LPI General Linux II Exam Cram


This book is the second title in the LPI General Linux I series and explains all the candidate needs to know to pass the LPI General Linux I (Exam 102). Test-focused subject matter instructs the reader on relevant Linux concepts such as Linux installation, the Linux Kernel and Shell, Linux Security, and the X Environment. The book also employs the proven Exam Cram method of efficient preparation with lots of timesaving tips, warnings on trick questions, and a host of proven test-taking strategies. The reader will...
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This book is the second title in the LPI General Linux I series and explains all the candidate needs to know to pass the LPI General Linux I (Exam 102). Test-focused subject matter instructs the reader on relevant Linux concepts such as Linux installation, the Linux Kernel and Shell, Linux Security, and the X Environment. The book also employs the proven Exam Cram method of efficient preparation with lots of timesaving tips, warnings on trick questions, and a host of proven test-taking strategies. The reader will discover amazing recall ability as they use the book's tear-out cram sheet and various memory-joggers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781576109625
  • Publisher: Coriolis Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Series: Exam Cram 2 Series
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.03 (d)

Meet the Author

Emmett Dulaney, MCT, MCSE, A+, Network+, is the co-founder of D S Technical Solutions and an adjunct faculty member of Indiana University/Purdue University of Fort Wayne. Emmett has authored over 30 books including Windows NT/Unix Integration and has contributed over 150 magazine articles in such publications as Unix Review and Unix Companion.
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Hardware and Architecture

Terms you'll need to understand:
  • BIOS
  • Serial port
  • I/O address
  • I/O port
  • Parallel port
  • Modem
  • Chat script
  • PPP
  • SLIP
Techniques you'll need to master:
  • Setting the system clock
  • Checking serial port configurations
  • Documenting IRQ and port settings
  • Accessing the SCSI BIOS and determining the ID
  • Creating a disk partition and a file system
  • Configuring a network interface card (NIC), modem, and sound card
  • Configuring a SLIP and PPP connection
In this chapter, you'll learn the basics of hardware resources, as well as their -configuration and allocation. We'll cover the utilities used to document and set hardware components in Linux, and you'll also learn how to document your own system.

System Architecture

Linux is available for a variety of platforms, with each offering its own idiosyncrasies in configuration and device management. The most common hardware in use for Linux today is the Intel family of processors. Linux also runs on system architectures as different as the Compaq (formerly DEC) Alpha, the RISC-based processors and the Motorola 68K processors.

With the wide support for system processors, a variety of bus architectures are supported, including:

  • ISA, VLB, EISA, and PCI
  • PS/2 MCA
  • VME
These different architectures may not be available in all generic ports of Linux, or they may require specific drivers and configurations related to the processor and bus architecture. Additional review of the vendors' sites is recommended if you're not installing on the basic Intel/ISA architecture. This chapter focuses on Linux on Intel-based systems, primarily because the exam for which you're studying does, too.

Laptops pose a special problem due to the specific nature of their hardware design. As a result, it can sometimes be a challenge to get Linux to operate correctly on them. This primarily has to do with the customized nature of hardware services such as sound and video, modems and power management, or the use of PCMCIA cards; we discuss these issues later in this chapter.

Before moving on to the other topics, we should point out the proc file system structure can provide you with information about your system. For example, /proc/interrupts identifies the currently used interrupt request lines on your system, as shown in Figure 2.1.

Figure 2.1 The /proc/interrupts file shows what IRQ resources are presently in use.

From Figure 2.1, you can see the interrupts used on this machine and what they are currently assigned to. Note that this particular system does not have a parallel port (as neither interrupt 5 nor 7-typical for parallel ports-is in use on the system). Knowing the interrupts in use will be important later on when we're adding other hardware, such as serial ports.


The BIOS (basic input-output system) provides the interface between the system hardware and the operating system software. All requests to perform activities that the operating system software makes of the hardware (such as accessing the floppy disk drive) are made through the system BIOS.

The BIOS and its settings are different for each computer system in use today. A system that uses PCI bus architectures has different BIOS configurations than does a system with an EISA bus. These differences make configuring the BIOS a special challenge and require that you have the appropriate documentation for your BIOS revision and system board.

Figure 2.2 illustrates a sample BIOS from a PCI-based Pentium system (the exact version of which is unimportant for our discussion). This system has two hard disks: one configured as the primary IDE master and one as the secondary IDE master. The first disk has specific information entered regarding the disk geometry, and the second is set to autodiscover the disk geometry. The system diskette drives and video type also are defined at this level in the BIOS.

