to the filesystem, i.e. filesystem conversion from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext2 ext2] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext3 ext3]. (Do this on the unmounted filesystem.)
 * Execution of "{{{sudo tune2fs -O extents,uninit_bg,dir_index /dev/hda1 && fsck -pf /dev/hda1}}}" will convert it from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext3 ext3] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext4 ext4]. (Do this on the unmounted filesystem.)

/!\ Filesystem conversion for the boot device to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext4 ext4] filesystem should be avoided until [http://bugs.debian.org/511121 GRUB boot loader supports the ext4 filesystem well] and installed Linux Kernel version is newer than 2.6.28.

{i} Despite its name, {{{tune2fs}}}(8) works not only on the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext2 ext2] filesystem but also on the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext3 ext3] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext4 ext4] filesystems.

=== Optimization of harddisk ===

/!\ Please check your hardware and read manpage of {{{hdparam}}}(8) before playing with harddisk configuration because this may be quite dangerous for the data integrity.

You can test disk access speed of a harddisk, e.g. "{{{/dev/hda}}}", by "{{{hdparm -tT /dev/hda}}}". For some harddisk connected with (E)IDE, you can speed it up with "{{{hdparm -q -c3 -d1 -u1 -m16 /dev/hda}}}" by enabling the "(E)IDE 32-bit I/O support", enabling the "using_dma flag", setting "interrupt-unmask flag", and setting the "multiple 16 sector I/O" (dangerous!).

You can test write cache feature of a harddisk, e.g. "{{{/dev/sda}}}", by "{{{hdparm -W /dev/sda}}}". You can disable its write cache feature with "{{{hdparm -W 0 /dev/sda}}}".

You may be able to read badly pressed CDROMs on modern high head CD-ROM drive by slowing it down with "{{{setcd -x 2}}}.

=== Using SMART to predict harddisk failure ===

You can monitor and log your harddisk which is compliant to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T SMART] with the {{{smartd}}}(8) daemon.

 1. Enable [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T SMART] feature in [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BIOS BIOS].
 1. Install the {{{smartmontools}}} package.
 1. Identify your harddisk drives by listing them with "{{{df}}}".
  * Let's assume a harddisk drive to be monitored as "{{{/dev/hda}}}".
 1. Check the output of "{{{smartctl -a /dev/hda}}}" to see if [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T SMART] feature is actually enabled.
  * If not, enable it by "{{{smartctl -s on -a /dev/hda}}}".
 1. Enable {{{smartd}}}(8) daemon to run by:
  * uncomment "{{{start_smartd=yes}}}" in the "{{{/etc/default/smartmontools}}}" file.
  * restart the {{{smartd}}}(8) daemon by "{{{sudo /etc/init.d/smartmontools restart}}}".

{i} The {{{smartd}}}(8) daemon can be customized with the {{{/etc/smartd.conf}}} file including how to be notified of warnings.

=== Expand usable storage space via LVM ===

For partitions created on [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_Volume_Manager_(Linux) Logical Volume Manager (Linux)] at install time, they can be resized easily by concatenating extents onto them or truncating extents from them over multiple storage devices without major system reconfiguration.

<!> Deployment of the current LVM system may degrade guarantee against filesystem corruption offered by journaled file systems such as ext3fs unless their system performance is sacrificed by disabling write cache of harddisk.

=== Expand usable storage space by mounting another partition ===

If you have an empty partition (e.g., "{{{/dev/sdx}}}"), you can format it with {{{mkfs.ext3}}}(1) and {{{mount}}}(8) it to a directory where you need more space. (You need to copy original data contents.)
{{{
$ sudo mv work-dir old-dir
$ sudo mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdx
$ sudo mount -t ext3 /dev/sdx work-dir
$ sudo cp -a old-dir/* work-dir
$ sudo rm -rf old-dir
}}}

=== Expand usable storage space using symlink ===

If you have an empty directory (e.g., "{{{/path/to/emp-dir}}}") in another partition with usable space, you can create a symlink to the directory with {{{ln}}}(8).
{{{
$ sudo mv work-dir old-dir
$ sudo mkdir -p /path/to/emp-dir
$ sudo ln -sf /path/to/emp-dir work-dir
$ sudo cp -a old-dir/* work-dir
$ sudo rm -rf old-dir
}}}
<!> Some software may not function well with "symlink to a directory".

=== Expand usable storage space using aufs ===

If you have usable space in another partition (e.g., "{{{/path/to/}}}"), you can create a directory in it and stack that on to a directory where you need space with [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aufs aufs].

{{{
$ sudo mv work-dir old-dir
$ sudo mkdir -p /path/to/emp-dir
$ sudo mount -t aufs -o br:/path/to/emp-dir:old-dir none work-dir
}}}

<!> Use of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aufs aufs] for long term data storage is not good idea since it is under development and its design change may introduce issues.

{i} In order to use [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aufs aufs], its utility package {{{aufs-tools}}} and kernel module package for [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aufs aufs] such as {{{aufs-modules-2.6-amd64}}} need to be installed.

{i} [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aufs aufs] is used to provide writable root filesystem by many modern [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_CD live CD] projects.

== Data encryption tips ==

Since gaining root privilege is relatively easy with physical access (see @{@securingtherootpassword@}@), it can not secure your private and sensitive data against possible theft of your PC. You must deploy data encryption technology to do it. Although [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Privacy_Guard GNU privacy guard] (see @{@datasecurityinfrastructure@}@) can encrypt files, it takes some user efforts.

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dm-crypt dm-crypt] and [http://ecryptfs.sourceforge.net/ eCryptfs] facilitates automatic data encryption natively via Linux kernel modules with minimal user efforts.

|| List of data encryption utilities. || 1 || 2 || 3 ||
|| '''package''' || '''popcon''' ||'''size''' || '''function''' ||
|| {{{cryptsetup}}} || - || - || Utilities for encrypted block device ([http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dm-crypt dm-crypt] / [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_Unified_Key_Setup LUKS]) ||
|| {{{cryptmount}}} || - || - || Utilities forencrypted block device ([http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dm-crypt dm-crypt] / [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_Unified_Key_Setup LUKS]) with focus on mount/unmount by normal users ||
|| {{{ecryptfs-utils}}} || - || - || Utilities for encrypted stacked filesystem ([http://ecryptfs.sourceforge.net/ eCryptfs]) ||

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dm-crypt Dm-crypt] is a cryptographic filesystem using [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Device_mapper device-mapper]. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Device_mapper Device-mapper] maps one block device to another.

[http://ecryptfs.sourceforge.net/ eCryptfs] is another cryptographic filesystem using stacked filesystem. Stacked filesystem stacks itself on top of an existing directory of a mounted filesystem.

<!> Data encryption costs CPU time etc. Please weigh its benefits and costs.

(!) Entire Debian system can be installed on a encrypted disk by the [http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-installer/ debian installer] (lenny or newer) using [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dm-crypt dm-crypt]/[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_Unified_Key_Setup LUKS] and initramfs.

{i} See @{@datasecurityinfrastructure@}@ for user space encryption utility: [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Privacy_Guard GNU Privacy Guard].

=== Removable disk encryption with dm-crypt/LUKS ===

You can encrypt contents of removable mass storage devices, e.g. USB memory stick on "{{{/dev/sdx}}}", using [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dm-crypt dm-crypt]/[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_Unified_Key_Setup LUKS]. You simply formatting it as:
{{{
# badblocks -c 10240 -s -w -t random -v /dev/sdx
# shred -v -n 1 /dev/sdx
# fdisk /dev/sdx
... "n" "p" "1" "return" "return" "w"
# cryptsetup luksFormat /dev/sdx1
...
# cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sdx1 sdx1
...
# ls -l /dev/mapper/
total 0
crw-rw---- 1 root root 10, 60 2008-10-04 18:44 control
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 254, 0 2008-10-04 23:55 sdx1
# mkfs.vfat /dev/mapper/sdx1
...
# cryptsetup luksClose sdx1
}}}
Then, it can be mounted just like normal one on to "{{{/media/<disk_label>}}}", except for asking password (see @{@removablemassstoragedevice@}@) under modern desktop environment, such as Gnome using {{{gnome-mount}}}(1). The difference is that every data written to it is encrypted. You may alternatively format media in different file format, e.g., ext3 with "{{{mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdx1}}}".

(!) If you are really paranoid for the security of data, you may need to overwrite multiple times in the above example. This operation is very time consuming though.

=== Encrypted swap partition with dm-crypt ===

If your original "{{{/etc/fstab}}}" contains:
{{{
/dev/sda7 swap sw 0 0
}}}
then you can enable encrypted swap partition using [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dm-crypt dm-crypt] as
{{{
# swapoff -a
# echo "cswap /dev/sda7 /dev/urandom swap" >> /etc/crypttab
# perl -i -p -e "s/\/dev\/sda7/\/dev\/mapper\/cswap/" /etc/fstab
# swapon -a
}}}

=== Automatically encrypting files with eCryptfs ===

You can encrypt files written under "{{{~/Private/}}}" automatically using [http://ecryptfs.sourceforge.net/ eCryptfs] and the {{{ecryptfs-utils}}} package.
 * run "{{{ecryptfs-setup-private}}}" and set up "{{{~/Private/}}}" by following prompts.
 * activate "{{{~/Private/}}}" by issuing "{{{ecryptfs-mount-private}}}".
 * move sensitive data files to "{{{~/Private/}}}" and make symlinks.
 * move sensitive data directories to "{{{~/Private/}}}" and make symlinks.
 * do the same for "{{{~/.gnupg}}}" and other directories containing sensitive data.
 * create symlink from "{{{~/.ssh}}}" to "{{{~/Private/.ssh}}}"
 * deactivate "{{{~/Private/}}}" by issuing "{{{ecryptfs-umount-private}}}".
 * activate "{{{~/Private/}}}" by issuing "{{{ecryptfs-mount-private}}}" as you need encrypted data.

{i} Files and directories with "{{{go-r}}}" permission such as "{{{~/.cvspass}}}", "{{{~/.fetchmailrc}}}", "{{{~/.ssh/identity}}}", "{{{~/.ssh/id_rsa}}}", "{{{~/.ssh/id_dsa}}}", "{{{~/.gnupg/}}}", "{{{~/.gnome2/}}}", ... can be considered sensitive data.

{i} Since [http://ecryptfs.sourceforge.net/ eCryptfs] selectively encrypt only the sensitive files, its system cost is much less than using [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dm-crypt dm-crypt] on the entire root or home device. It does not require any special on-disk storage allocation effort but cannot keep all filesystem metadata confidential.


=== Automatically mounting eCryptfs ===

If you use your login password for wrapping encryption keys, you can automate mounting eCryptfs via
Pluggable Authentication Module by having active lines in "{{{/etc/pam.d/common-auth}}}" as:
{{{
auth required pam_unix.so nullok_secure
auth required pam_ecryptfs.so unwrap
}}}
and active lines in "{{{/etc/pam.d/common-session}}}" as:
{{{
session required pam_unix.so
session optional pam_ecryptfs.so unwrap
}}}

This is quite convienient.

<!> If you use your login password for wrapping encryption keys, your encrypted data are as secure as your user login password (see @{@goodpassword@}@). Unless you are careful to set up a [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Password_strength strong password], your data will be at risk when someone runs [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Password_cracking password cracking] software after stealing your laptop (see @{@securingtherootpassword@}@). The {{{squeeze}}} version of the {{{ecryptfs-utils}}} package comes with option to have independent password for wrapping and to set up user's entire home directory for encryption. This is an actively developed package.

== Monitoring, controlling, and starting program activities ==

Program activities can be monitored and controlled using specialized tools.

|| List of tools for monitoring and controlling program activities || 1 || 2 || 3 ||
|| '''package''' || '''popcon''' || '''size''' || '''description''' ||
|| {{{time}}} || - || - || The {{{time}}}(1) command runs a program to report system resource usages with respect to time. ||
|| {{{coreutils}}} || - || - || The {{{nice}}}(1) command runs a program with modified scheduling priority. ||
|| {{{bsdutils}}} || - || - || The {{{renice}}}(1) command modifies the scheduling priority of a running process. ||
|| {{{powertop}}} || - || - || On Intel-based laptops {{{powertop}}}(1) gives information about system power use. ||
|| {{{procps}}} || - || - || The "{{{/proc}}}" file system utilities: {{{ps}}}(1), {{{top}}}(1), {{{kill}}}(1), {{{watch}}}(1), ... ||
|| {{{psmisc}}} || - || - || The "{{{/proc}}}" file system utilities: {{{killall}}}(1), {{{fuser}}}(1), {{{pstree}}}(1) ||
|| {{{cron}}} || - || - || This package run processes according to a schedule (in background). ||
|| {{{at}}} || - || - || The {{{at}}}(1) or {{{batch}}}(1) commands run a job at a specified time or below certain load level. ||
|| {{{lsof}}} || - || - || The {{{lsof}}}(8) command lists open files by a running process using "{{{-p}}}" option. ||
|| {{{strace}}} || - || - || The {{{strace}}}(1) command traces system calls and signals. ||
|| {{{ltrace}}} || - || - || The {{{ltrace}}}(1) command traces library calls. ||
|| {{{xtrace}}} || - || - || The {{{xtrace}}}(1) command traces communication between X11 client and server. ||
Line 77: Line 568:
|| List of tools for the scheduling priority. || ||
|| '''command''' || '''package''' || '''function''' ||
|| {{{nice}}} || {{{coreutils}}} || run a program with the modified scheduling priority ||
|| {{{renice}}} || {{{bsdutils}}} || modify the scheduling priority of a running processes ||
Line 93: Line 579:
|| List of ps command styles. || || || List of ps command styles. || || ||
Line 96: Line 582:
|| SystemV || {{{ps -efH}}} || display PPID || || System V || {{{ps -efH}}} || display PPID ||
Line 99: Line 585:

The {{{pstree}}}(1) command display a tree of processes.
Line 114: Line 602:
=== List files opened by a process ===

You can list all files opened by a process with a process ID (PID), e.g. 1 as:
{{{
$ sudo lsof -p 1
}}}

PID=1 is usually {{{init}}} program.

