Networking: A Beginner's Guide
hen Linux first came out in 1991, you had to be either a systems administrator
with a lot of time or a good hacker to be able to use the system effectively.
While this was fine for folks who were willing to expend the effort, it wasn't
great for the vast majority who saw potential for using Linux but shied away from
the learning curve. Thankfully, many Linux distribution developers have realized this
shortcoming and have gone to great lengths to make Linux not only easy to install, but
relatively painless to administer.
This chapter provides an overview of some of the basic administrative chores
necessary to keep a Linux server running smoothly. Although it is by no means a
complete guide to systems administration, this chapter will get you started in the right
This chapter assumes that you have Fedora Linux already installed and the
graphical user interface (X Window System) configured. The chapter also assumes that
you are logging in to the system and running all programs as the user root.
The root user is almighty under Linux. If you are familiar with Windows server, you
can think of root as being somewhat equivalent to the administrator account. With root access, you
have full control of the system, including the ability to break it. If you are new to Linux, you should
definitely take some time to practice on a nonproduction system before trying things out on your
This chapter is divided into two main sections. The first section deals with
configuring Fedora Linux with graphical tools for systems administration functions.
The second part of the chapter deals with the command-line interface. While this
section isn't about systems administration per se, the commands it covers are the
foundation for basic systems administration tasks.
Managing Fedora Linux with Graphical Tools
The graphical tools are the basis for most of the administrative tasks you will need to
do. They handle user administration, network administration, disk administration, and
so on. What makes these tools especially helpful is that they provide a very consistent
interface for Linux administrative tasks. The only downside is that, like other graphical
user interfaces (GUIs), these tools have limitations. You might find that for more
advanced tasks, you will need to use the command-line interface, as described later in
To take advantage of the multiuser nature of Linux, you need to be able to add, edit,
and remove users from the system. You can perform all of these actions through the
User Manager program, as follows: