Skip to main content

Linux Operating System

Linux Newbie Administrator Guide (LNAG)
ver. 0.201 2004-07-22 by Stan, Peter and Marie Klimas
The latest version of this guide is available at
Copyright (c) <1999-2004> by Peter and Stan Klimas. Your feedback, comments, corrections, and improvements are appreciated. Send them to This material may be distributed only subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Open Publication License, v1.0, 8 or later with the modification noted in lnag_licence.html.

(Click this icon to access the counter for this page)

Intro. We are relative Linux newbies (with Linux since Summer 1998). We run mostly RedHat and Mandrake -> the solutions might not be directly applicable to other Linux distributions (although most of them probably will be). Hope this helps; we try to be as practical as possible. Of course, we provide no warranty whatsoever. If you spotted a bad error or would like to contribute a part on a topic of your choice, we would like to hear from you.

General description of this Guide. A complete reference for new Linux users who wish to set up and administer their own Linux home computer, workstation and/or their home or small office network. The answers are meant to be simple, with just sufficient detail, and always supported with a readily usable example. The work is still in progress, but we hope the Guide can be helpful already. We welcome your corrections, advice, criticism, links, translations, and CONTRIBUTIONS. Pls note that there are no ad banners on our pages.

<> = single special or function key on the keyboard. For example indicates the "control" key.
italic = name of a file or variable you probably want to substitute with your own.
fixed width = commands and filenames.

Part 0: For the Undecided (Linux Benefits)
If you are wondering what the Linux pros and cons are, and whether Linux is for you.

Part 1: Before Linux Installation
What distribution should I use, how to obtain it, Linux hardware requirements, how to partition your hard drive, about dual boot, which packages to install, which graphical user interface (GUI) to install (gnome or kde?), and how to login for the very first time.

Part 2: Linux Resources, Help and Some Links
How to access the Linux documentation (from under MS Windows or Linux), what are Linux help commands, where to find the geek dictionary, + pointers to some Linux newsgroups and websites.

Part 3: Basic Operations FAQ
After you installed Linux, here are answers to some questions that Linux newbie users/administrators may have when trying to perform every-day tasks: what are the file name conventions, how to run a program, shut down my computer, set up the path, add users, remove users, make your passwords and system more secure, work with file permissions, schedule jobs with "at" and cron, change your shell prompt, print symbols in the text mode, use color in the text mode, redirect input/output, write a simple shell script, install a new program ...

Part 4.1: Boot-time issues
Some info on LILO and GRUB boot managers, how do I choose the operating system which boots on default, hints on configuration of the boot loaders, "uninstalling" Linux ...

Part 4.2: Drives
Where are my drives, how to access them, configure user access, get the zip drive recognized, set 32-bit hard drive IO, increase the limit on the number of opened files, add a new hardrive, manage the swap space ...

Part 4.3: X-windows
How to switch between text and graphical consoles, set up my video card, monitor and mouse for the X-server, setup a graphical login prompt, change a default desktop, have multiple sessions of Xwindows running at the same time, use Xwindow remotely, install TrueType fonts from my MS Windows partition to Linux, how to copy-paste under X and in the text mode, how to use VNC.

Part 4.4: Basic Configurations
Real basics on how to configure the printer and soundcard, bits about configuration files, daemons, and device files.

Part 4.5: Networking
Setting up a network, ppp (connection over the phone), remote access to your computer, ftp and html server, e-mail, how my computer can get hacked ...

Part 5: Linux Shortcuts and Commands
Maybe this should have come first. A practical selection of Linux shortcuts and commands in a concise form. Perhaps this is everything that a computer-literate newbie Linuxer really needs. Highly recommended.

Part 6: Linux applications (proprietary or not)
Essential and/or famous Linux applications with some hint/comments: word processing, spreadsheet, database, latex. Extensive info on how to set up and use a CD recorder to write data, audio, and mixed mode CDs.

Part 7: Learning with Linux (commands for more esoteric work or programming)
Review of some more advanced or less useful commands/tools to get you started with fancier text processing, encryption, digital signatures (gpg), simple programming plus some info on the Linux console tools that can help you learn about computers. Under development so perhaps not so good: grep, regular expressions, sed, gawk, sort, ascii codes, linux built-in c compiler and tools, perl, python, tcl/tk, "Reverse Polish Notation" (RPN) calculator, scilab, wine ... working on it.