=== Trace program activities ===

You can trace program activity with {{{strace}}}(1), {{{ltrace}}}(1), or {{{xtrace}}}(1) commands for system calls and signals, library calls, or communication between X11 client and server. For example:
{{{
$ sudo strace ls
...
}}}

=== Identify processes using files or sockets ===

You can also identify processes using files or sockets by {{{fuser}}}(1). For example:
{{{
$ sudo fuser -v /var/log/mail.log
                     USER PID ACCESS COMMAND
/var/log/mail.log: root 2946 F.... syslogd
}}}
You see that file "{{{/var/log/mail.log}}}" is open for writing by the {{{syslogd}}}(8) command.

{{{
$ sudo fuser -v smtp/tcp
                     USER PID ACCESS COMMAND
smtp/tcp: Debian-exim 3379 F.... exim4
}}}
Now you know your system runs {{{exim4}}}(8) to handle [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmission_Control_Protocol TCP] connections to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simple_Mail_Transfer_Protocol SMTP] port (25).

=== Repeating a command with a constant interval ===

The {{{watch}}}(1) command executes a program repeatedly with a constant interval while showing its output in fullscreen.

{{{
$ watch w
}}}
This will display who is logged on to the system updated every 2 seconds.

=== Repeating a command looping over files ===

There are several ways to repeat a command looping over files matching some condition, e.g. matching glob pattern "{{{*.ext}}}".

 * Shell for-loop method (see @{@shellloops@}@):
 {{{
for x in *.ext; do if [ -f "$x"]; then command "$x" ; fi; done
}}}

 * {{{find}}}(1) and {{{xargs}}}(1) combination:
 {{{
find . -type f -maxdepth 1 -name '*.ext' -print0 | xargs -0 -n 1 command
}}}

 * {{{find}}}(1) with "{{{-exec}}}" option with a command:
 {{{
find . -type f -maxdepth 1 -name '*.ext' -exec command '{}' \;
}}}

 * {{{find}}}(1) with "{{{-exec}}}" option with a short shell script:
 {{{
find . -type f -maxdepth 1 -name '*.ext' -exec sh -c "command '{}' && echo 'successful'" \;
}}}

The above examples are written to ensure proper handling of funny file names such as ones containing spaces. See @{@idiomsfortheselectionoffiles@}@ for more advance uses of {{{find}}}(1).

=== Starting a program from GUI ===

You can set up to start a process from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphical_user_interface graphical user interface (GUI)].

Under Gnome desktop environment, a program program can be started with proper argument by '''drag-and-drop''' of an icon to the launcher icon or by "'''Open with ...'''" menu with right clicking. KDE can do the equivalent, too. Here is an example for Gnome to set up {{{mc}}} program started in {{{gnome-terminal}}}:

 * create an executable program "{{{mc-term}}}" as:
{{{
# cat >/usr/local/mc-term <<EOF
#!/bin/sh
gnome-terminal -e "mc $1"
EOF
# chmod 755 /usr/local/mc-term
}}}
 * create a desktop launcher
  * right clicking desktop space to select "{{{Create Launcher ...}}}"
   * set "Type" to "{{{Application}}}"
   * set "Name" to "{{{mc}}}"
   * set "Command" to "{{{mc-term %f}}}"
   * click "OK"
 * create an open-with association
  * right click folder to select "{{{Open with Other Application ...}}}"
   * click open "Use a custom command" dialog and enter "{{{mc-term %f}}}"
   * click "Open".

{i} Launcher is a file at "{{{~/Desktop}}}" with "{{{desktop}}}" as its extension.

=== Customizing program to be started ===

Some programs start another program automatically. Here are check points for customizing this process:
 * configuration file of the parent program such as "{{{/etc/mc/mc.ext}}}".
 * system configuration menu such as "System" -> "Preferences" -> "Preferred Application" for Gnome.
 * environment variables such as "{{{$BROWSER}}}", "{{{$EDITOR}}}", "{{{$VISUAL}}}", and "{{{$PAGER}}}" (see {{{eviron}}}(7)).
 * the {{{update-alternatives}}}(8) system for programs such as "{{{editor}}}", "{{{view}}}", "{{{x-www-browser}}}", "{{{gnome-www-browser}}}", and "{{{www-browser}}}" (see @{@settingadefaulttexteditor@}@).
 * the "{{{~/.mailcap}}}" and "{{{/etc/mailcap}}}" file contents which associate [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIME MIME] type with program (see {{{mailcap}}}(5)).
 * the the "{{{~/.mime.types}}}" and "{{{/etc/mime.types}}}" file contents which associate file name extension with [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIME MIME] type (see {{{run-mailcap}}}(1)).

{i} The {{{update-mime}}}(8) command updates the "{{{/etc/mailcap}}}" file using "{{{/etc/mailcap.order}}}" file (see {{{mailcap.order}}}(5)).

{i} The {{{debianutils}}} package provides {{{sensible-browser}}}(1), {{{sensible-editor}}}(1), and {{{sensible-pager}}}(1) commands which make sensible decisions on which editor, pager, and web browser to call, respectively. I recommend you to read these shell commands.
Line 118: Line 716:
Use the {{{killall}}}(1) command to do the same by the process command name. Use {{{killall}}}(1) or {{{pkill}}}(1) commands to do the same by the process command name and other attributes.
Line 158: Line 756:
{i} For the system not running continuously, install the {{{anacron}}} package to schedule periodic command at the specified intervals as closely as machine-uptime permits.
Line 160: Line 760:
Insurance against system malfunction is provided by the kernel compile option "Magic SysRq key" (SAK key) which is now default for Debian kernel. Pressing Alt-SysRq followed by one of the following keys does the magic.

|| List of SAK key commands. || ||
Insurance against system malfunction is provided by the kernel compile option "Magic SysRq key" (SAK key) which is now the default for the Debian kernel. Pressing Alt-SysRq followed by one of the following keys does the magic of rescuing control of the system:

|| List of SAK command keys. || ||
Line 166: Line 766:
|| {{{k}}} || Sa'''k''' (system attention key) kills all processes on the '''current virtual console'''. ||
|| {{{e}}} || T'''e'''rminate kills all processes on the '''current terminal''' except {{{init}}}. ||
|| {{{i}}} || K'''i'''ll kills all processes except {{{init}}}. ||
|| {{{s}}} || '''S'''ync ||
|| {{{u}}} || '''U'''mount ||
|| {{{b}}} || Re'''b'''oot ||

The combination of "Sync", "Unmount", and "Reboot" is good for getting out of really bad situations.

See {{{/usr/share/doc/linux-doc-2.6.*/Documentation/sysrq.txt.gz}}} .

<!> The Alt-SysRq feature may be considered a security risk via unattended console. Placing "{{{echo 0 >/proc/sys/kernel/sysrq}}}" in {{{/etc/rc.local}}} or "{{{kernel.sysrq = 0}}}" in {{{/etc/sysctl.conf}}} will disable Alt-SysRq feature.

{i} From SSH terminal etc., use "{{{echo '<command key>' > /proc/sysrq-trigger}}}" as the alternative to the real Alt-SysRq key.
|| {{{k}}} || SAK (system attention key) '''k'''ills all processes on the '''current virtual console'''. ||
|| {{{e}}} || Send a SIGT'''E'''RM to all processes, except for {{{init}}}. ||
|| {{{i}}} || Send a SIGK'''I'''LL to all processes, except for {{{init}}}. ||
|| {{{s}}} || '''S'''ync all mounted filesystems. ||
|| {{{u}}} || Remount all mounted filesystems read-only ('''u'''mount). ||
|| {{{b}}} || Re'''b'''oot the system without syncing or unmounting. ||

The combination of "Alt-SysRq s", "Alt-SysRq u", and "Alt-SysRq r" is good for getting out of really bad situations.

See "{{{/usr/share/doc/linux-doc-2.6.*/Documentation/sysrq.txt.gz}}}".

<!> The Alt-SysRq feature may be considered a security risk by allowing users access to root-privileged functions. Placing "{{{echo 0 >/proc/sys/kernel/sysrq}}}" in "{{{/etc/rc.local}}}" or "{{{kernel.sysrq = 0}}}" in "{{{/etc/sysctl.conf}}}" will disable the Alt-SysRq feature.

{i} From SSH terminal etc., you can use the Alt-SysRq feature by writing to the "{{{/proc/sysrq-trigger}}}". For example, "{{{echo s > /proc/sysrq-trigger; echo u > /proc/sysrq-trigger}}}" from the root shell prompt will '''s'''ync and '''u'''mount all mounted filesystems.

== System maintenance tips ==

=== Who is logged on ===

You can check who is logged on to the system with {{{w}}}(1) or {{{who}}}(1) commands.

=== Warn everyone ===

You can send message to everyone who is logged on to the system with the {{{wall}}}(1) command:
{{{
$ echo "We are shutting down in 1 hour" | wall
}}}

=== Hardware identification ===

For the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peripheral_Component_Interconnect PCI]-like devices ([http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerated_Graphics_Port AGP], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express PCI-Express], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PC_Card#CardBus CardBus], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExpressCard ExpressCard], etc.), {{{lspci}}}(8) command (probably with "{{{-nn}}}" option) is a good start for the hardware identification

Alternatively, you can identify the hardware by reading contents of "{{{/proc/bus/pci/devices}}}" or browsing directory tree under "{{{/sys/bus/pci}}}" (see @{@procfsandsysfs@}@).

|| List of hardware identification tools. || 1 || 2 || 3 ||
|| '''package''' || '''popcon''' || '''size''' || '''description''' ||
|| {{{pciutils}}} || - || - || Linux PCI Utilities, {{{lspci}}}(8) ||
|| {{{usbutils}}} || - || - || Linux USB utilities, {{{lsusb}}}(8) ||
|| {{{pcmciautils}}} || - || - || PCMCIA utilities for Linux 2.6, {{{pccardctl}}}(8) ||
|| {{{scsitools}}} || - || - || Collection of tools for SCSI hardware management, {{{lsscsi}}}(8) ||
|| {{{pnputils}}} || - || - || Plug and Play BIOS utilities, {{{lspnp}}}(8) ||
|| {{{procinfo}}} || - || - || Displays system information from "{{{/proc}}}", {{{lsdev}}}(8) ||
|| {{{lshw}}} || - || - || Information about hardware configuration, {{{lshw}}}(1) ||
|| {{{discover}}} || - || - || Hardware identification system, {{{discover}}}(8) ||

=== Hardware configuration ===

Although most of the hardware configuration on modern GUI desktop systems such as Gnome and KDE can be managed through accompanying GUI configuration tools, it is a good idea to know some basics methods to configure them.

|| List of hardware configuration tools. || 1 || 2 || 3 ||
|| '''package''' || '''popcon''' || '''size''' || '''description''' ||
|| {{{hal}}} || - || - || Hardware Abstraction Layer, {{{lshal}}}(1) ||
|| {{{console-tools}}} || || - || Linux console font and keytable utilities. ||
|| {{{x11-xserver-utils}}} || || - || X server utilities. {{{xset}}}(1) and {{{xmodmap}}}(1) commands. ||
|| {{{acpid}}} || 24513 || - || Daemon to manage events delivered by the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) ||
|| {{{acpi}}} || 2563 || - || Utilities for ACPI devices ||
|| {{{apmd}}} || 1222 || - || Daemon to manage events delivered by the Advanced Power Management (APM) ||
|| {{{powersaved}}} || 1038 || - || Daemon to manage battery, temperature, ac, cpufreq (SpeedStep, Powernow!) control and monitor with ACPI and APM supports. ||
|| {{{noflushd}}} || 95 || - || Allow idle hard disks to spin down ||
|| {{{sleepd}}} || 75 || - || Puts a laptop to sleep during inactivity ||
|| {{{hdparm}}} || 5192 || - || Hard disk access optimization. Very effective but dangerous. You must read {{{hdparm}}}(8) first. ||
|| {{{smartmontools}}} || 3526 || - || Control and monitor storage systems using S.M.A.R.T. ||
|| {{{setserial}}} || 2619 || - || Collection of tools for serial port management. ||
|| {{{memtest86+}}} || 406 || - || Collection of tools for memory hardware management. ||
|| {{{scsitools}}} || 185 || - || Collection of tools for SCSI hardware management. ||
|| {{{tpconfig}}} || 276 || - || A program to configure touchpad devices ||
|| {{{setcd}}} || 82 || - || Compact disc drive access optimization. ||
|| {{{big-cursor}}} || *121 || - || Larger mouse cursors for X ||
|| {{{lspowertweak}}} || - || - || Simple front end to powertweak, {{{lspowertweak}}}(8) ||

Here, ACPI is a newer framework for the power management system than APM.

=== System and hardware time ===

The following will set system and hardware time to MM/DD hh:mm, CCYY.
{{{
# date MMDDhhmmCCYY
# hwclock --utc --systohc
# hwclock --show
}}}

Times are normally displayed in the local time on the Debian system but the hardware and system time usually use UTC.

If the hardware (BIOS) time is set to GMT, change the setting to "{{{UTC=yes}}}" in the "{{{/etc/default/rcS}}}".

If you wish to update system time via network, consider to use the NTP service with the packages such as {{{ntp}}}, {{{ntpdate}}}, and {{{chrony}}}. See:
 * [http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/TimePrecision-HOWTO/index.html Managing Accurate Date and Time HOWTO] .
 * [http://www.ntp.org/ NTP Public Services Project] .
 * The {{{ntp-doc}}} package

{i} The {{{ntptrace}}}(8) command in the {{{ntp}}} package can trace a chain of NTP servers back to the primary source.

