Red Hat Linux Bible, Fedora and Enterprise Edition

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* The latest edition of the top-selling guide to Red Hat Linux

* Provides all the information needed to master the latest version of Red Hat Linux, covering desktop and server basics for Linux newbies as well as advanced techniques and all the latest bells and whistles for Red Hat veterans

* Includes step-by-step instructions that make installation simple and painless

* Explains how to take advantage of the new desktop interface; use the Linux shell, file system, and text editor; automate system tasks; and back-up and restore files

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* The latest edition of the top-selling guide to Red Hat Linux

* Provides all the information needed to master the latest version of Red Hat Linux, covering desktop and server basics for Linux newbies as well as advanced techniques and all the latest bells and whistles for Red Hat veterans

* Includes step-by-step instructions that make installation simple and painless

* Explains how to take advantage of the new desktop interface; use the Linux shell, file system, and text editor; automate system tasks; and back-up and restore files

* Features new to this edition include expanded coverage of using Red Hat Linux with Mac OS X, managing and manipulating file systems and disk tuning, system rescue advice, and details on using VmWare and VNC (virtual network computing)

* This is the only book on the market that contains Red Hat's three CD-ROM distribution

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
There have been big changes over at the world’s No. 1 Linux distributor, and some of them are already showing up in the product.

Red Hat has opened up its development process, letting third-parties participate more actively in what was formerly a private testing system. It will also gradually become easier for outsiders to get their software into Red Hat now. And, since the company has abandoned the retail “shrinkwrapped box” market (with its inventory issues) -- while also creating a separate, slow-changing “enterprise” distribution -- it can add new goodies to its desktop offerings far more quickly.

The first of these changes are visible in Red Hat Linux 10. It’s worth the upgrade -- especially if you didn’t have time to jump to RHL9. Of course, to make the most of RHL10, you’ll need a great book. Consider Red Hat Linux Bible, Fedora and Enterprise Edition.

Christopher Negus’s RHL Bibles have long stood out for their focus on real-world tasks -- and for their breadth. Inside these pages is all you need to find and run applications, set up a network, connect to the Internet, provide email and other services -- even burn CDs and play networked games.

What’s more, this book also contains a three-CD-ROM copy of the Red Hat 10 distribution. Not just the standard “Publisher’s Edition,” but an enhanced version with hundreds more packages.

As you’d expect, there’s extensive new coverage in this edition. To begin with, Negus’s thorough coverage of installation and configuration now includes new graphical FTP and HTTP installation types; Virtual Network Computing (VNC) installations; and the new rhgb graphical boot. (Negus also offers step-by-step coverage of quick installation on multiple computers, as well as detailed guidance on system rescue.)

This edition’s detailed introductions to both KDE 3.1 and GNOME 2.2 include improved coverage of video cards and a new discussion of switching virtual consoles. Negus shows how to explore Red Hat from the shell; then offers brief introductions to several productivity software packages. There’s a thorough chapter on Linux multimedia, including the latest FireWire support. You’ll find new coverage of configuring RAID disks for high-availability systems; and of running Red Hat on notebook PCs.

Negus introduces administration with Red Hat’s enhanced Web-based tools. Next, he presents systematic coverage of setting up networks and servers -- including Apache 2.0, email with both sendmail and postfix; and Samba file/print sharing (with a handy new table on Samba connectivity to various clients.) You’ll find practical coverage of wireless networking; and more detail than ever on supporting Mac OS X clients.

Regarding security: The book’s iptables firewalls coverage now includes guidance on setting up a DMZ; and there’s more information on using ssh (Secure Shell).

Finally, there’s a new appendix covering software you might want to add to Red Hat -- including projects that have been on the periphery of the Red Hat universe but, thanks to Red Hat’s new development policies, may become far more mainstream.

It’s simple: If you’re ready to do more with Linux, read this book. Bill Camarda

Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764543333
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/9/2003
  • Series: Bible Series, #118
  • Edition description: Fedora and Enterprise Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 1104
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 2.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Negus has been working with UNIX systems, the Internet, and (more recently) Linux systems for more than two decades. During that time, Chris worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories, UNIX System Laboratories, and Novell, helping to develop the UNIX operating system. Features from many of the UNIX projects Chris worked on at AT&T have found their way into Red Hat and other Linux systems.

