Questions specifically about Linux, as opposed to Unix-like systems in general, or to questions about a specific distribution or program.

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26
votes
2answers
5k views

What is this new /run filesystem?

I just ran df -h a minute ago and noticed a filesystem has been added that I'm not familiar with. Does anyone know why /run exists? Is this something that's been added by the kernel? By Arch Linux? ...
25
votes
3answers
9k views

Difference Between cp -r and cp -R (copy command)

cp- r is meant to copy files recursively, and cp -R for copying directories recursively. But I've checked, and both appear to copy both files and directories, the same thing. So, what's the difference ...
25
votes
3answers
2k views

Does grep use a cache to speed up the searches?

I have noticed that subsequent runs of grep on the same query (and also a different query, but on the same file) are much faster than the first run (the effect is easily noticeable when searching ...
25
votes
5answers
12k views

How to easily build your own Linux Distro? [duplicate]

I wanted to have a go at creating my very own Linux Distribution. Could you suggest some nice and easy-to-follow tutorials (preferably text based and not videos). I have heard something about Arch ...
25
votes
10answers
21k views

Linux distribution geared towards developers

I am looking for the best flavor of Linux that would appeal to the developer's side of me. I am a lover of open source and use several different languages. Is there such a thing as a Linux geared ...
25
votes
3answers
1k views

Can a bash script be hooked to a file?

I want a script to sleep unless a certain file is modifed/deleted (or a file created in a certain directory, or ...). Can this be achieved in some elegant way? The simplest thing that comes to my mind ...
25
votes
12answers
2k views

How can I tweak my Linux desktop to be more responsive?

I have the experience that Linux works fine until the physical memory is exhausted. As soon as swap space is used the performance is severely degraded and the GUI becomes unresponsive. This problem ...
25
votes
1answer
1k views

Oldest binary working on Linux?

In a discussion on backwards-compatibility in Linux kernel and GUI ABIs, Alan Cox notes that "my 3.6rc kernel will still run a Rogue binary built in 1992. X is back compatible to apps far older than ...
24
votes
6answers
3k views

Why isn't there a truly unified package manager for Linux?

Why isn't there a unified package manager that acts as an interface between the end-user and the underlying low-level package manager (apt, yast, pacman, etc.)? Is it hard to do and therefore not ...
24
votes
3answers
20k views

How can I use the “mail” command?

I am not great at using the mail command on Linux. How can I get better? I don't even know what program this is. Is it pine? I doubt it. It is in /usr/bin/mail and when I start it is tells me that it ...
23
votes
1answer
2k views

Were all Unix commands re-written in Linux?

I would like to know which commands were re-written for Linux and which were retained from Unix? I'm new to Linux.
23
votes
6answers
14k views

Correctly determining memory usage in Linux

I'm a bit confused on some of the results I am seeing from "ps" and "free". On my server, this is the result of "free -m" [root@server ~]# free -m total used free shared ...
23
votes
9answers
6k views

How do I find how long ago a Linux system was installed?

How can I find the time since a Linux system was first installed, provided that nobody has tried to hide it?
23
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do some Linux distributions still have /dev/ttyS0, ttyS1, etc., even though newer computers don't have such a serial port?

Many new laptop and desktop computers do not have 9-pin/25-pin serial ports. Why do many Linux distributions still contain /dev/ttyS0, dev/ttyS1 device files? Since udev can create the device files ...
23
votes
7answers
14k views

Linux Kernel: Good beginners' tutorial

I'm interested in modifying the kernel internals, applying patches, handling device drivers and modules, for my own personal fun. Is there a comprehensive resource for kernel hacking, intended for ...
23
votes
5answers
1k views

How to strip a Linux system?

I've been building a Linux distro, and I've stripped the binaries, etc. The system won't use GCC or development tools, as it will be a Chrome kiosk, so it would greatly help if I could strip down the ...
23
votes
3answers
6k views

Can linux deal with ultra high resolution displays?