=== The terminal configuration ===

There are several components to configure character console and {{{ncurses}}}(3) system features:

 * the {{{terminfo}}}(5) file
 * the "{{{$TERM}}}" environment variable ({{{term}}}(7))
 * the {{{setterm}}}(1) command
 * the {{{stty}}}(1) command
 * the {{{tic}}}(1) command
 * the {{{toe}}}(1) command

If the {{{terminfo}}} entry for {{{xterm}}} doesn't work with a non-Debian {{{xterm}}}, change your terminal type from '''{{{xterm}}}''' to one of the feature-limited versions such as '''{{{xterm-r6}}}''' when you log in to a Debian system remotely. See "{{{/usr/share/doc/libncurses5/FAQ}}}" for more. "'''{{{dumb}}}'''" is the lowest common denominator for {{{terminfo}}}.

=== The sound infrastructure ===

Device drivers for sound cards for current Linux 2.6 are provided by [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Linux_Sound_Architecture Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA)]. ALSA provides emulation mode for previous [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Sound_System Open Sound System (OSS)] for compatibility.

Run "{{{dpkg-reconfigure linux-sound-base}}}" to select the sound system to use ALSA via blacklisting of kernel modules. Unless you have very new sound hardware, udev infrastructure should configure your sound system.

{i} Use "{{{cat /dev/urandom > /dev/audio}}}" or the {{{speaker-test}}}(1) command to test speaker. (^C to stop)

{i} If you can not get sound, your speaker may be connected to a muted output. Modern sound system has many outputs. The {{{alsamixer}}}(1) command in the {{{alsa-utils}}} package is useful to configure volume and mute settings.

Application softwares may be configured not only to access sound devices directly but also to access them via some standardized sound server system.

## UPDATE FOLLOWING PACKAGE NAME as you see new ones released

|| List of sound packages || 1 || 2 || 3 ||
|| '''package''' || '''pocon''' || '''size''' || '''description''' ||
|| {{{linux-sound-base}}} || - || - || Base package for ALSA and OSS sound systems ||
|| {{{alsa-base}}} || - || - || ALSA driver configuration files ||
|| {{{alsa-utils}}} || - || - || Utilities for configuring and using ALSA ||
|| {{{oss-compat}}} || - || - || OSS compatibility under ALSA preventing "{{{/dev/dsp not found}}}" errors ||
|| {{{esound-common}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightened_Sound_Daemon Enlightened Sound Daemon (ESD)] common (Enlightenment and GNOME) ||
|| {{{esound}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightened_Sound_Daemon Enlightened Sound Daemon (ESD)] server (Enlightenment and GNOME) ||
|| {{{esound-clients}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightened_Sound_Daemon Enlightened Sound Daemon (ESD)] client (Enlightenment and GNOME) ||
|| {{{libesd-alsa0}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightened_Sound_Daemon Enlightened Sound Daemon (ESD)] library Enlightenment and GNOME) ||
|| {{{libesd0}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightened_Sound_Daemon Enlightened Sound Daemon (ESD)] library (Enlightenment and GNOME) - OSS ||
|| {{{arts}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARts aRts] server (KDE) ||
|| {{{libarts1c2a}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARts aRts] library (KDE) ||
|| {{{libartsc0}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARts aRts] library (KDE) ||
|| {{{jackd}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JACK_Audio_Connection_Kit JACK Audio Connection Kit. (JACK)] server (low latency) ||
|| {{{libjack0}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JACK_Audio_Connection_Kit JACK Audio Connection Kit. (JACK)] library (low latency) ||
|| {{{libjack0.100.0-0}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JACK_Audio_Connection_Kit JACK Audio Connection Kit. (JACK)] library (low latency) ||
|| {{{nas}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_Audio_System Network Audio System (NAS)] server ||
|| {{{libaudio2}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_Audio_System Network Audio System (NAS)] library ||
|| {{{pulseaudio}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PulseAudio PulseAudio] server, replacement for ESD ||
|| {{{libpulse0}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PulseAudio PulseAudio] client library, replacement for ESD ||
|| {{{libpulsecore5}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PulseAudio PulseAudio] server library, replacement for ESD ||
|| {{{libgstreamer0.10-0}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GStreamer GStreamer]: Gnome sound engine ||
|| {{{libxine1}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xine xine]: KDE older sound engine ||
|| {{{libphonon4}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonon_(KDE) Phonon]: KDE new sound engine ||

There is usually a common sound engine for each popular desktop environment. Each sound engine used by the application can choose to connect to different sound servers.

=== Disable the screen saver ===

For disabling the screen saver, use following commands.

|| List of commands for disabling the screen saver. || ||
|| '''environment''' || '''command''' ||
|| The Linux console || {{{setterm -powersave off}}} ||
|| The X Window by turning off screensaver || {{{xset s off}}} ||
|| The X Window by disabling dpms || {{{xset -dpms}}} ||
|| The X Window by GUI configuration of screen saver || {{{xscreensaver-command -prefs}}} ||

=== Disable the sound (beep) ===

One can always unplug the PC speaker. ;-) Removing {{{pcspkr}}} kernel module does this for you.

The following will prevent the {{{readline}}} program used by the {{{bash}}} to beep when encountering "\a" (ASCII=7):
{{{
$ echo "set bell-style none">> ~/.inputrc
}}}

=== Memory usage ===

The kernel boot message in the "{{{/var/log/dmesg}}}" contains the total exact size of available memory.

The {{{free}}}(1) and {{{top}}}(1) commands display information on memory resources on the running system.

{{{
$ grep '^Memory' /var/log/dmesg
Memory: 990528k/1016784k available (1975k kernel code, 25868k reserved, 931k data, 296k init)
$ free -k
             total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 997184 976928 20256 0 129592 171932
-/+ buffers/cache: 675404 321780
Swap: 4545576 4 4545572
}}}

For my MacBook with 1GB=1048576k DRAM (video system steals some of this):

|| List of memory sizes reported. || ||
|| '''report''' || '''size''' ||
|| Total size in dmesg || 1016784k = 1GB - 31792k ||
|| Free in dmesg || 990528k ||
|| Total under shell || 997184k ||
|| Free under shell || 20256k ||

Do not worry about the large size of "{{{used}}}" and the small size of "{{{free}}}" in the "{{{Mem:}}}" line, but read the one under them (675404 and 321780 in the example below) and relax.

=== System security and integrity check ===

Poor system maintenance may expose your system to external exploitation.

For system security and integrity check, you should start with:
 * {{{debsums}}} package: See {{{debsums}}}(1) and @{@toplevelreleasefileandauthenticity@}@.
 * {{{chkrootkit}}} package: See {{{chkrootkit}}}(1).
 * {{{clamav}}} package family: See {{{clamscan}}}(1) and {{{freahclam}}}(1).
 * [http://www.debian.org/security/faq Debian security FAQ].
 * [http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/securing-debian-howto/ Securing Debian Manual].

|| List of tools for system security and integrity check || 1 || 2 || 3 ||
|| '''package''' || '''popcon''' || '''size''' || '''description''' ||
|| {{{logcheck}}} || - || - || This mails anomalies in the system logfiles to the administrator ||
|| {{{debsums}}} || - || - || This verifies installed package files against MD5 checksums. ||
|| {{{chkrootkit}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rootkit Rootkit] detector. ||
|| {{{clamav}}} || - || - || Anti-virus utility for Unix - command-line interface. ||
|| {{{tiger}}} || - || - || Report system security vulnerabilities ||
|| {{{tripwire}}} || - || - || File and directory integrity checker ||
|| {{{john}}} || - || - || Active password cracking tool ||
|| {{{aide}}} || - || - || Advanced Intrusion Detection Environment - static binary ||
|| {{{bastille}}} || - || - || Security hardening tool ||
|| {{{integrit}}} || - || - || A file integrity verification program ||
|| {{{crack}}} || - || - || Password guessing program ||

Here is a simple script to check for typical world writable incorrect file permissions.
{{{
# find / -perm 777 -a \! -type s -a \! -type l -a \! \( -type d -a -perm 1777 \)
}}}

<!> Since the {{{debsums}}} package uses MD5 checksums stored locally, it can not be fully trusted as the system security audit tool against malicious attacks.
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Debian has its own method of recompiling the kernel and related modules. Debian distributes modularized Linux kernel as packages for supported architectures.

=== Linux kernel 2.6 ===

There are few notable features on Linux kernel 2.6 compared to 2.4.
 * Devices are created by the udev system (see @{@theudevsystem@}@).
 * Read/write accesses to IDE CD/DVD devices do not use the {{{ide-scsi}}} module.
 * Network packet filtering functions use {{{iptable}}} kernel modules.
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Most '''normal programs''' don't need kernel headers and in fact may break if you use them directly for compiling. They should be compiled against the headers in {{{/usr/include/linux}}} and {{{/usr/include/asm}}} provided by the {{{libc6-dev}}} package (created from the {{{glibc}}} source package) on the Debian system.

(!) For compiling some kernel-specific programs such as the kernel modules from the external source and the automounter daemon ({{{amd}}}), you must include path to the kernel headers, e.g. {{{-I/usr/src/linux-particular-version/include/}}} , to your command line.

=== Kernel modules ===

Debian distributes modularized Linux kernel as packages for supported architectures.

The {{{modprobe}}}(8) program intelligently adds and removes modules from the Linux kernel . Its configuration files are located under the {{{/etc/modprobes.d/}}} directory as explained in {{{modprobe.conf}}}(5). The {{{/lib/modules/<version>/modules.dep}}} file generated by the {{{depmod}}}(8) program describes module dependencies. The {{{modinfo}}}(8) program sh
ows information about a Linux Kernel module. The {{{lsmod}}}(8) program nicely formats the contents of the {{{/proc/modules}}}, showing what kernel modules are currently loaded.

The Linux kernel 2.6 provides support for {{{udev}}}(7) in which device modules are automatically loaded when they are discovered. The name of devices can be configured as explained in the {{{/usr/share/doc/udev/writing_udev_rules/index.html}}}.

Some modules, such as {{{tup}}}, need to be manually loaded by listing in the {{{/etc/modules}}} file as explained in {{{modules}}}(5).

=== Kernel recompile ===

|| List of key packages to be installed for the kernel recompilation on the Debian system ||
|| '''package''' || '''description''' ||
|| {{{build-essential}}}
|| essential packages for building Debian packages: {{{make}}}, {{{gcc}}}, ... ||
|| {{{bzip2}}} || compress and decompress utilities for bz2 files ||
|| {{{libncurses-dev}}} || developer's libraries and docs for ncurses ||
|| {{{git-core}}} || git: distributed revision control system used by the Linux kernel ||
|| {{{fakeroot}}} || provide fakeroot environment for building package as non-root ||
|| {{{initramfs-tools}}} || tool to build an initramfs (Debian specific) ||
|| {{{kernel-package}}} || tool to build Linux kernel packages (Debian specific) ||
|| {{{module-assistant}}} || tool to help build module packages (Debian specific) ||
|| {{{devscripts}}} || helper scripts for a Debian Package maintainer (Debian specific) ||
|| {{{linux-tree-2.6.*}}} || Linux kernel source tree for building Debian kernel images (Debian specific) ||

If you use {{{initrd}}}, make sure to read the related information in {{{initramfs-tools}}}(8), {{{update-initramfs}}}(8), {{{mkinitramfs}}}(8) and {{{initramfs.conf}}}(5).

/!\ Do not put symlinks to the directories in the source tree (e.g. {{{/usr/src/linux*}}}) from {{{/usr/include/linux}}} and {{{/usr/include/asm}}} when compiling the Linux kernel source, as suggested by some outdated documents.
Most '''normal programs''' don't need kernel headers and in fact may break if you use them directly for compiling. They should be compiled against the headers in "{{{/usr/include/linux}}}" and "{{{/usr/include/asm}}}" provided by the {{{libc6-dev}}} package (created from the {{{glibc}}} source package) on the Debian system.

(!) For compiling some kernel-specific programs such as the kernel modules from the external source and the automounter daemon ({{{amd}}}), you must include path to the corresponding kernel headers, e.g. "{{{-I/usr/src/linux-particular-version/include/}}}", to your command line. The {{{module-assistant}}} package helps users to build and install module package(s) easily for one or more custom kernels with the {{{m-a}}}(8) command.

=== Kernel and module compile ===

Debian has its own method of compiling the kernel and related modules.

|| List of key packages to be installed for the kernel recompilation on the Debian system || 1 || 2 || 3 ||
|| '''package''' || '''popcon''' || '''size''' || '''description''' ||
|| {{{build-essential}}} || - || - || essential packages for building Debian packages: {{{make}}}, {{{gcc}}}, ... ||
|| {{{bzip2}}} || - || - || compress and decompress utilities for bz2 files ||
|| {{{libncurses5-dev}}} || - || - || developer's libraries and docs for ncurses ||
|| {{{git-core}}} || - || - || git: distributed revision control system used by the Linux kernel ||
|| {{{fakeroot}}} || - || - || provide fakeroot environment for building package as non-root ||
|| {{{initramfs-tools}}} || - || - || tool to build an initramfs (Debian specific) ||
|| {{{kernel-package}}} || - || - || tool to build Linux kernel packages (Debian specific) ||
|| {{{module-assistant}}} || - || - || tool to help build module packages (Debian specific) ||
|| {{{devscripts}}} || - || - || helper scripts for a Debian Package maintainer (Debian specific) ||
|| {{{linux-tree-2.6.*}}} || - || - || Linux kernel source tree for building Debian kernel images (Debian specific) ||

If you use {{{initrd}}} in @{@stagecthebootloader@}@, make sure to read the related information in {{{initramfs-tools}}}(8), {{{update-initramfs}}}(8), {{{mkinitramfs}}}(8) and {{{initramfs.conf}}}(5).

