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6 lesser-known but seriously useful Linux commands
Introducing six (possibly) unfamiliar commands that you need to know.
khess Mon, 4/26/2021 at 7:35pm
6 little-known but seriously useful Linux commands
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

People are creatures of habit. That assertion has both good and bad connotations. The good is that we tend to do things the same way every time we do them. The bad part is that we don't tend to venture out from our routines. That routine keeps changes consistent and surprises to a minimum. The last thing any sysadmin wants to hear another sysadmin say is, "Whoops." But, that's a whole other story. Today's topic is unfamiliar commands. Six unfamiliar commands to be exact. I think you'll like these because they're useful and outside the peripheral vision of most sysadmins.

Do you allow the X protocol on your network?
Businesses run the gamut of policy extremes when it comes to graphical tools. Where are you on the graphical tools continuum?
khess Fri, 5/7/2021 at 4:47pm
Which graphical tools do you allow on your systems?

Photo by Ivan Samkov from Pexels

For most of my Linux-oriented career, the X protocol (TCP port 6000-60nn) that runs over the network has not been allowed. Most security policies ban the X protocol and have it silently blocked on network equipment. I guess I'm OK with that. I've mildly argued the point a few times but I generally accept the walls in which I must operate.

Topics:   Linux   Linux Administration   Security  

Documenting system uptime in Linux

Documenting system uptime in Linux
The uptime command is simple but provides critical information to sysadmins.

The uptime command is straightforward and simple, but it can still be nice to see how some sysadmins use these common tools. Documenting the system's uptime may be important for service level agreements, performance monitoring, and general troubleshooting.

[ You might also like: Important Linux /proc filesystem files you need to know ]

Error handling in Bash scripts

Let your Bash script help you find its errors with error handling.

Scripting is one of the key tools for a sysadmin to manage a set of day-to-day activities such as running backups, adding users/groups, installing/updating packages, etc. While writing a script, error handling is one of the crucial things to manage.

This article shows some basic/intermediate techniques of dealing with error handling in Bash scripting. I discuss how to obtain the error codes, get verbose output while executing the script, deal with the debug function, and standard error redirection. Using these techniques, sysadmins can make their daily work easy.

Topics:   Linux   Linux Administration   Scripting  
Bash scripting: Moving from backtick operator to $ parentheses
Are you hooked on backticks in your shell scripts? You should consider $ parens.
Roberto Nozaki Mon, 4/26/2021 at 7:49pm
Linux scripting shootout: The backtick operator vs $ parens
Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

There are certain commands or tricks that you start using as a sysadmin, which you simply incorporate into your arsenal and never really stop to analyze in-depth all the options or alternatives to them.

A brief introduction to Ansible Vault
Ansible Vault is an Ansible feature that helps you encrypt confidential information without compromising security.
Sarthak Jain Thu, 3/18/2021 at 6:33pm
A brief introduction to Ansible Vault
Image by Rick Bella from Pixabay

Ansible is a configuration management tool. While working with Ansible, you can create various playbooks, inventory files, variable files, etc. Some of the files contain sensitive and important data like usernames and passwords. Ansible provides a feature named Ansible Vault that prevents this data from being exposed. It keeps passwords and other sensitive data in an encrypted file rather than in plain text files. It provides password-based authentication.

Topics:   Linux   Linux Administration   Ansible  
An introduction to the Quay container registry
Quay is a tool for storing containers, Helm charts, and other container-related content.
Bryant Son Sat, 3/27/2021 at 7:18pm
3 scoops of icecream

Photo by Rawan Jo from Pexels

If you're working on a cloud environment that requires the Continuous Integration (CI) process from CI/CD, you need to consider how to store and manage the built packages. What do I mean by packages? These packages can be archive files like WAR or EAR files for Java, but they can also be containerized images that include the compiled sources combined with a programming run time. They might also be base images like NodeJS, CentOS, RHEL, Windows, Python, etc.

Topics:   Linux   Linux Administration   Containers  

5 Linux commands I never use

5 totally useless Linux commands
Image by M. Maggs from Pixabay
Linux has perhaps hundreds of essential and useful commands. These are not my favorites.

Editor's note: This is an opinion piece and meant in a spirit of good humor. Do you have a different set of tools you never use? We invite guest articles via

Exploring PKI weaknesses and how to combat them
Public key infrastructure has some known weaknesses. See how Certificate Authority Authorization and Certificate Transparency help strengthen certificate infrastructures.
Joerg Kastning Mon, 4/5/2021 at 5:41pm
PKI weakness and possible countermeasures
Image by LoSchmi from Pixabay

This article is Part 3 out of three in my series about SSL/TLS encryption. Part 1 covers the basics of well-known encryption concepts. Part 2 gives a brief introduction to OpenSSL and PKI. This part broaches the issue of PKI weakness and introduces two countermeasures.

Topics:   Linux   Security   Linux Administration  
Static and dynamic IP address configurations: DHCP deployment
Configure a DHCP server and scope to provide dynamic IP address configurations to your network subnet.
Damon Garn Thu, 4/15/2021 at 3:51pm
Static and dynamic IP address configurations: DHCP deployment
Image by Dirk Schulz from Pixabay

In my Static and dynamic IP address configurations for DHCP article, I discussed the pros and cons of static versus dynamic IP address allocation. Typically, sysadmins will manually configure servers and network devices (routers, switches, firewalls, etc.) with static IP address configurations. These addresses don’t change (unless the administrator changes them), which is important for making services easy to find on the network.

Topics:   Linux   Linux Administration