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ITI-481: Unix Administration Rutgers University Internet Institute PowerPoint PPT Presentation

ITI-481: Unix Administration Rutgers University Internet Institute. Instructor: Chris Uriarte <>. Meeting Times and Locations. Per Syllabus. Prerequisites. Either ITI-480 Unix Fundamentals or equivalent user-level knowledge of Unix.

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ITI-481: Unix Administration Rutgers University Internet Institute

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ITI-481: Unix AdministrationRutgers University Internet Institute

Instructor: Chris Uriarte


Meeting Times and Locations

Per Syllabus


  • Either ITI-480 Unix Fundamentals or equivalent user-level knowledge of Unix.

  • You MUST know how to use a UNIX text editor (i.e. pico, vi, emacs)

Course Overview and Goals

  • The purpose of this course is to teach you how to install a UNIX operating system and perform system administration activities in a hands-on environment.

  • The course objective will be achieved through a combination of lecture, demonstrations, and hands-on exercises.

Major Topics

  • Installing UNIX and Linux

  • X-Window Configuration

  • Installing Software

  • Account Management

  • Booting and Shutting Down

  • Network Configuration

  • Core System Services

  • System Monitoring and Logging

  • File System Administration

  • Configuring Specific Services: NIS, SSH, Sendmail,Telnet, FTP, Printing

  • Securing your Server

Course Resources

  • Textbook: To be announced

  • Instructor Website at (see link to ITI 481 at bottom of page)

  • Workstation where each of you will install a copy of Linux.

  • User account on Linux server

Today’s Agenda

  • Introduction to UNIX, UNIX distributions and some background concepts.

  • Installing Linux on your own workstation.

What is UNIX

  • UNIX is an operating system that originated at Bell Labs (NJ) in 1969.

  • UNIX is actually a trademark, but often used as a generic term to describe “UNIX-like” operating systems.

  • There are numerous different flavors of UNIX – all of which utilize similar UNIX operating system concepts, but may have different features or run on different hardware.

The UNIX Umbrella

Hardware Vendors

Linux Distributions

Sun Solaris, HP HP-UX*, Compaq True 64 UNIX*, IBM AIX*, IRIX*, MAC OSX*

RedHat, Mandrake†, SuSe, Debian, Caldera, Yellowdog†


SCO UNIX (now Caldera/Tarantula)


BSD Flavors

* = Commercial distribution (i.e you must pay for it)

† = Derivative of RedHat

Popularity vs. Maturity


Sun Solaris

RedHat Linux / Linux Mandrake

RedHat Linux

FreeBSD / NetBSD / OpenBSD, etc.

Debian Linux


Caldera Linux




Compaq True 64 UNIX


Darwin (Mac OSX)


What makes UNIX Unique?

  • UNIX is a multi-user, time-sharing operating system: every user gets a piece of the CPU.

  • UNIX flavors generally adhere to some types of standards (I.e. POSIX)

  • UNIX standards allow for portability of software across multiple UNIX distributions.

What is Linux?

  • A Unix-like operating system initially developed in the early 1990s by Linus Torvold.

  • Initially developed to run on PC hardware but has been ported to other architectures as well.

  • Distributed under a GNU General Public License – “free” software.

  • Kernel is its distinguishing feature.

  • Generally packaged in various distributions.

Linux Distributions

  • Vary according to included software packages, package management systems, installation process, and Window Managers.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Linux

    • Caldera OpenLInux

    • Linux Mandrake

    • Corel Linux

    • SuSE Linux

    • TurboLinux

    • Debian GNU/Linux

    • Slackware

Why Linux?

  • Linux has matured greatly over the past 5 years and has positioned itself as the most flexible UNIX distribution today.

  • It can be run on very low-end, generally available hardware.

  • Lots of software available.

  • Flexible – the same Linux distribution used by a hobbyist on low end hardware can be used by an enterprise on high-end hardware.

  • It’s the first UNIX flavor to hit retail store shelves and is easily obtainable across the world.