Licence, Acknowledgments and log of changes.
The master copy of this page is (Denmark, Europe) hosted free by SunSite at Aalborg University. There are some official mirrors listed below.
Mirror: (Seattle, Washington, USA) hosted by Joe Morthland ( Skull ) (new).
Mirror: (Canada) hosted free by Kenan Bektas of DB Streams Inc.
Mirror: (Australia) hosted free by
Only the link to the title page (e.g., is (rather) guaranteed not to change. Links to individual chapters may break because filenames may need to change in the future.
A Hebrew translation (partial, pdf only) is available locally here (new).
A Portugese translation is available at (Brasil) and locally here contributed by Ronaldo T Morais .
A French translation (in progress, Part 1-3 so far) is available at (France). Thanks to David (new).
A Russian translation (new) is avialable at . An older Russian translation (ver. 0.10 ) is available here locally or at (Russia).
A Polish translation is available at (Poland).
A Chinese translation (Big-5) of the "Linux Shortcuts and Commands" (ver. 0.32) is available (locally) here.
A Chinese translation (GB) of 3 parts is avialable (locally) here.
A pdf file of a full chinese translation is available here (new) ( ~ 1 MB).
Downloading for Printing and Viewing Off-Line
The following files are available for downloading:
The original document is available here and a ziped version is available here.
The Microsoft Word doc version of the Linux Newbie Guide is available here and a ziped version is available here.
The pdf version of the Linux Newbie Guide is here (~600 kB, best for printing and off-line reading).
The postscript version of the Linux Newbie Guide is here (~10 MB) and a ziped version is available here (~4 MB).
The html zip version of the Linux Newbie Guide is here (~300 kB, includes all the local html files).


Popular posts from this blog

Check remote UDP connectivity from Linux

Hi there, You all know how to check TCP port connectivity from a Linux or UNIX machine to a remote machine using telnet as per th example below $ telnet 25 but we can't adopt TELNET to check UDP connectivity. Linux and most of the UNIXes come with a network layer utility called nc (abbreviation for netcat) which is very useful to check UDP connectivity and to explore a lot with both TCP and UDP. An example is shown below # nc -v -u -z -w 3 123 Connection to 123 port [udp/ntp] succeeded!

The best putty package available

Bored of Black screened Task bar filling putty? Issues with porting Saved sessions from machine to machine? Do you like tabbed SSH sessions? Start using portaputty instead of normal putty and link it with puttycm . Puttycm supports sessions to be saved in its own Database files. You can use the Putty sessions you have saved already right inside putty. You can have any number of databases which allow you to arrange Remote servers in folders and convenient namings. I personally recommend creating Database with puttycm rather than using the sessions saved in putty which doesn't offer any option to create folders and saving sessions under that directory tree. You can even save username/password to get it logged automatically and there is an option to pass commands to be run soon after login. I can't recommend this since some bug was found with these options. Portaputty is a variant of putty which stores all the Configuration data in text files instead of MS Window

#!/usr/bin/env bash ## Ping all machines in a Network PING="$(which ping) -c 1 -W 1" echo "Enter Subnet(eg:192.168.0)" read Subnet echo "Do you want to PING the entire network or a RANGE of IPs ? Enter your choice" echo 1. Ping Entire Network echo 2. Ping a RANGE read choice if [ $choice = 1 ]; then { echo Pinging..... for((i=1;i<255;i++)); do ${PING} ${Subnet}.${i} > /dev/null 2> /dev/null if [ $? -eq 0 ]; then echo -e "${Subnet}.${i} is up" fi done } fi if [ $choice = 2 ]; then { echo Enter the Starting IP of Range read a echo Enter the Last IP of Range read b echo Pinging..... for((i=$a;i<$b;i++)); do ${PING} ${Subnet}.${i} > /dev/null 2> /dev/null if [ $? -eq 0 ]; then echo -e "${Subnet}.${i} is up" fi done } fi exit 0