Most recently, Chris co-authored the book Linux Toys for Wiley Publishing. During the past few years, Chris has written several books on UNIX and the Internet, including Caldera OpenLinux Bible, Internet Explorer 4 Bible, and Netscape Plug-Ins for Dummies for Wiley Publishing. He also co-wrote several books for Que Corporation, including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Networking (second and third editions) and Using UNIX (second edition). Chris’s other writings include articles for Internet World, NetWare Connection, and Visual Developer magazines.

At home, Chris enjoys spending time with his wife, Sheree, and his boys, Caleb and Seth. His hobbies include soccer, singing, and exercising with Sheree.

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Table of Contents

Pt. I Getting Started in Red Hat Linux
Ch. 1 An Overview of Red Hat Linux 3
Ch. 2 Installing Red Hat Linux 19
Pt. II Using Red Hat Linux
Ch. 3 Getting Started with the Desktop 75
Ch. 4 Using Linux Commands 125
Ch. 5 Accessing and Running Applications 163
Ch. 6 Publishing with Red Hat Linux 205
Ch. 7 Playing Games with Red Hat Linux 239
Ch. 8 Multimedia in Red Hat Linux 261
Ch. 9 Tools for Using the Internet and the Web 297
Pt. III Administering Red Hat Linux
Ch. 10 Understanding System Administration 339
Ch. 11 Setting Up and Supporting Users 389
Ch. 12 Automating System Tasks 417
Ch. 13 Backing Up and Restoring Files 453
Ch. 14 Computer Security Issues 485
Pt. IV Red Hat Linux Network and Server Setup
Ch. 15 Setting Up a Local Area Network 563
Ch. 16 Connecting to the Internet 609
Ch. 17 Setting Up a Print Server 653
Ch. 18 Setting Up a File Server 677
Ch. 19 Setting Up a Mail Server 719
Ch. 20 Setting Up an FTP Server 759
Ch. 21 Setting Up a Web Server 787
Ch. 22 Setting Up a News Server 837
Ch. 23 Setting Up Boot Servers: DHCP and NIS 867
Ch. 24 Setting Up a MySQL Database Server 889
Ch. 25 Making Servers Public with DNS 921
Ch. 26 Using Linux Servers from a Mac 945
App. A: What's on the CD-ROMs 969
App. B Red Hat Linux RPMs 975
App. C Running Network Services 1011
Index 1033
GNU General Public License 1067
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First Chapter

Red Hat Linux Bible

By Christopher Negus

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7645-4333-4

Chapter One

An Overview of Red Hat Linux

In This Chapter

Introducing Red Hat Linux

What is Linux?

Linux's roots in UNIX

Common Linux features

Primary advantages of Linux

What is Red Hat Linux?

Why choose Red Hat Linux?

The culture of free software

Linux was a phenomenon waiting to happen. The computer industry suffered from a rift. In the 1980s and 1990s, people had to choose between inexpensive, market-driven PC operating systems from Microsoft and expensive, technology-driven operating systems such as UNIX. Free software was being created all over the world, but lacked a common platform to rally around. Linux has become that common platform.

For several years, Red Hat Linux has been the most popular commercial distribution of Linux. With the latest versions of Red Hat Linux (reflected in the Fedora Core and Red Hat Enterprise Linux distributions), Red Hat, Inc. has taken steps to offer both free-flowing community versions and well- supported commercial versions of Red Hat Linux.

NOTE: Because of significant overlap between Fedora Core and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, I use the term Red Hat Linux to refer to technology in both distributions. If software I describe is missing (primarily from Enterprise, which doesn't include many games and personal software), you can add the software later. Check your CDs, then check yum repositories describedin Chapter 5 to find software RPMs.

Introducing Red Hat Linux

With the recent split between community (Fedora) and commercial (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) versions of Red Hat Linux, Red Hat has created a model that can suit the fast-paced changes in the open source world, while still meeting the demands for a well-supported commercial Linux distribution. (Later in this chapter I discuss differences between the Fedora and Enterprise versions of Red Hat Linux.)

Technical people have chosen Red Hat Linux because of its reputation for solid performance. With the new Fedora Project, Red Hat hopes to create an environment where open source developers can bring high-quality software packages to Red Hat Linux that would be beyond the resources of Red Hat, Inc. to test and maintain on its own.

Over 1,400 individual software packages (compared to just over 600 in Red Hat Linux 6.2) are included in the latest release of Red Hat Linux, referred to as Fedora Core. These packages contain features that would cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars to duplicate if you bought them as separate commercial products. These features let you:

Connect your computers to a LAN or the Internet.