/!\ Do not put symlinks to the directories in the source tree (e.g. "{{{/usr/src/linux*}}}") from "{{{/usr/include/linux}}}" and "{{{/usr/include/asm}}}" when compiling the Linux kernel source. (Some outdated documents suggest this.)
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=== Debian standard method ===

The Debian standard method for compiling a custom kernel uses {{{make-kpkg}}}(1) command. The official documentation is in (the bottom of) {{{/usr/share/doc/kernel-package/README.gz}}}. See {{{kernel-pkg.conf}}}(5) and {{{kernel-img.conf}}}(5) for customization.
=== Kernel source compile: Debian standard method ===

The Debian standard method for compiling kernel source to create a custom kernel package uses {{{make-kpkg}}}(1) command. The official documentation is in (the bottom of) "{{{/usr/share/doc/kernel-package/README.gz}}}". See {{{kernel-pkg.conf}}}(5) and {{{kernel-img.conf}}}(5) for customization.
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<!> When you intend to create a non-modularized kernel compiled only for one machine, invoke {{{make-kpkg}}} commpand without "{{{--initrd}}}" option since initrd is not used. Invocation of "{{{make oldconfig}}}" and "{{{make dep}}}" are not required since "{{{make-kpkg kernel_image}}}" invokes them.

=== Classic method ===

You can still build Linux kernel from [http://www.kernel.org/ the pristine sources] with classic method. You must take care the details of the system configuration manually.
<!> When you intend to create a non-modularized kernel compiled only for one machine, invoke {{{make-kpkg}}} command without "{{{--initrd}}}" option since initrd is not used. Invocation of "{{{make oldconfig}}}" and "{{{make dep}}}" are not required since "{{{make-kpkg kernel_image}}}" invokes them.

=== Module source compile: Debian standard method ===

The Debian standard method for creating and installing a custom module package for a custom kernel package uses {{{module-assistant}}}(8) command and module-source packages. For example, following will build the {{{unionfs}}} kernel module package and installs it.
{{{
$ sudo aptitude install module-assistant
...
$ sudo aptitude install unionfs-source unionfs-tools unionfs-utils
$ sudo m-a update
$ sudo m-a prepare
$ sudo m-a auto-install unionfs
...
$ sudo apt-get autoremove
}}}

=== Kernel source compile: c
lassic method ===

You can still build [http://www.kernel.org/ Linux kernel from the pristine sources] with the classic method. You must take care the details of the system configuration manually.
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  * edit {{{/etc/lilo.conf}}} and run {{{/sbin/lilo}}}, if you use {{{lilo}}} .
  * edit {{{/boot/grub/menu.lst}}}, if you use {{{grub}}} .
  * edit "{{{/etc/lilo.conf}}}" and run "{{{/sbin/lilo}}}", if you use {{{lilo}}} .
  * edit "{{{/boot/grub/menu.lst}}}", if you use {{{grub}}} .
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== The hardware configuration ==

Although most of the hardware configuration on the modern GUI desktop systems such as Gnome and KDE can be managed through the accompanying GUI configuration tools, it is a good idea to know some basics methods to configure the keyboard and the screen display for the Linux console and the basic X window system.

|| List of hardware configuration tools. || 1 || 2 ||
|| '''package''' || '''popcon''' || '''description''' ||
|| {{{console-tools}}} || || Linux console font and keytable utilities. ||
|| {{{x11-xserver-utils}}} || || X server utilities. {{{xset}}}(1) and {{{xmodmap}}}(1) commands. ||
|| {{{acpid}}} || 24513 || Daemon to manage events delivered by the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) ||
|| {{{acpi}}} || 2563 || Utilities for ACPI devices ||
|| {{{apmd}}} || 1222 || Daemon to manage events delivered by the Advanced Power Management (APM) ||
|| {{{powersaved}}} || 1038 || Daemon to manage battery, temperature, ac, cpufreq (SpeedStep, Powernow!) control and monitor with ACPI and APM supports. ||
|| {{{noflushd}}} || 95 || allow idle hard disks to spin down ||
|| {{{sleepd}}} || 75 || puts a laptop to sleep during inactivity ||
|| {{{hdparm}}} || 5192 || Hard disk access optimization. Very effective but dangerous. You must read {{{hdparm}}}(8) first. ||
|| {{{setserial}}} || 2619 || Collection of tools for serial port management. ||
|| {{{memtest86+}}} || 406 || Collection of tools for memory hardware management. ||
|| {{{scsitools}}} || 185 || Collection of tools for SCSI hardware management. ||
|| {{{tpconfig}}} || 276 || A program to configure touchpad devices ||
|| {{{setcd}}} || 82 ||Compact disc drive access optimization. ||
|| {{{big-cursor}}} || *121 || larger mouse cursors for X ||

Some hardware can be tuned directly by the Linux kernel itself through the proc/sysfs filesystem.

Here, ACPI is a newer framework for the power management system than APM.

=== The time ===

The following will set system and hardware time to MM/DD hh:mm, CCYY.
{{{
# date MMDDhhmmCCYY
# hwclock --utc --systohc
# hwclock --show
}}}

Times are normally displayed in the local time on the Debian system but the hardware and system time usually use UTC.

If the hardware (BIOS) time is set to GMT, change the setting to {{{UTC=yes}}} in the {{{/etc/default/rcS}}}.

If you wish to update system time via network, consider to use the NTP service with the packages such as {{{ntp}}}, {{{ntpdate}}}, and {{{chrony}}}. See:
 * [http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/TimePrecision-HOWTO/index.html Managing Accurate Date and Time HOWTO] .
 * [http://www.ntp.org/ NTP Public Services Project] .
 * The {{{ntp-doc}}} package

=== The terminal configuration ===

There are several components to configure character console and {{{ncurses}}}(3) system features:

 * the {{{terminfo}}}(5) file
 * the {{{TERM}}}(7) environment variable
 * the {{{setterm}}}(1) command
 * the {{{stty}}}(1) command
 * the {{{tic}}}(1) command
 * the {{{toe}}}(1) command

If the {{{terminfo}}} entry for {{{xterm}}} doesn't work with a non-Debian {{{xterm}}}, change your terminal type from '''{{{xterm}}}''' to one of the feature-limited versions such as '''{{{xterm-r6}}}''' when you log in to a Debian system remotely. See {{{/usr/share/doc/libncurses5/FAQ}}} for more. '''{{{dumb}}}''' is the lowest common denominator for {{{terminfo}}}.

=== Disable the screensaver ===

For disabling the screensaver, use following commands.

|| List of commands for disabling the screensaver. || ||
|| '''environment''' || '''command''' ||
|| The Linux console || {{{setterm -powersave off}}} ||
|| The X Window by turning off screensaver || {{{xset s off}}} ||
|| The X Window by disabling dpms || {{{xset -dpms}}} ||
|| The X Window by GUI configuration of screensaver || {{{xscreensaver-command -prefs}}} ||

=== Disable the sound (beep) ===

One can always unplug the PC speaker. ;-) Removing {{{pcspkr}}} kernel module does this for you.

The following will prevent the {{{readline}}} program used by the {{{bash}}} to beep when encountering "\a" (ASCII=7):
{{{
$ echo "set bell-style none">> ~/.inputrc
}}}

=== Storage device hints ===

You can test disk access speed of harddisk, e.g. {{{/dev/hda}}}, by "{{{hdparm -tT /dev/hda}}}".

You may be able to speed up a harddisk connected with (E)IDE with "{{{hdparm -q -c3 -d1 -u1 -m16 /dev/hda}}}". Please check your hardware and read manpage of {{{hdparam}}}(8) before playing with harddisk configuration because this may be quite dangerous for the data integrity.

You may be able to read badly pressed cdroms on modern high head CD-ROM drive by slowing it down with "{{{setcd -x 2}}}.

Mounting a filesystem with the {{{noatime}}} option is also very effective in speeding up read access to the file. See {{{fstab}}}(5) and {{{mount}}}(8).
=== Non-free hardware drivers ===

Although most of hardware drivers are available as free software and as a part of the Debian system, you may need to load some non-free external drivers to support some hardwares, such as Winmodem, on your system.

Check pertinent resources:

 * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Softmodem
 * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_open_source_wireless_drivers
 * [http://www.google.com Google] or other search engines with keyword "Linmodem".
 * http://ndiswrapper.sourceforge.net
 * http://linuxwireless.org
 * http://madwifi-project.org (there is ath5k which contains free drivers)
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The {{{chroot}}}(8) program is most basic way to run different instances of the GNU/Linux environment on a single system simultaneously without rebooting. The {{{chroot}}}(8) program is most basic way to run different instances of the GNU/Linux environment on a single system simultaneously without rebooting. I will explain simple [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chroot chroot] systems in the following as examples.

<!> Examples below assumes both parent system and chroot system share the same CPU architecture.

For serious chroot setup with the detail configuration, such as {{{i386}}} chroot system under {{{amd64}}} parent system, please consider to use the specialized {{{schroot}}} package.
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For example, the following will create a {{{sid}}} chroot on {{{/sid-root}}} while having fast Internet access: For example, the following will create a {{{sid}}} chroot on "{{{/sid-root}}}" while having fast Internet access:
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main # echo "proc-sid /sid-root/proc proc none 0 0" >> /etc/fstab
main # mount proc-sid /sid-root/proc -t proc
main # cp /etc/hosts /sid-root/etc/hosts
main # echo "proc-sid /sid-root/proc proc none 0 0" >> /etc/fstab
main # echo "devpts-sid /sid-root/dev/pts devpts defaults 0 0" >> /etc/fstab
main # mount -a
main # cp -f /etc/passwd /sid-root/etc/passwd
main # cp -f /etc/shadow /sid-root/etc/shadow
main # cp -f /etc/group /sid-root/etc/group
main # cp -f /etc/hosts /sid-root/etc/hosts
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<!> If you use bind mount for directories such as home directory in the chroot, you must be careful for its side effects. I heard people lost their home directory after executing "{{{rm -rf /sid-root}}}" '''without unbinding''' their home directory in the chroot. A '''bind mount''' is not normally visible with "{{{df}}}", you need to execute "{{{df -a}}}" to see it.
Line 408: Line 1167:
main # init q    # reload init
}}}
main # init q
}}}
* reload init
Line 418: Line 1178:
main # chroot /sid-root # or use chroot console main # chroot /sid-root
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chroot # apt-get install gdm gnome x-window-system
chroot # vi /etc/gdm/gdm.conf # do s/vt7/vt9/ in [servers] section
chroot # aptitude install gdm gnome x-window-system
chroot # vim /etc/gdm/gdm.conf
}}}
 * change "{{{[servers]}}}" section with "{{{
s/vt7/vt9/}}}" to make the first virtual console in the chroot from {{{vt7}}} to {{{vt9}}}.
{{{
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Here, {{{/etc/gdm/gdm.conf}}} was edited to change the first virtual console from {{{vt7}}} to {{{vt9}}}.
Line 431: Line 1192:
A chroot environment for another Linux distribution can easily be created. You install a system into separate partitions using the installer of the other distribution. If its root partition is in {{{/dev/hda9}}}: A chroot environment for another Linux distribution can easily be created. You install a system into separate partitions using the installer of the other distribution. If its root partition is in "{{{/dev/hda9}}}":
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There are several system virtualization and emulation related packages in Debian beyond simple chroot.

|| List of virtualization tools || 1 || 2 ||
|| '''package''' || '''pocon''' || '''description''' ||
|| {{{sbuild}}} || - || Tool for building Debian binary packages from Debian sources ||
|| {{{pbuilder}}} || - || Personal package builder for Debian packages ||
|| {{{debootstrap}}} || - || Bootstrap a basic Debian system (written in sh) ||
|| {{{cdebootstrap}}} || - || Bootstrap a Debian system (written in C) ||
|| {{{rootstrap}}} || - || A tool for building complete Linux filesystem images ||
|| {{{user-mode-linux}}} || - || User-mode Linux (kernel) ||
|| {{{xen-tools}}} || - || Tools to manage debian XEN virtual server ||
|| {{{bochs}}} || - || IA-32 PC emulator ||
|| {{{qemu}}} || - || Fast generic processor emulator ||
|| {{{wine}}} || - || Windows API Implementation (standard suite) ||
|| {{{dosbox}}} || - || A x86 emulator with Tandy/Herc/CGA/EGA/VGA/SVGA graphics, sound and DOS ||
There are several system [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtualization virtualization] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emulator emulation] related packages in Debian beyond simple [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chroot chroot].

|| List of virtualization tools || 1 || 2 || 3 ||
|| '''package''' || '''pocon''' || '''size''' || '''description''' ||
|| {{{schroot}}} || - || - || Specialized tool for executing Debian binary packages in chroot ||
|| {{{sbuild}}} || -
|| - || Tool for building Debian binary packages from Debian sources ||
|| {{{pbuilder}}} || - || - || Personal package builder for Debian packages ||
|| {{{debootstrap}}} || - || - || Bootstrap a basic Debian system (written in sh) ||
|| {{{cdebootstrap}}} || - || - || Bootstrap a Debian system (written in C) ||
|| {{{rootstrap}}} || - || - || A tool for building complete Linux filesystem images ||
|| {{{user-mode-linux}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User-mode_Linux User-mode Linux] (kernel) ||
|| {{{xen-tools}}} || - || - || Tools to manage debian [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xen XEN] virtual server ||
|| {{{bochs}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bochs Bochs]: IA-32 PC emulator ||
|| {{{qemu}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qemu Qemu]: fast generic processor emulator ||
|| {{{virtualbox-ose}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VirtualBox VirtualBox]: x86 virtualization solution on i386 and amd64 ||
|| {{{wine}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine_(software) Wine]:
Windows API Implementation (standard suite) ||
|| {{{dosbox}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOSBox DOSBox]: x86 emulator with Tandy/Herc/CGA/EGA/VGA/SVGA graphics, sound and DOS ||
|| {{{util-vserver}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux-VServer Linux-VServer] virtual private servers - user-space tools ||
|| {{{vzctl}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenVZ OpenVZ] server virtualization solution - control tools ||
|| {{{vzquota}}} || - || - || [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenVZ OpenVZ] server virtualization solution - quota tools ||

See Wikipedia article [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_virtual_machines] for detail comparison of different virtualization solutions.

