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linux system

If you are using hot swappable hard disk and created new partition using fdisk then you need to reboot Linux based system to get partition recognized. Without reboot you will NOT able to create filesystem on your newly created or modified partitions with the mke2fs command.

However with partprobe command you should able to create a new file system without rebooting the box. It is a program that informs the operating system kernel of partition table changes, by requesting that the operating system re-read the partition table.
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Recently a friend of mine, brought a new Laptop. He installed Red Hat Enterrpise Linux workstation 4.0. However, after installation he realized that he lost all his Mozilla thunderbird emails and Firefox bookmarks, chat client logs and other files.

I told him just copy all old files from /home/$you to a new system /home/$you directory. He was trying some age-old tutorial from net, which explains how to copy files using tar and restore it back to new system. During this procedure, he was messing up with file system permissions.
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It happens many times. Often new Linux system administrators and user(s) get confused. They are not able to determine if Linux system can run a 64 bit kernel version (and application) or not. There is simple way to find out:

(a) Ask your hardware vendor

(b) Find out yourself by reading manuals

(c) Or run the following commands:
Here is output from one of my production Dual Opteron server:
$ less /proc/cpuinfo
Output:

processor       : 0
vendor_id       : AuthenticAMD
cpu family      : 15
model           : 5
model name      : AMD Opteron (tm) Processor 848
stepping        : 10
cpu MHz         : 2197.161
cache size      : 1024 KB
fpu             : yes
fpu_exception   : yes
cpuid level     : 1
wp              : yes
flags           : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush mmx fxsr sse sse2 syscall
nx mmxext lm 3dnowext 3dnow
bogomips        : 4308.99
TLB size        : 1088 4K pages
clflush size    : 64
cache_alignment : 64
address sizes   : 40 bits physical, 48 bits virtual
power management: ts fid vid ttp
processor       : 1
vendor_id       : AuthenticAMD
cpu family      : 15
model           : 5
model name      : AMD Opteron (tm) Processor 848
....
...
*** Output truncated ***
....

Look for flag entry in above output. If you see lm flags then you will able to run 64 bit kernel and applications. Now consider output from my Workstation (32 bit system you will not able to find out lm [long mode] flag):

$ less /proc/cpuinfo

Output:

processor       : 0
vendor_id       : GenuineIntel
cpu family      : 15
model           : 1
model name      : Intel(R) Celeron(R) CPU 1.70GHz
stepping        : 3
cpu MHz         : 1717.118
cache size      : 128 KB
fdiv_bug        : no
hlt_bug         : no
f00f_bug        : no
coma_bug        : no
fpu             : yes
fpu_exception   : yes
cpuid level     : 2
wp              : yes
flags           : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm
bogomips        : 3437.80

You can also type command uname command to find out this info:

$ uname -a

Output:

Linux ora100 2.6.5-7.252-smp #1 SMP Tue Feb 14 11:11:04 UTC 2006 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

The x86_64 confirms you can run 64 bit apps. You can also use live CD such as Knoppix to boot and find out this info.

What Is /dev/shm And Its Practical Usage

/dev/shm is nothing but implementation of traditional shared memory concept. It is an efficient means of passing data between programs. One program will create a memory portion, which other processes (if permitted) can access. This will result into speeding up things on Linux.
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Reading an IP address in shell script required many time. However, different Linux distribution stores IP address in different files. If you are looking to run script under different UNIX like OSes such as Solaris or FreeBSD then you need to use the ifconfig command. The ifconfig command is not just used to configure a network interface, but it can be use to obtained information such as network IP, netmask and much more.
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Most of the time GUI is not available on remote Linux system, you login over ssh and start to work, if you need to run two or three task at a time, you login over ssh two or three times. However, with screen windows manager utility you can run multiple terminals at the same time from single console login over ssh session (UNIX guru uses the term called multiplexing for this concept). Any seasoned Linux admin should be aware of this nifty tool :)

Install screen if it is not installed under Debian Linux

Type the following command:
# apt-get install screen

FreeBSD user can use ports to install screen

# cd /usr/ports/misc/screen
# make install clean

Login to remote server over ssh

$ ssh me@myserver.com

(C) Start screen session. You can name your window/session (1 is name of session):
$ screen -S 1

Let us start pine mail reader on first session or window.
$ pine

(D) Next you would like to download something from ftp/http site while you are reading emails. You need to create another screen window by pressing special key combination. Press CTRL + a followed by c key (first hit CTRL+a, releases both keys and press c). As soon as you hit 'c' you will get new shell prompt at console. Now use wget to download belenix.iso.bz2 (Solaris live CD) from net:
$ wget http://www.genunix.org/distributions/belenix_site/binfiles/belenix.iso.bz2

(E) But how do I switch between these two tasks?

  • Switching between windows is the specialty of screen utility. So to switch between pine and wget window (or session) press CTRL+a followed by n key (first hit CTRL+a, releases both keys and press n).
  • To list all windows use the command CTRL+a followed by " key (first hit CTRL+a, releases both keys and press " ).
  • To switch to window by number use the command CTRL+a followed by ' (first hit CTRL+a, releases both keys and press ' it will prompt for window number).

Common screen commands

screen commandTask
Ctrl+a cCreate new window
Ctrl+a kKill the current window / session
Ctrl+a wList all windows
Ctrl+a 0-9Go to a window numbered 0 9, use Ctrl+a w to see number
Ctrl+a Ctrl+aToggle / switch between the current and previous window
Ctrl+a SSplit terminal horizontally into regions and press Ctrl+a c to create new window there
Ctrl+a :resizeResize region
Ctrl+a :fitFit screen size to new terminal size. You can also hit Ctrl+a F for the the same task
Ctrl+a :removeRemove / delete region. You can also hit Ctrl+a X for the same taks
Ctrl+a tabMove to next region
Ctrl+a D (Shift-d)Power detach and logout
Ctrl+a dDetach but keep shell window open
Ctrl-a Ctrl-\Quit screen
Ctrl-a ?Display help screen i.e. display a list of commands

Suggested readings:

See screen command man page for further details:
man screen

Linux Changing Run Levels

A question from my email bag:

How do changing run levels affect us or our users?

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