The Linux Sysadmin Kit

A wealth of tools

Here are some de-facto standard tools for system administration work.

The Linux desktop offers a lot of GUI applications for regular computer tasks. System administration happens in the console, using it's full potential.

Network services

Common tools to provide services:

Remote shell login: ssh (OpenSSH)
Remote desktop: ssh -X, NoMachine NX, XDMCP, TightVNC, rdesktop
Web server: Apache
File server: Samba (Windows networking)
NFS (UNIX networking)
Netatalk (Apple networking)
OpenSSH (Secure FTP)
ProFTPD, Pure-FTPd (FTP)
Print server: CUPS
Samba (Windows Printing on top of CUPS)
Database: MySQL, Postgres
SMTP server: Postfix
IMAP/POP3 server: Dovecot
Email filtering: DSPAM, SpamAssassin, amavisd-new, MailScanner, ClamAV, sieve filters
Firewall / NAT: iptables (everything else is built on top of it)
Port tunneling: iptables, ssh, stunnel
Proxy server: Squid, Apache
DNS server: BIND
DHCP server: dhcpd
Time server: xntpd
Network service discovery: Avahi, UPnPd
Directory services: OpenLDAP
Backups: rsync, rsnapshot, tar, Bacula
Log server: Syslog-ng
Task scheduling: Cron, at
Status monitoring: Nagios, Cacti, Zabbix
User account lockdown: kiosktool (KDE)
Virtualisation: VMWare, VirtualBox, OpenVZ

Daily tools

File system browsing cd, ls
Config file editing: vim / emacs / nano
File permissions: chmod, chown, chgrp, chacl
File/directory creation: touch, ln rm mkdir, rmdir,
User accounts: useradd, groupadd, passwd, chsh, chfn, chage, w, /etc/passwd, /etc/group
Process diagnostics: ps, dstat, sysstat, top, htop
Disk diagnotics: du, df, iotop, iostat, lsof
Network diagnostics: ip, ping, netstat, dig, host, whois, iftop, traceroute, mtr, arp, nmap, tcpdump
Hardware info lspci, lsusb, lshw, hwinfo, dmidecode,
Shell conveniences: less, file, tree, man, locate, screen, script
Software installation: rpm, zypper / yum (RPM based systems)
dpkg, apt-get (Debian based systems)
puppet, Cfengine, Chef, ssh (central management)
System logs: /var/log/*, tail, dmesg
Downloading files: lynx, links, wget
Uploading files: ncftp, sftp, scp
Comparing files/folders: diff / patch, vimdiff, rsync
Compression/decompression: tar, zip/unzip, rar/unrar
Version control CVS, Subversion, Git, Mercurial
Scripting: Bash shell scripts, Perl, Python, Ruby
Shell scripting: if, while, for, seq, case, sort, sed, find, xargs, sort, uniq, head, tail, grep, sed, awk, fmt, make
Debugging: gdb, strace, telnet, ncat, socat.
Driver loading: modprobe, lsmod, rmmod, mkinitrd


Boot GRUB, init / Upstart
Devices: udevd, HAL / DeviceKit, acpid
IPC: D-Bus
Logging: klogd, syslog-ng, logrotate
Authentication: mingetty, ConsoleKit (console logins)
PAM, csync (roaming profiles)
Network: ifconfig, NetworkManager/Wicd/ConnMan
Sound: PulseAudio, ALSA
Graphics: X.Org server, DRI, Mesa
Bluetooth: BlueZ
CD Writing: cdrdao, wodim (cdrkit), mkisofs
Scanning: SANE
Disk mounting: mount, fuse
Temperature sensors: sensors
Background services: /etc/init.d/*
Security policies: PolicyKit, sudo
Restricted execution: AppArmor/SELinux, chroot, ulimit
Application compatibility: wine, mono
Multimedia codec frameworks: MPlayer, Xine, GStreamer
File change notifications: FAM, inotify

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