A few months ago Samsung announced the Ativ Book 9 Plus. A pretty cool ultrabook with a screen resolution of 3200 x 1800 pixels (QHD+). The device ships with Windows 8 until Windows 8.1 will be ...
22
votes
5answers
2k views

Is CTRL+C incorrect to use to return to command line?

When I'm using tail -f and I want to return to the shell, I always use CTRL+C. Or when I am typing a command and feel like aborting it and starting over, I simply CTRL+C to get back to an empty ...
22
votes
2answers
1k views

How frequently is the proc file system updated on Linux?

How frequently is the proc file system updated on Linux? Is it 20 milliseconds (time quantum)?
22
votes
2answers
5k views

What mount points exist on a typical Linux system?

I have 2 questions. During Linux installation we specify memory space for 2 mount points - root and swap. Are there any other mount points created without the users notice? Is this statement ...
22
votes
5answers
7k views

A tool for automatically applying RandR configuration when external display is plugged in

is there a tool which enables one to: remember current RandR configuration (position, orientation, resolution etc) on per-monitor basis, automatically apply last known good configuration as soon as ...
22
votes
7answers
3k views

How can I use DD to migrate data from an old drive to a new drive?

I am upgrading the internal SATA hard drive on my laptop from a 40G drive to a 160G drive. I have a Linux/Ubuntu desktop which has a SATA card. I would actually like to do the same thing for a couple ...
21
votes
6answers
4k views

How do I correlate /dev/sd devices to the hardware they represent?

A drive is beginning to fail and I only know the device by its /dev/sdb device file designation. What are the ways that I can use to correlate that device file to an actual hardware device to know ...
21
votes
3answers
1k views

When is a reboot required?

Apart from upgrading the kernel, are there any changes to a Linux system that require a reboot? I know there are situations where a reboot makes things easier, but are there any that cannot be ...
21
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a reason why 'owner' permissions exist? Aren't group permissions enough?

I think I rather understand how file permissions work in linux. However, I don't really understand why they are split into three levels and not into two. I'd like the following issues answered: Is ...
21
votes
1answer
5k views

What are ConsoleKit and PolicyKit? How do they work?

I've seen that recent GNU/Linux are using ConsoleKit and PolicyKit. What are they for? How do they work? The best answer should explain what kind of problem each one tries to solve, and how they ...
20
votes
4answers
3k views

What doesn't need defragmentation? Linux or the ext2 ext3 FS?

Why don't you have to defrag a Linux system? Because it's using the ext2/ext3 file system or because it's Linux? That's relevant, because a have a double boot system (W7 / Ubuntu) and a common ...
20
votes
5answers
11k views

Why does Linux allow ‘init=/bin/bash’?

I recently found out that if I edit GRUB before booting and I add rw init=/bin/bash I end up with a root shell. Being in a condition that I want to understand everything I would like to know why this ...
20
votes
4answers
14k views

Creating a ram disk on Linux

I have a machine with 62GB of RAM, and a trunk that's only 7GB, so I thought I would create a RAM disk and compile there. I am not a Linux expert. I found instructions on the internet to create the ...
20
votes
6answers
5k views

Force directory to always be in cache

I've been testing out different methods to improve the time it takes to compile my entire c++ project. Currently it takes ~5 minutes. I experimented with distcc, ccache, and others. Recently, I ...
20
votes
2answers
16k views

timestamp, modification time, and created time of a file

I just know that ls -t, -f give different sorting of files and subdirectories under a directory. Now I wonder what are the differences between timestamp, modification time, and created time of a ...
20
votes
2answers
3k views

How do I remove a file with no permissions?

A hacker has dropped a file in my tmp dir that is causing issues. Nothing malicious except creating GB's of error_log entries because their script is failing. However, the file they are using to ...
19
votes
4answers
5k views

What makes OSX programs not runnable on Linux?