Create documents and publish your work on paper or on the Web.

Work with multimedia content to manipulate images, play music files, view video, and even burn your own CDs.

Play games individually or over a network.

Communicate over the Internet using a variety of Web tools for browsing, chatting, transferring files, participating in newsgroups, and sending and receiving e-mail.

Protect your computing resources by having Red Hat Linux act as a firewall and/or a router to protect against intruders coming in through public networks.

Configure a computer to act as a network server, such as a print server, Web server, file server, mail server, news server, and a database server.

This is just a partial list of what you can do with Red Hat Linux. Using this book as your guide, you will find that there are many more features built into Red Hat Linux as well.

Support for new video cards, printers, storage devices, and applications are being added every day. Linux programmers around the world are no longer the only ones creating hardware drivers. Every day more hardware vendors are creating their own drivers, so they can sell products to the growing Linux market. New applications are being created to cover everything from personal productivity tools to programs that access massive corporate databases.

Remember that old Pentium computer in your closet? Don't throw it away! Just because a new release of Red Hat Linux is out doesn't mean that you need all new hardware for it to run. Support for many old computer components get carried from one release to the next. There are old PCs running Red Hat Linux today as routers (to route data between your LAN and the Internet), firewalls (to protect your network from outside intrusion), and file servers (to store shared files on your LAN) - with maybe an Ethernet card or an extra hard disk added.

At this point, you may feel that Linux is something you want to try out. This brings us to the basic question: What is Linux?

What Is Linux?

Linux is a free operating system that was created by Linus Torvalds when he was a student at the University of Helsinki in 1991. Torvalds started Linux by writing a kernel - the heart of the operating system - partly from scratch and partly by using publicly available software. (For the definition of an operating system and a kernel, see the sidebar "What Is an Operating System?" later in this chapter.) Torvalds then released the system to his friends and to a community of "hackers" on the Internet and asked them to work with it, fix it, and enhance it. It took off.

CROSS-REFERENCE: See Chapter 14 for a discussion about the difference between hackers (who just like to play with computers) and crackers (who break into computer systems and cause damage).

Today, there are hundreds of software developers around the world contributing software to the Linux effort. Because the source code for the software is freely available, anyone can work on it, change it, or enhance it. Developers are encouraged to feed their fixes and improvements back into the community so that Linux can continue to grow and improve.

On top of the Linux kernel effort, the creators of Linux also drew on a great deal of system software and applications that are now bundled with Linux from the GNU software effort (GNU stands for "GNU is Not UNIX"), which is directed by the Free Software Foundation ( There is a vast amount of software that can be used with Linux, all of which includes features that can compete with or surpass those of any other operating system in the world.

If you have heard Linux described as a free version of UNIX, there is good reason for it. Although much of the code for Linux started from scratch, the blueprint for what the code would do was created to follow POSIX standards. POSIX (Portable Operating System Interface for UNIX) is a computer industry operating system standard that every major version of UNIX complied with. In other words, if your operating system was POSIX-compliant, it was UNIX. See the next section describing Linux's roots in the UNIX operating system.

Linux's Roots in UNIX

Linux grew within a culture of free exchange of ideas and software. Like UNIX - the operating system on which Linux is based - the focus was on keeping communications open among software developers. Getting the code to work was the goal, without much concern about who owned the code, and the Internet was the primary communications medium. What, then, were the conditions that made the world ripe for a computer system such as Linux?

In the 1980s and 1990s, while Microsoft flooded the world with personal computers running DOS and Windows operating systems, power users demanded more from an operating system. They ached for systems that could run on networks, support many users at once (multiuser), and run many programs at once (multitasking). DOS (Disk Operating System) and Windows didn't cut it.

UNIX, on the other hand, grew out of a culture where technology was king and marketing people were, well, hard to find. Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey, was a think tank where ideas came first and profits were somebody else's problem. A quote from Dennis Ritchie, co-creator of UNIX and designer of the C programming language, in a 1980 lecture on the evolution of UNIX, sums up the spirit that started UNIX. He was commenting on both his hopes and those of his colleagues for the UNIX project after a similar project called Multics had just failed:

What we wanted to preserve was not just a good environment in which to do programming, but a system around which a fellowship could form. We knew from experience that the essence of communal computing as supplied by remote-access, time- shared machines, is not just to type programs into a terminal instead of a keypunch, but to encourage close communication.