Figure 2.2 The BIOS holds drive-configuration details.

Changing the date and time in the BIOS affects the hardware clock and subsequently alters the time reported by the operating system.

Setting the Clock

Linux is aware of the state of the hardware clock, which it uses to track the actual time of day. To configure the clock under Linux, you must perform two steps. First, you configure the time zone to ensure that the time is reported correctly and that messages or information received from outside your time zone also are properly reported. (The time zones are used to provide the correct time in the different geographical areas based on GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), which is also known as UTC or Universal Time Clock. The terms are synonymous and refer to the time at Greenwich, England.)

Once the time zone is selected, you must set the correct date and time. Both of these steps will be reviewed.

Running the timeconfig program as root produces the display shown in Figure 2.3. You'll select the time zone from here. The time zones defined here cover the entire globe, and an option identifies if the hardware clock is set to GMT. If you set your hardware clock to GMT, be sure to check this box. Otherwise, leave it empty.

Figure 2.3 Configuring the time zone is a necessary step when setting the correct time.

After selecting the time zone, timeconfig exits to the prompt. At this point, we can set the correct system time using the date command. The date command is typically used to retrieve the system date, as in:

[root@localhost bin]# date
Sun Nov 12 16:10:08 EST 2000

Multitudes of settings can be passed to the date command to adjust the actual output results, but these options aren't applicable to this discussion. To set the time, the superuser ("root") must provide the new date and time on the command line. This date and time is then applied to the system. Here is an example:

[root@localhost bin]# date
Sun Nov 12 16:12:19 EST 2000
[root@localhost bin]# date 111110112000.22
Sat Nov 11 10:11:22 EST 2000
[root@localhost bin]#

In the preceding example, we see the current date and time how we change it. The arguments to the date command are:

MMDDhhmmCCYY.ss The parameters are:

  • MM-two-digit year
  • DD-two-digit day of the month
  • hh-two-digit hour in 24-hour clock format
  • mm-two-digit minutes
  • CC-two digits of the year (century)
  • YY-current year
  • ss-the number of seconds to be applied
Not all of the arguments are necessary to change the date and time. The required argument values are MMDDhhmm.

The values for century, year, and seconds are optional, because the system applies the current century and year and resets the number of seconds to zero when setting the time. In the following example, we set the date and time using only the required arguments:

[root@localhost bin]# date 12252349
Mon Dec 25 23:49:00 EST 2000
[root@localhost bin]#
The time zone and clock now are set. However, most systems suffer from clock drift, which affects the accuracy of the clock. The use of an NTP (Network Time Protocol) server is highly recommended to keep the system clock synchronized. From a security perspective, if all the systems in your network are synchronized to the same time source, it's easier to track any intrusions through the systems.

Using I/O Communication Ports

Linux supports the standard serial, parallel, and joystick ports that are common to today's computer systems. The basic kernel includes support for the serial UART types 8250, 16450, 16550, and 16550A. More than nine IRQ lines can also be used. Support is included in the kernel for two single-port and multiport serial cards.

The CPU processes all the data that is received from the serial port. Consequently, the CPU must know where the data is to be received and what signal or interrupt is used to tell the CPU that data needs to be processed. These are called I/O ports and IRQs. Thus, every serial port device must store in its nonvolatile memory both its I/O address and its IRQ (interrupt request) number.

Don't confuse I/O addresses with memory addresses, because they aren't the same. The memory address normally used by main memory is ignored, and the I/O address is used to transmit and receive data with the serial device. Multiport serial cards are available in two formats: intelligent and dumb. A nonintelligent serial port card relies totally upon the CPU to perform all the I/O processing, just as a single-port serial card does. This reliance on the CPU greatly affects the performance of the system as the level of data on the serial ports increases. Intelligent serial cards alleviate this problem by putting a processor on the serial port card to perform the I/O processing and then sending a block of data to the CPU for processing.

The nonintelligent cards come in two varieties. One uses the AST Fourport approach, using a block of memory addresses and a single IRQ. The second format uses four IRQ lines for serial data processing. It's advisable to know the type of processing and amount of data to be handled through the serial port when making the decision to buy a multiport serial card.