  • Administration skill sets transfer easily to and from other UNIX flavors.

  • It’s free!

Planning for Your Linux System

  • Is your hardware supported?

  • Will it be a workstation or a server?

  • Are there special services that you want to run (web server, email server, DNS server, etc.)

  • Will you need to store user and/or application data?

Checking Hardware Compatibility

  • It’s very important that you make sure you hardware is fully supported by your UNIX distribution.

  • Hardware Compatibility Lists (HCLs) contain the hardware supported by your OS vendor. They can be obtained at the vendor’s website.

  • Therefore, it’s good to know some specifics about the hardware you’re using: amount of system RAM, brand of video card, brand of NIC brand of sound card, etc.

Hardware Compatibility, con’t.

  • Some particularly good things to know about your hardware:

    • Video card: brand and chipset

    • Hard drive: total amount of hard drive space

    • Sound card: brand and model of sound card

    • Network Card: brand and model of NIC

  • Some vendors have searchable hardware compatibility database

    • RedHat:

Disk Partitioning

  • Disk Partitioning is the concept of dividing your hard disk into logical partiations, making one hard drive appear as if it’s actually multiple drives.

  • There’s several reasons why we partition disks:

    • Performance

    • Ease of storage management

    • Security

UNIX Disk Partitioning

  • In UNIX, a physical disk partition is associated with a directory path, sometimes referred to as a mount point.

  • All files that are in directories associated with a mount point are stored on the mount point’s physical partition.

  • If a directory path is not explicitly associated with a physical disk partition, its files are stored under the root ( “/” ) partition.

UNIX Partition Example

Contains all files under the /usr directory (I.e. /usr/local/bin/pico, /usr/bin/vi, etc.)


Example Partitioning Scheme:

Total Hard Drive Space: 8GB





/ (root)


Contains all files under the /home directors (I.e. /home/chrisjur, /home/iti1234)

Contains all other files and directors, such as /var, /opt, /sbin, etc.


Partition Naming

  • In UNIX, the system gives each partition a special device name.

  • In Linux, standard IDE hard drives are named /dev/hdx, where x is a unique letter given to identify the hard drive, starting with the letter a (e.g. /dev/hda)

    • For example, the first hard drive on the system is called /dev/hda.

  • Partitions are given a name with the format /dev/hdx# , where /dev/hdx is the hard drive the partition is on, and # is a uniquely assigned partition number, starting with 1 (e.g. /dev/hda1).

    • For example, the first partition on the first hard drive on the system is called /dev/hda1.

Figuring out Your Partitions

  • You will have to partition your disk during a typical UNIX installation.

  • Common partitions include:

    / (called ‘root’), /usr, /home, /var

  • Typical uses for specific UNIX partitions:

    • /usr – software packages

    • /home – user home directories

    • /var – log files and configuration files

    • /opt – software package and application installed (esp. on Solaris)

What do you need to Install UNIX?

  • At minimum, you need a CD media containing the UNIX distribution.

  • You may be able to set your computer to boot directly from the CD-ROM, which will start the install program.

  • If your computer cannot boot directly from the CD-ROM, you must create a boot floppy disk, which will boot the computer and load the installation program from CD-ROM.

Exercise: Installing Linux On Your Workstations

  • Refer to the distributed instructions.

Note: Linux and Other Operating Systems on a Single PC

  • Yes, Linux can run on a PC that is running one or more other operating systems. However, there are a number of caveats:

    • Linux needs to be installed after Microsoft operating systems.

    • You need to have unused partitions on your existing PC hard drive to install Linux.

    • Linux needs to be installed on one or more of its own partitions. The kernel needs to be on a primary partition.

    • Multi-booting is not recommended for servers.

  • Recommendation: If you really want to dual-boot Linux with another operating system, use a commercial software package like PartitionMagic and BootMagic (by PowerQuest)


  • Homework this week:

    • As noted in class

  • Next week:

    • Introduction to the X-Windows system

    • Software installation

    • Booting and Shutdown

    • Emergency boot procedures

  • Login