Summer 1998 CS 691X UNIX System Administration
We'll use this space to post late-breaking announcements!
June 16, 1998
For an interesting, and highly readable perspective on Linux and
NT, take a look at Ellen Ullman's article
The dumbing-down of programming
June 8, 1998
I've made some additional adjustments to the chapter presentation
June 3, 1998
I've made some corrections to the list of people and chapter
presentations. If I've left you off the list, please let me know.
Every student is expected to do a chapter presentation, as a team
member or on your own, whatever you wish.
Each monitor in the lab must be powered off or set on a
screen saver at the end of each class. Please turn them off for the weekend.
The class meets MW 1-3:20pm, in ECS 237. The class is scheduled for run
for eight weeks.
- Linux Kernel Internals, Beck et al, second edition, Addison-Wesley.
- UNIX System Administration Handbook, Nemeth et al,
second edition, Prentice Hall.
Other Useful Books and Resources
- UNIX for the Hyper-Impatient, Abrahams and Larson,
Addison-Wesley. (This is the hypertext version. An ordinary printed
book is also available.)
- UNIX System Administration (pdf version), by
- Ever wondered about installing NT and LINUX on the same box?
Install NT and LINUX on the same system
- SCO UNIX is available free for academic purposes. For details,
- I've become aware of KDE, "a
powerful graphical desktop environment for Unix workstations. It
combines ease of use, contemporary functionality and outstanding
graphical design with the technological superiority of the Unix
- To learn basics of UNIX system administration
- Emphasis on problem-solving, as opposed to cookbook solutions
- To demonstrate skills in setting up and operating heterogeneous networks.
- Build a UNIX site, with users, groups, shared printers, shared
filesystems, etc. (40%)
- Present a chapter from the Nemeth book to the class. Use HTML.
- Do a small kernel modification, and install it on your PC. (10%)
- Conduct and present an individual or small group project.
Individual projects may involve outside reading and a class
presentation. Group projects will involve an implementation. We have
an implementation project in mind for individuals. (30%)
- Overview of lab facilities
- Demo: installation of Redhat LINUX
- Students made an inventory of the PCs in the lab, noting (when
possible) the memory and disk situations.
- Reading assignment: Chapters 1 and 2 of Nemeth
- Week 2
- Demo: partitioning a disk for LINUX
- Installed LINUX on several machines.
- Introduction to bash
- Some UNIX commands relevant to system administration
- We agreed to use the same root password on all machines in the
lab. That password is cs691x.
- Continued discussion of bash
- Discuss an unintended side-effect of the LINUX installs on the NT
machines. The Linux loader, known as LILO, was installed over the
master boot record, or MBR. Linux would boot without difficulty, but
NT could not boot at all. We had to do a 'lilo -u' (LILO uninstall)
to restore the MBR and make the machines bootable in NT.
- We created boot disks to bring up Linux on the NT machines. This
boot floppy is created as follows:
cp vmlinuz-2.0.32 vmlinuz.backup
rdev vmlinuz-2.0.32 /dev/hda5
cp vmlinuz-2.0.32 /dev/fd0
cp vmlinuz.backup vmlinuz-2.0.32
where the rdev command tells the kernel where to find the
root partition. (If your machine was partitioned with the Linux root
on, for example, /dev/hda2 instead of /dev/hda5, you'd change this
- To prevent any possible harm to the NT partition, we should
arrange to mount the /dos partition read-only. To do this,
edit the /etc/fstab as shown. Note the ,ro on the
second line, which makes the /dos partition read-only. When
you make this change in fstab, you will have to reboot for it to take effect.
/dev/hda2 / ext2 defaults 1 1
/dev/hda1 /dos msdos defaults,ro 0 0
/dev/hda3 swap swap defaults 0 0
/dev/fd0 /mnt/floppy ext2 noauto 0 0
/dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom iso9660 noauto,ro 0 0
none /proc proc defaults 0 0
- To get out of X Windows, type CTRL-ALT-BACKSPACE
- To do a clean reboot, we recommend the command
sync;sync;reboot. To stop the system, as you would before
powering off, use sync;sync;halt.