Device Names

The serial ports are named ttyS0, ttyS1, and so on, and they usually correspond respectively to COM1, COM2, and so on in DOS/Windows. The /dev/ directory contains a file for each serial port that's available on the system, as seen in the following example:
[chare@localhost chare]$ ls -l /dev/ttyS*
crw------  1 root   tty    4, 64 May 5 1998 /dev/ttyS0
crw------  1 root   tty    4, 65 May 5 1998 /dev/ttyS1
crw------  1 root   tty    4, 66 May 5 1998 /dev/ttyS2
crw------  1 root   tty    4, 67 May 5 1998 /dev/ttyS3
[chare@localhost chare]$

It's important to remember that just because the device file exists does not mean a physical device is associated with it. The serial port driver in the kernel maintains a list of the I/O addresses for ea_h serial port, and this table maps the physical device to its name. The setserial command is usad to list and alter the serial port configuration. The arguments for setserial are identified below....

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 LPI Certification Exams 1
Chapter 2 Hardware and Architecture 11
Chapter 3 Linux Installation 45
Chapter 4 The Linux Kernel 71
Chapter 5 Package Management 99
Chapter 6 Working with vi 121
Chapter 7 Printing 145
Chapter 8 Shells in Linux 167
Chapter 9 Shell Scripting 187
Chapter 10 The X Environment 217
Chapter 11 TCP/IP 255
Chapter 12 Network Services 275
Chapter 13 Security 299
Chapter 14 Sample Test 313
Chapter 15 Answer Key 331
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Welcome to LPI General Linux II Exam Cram! This book aims to help you get ready to take-and pass-the LPI certification exam 102. This Introduction explains LPI's certification programs in general and talks about how the Exam Cram series can help you prepare for LPI's certification exams.

Exam Cram books help you understand and appreciate the subjects and materials that you need to pass LPI certification exams. Exam Cram books are aimed strictly at test preparation and review. As such, they do not teach you everything you need to know about a topic (such as the ins and outs of building your own servers). Instead, we present and dissect the questions and problems that you're likely to encounter on a test. I've worked from LPI's own objectives, preparation guides, and tests. My aim is to consolidate as much information as possible about LPI certification exams.

Nevertheless, to completely prepare yourself for any LPI test, you should begin by taking the self-assessment that's included in this book. This tool will help you evaluate your knowledge base against the requirements for the actual exam under both ideal and real circumstances.

Based on what you learn from the assessment, you might decide to begin your studies with some classroom training, or you might pick up and read one of the many Linux guides that are available from third-party vendors. We strongly recommend that you also install and configure the software and tools that you'll be tested on, because nothing beats hands-on experience and familiarity when it comes to understanding the questions you're likely to encounter on a certification test. Book learning is essential, but hands-on experience is the best teacher of all.

The Linux Professional Institute Cerification (LPIC) Program

LPI certification comprises three levels, and each level consists of two exams. There is no time limit governing when the exams must be taken, or the order in which they must be taken, but you must pass both of the exams within each level to be certified at that level.

Many of the higher-level exams are currently under development, and the best place to keep tabs on the program and its various certifications is on the LPI Web site. (The current URL for the LPI program is www.lpi.org.) Before undertaking any certification venture, you should make certain that you have the latest and most accurate information about the organization's certification programs.

Taking a Certification Exam

Alas, testing is not free. The current cost (which is always subject to change) is $100 per exam, and the exams are offered through VUE testing centers (www.vue.com).

Although VUE is flexible about scheduling, it is best to call at least ten days in advance. Exam seats are limited and might be booked solid around the time you realize you are ready for the test. To cancel or reschedule an exam, you should call at least two days before the scheduled test time to receive any sort of refund. When calling to schedule, please have the following information ready for the staff member who handles your call:

  • Your name, social security number (if applicable), organization, and mailing address.
  • A method of payment. (The most convenient approach is to supply a valid credit card number with sufficient available credit. Otherwise, payments by check, money order, or purchase order must be received before a test can be scheduled. If the latter methods are required, ask the staff member for more details.)
On the day of the test, arrive at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time. You must bring and supply two forms of identification, one of which must be a photo ID.

All exams are completely closed-book. In fact, you will be required to stow anything you brought with you under your desk. You will be furnished with a blank sheet of paper, a pencil, and any other tools you might need for your exam. We suggest that you immediately write down on that sheet of paper all the information you've memorized for the test.

When you complete an exam, you'll get an immediate printout of your results and know whether you passed or not. All exam components are scored on a percentage basis.

