Peeking into your Linux packages

By Sandra Henry-Stocker

Do you ever wonder how many thousands of packages are installed on your Linux system? And, yes, I said “thousands”. Even a fairly modest Linux system is likely to have well over a thousand packages installed. And there are many ways to get details on what they are.

First, to get a quick count of your installed packages on a Debian-based distribution such as Ubuntu, use the command apt list –installed like this:

$ apt list --installed | wc -l
2067

This number is actually one too high because the output contains “Listing…” as its first line. This command would be more accurate:

$ apt list --installed | grep -v "^Listing" | wc -l
2066

To get some details on what all these packages are, browse the list like this:

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From: Network World

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How to squeeze the most out of Linux file compression

By Sandra Henry-Stocker

If you have any doubt about the many commands and options available on Linux systems for file compression, you might want to take a look at the output of the apropos compress command. Chances are you’ll be surprised by the many commands that you can use for compressing and decompressing files as well as for comparing compressed files, examining and searching through the content of compressed files, and even changing a compressed file from one format to another (i.e., .z format to .gz format). You’re likely to see all of these entries just for the suite of bzip2 compression commands. Add in zip, gzip, and xz and you’ve got a lot of interesting options.

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From: Network World

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IDG Contributor Network: Linux then, and why you should learn it now

By JR Rivers

The booming popularity of Linux happened around the same time as the rise of the web. The server world, once proprietary, eventually fell in love with Linux just the same way networking did. But for years after it began growing in popularity, it remained in the background. It powered some of the largest servers, but couldn’t find success on personal devices. That all changed with Google’s release of Android in 2008, and just like that, Linux found its way not only onto phones but onto other consumer devices.

The same shift from proprietary to open is happening in networking. Specialized hardware that came from one of the “big 3” networking vendors isn’t so necessary anymore. What used to require this specialized hardware can now be done (with horsepower to spare) using off-the-shelf hardware, with Intel CPUs, and with the Linux operating system. Linux unifies the stack, and knowing it is useful for both the network and the rest of the rack. With Linux, networking is far more affordable, more scalable, easier to learn, and more adaptable to the needs of the business.

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From: Network World

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Linux for factory automation

By Sandra Henry-Stocker

NXP Semiconductors, a world leader in secure connectivity solutions, has just announced a Linux distribution that is intended to support factory automation. It’s called OpenIL and it’s promising true industrial-grade security based on trusted computing, hardened software, cryptographic operations and end-to-end security.

The fact that factory managers and industrial equipment manufacturers are turning to Linux is not surprising considering its operational stability, professional approach to system security, and its obvious low cost of ownership. The importance of the security and reliability of manufacturing security to the well being of any industrial nation is clear from the focus that DHS places on this sector.

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From: Network World

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How did Linux come to dominate supercomputing?

By Andy Patrizio

After years of pushing toward total domination, Linux finally did it. It is running on all 500 of the TOP500 supercomputers in the world, and who knows how many more after that. That’s even more impressive than Intel’s domination of the list, with 92 percent of the processors in the top 500.

So, how did Linux get here? How did this upstart operating system created by a college student from Finland 26 years ago steamroll Unix, a creation of Bell Labs and supported by giants like IBM and Sun Microsystems and HP, Microsoft’s Windows, and other Unix derivatives?

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From: Network World

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Linux commands to make you feel thankful or merely stuffed

By Sandra Henry-Stocker

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. While I’m looking forward to turkey, stuffing and pie, I’m also thankful to have been able to spend most of my career administering Unix and Linux systems, So today’s post is going to focus on some of the things that I’ve felt most thankful for and most gratified by over the span of more than 30 years with Unix and Linux.

There are many reasons why I came to appreciate Unix and then Linux and why they became such an important part of my life. These operating systems provided a focus and a career specialty that I’ve greatly enjoyed. I appreciate Linus Torvalds and the many thousands of developers who have contributed their time and energy into building a powerful, efficient and enjoyable operating system. I appreciate the many tools and commands that make them so easy to use and get my work done. And I appreciate the chances that I’ve had to share what I’ve learned with so many others. It’s been fun and it’s been very rewarding.

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From: Network World

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14 Linux apps that will change how you work

By Mark Gibbs

linux intro
Linux productivity tools

The sheer number of Linux apps available today is mind boggling and one category in particular has exploded over the last few years: productivity tools. While there are a few well-known apps such as LibreOffice and NeoOffice (both forks of OpenOffice), there are many more tools that can make your work easier. Here are a variety of killer Linux office productivity apps you may not know about. (Note: many of them are also available for macOS and Windows, so if you have to hop between operating systems, you can keep at least a semblance of consistency.)

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From: Network World

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Building command groups with sudo

By Sandra Henry-Stocker

When managing your /etc/sudoers files, it’s a good idea to organize user privileges in ways that make them easier to manage over the long haul and to assign permissions based on the roles that users play in your organization. One very useful way is to group related commands together – such as all commands related to running backups or managing web sites – and assign them to the individuals or groups that require these privileges.

Setting up command groups

To create a command group, you would use what is called a Cmnd_Alias in your /etc/sudoers file and give the new command group a meaningful name. Here are some examples. Note that full pathnames should be specified for all of the commands included in a group. Otherwise, you are likely to see an error like this when you try to exit visudo. And remember to only edit /etc/sudoers with the visudo command to allow it to warn you in ways like this and prevent errors.

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From: Network World

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Some tricks for using sudo

By Sandra Henry-Stocker

The sudoers file can provide detailed control over user privileges but, with very little effort, you can still get a lot of benefit from sudo. In this post, we’re going to look at some simple ways to get a lot of value out of the sudo command.

Trick #1: Nearly effortless sudo usage

The default file on most Linux distributions makes it very simple to give select users the ability to run commands as root. In fact, you don’t even have to edit the /etc/sudoers file in any way to get started. Instead, you just add the users to the sudo or admin group on the system and you’re done.

Adding users to the sudo or admin group in the /etc/group file gives them permission to run commands using sudo.

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From: Network World

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