In that spirit, the first source code of UNIX was distributed free to universities. Like Linux, the availability of UNIX source code made it possible for a diverse population of software developers to make their own enhancements to UNIX and share them with others.

By the early 1980s, UNIX development moved from the organization in Murray Hill to a more commercially oriented development laboratory in Summit, New Jersey (a few miles down the road). During that time, UNIX began to find commercial success as the computing system of choice for applications such as AT&T's telephone switching equipment, for supercomputer applications such as modeling weather patterns, and for controlling NASA space projects.

Major computer hardware vendors licensed the UNIX source code to run on their computers. To try to create an environment of fairness and community to its OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), AT&T began standardizing what these different ports of UNIX had to be able to do to still be called UNIX. To that end, compliance with POSIX standards and the AT&T UNIX System V Interface Definition (SVID) were specifications UNIX vendors could use to create compliant UNIX systems. Those same documents also served as road maps for the creation of Linux.

Today, Linux continues to aim toward POSIX compliance, as well as compliance with standards set by the new owner of the UNIX trademark, The Open Group (http://

Common Linux Features

No matter what version of Linux you use, the piece of code common to all is the Linux kernel. Although the kernel can be modified to include support for the features you want, every Linux kernel can offer the following features:

Multiuser - Not only can you have many user accounts available on a Linux system, you can also have multiple users logged in and working on the system at the same time. Users can have their own environments arranged the way they want: their own home directory for storing files and their own desktop interface (with icons, menus, and applications arranged to suit them). User accounts can be password-protected, so that users can control who has access to their applications and data.

Multitasking - In Linux, it is possible to have many programs running at the same time, which means that not only can you have many programs going at once, but that the Linux operating system can itself have programs running in the background. Many of these system processes make it possible for Linux to work as a server, with these background processes listening to the network for requests to log in to your system, view a Web page, print a document, or copy a file. These background processes are referred to as daemons.

Graphical User Interface (X Window System) - The powerful framework for working with graphical applications in Linux is referred to as the X Window System (or simply X). X handles the functions of opening X-based graphical user interface (GUI) applications and displaying them on an X server process (the process that manages your screen, mouse, and keyboard). On top of X, you use an X-based desktop environment to provide a desktop metaphor and window manager to provide the look-and-feel of your GUI (icons, window frames, menus, and colors, or a combination of those items called themes). There are several desktop environments and several desktop managers to choose from. (Red Hat provides a few desktop managers, but focuses on GNOME and KDE desktop environments.)

Hardware support - You can configure support for almost every type of hardware that can be connected to a computer. There is support for floppy disk drives, CD-ROMs, removable disks (such as DVDs and Zip drives), sound cards, tape devices, video cards, and most anything else you can think of.

NOTE: Not every hardware manufacturer provides Linux drivers with their peripheral devices and adapter cards. Although most popular hardware will be supported eventually in Linux, it can sometimes take a while for a member of the Linux community to write a driver.

Networking connectivity - To connect your Linux system to a network, Linux offers support for a variety of local area network (LAN) boards, modems, and serial devices. In addition to LAN protocols, such as Ethernet (both wired and wireless), all the most popular upper-level networking protocols can be built-in. The most popular of these protocols is TCP/IP (used to connect to the Internet). Other protocols, such as IPX (for Novell networks) and X.25 (a packet-switching network type that is popular in Europe), are also available.

Network servers - Providing networking services to the client computers on the LAN or to the entire Internet is what Linux does best. A variety of software packages are available that enable you to use Linux as a print server, file server, FTP server, mail server, Web server, news server, or workgroup (DHCP or NIS) server.

Application support - Because of compatibility with POSIX and several different application programming interfaces (APIs), a wide range of freeware and shareware software is available for Linux. Most GNU software from the Free Software Foundation will run in Linux (although some may take a bit of tweaking).

NOTE: Because of the popularity of the Red Hat Package Management (RPM) format for packaging software, many software packages are available on the Internet in RPM format. If the RPM version matches your processor type (most have i386 and or i686 versions available), you can install the package without building and compiling the package. See Chapters 2 and 5 for information on working with RPM packages.

Primary Advantages of Linux

When compared to different commercially available operating systems, Linux's best assets are its price and its reliability. Most people know that its initial price is free (or at least under $50 when it comes in a box or with a book).


Excerpted from Red Hat Linux Bible by Christopher Negus Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2003

    Excellent book on Linux

    If you are just starting out in Linux, this is the book for you. I find the Red Hat Linux implementation very useful and feature-packed.

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