Do not use Edit(GUI) button.

?TableOfContents(4)

Copyright 2007, 2008 Osamu Aoki GPL, (Please agree to GPL, GPL2, and any version of GPL which is compatible with DSFG if you update any part of wiki page)

Generated HTML is at "[http://people.debian.org/~osamu/pub/getwiki/html/ch10.en.html Debian Reference: Chapter 10. System tips]".

I welcome your contributions to update this wiki page. You must follow these rules:

  • Do not use Edit(GUI) button of MoinMoin.

  • You can update anytime for:
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  • Before updating this wiki content:

System tips

Here, I will describe basic tips to configure and manage systems, mostly from the console.

The screen program

screen is a very useful tool for people to access remote sites via unreliable or intermittent connections since it support interrupted network connections.

List of programs to support interrupted network connections.

1

2

3

package

popcon

size

description

screen

-

-

terminal multiplexer with VT100/ANSI terminal emulation

xmove

-

-

allows you to move programs between X Window System displays

The use scenario for the screen command

screen(1) not only allows one terminal window to work with multiple processes, but also allows remote shell process to survive interrupted connections. Here is a typical use scenario of the screen(1) program.

  1. You login to a remote machine.
  2. You start the screen command on a single console.

  3. You execute multiple programs in screen windows created with ^A c ("Control-A" followed by "c").

  4. You switch among the multiple screen windows by ^A n ("Control-A" followed by "n").

  5. Suddenly you need to leave your terminal, but you don't want to lose your active work by keeping the connection.
  6. You detach the screen session by any methods such as:

    • brutally unplugging your network connection,
    • typing ^A d ("Control-A" followed by "d") and manually logging out from the remote connection, or

    • typing ^A DD ("Control-A" followed by "DD") to have screen detach and log you out.

  7. You log in again to the same remote machine (even from a different terminal).
  8. You enter the "screen -r" command.

  9. The screen program will magically reattach all previous screen windows with all actively running programs.

{i} You can save connection fees for metered network connections such as dial-up and packet ones, because you can leave a process active while disconnected, and then re-attach it later when you connect again.

Key bindings for the screen command

In a screen session, all keyboard inputs are sent to your current window except for the command keystroke, by default ^A ("Control-A"). All screen commands are entered by typing ^A plus a single key [plus any parameters]. Here are important ones to remember:

List of key bindings for screen.

key binding

meaning

^A ?

show a help screen (display key bindings)

^A c

create a new window and switch to it

^A n

go to next window

^A p

go to previous window

^A 0

go to window number 0

^A 1

go to window number 1

^A w

show a list of windows

^A a

send a Ctrl-A to current window as keyboard input

^A h

write a hardcopy of current window to file

^A H

begin/end logging current window to file

^A ^X

lock the terminal (password protected)

^A d

detach screen session from the terminal

^A DD

detach screen session and log out

See screen(1) for details.

A screen-like program for X window system

The xmove package enables support for mobile X clients; that is, X clients can move between displays. See xmove(1).

Data recording and presentation

The log daemon

Many programs record their activities under the "/var/log/" directory.

  • The kernel log daemon: klogd(8)

  • The system log daemon: syslogd(8)

See @{@thesystemmessage@}@ and @{@thekernelmessage@}@.

Log analyzer

Here are notable log analyzers ("~Gsecurity::log-analyzer" in aptitude).

List of system log analyzers.

1

2

3

package

popcon

size

description

logwatch

-

-

log analyser with nice output written in Perl

fail2ban

-

-

bans IPs that cause multiple authentication errors

analog

-

-

web server log analyzer

awstats

-

-

powerful and featureful web server log analyzer

sarg

-

-

squid analysis report generator

pflogsumm

-

-

Postfix log entry summarizer

syslog-summary

-

-

summarize the contents of a syslog log file

lire

-

-

full-featured log analyzer and report generator

fwlogwatch

-

-

Firewall log analyzer

squidview

-

-

monitors and analyses squid access.log files

visitors

-

-

fast web server log analyzer

swatch

-

-

Log file viewer with regexp matching, highlighting, & hooks

crm114

-

-

The Controllable Regex Mutilator and Spam Filter (CRM114)

icmpinfo

-

-

Interpret ICMP messages

(!) [http://crm114.sourceforge.net/ CRM114] provides language infrastructure to write fuzzy filters with the [http://www.laurikari.net/tre/ TRE regex library]. Its popular use is spam mail filter but it can be used as log analyzer.

Recording the shell activities cleanly

The simple use of the script(1) command (see: @{@recordingtheshellactivities@}@) to record shell activity produces a file with control characters. This can be avoided by using the col(1) command:

$ script
Script started, file is typescript
  • do whatever ...
  • Press Ctrl-D to exit script

$ col -bx <typescript >cleanedfile
$ vim cleanedfile

If you don't have the script command (for example, during the boot process in the initramfs), you can use following instead:

$ sh -i 2>&1 | tee typescript

{i} Some x-terminal-emulator such as gnome-terminal can record. You may wish to extend line buffer for scrollback.

{i} You may use screen command with "^A H" (see @{@keybindingsforthescreencommand@}@) to perform recording of console.

{i} You may use emacs with "M-x shell", "M-x eshell", or "M-x term" to perform recording of console. You may later use "C-x C-w" to write the buffer to a file.

Customized display of text data

Although pager tools such as more(1) and less(1) (see @{@thepager@}@) and custom tools for highlighting and formatting @{@highlightingandfingplaintextdata@}@ can display text data nicely, general purpose editors (see @{@thetexteditor@}@) are most versatile and customizable.

{i} For vim(1) and its pager mode alias view(1), ":set hls" will enable highlighted search.

Customized display of time and date

The default display format of time and date by the "ls -l" command depends on the locale (see value @{@timestamps@}@). The "$LANG" variable is referred first and it can be overridden by the "$LC_TIME" variable.

The actual default display format for each locale depends on the version of the standard C library (the libc6 package) used. I.e., different releases of Debian had different defaults.

If you really wish to customize this display format of time and date beyond the locale, you should set the time style value by the "--time-style" argument or by the "$TIME_STYLE" value (see ls(1), date(1), "info coreutils 'ls invocation'").

Display examples of time and date for the "ls -l" command for lenny.

time style value

locale

display of time and date

"iso"

any

"01-19 00:15"

"long-iso"

any

"2009-01-19 00:15"

"full-iso"

any

"2009-01-19 00:15:16.000000000 +0900"

"locale"

"C"

"Jan 19 00:15"

"locale"

"en_US.UTF-8"

"2009-01-19 00:15"

"locale"

"es_ES.UTF-8"

"ene 19 00:15"

"+%d.%m.%y %H:%M"

any

"19.01.09 00:15"

"+%d.%b.%y %H:%M"

"C" or "en_US.UTF-8"

"19.Jan.09 00:15"

"+%d.%b.%y %H:%M"

"es_ES.UTF-8"

"19.ene.09 00:15"

{i} You can eliminate typing long option on commandline using command alias, e.g. "alias ls='ls --time-style=+%d.%m.%y\ %H:%M'" (see @{@commandalias@}@).

{i} [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_8601 ISO 8601] is followed for these iso-formats.

Colorized shell echo

Shell echo to most modern terminals can be colorized using [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ANSI_escape_code ANSI escape code] (see "/usr/share/doc/xterm/ctlseqs.txt.gz"). E.g.:

$ RED=$(printf "\x1b[31m")
$ NORMAL=$(printf "\x1b[0m")
$ REVERSE=$(printf "\x1b[7m")
$ echo "${RED}RED-TEXT${NORMAL} ${REVERSE}REVERSE-TEXT${NORMAL}"

Colorized commands

Colorized commands are handy for inspecting their output in the interactive environment. I include following in my ~/.bashrc.

if [ "$TERM" != "dumb" ]; then
    eval "`dircolors -b`"
    alias ls='ls --color=always'
    alias ll='ls --color=always -l'
    alias la='ls --color=always -A'
    alias less='less -R'
    alias ls='ls --color=always'
    alias grep='grep --color=always'
    alias egrep='egrep --color=always'
    alias fgrep='fgrep --color=always'
    alias zgrep='zgrep --color=always'
else
    alias ll='ls -l'
    alias la='ls -A'
fi

The use of alias limits color effects to the interactive command usage. It has advantage over exporting environment variable "export GREP_OPTIONS='--color=auto'" since color can be seen under pager programs such as "less".

{i} You can turn off these colorizing aliases in the interactive environment by invoking shell with "TERM=dumb bash".

Recording the graphic image of an X application

There are few ways to record the graphic image of an X application, including an xterm display.

List of graphic image manipulation tools.

1

2

3

package

popcon

size

command

xbase-clients

25829

-

xwd(1)

gimp

8489

-

GUI menu

imagemagick

5479

-

import(1)

scrot

134

-

scrot(1)

Recording changes in configuration files

There are specialized tools to record changes in configuration files with help of DVCS system.

List of packages to record configuration history in VCS.

1

2

3

package

popcon

size

description

etckeeper

-

-

store configuration files and its metadata with [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Git_(software) Git] (default), [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercurial_(software) Mercurial], or [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bazaar_(software) Bazaar]. (new)

changetrack

-

-

store configuration files with [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revision_Control_System RCS]. (old)

I recommend to use the etckeeper package with git(1) which put entire "/etc" under VCS control. Its installation guide and tutorial are found in "/usr/share/doc/etckeeper/README.gz".

Essentially, running "sudo etckeeper init" initializes the git repository for "/etc" just like the process explained in @{@gitforrecordingcigurationhistory@}@) but with special hook scripts for more thorough setups.

As you change your configuration, you can use git(1) normally to record them. It will automatically record changes nicely every time you run package management commands, too.

{i} You can browse the change history of "/etc" by executing "sudo GIT_DIR=/etc/.git gitk" with clear view for new installed packages, removed packages, and version changes of packages.

Data storage tips

Booting your system with Linux [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_CD live CDs] or [http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/debian-installer/ debian-installer CDs] in rescue mode make it easy for you to reconfigure data storage on your boot device. See also @{@thebinarydata@}@.

Partition configuration

For partition configuration, although fdisk(8) has been considered standard, parted(8) deserves some attention. "Disk partitioning data", "partition table", "partition map", and "disk label" are all synonyms.

Most PCs use the classic [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_boot_record Master Boot Record (MBR)] scheme to hold [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disk_partitioning disk partitioning] data in the first sector, i.e., [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_block_addressing LBA] sector 0 (512 bytes).

(!) Some new PCs with [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extensible_Firmware_Interface Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI)], including Intel-based Macs, use [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GUID_Partition_Table GUID Partition Table (GPT)] scheme to hold [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disk_partitioning disk partitioning] data not in the first sector.

Although fdisk(8) has been standard for the disk partitioning tool, parted(8) is replacing it.

List of disk partition management packages

1

2

3

package

pocon

size

description

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GUID_Partition_Table GUID Partition Table]

util-linux

-

-

Miscellaneous system utilities including fdisk(8) and cfdisk(8)

Not supported

parted

-

-

The GNU Parted disk partition resizing program

Supported

gparted

-

-

GNOME partition editor based on libparted

Supported

qtparted

-

-

KDE partition editor based on libparted

Supported

gptsync

-

-

Synchronize classic MBR partition table with the GPT one

Supported

<!> Although parted(8) claims to create and to resize filesystem too, it is safer to do such things using best maintained specialized tools such as mkfs(8) (mkfs.msdos(8), mkfs.ext2(8), mkfs.ext3(8), ...) and resize2fs(8).

(!) In order to switch between GPT and MBR, you need to erase first few blocks of disk contents directly (see @{@clearfilecontents@}@) and use "parted /dev/sdx mklabel gpt" or "parted /dev/sdx mklabel msdos" to set it. Please note "msdos" is use here for MBR.

Accessing partition using UUID

Although reconfiguration of your partition may yield different names for partitions, you can access them consistently. This is also helpful if you have multiple disks and your BIOS doesn't give them consistent device names.

{i} You can probe [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universally_Unique_Identifier UUID] of a block special device with the vol_id(8) command.

Filesystem configuration

For [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext3 ext3] filesystem, the e2fsprogs package provides:

The mkfs(8) and fsck(8) commans are provided by the e2fsprogs package as front-ends to various filesystem dependent programs (mkfs.fstype and fsck.fstype). For [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext3 ext3] filesystem, they are mkfs.ext3(8) and fsck.ext3(8) (they are hardlinked to mke2fs(8) and e2fsck(8)).

Similar commands are available for each filesystem supported by Linux.

List of filesystem management packages

1

2

3

package

popcon

size

description

e2fsprogs

-

-

Utilities for the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext2 ext2]/[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext3 ext3]/[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext4 ext4] filesystems.

reiserfsprogs

-

-

Utilities for the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reiserfs Reiserfs] filesystem.

dosfstools

-

-

Utilities for the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table FAT] filesystem. (Microsoft: MS-DOS, Windows)

xfsprogs

-

-

Utilities for the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XFS XFS] filesystem. (SGI: IRIX)

ntfsprogs

-

-

Utilities for the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NTFS NTFS] filesystem. (Microsoft: Windows NT, ...)

jfsutils

-

-

Utilities for the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JFS_(file_system) JFS] filesystem. (IBM: AIX, OS/2)

reiser4progs

-

-

Utilities for the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reiser4 Reiser4] filesystem.

hfsprogs

-

-

Utilities for [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hierarchical_File_System HFS] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HFS_Plus HFS+] filesystem. (Apple: Mac OS)

btrfs-tools

-

-

Utilities for the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Btrfs btrfs] filesystem.

{i} [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext3 Ext3] filesystem is the default filesystem for the Linux system and strongly recommended to use it unless you have some specific reasons not to. After Linux kernel 2.6.28 (Debian squeeze), [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext4 ext4] filesystem will be available and expected to be the default filesystem for the Linux system. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Btrfs btrfs] filesystem is expected to be the next default filesystem after [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext4 ext4] filesystem for the Linux system.