How to Prepare for an Exam

Preparing for any Linux exam requires that you obtain and study materials that are designed to provide comprehensive information about Linux and the specific exam for which you are preparing. The following list of materials will help you study and prepare.
  • A vendor's Linux manuals (or online documentation found on their Web site). This should be available for the vendor's version you are running (be it OpenLinux from Caldera, Red Hat, Debian, or any other).
  • The Linux Documentation Project (online resource found at www.linuxdoc.org/).
  • Study guides. Several publishers, including The Coriolis Group, offer Linux titles. The Coriolis Group series includes the following:
    • The Exam Cram series-These books give you information about the material you need to know to pass the tests.
    • The Exam Prep series-These books provide a greater level of detail than do the Exam Cram books and are designed to teach you everything you need to know from an exam perspective. Each book comes with a CD that contains interactive practice exams in a variety of testing formats.

Together, the two series make a perfect pair. Check ExamCram.com for additional products from Coriolis.

You'll find that this book complements your studying and preparation for the exam, either on your own or with the aid of the previously mentioned study programs. In the section that follows, I'll explain how this book works and why this book is a part of the required and recommended materials list.

About This Book

Each topical Exam Cram chapter follows a regular structure, along with graphical cues about important or useful information. Here's the structure of a typical chapter:
  • Opening hotlists-Each chapter begins with a list of the terms, tools, and techniques that you must learn and understand before you can be fully conversant with that chapter's subject matter. These hotlists are followed by one or two introductory paragraphs to set the stage for the rest of the chapter.
  • Topical coverage-After the opening hotlists, each chapter covers a series of topics related to the chapter's subject. Throughout this section, we highlight important topics or concepts as Exam Alerts, like this: This is what an Exam Alert looks like. Normally, an Exam Alert stresses concepts, terms, software, or activities that are likely to relate to one or more certification test questions. For that reason, any information found offset in this Exam Alert format is worthy of unusual attentiveness on your part. Indeed, most of the information that appears on the Cram Sheet appears as Exam Alerts within the text.
Pay close attention to material flagged as an Exam Alert; although all the information in this book pertains to what you need to know to pass the exam, we flag certain items that are really important. You'll find what appears in the meat of each chapter to be worth knowing, too, when preparing for the test. Because this book's material is very condensed, we recommend that you use this book along with other resources to achieve the maximum benefit.

In addition to the Exam Alerts, we have provided occasional notes that will help build a better foundation for Linux knowledge. Although the information might not be on the exam, it is certainly related and will help you become a better test taker.

This is how tips are formatted. Keep your eyes open for these, and you'll become a Linux guru in no time.

  • Practice questions-This section presents a series of mock test questions and explanations of both correct and incorrect answers.
  • Details and resources-Every chapter ends with a section titled "Need to Know More?" which provides direct pointers to third-party resources offering more details on the chapter's subject. If you find a resource you like in this collection, use it, but don't feel compelled to use all the resources. On the other hand, we recommend only those resources that we use on a regular basis, so none of my recommendations will be a waste of your time or money. (But purchasing them all at once probably represents quite an expense to many network administrators and would be hard to justify.)
The bulk of the book slavishly follows this chapter structure, but there are a few other elements that I'd like to point out. Chapter 14 includes a sample written test that provides a good review of the material presented throughout the book to ensure that you're ready for the exam. Chapter 15 is an answer key to this sample test. Additionally, you'll find a glossary that explains terms and an index that you can use to track down terms as they appear in the text.

Finally, the tear-out Cram Sheet attached next to the inside front cover of this Exam Cram book represents a condensed and compiled collection of facts and tips that We think you should memorize before taking the test. Because you can dump this information out of your head onto a piece of paper before answering any exam questions, you can master this information by brute force. You need to remember it only long enough to write it down when you walk into the test room. You might even want to look at it in the car or in the lobby of the testing center just before you walk in to take the test.

How to Use this Book

If you're prepping for a first-time test, keep in mind that I've structured the topics in this book to build upon one another. Therefore, some topics in later chapters make more sense after you've read earlier chapters. That's why we suggest you read this book from front to back for your initial test preparation. If you need to brush up on a topic or you have to bone up for a second try, use the index or table of contents to go straight to the topics and questions that you need to study. Beyond the tests, we think you'll find this book useful as a tightly focused reference to some of the most important aspects of Linux.

Given all the book's elements and its specialized focus, I've tried to create a tool that will help you prepare for-and pass-LPI's exam 102. Please share your feedback on the book with me, especially if you have ideas about how we can improve it for future test-takers.

Please send your questions or comments to The Coriolis Group at learn@examcram.com or to the author at edulaney@iquest.net. Please remember to include the title of the book in your message; otherwise, we'll be forced to guess which book you're writing about. Also, be sure to check out the Web page at www.examcram.com, where you'll find information updates, commentary, and clarifications on documents for each book. You can either read this material online or download it for use later on.

Thanks, and enjoy the book!

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