I know there are many differences between OSX and Linux, but what makes them so totally different, that makes them fundamentally incompatible?
19
votes
3answers
5k views

Why does Linux use a swap partition rather than a file?

It seems to me a swap file is more flexible.
19
votes
9answers
2k views

How can I reliably get the operating system's name?

Say I am logged into a remote system, how can I know what it's running? On most modern Linuxes (Linuces?), you have the lsb_release command: $ lsb_release -ic Distributor ID: LinuxMint Codename: ...
19
votes
2answers
2k views

Where is the fork() on the fork bomb :(){ :|: & };:?

Warning: Running this command in most shells will result in a broken system that will need a forced shutdown to fix I understand the recursive function :(){ :|: & };: and what it does. But I ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I make a file NOT modifiable?

While logged in, I can do the following: mkdir foo touch foo/bar chmod 400 foo/bar chmod 500 foo Then I can open vim (not as root), edit bar, force a write with w!, and the file is modified! How ...
19
votes
2answers
13k views

Difference between pts and tty

Possible Duplicate: What is the exact difference between a 'terminal', a 'shell', a 'tty' and a 'console'? I always see pts and tty when I use the who ...
19
votes
5answers
6k views

What is the difference between kernel drivers and kernel modules?

When I do a lspci -k on my Kubuntu with a 3.2.0-29-generic kernel I can see something like this: 01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation G86 [Quadro NVS 290] (rev a1) Subsystem: ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I set the processor affinity of a process on Linux?

The question is all in the title: How can I set the processor affinity of a process on Linux?
19
votes
3answers
5k views

What is the difference between procfs and sysfs?

What is the difference between procfs and sysfs? Why are they made as file systems? As I understand it, proc is just something to store the immediate info regarding the processes running in the ...
19
votes
7answers
1k views

Good Introductory resources for linux

Are there any good tutorials or resources I can read so that I am not confused by basic things like 'how to search all files in a directory and below for a given string', or 'how to find out how much ...
19
votes
4answers
3k views

What happens to the output of a process that has been disowned and lost its terminal?

If I close the virtual terminal, where some process was started, does the output just go straight to /dev/null, or can it pollute memory somehow? Can I anyhow grab the output to continue reading it at ...
19
votes
1answer
3k views

Why doesn't Linux use the IANA Ephemeral port range?

According to Wikipedia The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) suggests the range 49152 to 65535 for dynamic or private ports. Many Linux kernels use the port range 32768 to 61000. Even ...
18
votes
3answers
742 views

Which are the standard commands available in every Linux based distribution?

I would like to know which are the standard commands available in every Linux system. For example if you get a debian/ubuntu/redhat/suse/arch/slackware etc, you will always find there commands like: ...
18
votes
4answers
280 views

How to find the driver (module) associated with a device on Linux?

On Linux, given: a device, for example /dev/sda, and its major and minor numbers, for example 8, 0, how can I know which module / driver is "driving" it? Can I dig into /sys or /proc to ...
18
votes
2answers
4k views

Who's got the other end of this unix socketpair?

I want to determine what process has the other end of a unix socket, that was created with socketpair(). I have a program parent which creates a socketpair(AF_UNIX, SOCK_STREAM, 0, fds), and fork()s. ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

Kernel Hacking Environment

I have been working in embedded OS like uCOS, ThreadX. While I have coded apps in Linux, now I’m planning to start learning Linux Kernel. I have few questions regarding the environment. Which is ...
18
votes
4answers
17k views

How to record Skype video calls on Linux?

I'd like to conduct recorded video interviews with Skype and am looking for a reliable tool to accomplish that. Is there anything out there that's not slow or buggy? I'm running (K)Ubuntu.
17
votes
3answers
7k views

How to know if a disk is an SSD or an HDD

I want to know whether a disk is a solid-state drive or hard disk. lshw is not installed. I do yum install lshw and it says there is no package named lshw. I do not know which version of ...