{i} Some tools allow access to filesystem without Linux kernel support (see @{@manipulatingfilehoutmountingdisk@}@).

Filesystem creation and integrity check

The mkfs(8) command creates the filesystem on a Linux system. The fsck(8) command provides the filesystem integrity check and repair on a Linux system.

<!> It is generally not safe to run fsck on mounted filesystems.

{i} Check files in "/var/log/fsck/" for the result of the fsck(8) command run from the boot script.

{i} Use "shutdown -F -r now" to force to run the fsck(8) command safely on all filesystems including root file system on reboot. See the shutdown(8) manpage for more.

Optimization of filesystem by mount options

Performance and characteristics of a filesystem can be optimized by mount options used on it (see fstab(5) and mount(8)). For example:

  • "defaults" option implies default options: "rw,suid,dev,exec,auto,nouser,async". (general)

  • "noatime" or "relatime" option is very effective for speeding up the read access. (general)

  • "user" option allows an ordinary user to mount the file system. This option implies "noexec,nosuid,nodev" option combination. (general, used for CD and floppy)

  • "noexec,nodev,nosuid" option combination is used to enhance security. (general)

  • "noauto" option limits mounting by explicit operation only. (general)

  • "data=journal" option for ext3fs can enhance data integrity against power failure with some loss of write speed.

{i} You need to provide kernel boot parameter "rootflags=data=journal" to deploy "data=journal" option for the root file system formatted with ext3fs.

Optimization of filesystem via superblock

Characteristics of a filesystem can be optimized via its superblock using the tune2fs(8) command. For example on "/dev/hda1":

  • Execution of "sudo tune2fs -l /dev/hda1" will display the contents of its filesystem superblock.

  • Execution of "sudo tune2fs -c 50 /dev/hda1" will change frequency of filesystem checks (fsck execution during boot-up) to every 50 boots.

  • Execution of "sudo tune2fs -j /dev/hda1" will add journaling capability to the filesystem, i.e. filesystem conversion from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext2 ext2] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext3 ext3]. (Do this on the unmounted filesystem.)

  • Execution of "sudo tune2fs -O extents,uninit_bg,dir_index /dev/hda1 && fsck -pf /dev/hda1" will convert it from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext3 ext3] to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext4 ext4]. (Do this on the unmounted filesystem.)

/!\ Filesystem conversion for the boot device to the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext4 ext4] filesystem should be avoided until [http://bugs.debian.org/511121 GRUB boot loader supports the ext4 filesystem well] and installed Linux Kernel version is newer than 2.6.28.

{i} Despite its name, tune2fs(8) works not only on the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext2 ext2] filesystem but also on the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext3 ext3] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext4 ext4] filesystems.

Optimization of harddisk

/!\ Please check your hardware and read manpage of hdparam(8) before playing with harddisk configuration because this may be quite dangerous for the data integrity.

You can test disk access speed of a harddisk, e.g. "/dev/hda", by "hdparm -tT /dev/hda". For some harddisk connected with (E)IDE, you can speed it up with "hdparm -q -c3 -d1 -u1 -m16 /dev/hda" by enabling the "(E)IDE 32-bit I/O support", enabling the "using_dma flag", setting "interrupt-unmask flag", and setting the "multiple 16 sector I/O" (dangerous!).

You can test write cache feature of a harddisk, e.g. "/dev/sda", by "hdparm -W /dev/sda". You can disable its write cache feature with "hdparm -W 0 /dev/sda".

You may be able to read badly pressed CDROMs on modern high head CD-ROM drive by slowing it down with "setcd -x 2.

Using SMART to predict harddisk failure

You can monitor and log your harddisk which is compliant to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T SMART] with the smartd(8) daemon.

  1. Enable [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T SMART] feature in [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BIOS BIOS].

  2. Install the smartmontools package.

  3. Identify your harddisk drives by listing them with "df".

    • Let's assume a harddisk drive to be monitored as "/dev/hda".

  4. Check the output of "smartctl -a /dev/hda" to see if [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T SMART] feature is actually enabled.

    • If not, enable it by "smartctl -s on -a /dev/hda".

  5. Enable smartd(8) daemon to run by:

    • uncomment "start_smartd=yes" in the "/etc/default/smartmontools" file.

    • restart the smartd(8) daemon by "sudo /etc/init.d/smartmontools restart".

{i} The smartd(8) daemon can be customized with the /etc/smartd.conf file including how to be notified of warnings.

Expand usable storage space via LVM

For partitions created on [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_Volume_Manager_(Linux) Logical Volume Manager (Linux)] at install time, they can be resized easily by concatenating extents onto them or truncating extents from them over multiple storage devices without major system reconfiguration.

<!> Deployment of the current LVM system may degrade guarantee against filesystem corruption offered by journaled file systems such as ext3fs unless their system performance is sacrificed by disabling write cache of harddisk.

Expand usable storage space by mounting another partition

If you have an empty partition (e.g., "/dev/sdx"), you can format it with mkfs.ext3(1) and mount(8) it to a directory where you need more space. (You need to copy original data contents.)

$ sudo mv work-dir old-dir
$ sudo mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdx
$ sudo mount -t ext3 /dev/sdx work-dir
$ sudo cp -a old-dir/* work-dir
$ sudo rm -rf old-dir

If you have an empty directory (e.g., "/path/to/emp-dir") in another partition with usable space, you can create a symlink to the directory with ln(8).

$ sudo mv work-dir old-dir
$ sudo mkdir -p /path/to/emp-dir
$ sudo ln -sf /path/to/emp-dir work-dir
$ sudo cp -a old-dir/* work-dir
$ sudo rm -rf old-dir

<!> Some software may not function well with "symlink to a directory".

Expand usable storage space using aufs

If you have usable space in another partition (e.g., "/path/to/"), you can create a directory in it and stack that on to a directory where you need space with [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aufs aufs].

$ sudo mv work-dir old-dir
$ sudo mkdir -p /path/to/emp-dir
$ sudo mount -t aufs -o br:/path/to/emp-dir:old-dir none work-dir

<!> Use of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aufs aufs] for long term data storage is not good idea since it is under development and its design change may introduce issues.

{i} In order to use [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aufs aufs], its utility package aufs-tools and kernel module package for [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aufs aufs] such as aufs-modules-2.6-amd64 need to be installed.

{i} [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aufs aufs] is used to provide writable root filesystem by many modern [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_CD live CD] projects.

Data encryption tips

Since gaining root privilege is relatively easy with physical access (see @{@securingtherootpassword@}@), it can not secure your private and sensitive data against possible theft of your PC. You must deploy data encryption technology to do it. Although [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Privacy_Guard GNU privacy guard] (see @{@datasecurityinfrastructure@}@) can encrypt files, it takes some user efforts.

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dm-crypt dm-crypt] and [http://ecryptfs.sourceforge.net/ eCryptfs] facilitates automatic data encryption natively via Linux kernel modules with minimal user efforts.

List of data encryption utilities.

1

2

3

package

popcon

size

function

cryptsetup

-

-

Utilities for encrypted block device ([http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dm-crypt dm-crypt] / [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_Unified_Key_Setup LUKS])

cryptmount

-

-

Utilities forencrypted block device ([http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dm-crypt dm-crypt] / [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_Unified_Key_Setup LUKS]) with focus on mount/unmount by normal users

ecryptfs-utils

-

-

Utilities for encrypted stacked filesystem ([http://ecryptfs.sourceforge.net/ eCryptfs])

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dm-crypt Dm-crypt] is a cryptographic filesystem using [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Device_mapper device-mapper]. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Device_mapper Device-mapper] maps one block device to another.

[http://ecryptfs.sourceforge.net/ eCryptfs] is another cryptographic filesystem using stacked filesystem. Stacked filesystem stacks itself on top of an existing directory of a mounted filesystem.

<!> Data encryption costs CPU time etc. Please weigh its benefits and costs.

(!) Entire Debian system can be installed on a encrypted disk by the [http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-installer/ debian installer] (lenny or newer) using [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dm-crypt dm-crypt]/[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_Unified_Key_Setup LUKS] and initramfs.

{i} See @{@datasecurityinfrastructure@}@ for user space encryption utility: [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Privacy_Guard GNU Privacy Guard].

Removable disk encryption with dm-crypt/LUKS

You can encrypt contents of removable mass storage devices, e.g. USB memory stick on "/dev/sdx", using [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dm-crypt dm-crypt]/[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_Unified_Key_Setup LUKS]. You simply formatting it as:

# badblocks -c 10240 -s -w -t random -v /dev/sdx
# shred -v -n 1 /dev/sdx
# fdisk /dev/sdx
... "n" "p" "1" "return" "return" "w"
# cryptsetup luksFormat /dev/sdx1
...
# cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sdx1 sdx1
...
# ls -l /dev/mapper/
total 0
crw-rw---- 1 root root  10, 60 2008-10-04 18:44 control
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 254,  0 2008-10-04 23:55 sdx1
# mkfs.vfat /dev/mapper/sdx1
...
# cryptsetup luksClose sdx1

Then, it can be mounted just like normal one on to "/media/<disk_label>", except for asking password (see @{@removablemassstoragedevice@}@) under modern desktop environment, such as Gnome using gnome-mount(1). The difference is that every data written to it is encrypted. You may alternatively format media in different file format, e.g., ext3 with "mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdx1".

(!) If you are really paranoid for the security of data, you may need to overwrite multiple times in the above example. This operation is very time consuming though.

Encrypted swap partition with dm-crypt

If your original "/etc/fstab" contains:

/dev/sda7 swap sw 0 0

then you can enable encrypted swap partition using [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dm-crypt dm-crypt] as

# swapoff -a
# echo "cswap /dev/sda7 /dev/urandom swap" >> /etc/crypttab
# perl -i -p -e "s/\/dev\/sda7/\/dev\/mapper\/cswap/" /etc/fstab
# swapon -a

Automatically encrypting files with eCryptfs

You can encrypt files written under "~/Private/" automatically using [http://ecryptfs.sourceforge.net/ eCryptfs] and the ecryptfs-utils package.

  • run "ecryptfs-setup-private" and set up "~/Private/" by following prompts.

  • activate "~/Private/" by issuing "ecryptfs-mount-private".

  • move sensitive data files to "~/Private/" and make symlinks.

  • move sensitive data directories to "~/Private/" and make symlinks.

  • do the same for "~/.gnupg" and other directories containing sensitive data.

  • create symlink from "~/.ssh" to "~/Private/.ssh"

  • deactivate "~/Private/" by issuing "ecryptfs-umount-private".

  • activate "~/Private/" by issuing "ecryptfs-mount-private" as you need encrypted data.

{i} Files and directories with "go-r" permission such as "~/.cvspass", "~/.fetchmailrc", "~/.ssh/identity", "~/.ssh/id_rsa", "~/.ssh/id_dsa", "~/.gnupg/", "~/.gnome2/", ... can be considered sensitive data.

{i} Since [http://ecryptfs.sourceforge.net/ eCryptfs] selectively encrypt only the sensitive files, its system cost is much less than using [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dm-crypt dm-crypt] on the entire root or home device. It does not require any special on-disk storage allocation effort but cannot keep all filesystem metadata confidential.

Automatically mounting eCryptfs

If you use your login password for wrapping encryption keys, you can automate mounting eCryptfs via Pluggable Authentication Module by having active lines in "/etc/pam.d/common-auth" as:

auth required pam_unix.so nullok_secure
auth required pam_ecryptfs.so unwrap

and active lines in "/etc/pam.d/common-session" as:

session required pam_unix.so
session optional pam_ecryptfs.so unwrap

This is quite convienient.

<!> If you use your login password for wrapping encryption keys, your encrypted data are as secure as your user login password (see @{@goodpassword@}@). Unless you are careful to set up a [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Password_strength strong password], your data will be at risk when someone runs [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Password_cracking password cracking] software after stealing your laptop (see @{@securingtherootpassword@}@). The squeeze version of the ecryptfs-utils package comes with option to have independent password for wrapping and to set up user's entire home directory for encryption. This is an actively developed package.

Monitoring, controlling, and starting program activities

Program activities can be monitored and controlled using specialized tools.

List of tools for monitoring and controlling program activities

1

2

3

package

popcon

size

description

time

-

-

The time(1) command runs a program to report system resource usages with respect to time.

coreutils

-

-

The nice(1) command runs a program with modified scheduling priority.

bsdutils

-

-

The renice(1) command modifies the scheduling priority of a running process.

powertop

-

-

On Intel-based laptops powertop(1) gives information about system power use.

procps

-

-

The "/proc" file system utilities: ps(1), top(1), kill(1), watch(1), ...

psmisc

-

-

The "/proc" file system utilities: killall(1), fuser(1), pstree(1)

cron

-

-

This package run processes according to a schedule (in background).

at

-

-

The at(1) or batch(1) commands run a job at a specified time or below certain load level.

lsof

-

-

The lsof(8) command lists open files by a running process using "-p" option.

strace

-

-

The strace(1) command traces system calls and signals.

ltrace

-

-

The ltrace(1) command traces library calls.

xtrace

-

-

The xtrace(1) command traces communication between X11 client and server.

Time a process

Display time used by the process invoked by the command.

# time some_command >/dev/null
real    0m0.035s       # time on wall clock (elapsed real time)
user    0m0.000s       # time in user mode
sys     0m0.020s       # time in kernel mode

The scheduling priority

A nice value is used to control the scheduling priority for the process.

List of nice values for the scheduling priority.

nice value

scheduling priority

19

lowest priority process (nice)

0

very high priority process for user.

-20

very high priority process for root. (not-nice)

# nice  -19 top                                      # very nice
# nice --20 wodim -v -eject speed=2 dev=0,0 disk.img # very fast

Sometimes an extreme nice value does more harm than good to the system. Use this command carefully.

The ps command

The ps(1) command on the Debian support both BSD and SystemV features and helps to identify the process activity statically.