- To make the slides for your chapters, I recommend HTML, or use
Powerpoint with HTML as the output format. Please email to me a copy
of your HTML, preferably as a tarfile, so that I can put it on the
course web page.
- Week 3
- Discussion of Nemeth's book Chapter 1 and
- We finished installing Linux on the Pentiums, and made some more
boot diskettes. We also discussed the following five questions:
- Where does LINUX keep its logs?
In the directory /var/log. In particular, one can look at
the last several entries in a log using the tail command.
- Where are the rc scripts, which get run at boot time?
In the directory /etc/rc.d.
- Where are the HOWTOs?
In the directory /usr/doc/HOWTO. Note the wide variety of
topics discussed in gzipped text format.
- How do you mount a floppy disk?
To see what devices and file systems are mounted, type mount
with no arguments. To mount a DOS-format floppy, type mount
/defv/fd0 /mnt/floppy. Linux will see that a DOS file system
exists on the floppy. If no file system is present, or if you want to
make a UNIX file system on that floppy, use the command mkfs
/dev/fd0. Once the floppy has been mounted, it should be
unmounted with the command umount /dev/fd0 before the disk is
ejected. (Note that the umount command has only one "n".)
- How does one add a user?
In X, this is easy. There's a sysadmin tool, invokved by
an icon with several faces on it. You can create a user, and specify
(for example) which shell that user uses.
- June 10
- Discussion of Nemeth Chapter 3 (Julie
Liu and Jiefeng Li)
- Discussion of Nemeth Chapter 4 (Ye Chen
and Ling Wang)
- Discussion of Nemeth Chapter 5 (Craig
Sweet and Balaji Kodeswaran)
- Working in small teams or own their own, students explored several issues:
- Where is the inode data structure defined?
- Does the nice command really work?
- Which process is the parent of a NOHUP'ed process?
- Try out the top and ps commands
- Install the sudo command from the Nemeth et al CD
- Week 4
- June 15
- Discussion of Nemeth Chapter 6 (Jonas Schlein)
- Discussion of Nemeth Chapter 7 (Xiaosong
Yang and Ting Chen)
- Several commands in the /sbin directory, with the term 'mod' in
the command name, are applicable to Linux loadable kernel modules.
Examples include 'lsmod' and 'modprobe'.
- Reading assignment: chapters 1 and 2 of Linux Kernel Internals
- Demonstrated compilation of the Linux kernel, using 'make
xconfig'. It's also possible to use 'make config' or 'make
menuconfig'. In general, a brand new kernel should be put onto a
floppy for initial testing. The command 'dd bs=8192 if=zImage
of=/dev/fd0' can be used for this purpose, without changing the kernel
on the hard disk. The command 'make zdisk' will issue the dd command
- June 17
- We need to figure out the characteristics of these monitors if
we're to use 'make xconfig' effectively.
- Ian Soboroff demonstrated a kernel recompile, to allow Linux to
use a Jazz drive.
- Week 5
- June 22
- Discussion of Nemeth Chapter 9 (John Spicer)
- Discussion of Nemeth Chapter 10 (Sunil Manhapra)
- Discussion of Nemeth Chapter 12 (Yu Ju
and Xue Zhang)
- June 24
- Discussion of Nemeth Chapter 13 (Sharon
Qi and Chuan-Fu Lin)
- Discussion of Nemeth Chapter 23 (Mark Stirling)
- Discussion of Nemeth Chapter 26 (Jinfang Wang
and Xuewu Cai)
- Discussion of Nemeth Chapter 29
(Pingfei Chen and Yifan Xie)
- Week 6
- More chapters were presented.
- Week 7
- Project work and presentations
- Week 8
Each student was required to participate in an individual or team
project of their choosing. Each team had to do a demo, and prepare a
short project writeup
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