List of ps command styles.

style

typical command

feature

BSD

ps aux

display %CPU %MEM

System V

ps -efH

display PPID

For the zombie (defunct) children process, you can kill them by the parent process ID identified in the (PPID) field.

The pstree(1) command display a tree of processes.

The top command

The top(1) command on the Debian has rich features and helps to identify what process is acting funny dynamically.

List of commands for top.

command key

response

h or ?

To show help.

f

To set/reset display field.

o

To reorder display field.

F

To set sort key field.

k

To kill a process.

r

To renice a process.

q

To quit the top command.

List files opened by a process

You can list all files opened by a process with a process ID (PID), e.g. 1 as:

$ sudo lsof -p 1

PID=1 is usually init program.

Trace program activities

You can trace program activity with strace(1), ltrace(1), or xtrace(1) commands for system calls and signals, library calls, or communication between X11 client and server. For example:

$ sudo strace ls
...

Identify processes using files or sockets

You can also identify processes using files or sockets by fuser(1). For example:

$ sudo fuser -v /var/log/mail.log
                     USER        PID ACCESS COMMAND
/var/log/mail.log:   root       2946 F.... syslogd

You see that file "/var/log/mail.log" is open for writing by the syslogd(8) command.

$ sudo fuser -v smtp/tcp
                     USER        PID ACCESS COMMAND
smtp/tcp:            Debian-exim   3379 F.... exim4

Now you know your system runs exim4(8) to handle [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmission_Control_Protocol TCP] connections to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simple_Mail_Transfer_Protocol SMTP] port (25).

Repeating a command with a constant interval

The watch(1) command executes a program repeatedly with a constant interval while showing its output in fullscreen.

$ watch w

This will display who is logged on to the system updated every 2 seconds.

Repeating a command looping over files

There are several ways to repeat a command looping over files matching some condition, e.g. matching glob pattern "*.ext".

  • Shell for-loop method (see @{@shellloops@}@):
    for x in *.ext; do if [ -f "$x"]; then command "$x" ; fi; done
  • find(1) and xargs(1) combination:

    find . -type f -maxdepth 1 -name '*.ext' -print0 | xargs -0 -n 1 command
  • find(1) with "-exec" option with a command:

    find . -type f -maxdepth 1 -name '*.ext' -exec command '{}' \;
  • find(1) with "-exec" option with a short shell script:

    find . -type f -maxdepth 1 -name '*.ext' -exec sh -c "command '{}' && echo 'successful'" \;

The above examples are written to ensure proper handling of funny file names such as ones containing spaces. See @{@idiomsfortheselectionoffiles@}@ for more advance uses of find(1).

Starting a program from GUI

You can set up to start a process from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphical_user_interface graphical user interface (GUI)].

Under Gnome desktop environment, a program program can be started with proper argument by drag-and-drop of an icon to the launcher icon or by "Open with ..." menu with right clicking. KDE can do the equivalent, too. Here is an example for Gnome to set up mc program started in gnome-terminal:

  • create an executable program "mc-term" as:

# cat >/usr/local/mc-term <<EOF
#!/bin/sh
gnome-terminal -e "mc $1"
EOF
# chmod 755 /usr/local/mc-term
  • create a desktop launcher
    • right clicking desktop space to select "Create Launcher ..."

      • set "Type" to "Application"

      • set "Name" to "mc"

      • set "Command" to "mc-term %f"

      • click "OK"
  • create an open-with association
    • right click folder to select "Open with Other Application ..."

      • click open "Use a custom command" dialog and enter "mc-term %f"

      • click "Open".

{i} Launcher is a file at "~/Desktop" with "desktop" as its extension.

Customizing program to be started

Some programs start another program automatically. Here are check points for customizing this process:

  • configuration file of the parent program such as "/etc/mc/mc.ext".

  • system configuration menu such as "System" -> "Preferences" -> "Preferred Application" for Gnome.

  • environment variables such as "$BROWSER", "$EDITOR", "$VISUAL", and "$PAGER" (see eviron(7)).

  • the update-alternatives(8) system for programs such as "editor", "view", "x-www-browser", "gnome-www-browser", and "www-browser" (see @{@settingadefaulttexteditor@}@).

  • the "~/.mailcap" and "/etc/mailcap" file contents which associate [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIME MIME] type with program (see mailcap(5)).

  • the the "~/.mime.types" and "/etc/mime.types" file contents which associate file name extension with [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIME MIME] type (see run-mailcap(1)).

{i} The update-mime(8) command updates the "/etc/mailcap" file using "/etc/mailcap.order" file (see mailcap.order(5)).

{i} The debianutils package provides sensible-browser(1), sensible-editor(1), and sensible-pager(1) commands which make sensible decisions on which editor, pager, and web browser to call, respectively. I recommend you to read these shell commands.

Kill a process

Use the kill(1) command to kill (or send a signal to) a process by the process ID.

Use killall(1) or pkill(1) commands to do the same by the process command name and other attributes.

List of frequently used signals for kill command.

signal value

signal name

function

1

HUP

restart daemon

15

TERM

normal kill

9

KILL

kill hard

Schedule tasks once

Run the at(1) command to schedule a one-time job:

$ echo 'command -args'| at 3:40 monday

Schedule tasks regularly

Use cron(8) to schedule tasks regularly. See crontab(1) and crontab(5).

Run the command "crontab -e" to create or edit a crontab file to set up regularly scheduled events.

Example of a crontab file:

# use /bin/sh to run commands, no matter what /etc/passwd says
SHELL=/bin/sh
# mail any output to paul, no matter whose crontab this is
MAILTO=paul
# Min Hour DayOfMonth Month DayOfWeek command (Day... are OR'ed)
# run at 00:05, every day
5  0  *  * *   $HOME/bin/daily.job >> $HOME/tmp/out 2>&1
# run at 14:15 on the first of every month -- output mailed to paul
15 14 1  * *   $HOME/bin/monthly
# run at 22:00 on weekdays(1-5), annoy Joe. % for newline, last % for cc:
0 22 *   * 1-5 mail -s "It's 10pm" joe%Joe,%%Where are your kids?%.%%
23 */2 1 2 *   echo "run 23 minutes after 0am, 2am, 4am ..., on Feb 1"
5  4 *   * sun echo "run at 04:05 every sunday"
# run at 03:40 on the first Monday of each month
40 3 1-7 * *   [ "$(date +%a)" == "Mon" ] && command -args

{i} For the system not running continuously, install the anacron package to schedule periodic command at the specified intervals as closely as machine-uptime permits.

Alt-SysRq

Insurance against system malfunction is provided by the kernel compile option "Magic ?SysRq key" (SAK key) which is now the default for the Debian kernel. Pressing Alt-?SysRq followed by one of the following keys does the magic of rescuing control of the system:

List of SAK command keys.

key following Alt-?SysRq

function

r

Unraw restores the keyboard after things like X crashes.

0

Changing the console loglevel to 0 reduces error messages.

k

SAK (system attention key) kills all processes on the current virtual console.

e

Send a SIGTERM to all processes, except for init.

i

Send a SIGKILL to all processes, except for init.

s

Sync all mounted filesystems.

u

Remount all mounted filesystems read-only (umount).

b

Reboot the system without syncing or unmounting.

The combination of "Alt-?SysRq s", "Alt-?SysRq u", and "Alt-?SysRq r" is good for getting out of really bad situations.

See "/usr/share/doc/linux-doc-2.6.*/Documentation/sysrq.txt.gz".

<!> The Alt-?SysRq feature may be considered a security risk by allowing users access to root-privileged functions. Placing "echo 0 >/proc/sys/kernel/sysrq" in "/etc/rc.local" or "kernel.sysrq = 0" in "/etc/sysctl.conf" will disable the Alt-?SysRq feature.

{i} From SSH terminal etc., you can use the Alt-?SysRq feature by writing to the "/proc/sysrq-trigger". For example, "echo s > /proc/sysrq-trigger; echo u > /proc/sysrq-trigger" from the root shell prompt will sync and umount all mounted filesystems.

System maintenance tips

Who is logged on

You can check who is logged on to the system with w(1) or who(1) commands.

Warn everyone

You can send message to everyone who is logged on to the system with the wall(1) command:

$ echo "We are shutting down in 1 hour" | wall

Hardware identification

For the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peripheral_Component_Interconnect PCI]-like devices ([http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerated_Graphics_Port AGP], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express PCI-Express], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PC_Card#CardBus CardBus], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExpressCard ?ExpressCard], etc.), lspci(8) command (probably with "-nn" option) is a good start for the hardware identification

Alternatively, you can identify the hardware by reading contents of "/proc/bus/pci/devices" or browsing directory tree under "/sys/bus/pci" (see @{@procfsandsysfs@}@).

List of hardware identification tools.

1

2

3

package

popcon

size

description

pciutils

-

-

Linux PCI Utilities, lspci(8)

usbutils

-

-

Linux USB utilities, lsusb(8)

pcmciautils

-

-

PCMCIA utilities for Linux 2.6, pccardctl(8)

scsitools

-

-

Collection of tools for SCSI hardware management, lsscsi(8)

pnputils

-

-

Plug and Play BIOS utilities, lspnp(8)

procinfo

-

-

Displays system information from "/proc", lsdev(8)

lshw

-

-

Information about hardware configuration, lshw(1)

discover

-

-

Hardware identification system, discover(8)

Hardware configuration

Although most of the hardware configuration on modern GUI desktop systems such as Gnome and KDE can be managed through accompanying GUI configuration tools, it is a good idea to know some basics methods to configure them.

List of hardware configuration tools.

1

2

3

package

popcon

size

description

hal

-

-

Hardware Abstraction Layer, lshal(1)

console-tools

-

Linux console font and keytable utilities.

x11-xserver-utils

-

X server utilities. xset(1) and xmodmap(1) commands.

acpid

24513

-

Daemon to manage events delivered by the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI)

acpi

2563

-

Utilities for ACPI devices

apmd

1222

-

Daemon to manage events delivered by the Advanced Power Management (APM)

powersaved

1038

-

Daemon to manage battery, temperature, ac, cpufreq (?SpeedStep, Powernow!) control and monitor with ACPI and APM supports.

noflushd

95

-

Allow idle hard disks to spin down

sleepd

75

-

Puts a laptop to sleep during inactivity

hdparm

5192

-

Hard disk access optimization. Very effective but dangerous. You must read hdparm(8) first.

smartmontools

3526

-

Control and monitor storage systems using S.M.A.R.T.

setserial

2619

-

Collection of tools for serial port management.

memtest86+

406

-

Collection of tools for memory hardware management.

scsitools

185

-

Collection of tools for SCSI hardware management.

tpconfig

276

-

A program to configure touchpad devices

setcd

82

-

Compact disc drive access optimization.

big-cursor

*121

-

Larger mouse cursors for X

lspowertweak

-

-

Simple front end to powertweak, lspowertweak(8)

Here, ACPI is a newer framework for the power management system than APM.

System and hardware time

The following will set system and hardware time to MM/DD hh:mm, CCYY.

# date MMDDhhmmCCYY
# hwclock --utc --systohc
# hwclock --show

Times are normally displayed in the local time on the Debian system but the hardware and system time usually use UTC.

If the hardware (BIOS) time is set to GMT, change the setting to "UTC=yes" in the "/etc/default/rcS".

If you wish to update system time via network, consider to use the NTP service with the packages such as ntp, ntpdate, and chrony. See:

{i} The ntptrace(8) command in the ntp package can trace a chain of NTP servers back to the primary source.

The terminal configuration

There are several components to configure character console and ncurses(3) system features:

  • the terminfo(5) file

  • the "$TERM" environment variable (term(7))

  • the setterm(1) command

  • the stty(1) command

  • the tic(1) command

  • the toe(1) command

If the terminfo entry for xterm doesn't work with a non-Debian xterm, change your terminal type from xterm to one of the feature-limited versions such as xterm-r6 when you log in to a Debian system remotely. See "/usr/share/doc/libncurses5/FAQ" for more. "dumb" is the lowest common denominator for terminfo.

The sound infrastructure

Device drivers for sound cards for current Linux 2.6 are provided by [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Linux_Sound_Architecture Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA)]. ALSA provides emulation mode for previous [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Sound_System Open Sound System (OSS)] for compatibility.

Run "dpkg-reconfigure linux-sound-base" to select the sound system to use ALSA via blacklisting of kernel modules. Unless you have very new sound hardware, udev infrastructure should configure your sound system.

{i} Use "cat /dev/urandom > /dev/audio" or the speaker-test(1) command to test speaker. (^C to stop)

{i} If you can not get sound, your speaker may be connected to a muted output. Modern sound system has many outputs. The alsamixer(1) command in the alsa-utils package is useful to configure volume and mute settings.

Application softwares may be configured not only to access sound devices directly but also to access them via some standardized sound server system.

List of sound packages

1

2

3

package

pocon

size

description

linux-sound-base

-

-

Base package for ALSA and OSS sound systems

alsa-base

-

-

ALSA driver configuration files

alsa-utils

-

-

Utilities for configuring and using ALSA

oss-compat

-

-

OSS compatibility under ALSA preventing "/dev/dsp not found" errors

esound-common

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightened_Sound_Daemon Enlightened Sound Daemon (ESD)] common (Enlightenment and GNOME)

esound

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightened_Sound_Daemon Enlightened Sound Daemon (ESD)] server (Enlightenment and GNOME)

esound-clients

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightened_Sound_Daemon Enlightened Sound Daemon (ESD)] client (Enlightenment and GNOME)

libesd-alsa0

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightened_Sound_Daemon Enlightened Sound Daemon (ESD)] library Enlightenment and GNOME)

libesd0

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightened_Sound_Daemon Enlightened Sound Daemon (ESD)] library (Enlightenment and GNOME) - OSS

arts

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARts aRts] server (KDE)

libarts1c2a

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARts aRts] library (KDE)

libartsc0

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARts aRts] library (KDE)

jackd

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JACK_Audio_Connection_Kit JACK Audio Connection Kit. (JACK)] server (low latency)

libjack0

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JACK_Audio_Connection_Kit JACK Audio Connection Kit. (JACK)] library (low latency)

libjack0.100.0-0

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JACK_Audio_Connection_Kit JACK Audio Connection Kit. (JACK)] library (low latency)

nas

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_Audio_System Network Audio System (NAS)] server

libaudio2

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_Audio_System Network Audio System (NAS)] library

pulseaudio

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PulseAudio PulseAudio] server, replacement for ESD

libpulse0

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PulseAudio PulseAudio] client library, replacement for ESD

libpulsecore5

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PulseAudio PulseAudio] server library, replacement for ESD

libgstreamer0.10-0

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GStreamer GStreamer]: Gnome sound engine

libxine1

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xine xine]: KDE older sound engine

libphonon4

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonon_(KDE) Phonon]: KDE new sound engine

There is usually a common sound engine for each popular desktop environment. Each sound engine used by the application can choose to connect to different sound servers.

Disable the screen saver

For disabling the screen saver, use following commands.

List of commands for disabling the screen saver.

environment

command

The Linux console

setterm -powersave off

The X Window by turning off screensaver

xset s off

The X Window by disabling dpms

xset -dpms

The X Window by GUI configuration of screen saver

xscreensaver-command -prefs

Disable the sound (beep)

One can always unplug the PC speaker. ;-) Removing pcspkr kernel module does this for you.

The following will prevent the readline program used by the bash to beep when encountering "\a" (ASCII=7):

$ echo "set bell-style none">> ~/.inputrc

Memory usage

The kernel boot message in the "/var/log/dmesg" contains the total exact size of available memory.

The free(1) and top(1) commands display information on memory resources on the running system.

$ grep '^Memory' /var/log/dmesg
Memory: 990528k/1016784k available (1975k kernel code, 25868k reserved, 931k data, 296k init)
$ free -k
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:        997184     976928      20256          0     129592     171932
-/+ buffers/cache:     675404     321780
Swap:      4545576          4    4545572

For my MacBook with 1GB=1048576k DRAM (video system steals some of this):

List of memory sizes reported.

report

size

Total size in dmesg

1016784k = 1GB - 31792k

Free in dmesg

990528k

Total under shell

997184k

Free under shell

20256k

Do not worry about the large size of "used" and the small size of "free" in the "Mem:" line, but read the one under them (675404 and 321780 in the example below) and relax.

System security and integrity check

Poor system maintenance may expose your system to external exploitation.

For system security and integrity check, you should start with:

List of tools for system security and integrity check

1

2

3

package

popcon

size

description

logcheck

-

-

This mails anomalies in the system logfiles to the administrator

debsums

-

-

This verifies installed package files against MD5 checksums.

chkrootkit

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rootkit Rootkit] detector.

clamav

-

-

Anti-virus utility for Unix - command-line interface.

tiger

-

-

Report system security vulnerabilities

tripwire

-

-

File and directory integrity checker

john

-

-

Active password cracking tool

aide

-

-

Advanced Intrusion Detection Environment - static binary

bastille

-

-

Security hardening tool

integrit

-

-

A file integrity verification program

crack

-

-

Password guessing program

Here is a simple script to check for typical world writable incorrect file permissions.

# find / -perm 777 -a \! -type s -a \! -type l -a \! \( -type d -a -perm 1777 \)

<!> Since the debsums package uses MD5 checksums stored locally, it can not be fully trusted as the system security audit tool against malicious attacks.

The kernel

Debian distributes modularized Linux kernel as packages for supported architectures.

Linux kernel 2.6

There are few notable features on Linux kernel 2.6 compared to 2.4.

  • Devices are created by the udev system (see @{@theudevsystem@}@).
  • Read/write accesses to IDE CD/DVD devices do not use the ide-scsi module.

  • Network packet filtering functions use iptable kernel modules.

Kernel headers

Most normal programs don't need kernel headers and in fact may break if you use them directly for compiling. They should be compiled against the headers in "/usr/include/linux" and "/usr/include/asm" provided by the libc6-dev package (created from the glibc source package) on the Debian system.

(!) For compiling some kernel-specific programs such as the kernel modules from the external source and the automounter daemon (amd), you must include path to the corresponding kernel headers, e.g. "-I/usr/src/linux-particular-version/include/", to your command line. The module-assistant package helps users to build and install module package(s) easily for one or more custom kernels with the m-a(8) command.

Kernel and module compile

Debian has its own method of compiling the kernel and related modules.

List of key packages to be installed for the kernel recompilation on the Debian system

1

2

3

package

popcon

size

description

build-essential

-

-

essential packages for building Debian packages: make, gcc, ...

bzip2

-

-

compress and decompress utilities for bz2 files

libncurses5-dev

-

-

developer's libraries and docs for ncurses

git-core

-

-

git: distributed revision control system used by the Linux kernel

fakeroot

-

-

provide fakeroot environment for building package as non-root

initramfs-tools

-

-

tool to build an initramfs (Debian specific)

kernel-package

-

-

tool to build Linux kernel packages (Debian specific)

module-assistant

-

-

tool to help build module packages (Debian specific)

devscripts

-

-

helper scripts for a Debian Package maintainer (Debian specific)

linux-tree-2.6.*

-

-

Linux kernel source tree for building Debian kernel images (Debian specific)

If you use initrd in @{@stagecthebootloader@}@, make sure to read the related information in initramfs-tools(8), update-initramfs(8), mkinitramfs(8) and initramfs.conf(5).

/!\ Do not put symlinks to the directories in the source tree (e.g. "/usr/src/linux*") from "/usr/include/linux" and "/usr/include/asm" when compiling the Linux kernel source. (Some outdated documents suggest this.)

(!) When compiling the latest Linux kernel on the Debian stable system, the use of backported latest tools from the Debian unstable may be needed.

Kernel source compile: Debian standard method

The Debian standard method for compiling kernel source to create a custom kernel package uses make-kpkg(1) command. The official documentation is in (the bottom of) "/usr/share/doc/kernel-package/README.gz". See kernel-pkg.conf(5) and kernel-img.conf(5) for customization.

Here is an example for amd64 system:

# aptitude install linux-tree-<version>
$ cd /usr/src
$ tar -xjvf linux-source-<version>.tar.bz2
$ cd linux-source-<version>
$ cp /boot/config-<oldversion> .config
$ make menuconfig
 ...
$ make-kpkg clean
$ fakeroot make-kpkg --append_to_version -amd64 --initrd --revision=rev.01 kernel_image modules_image
$ cd ..
# dpkg -i linux-image*.deb
  • reboot to new kernel with "shutdown -r now" .

<!> When you intend to create a non-modularized kernel compiled only for one machine, invoke make-kpkg command without "--initrd" option since initrd is not used. Invocation of "make oldconfig" and "make dep" are not required since "make-kpkg kernel_image" invokes them.

Module source compile: Debian standard method

The Debian standard method for creating and installing a custom module package for a custom kernel package uses module-assistant(8) command and module-source packages. For example, following will build the unionfs kernel module package and installs it.

$ sudo aptitude install module-assistant
...
$ sudo aptitude install unionfs-source unionfs-tools unionfs-utils
$ sudo m-a update
$ sudo m-a prepare
$ sudo m-a auto-install unionfs
...
$ sudo apt-get autoremove

Kernel source compile: classic method

You can still build [http://www.kernel.org/ Linux kernel from the pristine sources] with the classic method. You must take care the details of the system configuration manually.

$ cd /usr/src
$ wget http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v2.6/linux-<version>.tar.bz2
$ tar -xjvf linux-<version>.tar.bz2
$ cd linux-<version>
$ cp /boot/config-<version> .config
$ make menuconfig
 ...
$ make dep; make bzImage
$ make modules
# cp ./arch/x86_64/boot/bzImage /boot/vmlinuz-<version>
# make modules_install
# depmod -a
# update-initramfs -c -k <version>
  • set up bootloader
    • edit "/etc/lilo.conf" and run "/sbin/lilo", if you use lilo .

    • edit "/boot/grub/menu.lst", if you use grub .

  • reboot to new kernel with "shutdown -r now" .

Non-free hardware drivers

Although most of hardware drivers are available as free software and as a part of the Debian system, you may need to load some non-free external drivers to support some hardwares, such as Winmodem, on your system.

Check pertinent resources:

The chroot

The chroot(8) program is most basic way to run different instances of the GNU/Linux environment on a single system simultaneously without rebooting. I will explain simple [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chroot chroot] systems in the following as examples.

<!> Examples below assumes both parent system and chroot system share the same CPU architecture.

For serious chroot setup with the detail configuration, such as i386 chroot system under amd64 parent system, please consider to use the specialized schroot package.

Run a different Debian distribution with chroot

A chroot Debian environment can easily be created by the debootstrap or cdebootstrap command.

For example, the following will create a sid chroot on "/sid-root" while having fast Internet access:

main # debootstrap sid /sid-root http://ftp.debian.org/debian/
  • watch it download the whole system

main # echo "proc-sid    /sid-root/proc     proc   none 0 0" >> /etc/fstab
main # echo "devpts-sid  /sid-root/dev/pts  devpts defaults 0 0" >> /etc/fstab
main # mount -a
main # cp -f /etc/passwd /sid-root/etc/passwd
main # cp -f /etc/shadow /sid-root/etc/shadow
main # cp -f /etc/group  /sid-root/etc/group
main # cp -f /etc/hosts  /sid-root/etc/hosts
main # chroot /sid-root /bin/bash
chroot # cd /dev; /sbin/MAKEDEV generic ; cd -
chroot # vi /etc/apt/sources.list
  • point the source to unstable

chroot # aptitude update
...
chroot # aptitude install locales
...
  • add "en_US.UTF-8" as locale and make it default

Do you want to continue? [Y/n/?] y
chroot # aptitude install mc vim
...
Do you want to continue? [Y/n/?] y
...
chroot # exit
main #

At this point you should have a fully working Debian sid system, where you can play around without fear of affecting your main Debian installation.

<!> If you use bind mount for directories such as home directory in the chroot, you must be careful for its side effects. I heard people lost their home directory after executing "rm -rf /sid-root" without unbinding their home directory in the chroot. A bind mount is not normally visible with "df", you need to execute "df -a" to see it.

This debootstrap trick can also be used to [http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/installmanual install Debian] to a system without using a Debian install disk, but instead from another GNU/Linux distribution.

Setting up login for chroot

Typing "chroot /sid-root /bin/bash" is easy, but it retains all sorts of environment variables that you may not want, and has other issues. A much better approach is to run another login process on a separate virtual terminal where you can log in to the chroot directly.

Since on default Debian systems tty1 to tty6 run Linux consoles and tty7 runs the X Window System, let's set up tty8 for a chrooted console as an example. After creating a chroot system, type from the root shell of the main system:

main # echo "8:23:respawn:/usr/sbin/chroot /sid-root /sbin/getty 38400 tty8"  >> /etc/inittab
main # init q
  • reload init

Setting up X for chroot

You want to run the latest X and GNOME safely in your chroot? That's entirely possible! The following example will make GDM run on virtual terminal vt9.

First install a chroot system. From the root of the main system, copy key configuration files to the chroot system.

main # cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /sid-root/etc/X11/xorg.conf
main # chroot /sid-root
chroot # cd /dev; /sbin/MAKEDEV generic ; cd -
chroot # aptitude install gdm gnome x-window-system
chroot # vim /etc/gdm/gdm.conf
  • change "[servers]" section with "s/vt7/vt9/" to make the first virtual console in the chroot from vt7 to vt9.

chroot # /etc/init.d/gdm start

Now you can easily switch back and forth between full X environments in your chroot and your main system just by switching between Linux virtual terminals; e.g. by using Ctrl-Alt-F7 and Ctrl-Alt-F9. Have fun!

Run other distributions with chroot

A chroot environment for another Linux distribution can easily be created. You install a system into separate partitions using the installer of the other distribution. If its root partition is in "/dev/hda9":

main # cd / ; mkdir /other-dist
main # mount -t ext3 /dev/hda9 /other-dist
main # chroot /other-dist /bin/bash

Build packages under chroot

There is a more specialized chroot package, pbuilder, which constructs a chroot system and builds a package inside the chroot. It is an ideal system to use to check that a package's build-dependencies are correct, and to be sure that unnecessary and wrong build dependencies will not exist in the resulting package.

Other virtualization tools

There are several system [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtualization virtualization] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emulator emulation] related packages in Debian beyond simple [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chroot chroot].

List of virtualization tools

1

2

3

package

pocon

size

description

schroot

-

-

Specialized tool for executing Debian binary packages in chroot

sbuild

-

-

Tool for building Debian binary packages from Debian sources

pbuilder

-

-

Personal package builder for Debian packages

debootstrap

-

-

Bootstrap a basic Debian system (written in sh)

cdebootstrap

-

-

Bootstrap a Debian system (written in C)

rootstrap

-

-

A tool for building complete Linux filesystem images

user-mode-linux

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User-mode_Linux User-mode Linux] (kernel)

xen-tools

-

-

Tools to manage debian [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xen XEN] virtual server

bochs

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bochs Bochs]: IA-32 PC emulator

qemu

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qemu Qemu]: fast generic processor emulator

virtualbox-ose

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VirtualBox VirtualBox]: x86 virtualization solution on i386 and amd64

wine

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine_(software) Wine]: Windows API Implementation (standard suite)

dosbox

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOSBox DOSBox]: x86 emulator with Tandy/Herc/CGA/EGA/VGA/SVGA graphics, sound and DOS

util-vserver

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux-VServer Linux-VServer] virtual private servers - user-space tools

vzctl

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenVZ OpenVZ] server virtualization solution - control tools

vzquota

-

-

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenVZ OpenVZ] server virtualization solution - quota tools

See Wikipedia article [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_virtual_machines] for detail comparison of different virtualization solutions.