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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21
votes
6answers
8k 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
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
3answers
9k views

A list of available DBus services

Is there such a thing as list of available DBus services? I've stumbled upon a few (like those provided by NetworkManager, Rhythmbox, Skype, HAL). I wonder if I can find a rather complete list of ...
21
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
21
votes
2answers
13k views

How to colorize output of ls ?

I'm running CentOS in Linux text mode. When I run the command ls /usr/, the output is too hard to read (dark blue on black). How can I change the text coloring?
21
votes
3answers
7k views

How much RAM does the kernel use?

This question is motivated by my shock when I discovered that Mac OS X kernel uses 750MB of RAM. I have been using Linux for 20 years, and I always "knew" that the kernel RAM usage is dwarfed by X ...
21
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?
21
votes
2answers
52k views

What user should apache and PHP be running as? What permissions should /var/www files have?

I just spun up an Ubuntu 11.10 box and then ran apt-get install apache2 php5 to install apache2 and PHP 5 on the box. Now it is functioning as a "web server" and it loads the "It Works!" page. Now I'm ...
20
votes
6answers
18k views

How to replace one char with another in all filenames of the current directories?

How do you rename all files/subdirs in the current folder? Lets say, I have many files and subdirs that are with spaces and I want to replace all the spaces with an underscore. File 1 File 2 File 3 ...
20
votes
4answers
18k views

How can I tell what version of linux I'm using?

Often times I will ssh into a new client's box to make changes to their website configuration without knowing much about the server configuration. I have seen a few ways to get information about the ...
20
votes
10answers
17k views

Linux replacement for Apple Keynote software?

Sorry for my ignorance, this is a newbie question: I am trying to migrate from Mac OS X to a Linux distribution, maybe/probably Ubuntu. One of my favorite applications for the Mac was Apple Keynote, ...
20
votes
5answers
35k views

How to list all files in the size order

I would like to list all files in the order of big to small in size and the files could be present anywhere in a certain folder.
20
votes
1answer
24k views

How is a message queue implemented in the Linux kernel?

I would like to know how Message Queues are implemented in the Linux Kernel.
20
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
3k views

When was a process started

To know when was a process started, my first guess was to check the time when /proc/<pid>/cmdline was written/modified the last time. ps also shows a START field. I thought both of these ...
20
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
20
votes
3answers
13k views

What are pseudo terminals (pty/tty)?

This might be really basic question but I want to understand it thoroughly. What is a pseudo terminal? (tty/pty) Why do we need them? How they got introduced and what was the need for it? Are they ...
20
votes
3answers
4k views

What does the vm.swappiness parameter really control?

Per the kernel documentation: This control is used to define how aggressive the kernel will swap memory pages. Higher values will increase aggressiveness, lower values decrease the amount of swap. ...
20
votes
2answers
22k views

Linux: How to find the device driver used for a device?

If my target has one device connected and many drivers for that device loaded, how can I understand what device is using which driver?
20
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
20
votes
4answers
20k 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.
19
votes
4answers
18k views

How to attach terminal to detached process?

I have detached a process from my terminal, like this: $ process & That terminal is now long closed, but process is still running and I want to send some commands to that process's stdin. Is ...
19
votes
4answers
36k views

linux: How can I view all UUIDs for all available disks on my system?

My /etc/fstab contains this: # / was on /dev/sda1 during installation UUID=77d8da74-a690-481a-86d5-9beab5a8e842 / ext4 errors=remount-ro 0 1 There are several other disks on ...
19
votes
3answers
6k views

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

It seems to me a swap file is more flexible.
19
votes
4answers
4k views

Block network access of a process?

Is it possible to block the (outgoing) network access of a single process?
19
votes
3answers
880 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: ...
19
votes
1answer
15k views

Getting information about a process' memory usage from /proc/pid/smaps

For a given process in /proc/<pid>/smaps, for a given mapping entry what are: Shared_Clean Shared_Dirty Private_Clean Private_Dirty Is Shared_Clean + Shared_Dirty the amount of memory that ...
19
votes
3answers
221 views

How did the Linux Kernel project track bugs in the Early Days?

We all know that Linus Torvalds created Git because of issues with Bitkeeper. What is not known (at least to me) is, how were issues/tickets/bugs tracked up until then? I tried but didn't get anything ...
19
votes
2answers
77k views

How to get the complete and exact list of mounted filesystems in Linux?

I usually use mount to check which filesystems are mounted. I also know there is some connection between mount and /etc/mtab but I'm not sure about the details. After reading How to check if /proc/ is ...
19
votes
6answers
5k views

What's the most “correct” mount point for a permanent NTFS partition?

I have an NTFS partition (containing a Windows installation from which I dual boot) that I would like to permanently mount from my Linux installation. Problem is, I can't figure out what the ...
19
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
18
votes
4answers
1k views

Why does Linux scale so well to different hardware platforms?

Why does Linux run well on so many different types of machines - desktops, laptops, servers, embedded devices, mobile phones, etc? Is it mainly because the system is open, so any part of it can be ...
18
votes
5answers
2k views

Where does uname get its information from?

Where does uname really get its information from? I figure this is something that should be straightforward. Unfortunately, I can't find any header containing just that information. Say someone ...
18
votes
4answers
20k views

What is a spinlock in Linux?

I would like to know about spinlocks in detail? Could someone explain that to me?
18
votes
3answers
8k views

File system compatible with all OSes?

I use Linux and Mac OS X on a regular basis, and sometimes I have to use Windows. I need to use a flash drive on all three, and I need a filesystem that will work well on all of them. None of the ...
18
votes
3answers
10k views

How to Determine the Amount of RAM Slots In Use?

I forgot how many RAM modules are installed on my laptop. I do not want to unscrew it but want to look it up on the console. How do I gather this information?
18
votes
4answers
10k views

Resume transfer of a single file by rsync

In Ubuntu, I want to copy a big file from my hard drive to a removable drive by rsync. For some other reason, the operation cannot complete in a single run. So I am trying to figure out how to use ...
18
votes
6answers
22k views

Linux: allowing an user to listen to a port below 1024

I need to allow an user (different from root) to run a server listening on port 80. Is there any way to do this?
18
votes
4answers
20k views

How is an Interrupt handled in Linux?

I just know that Interrupt is a hardware signal assertion caused in a processor pin. But I would like to know how Linux OS handles it. What all are the things that happen when an interrupt occurs?
18
votes
3answers
16k views

Where can I see a list of kernel killed processes?

Is there some way I can check which of my processes the kernel has killed? Sometimes I log onto my server and find that something that should've run all night just stopped 8 hours in and I'm unsure if ...
18
votes
7answers
6k views

Linux equivalent to ReadyBoost?

Is there a kernel module or some other patch or something similar to Windows' ReadyBoost? Basically I'm looking for something that allows disk reads to be cached on a Flash drive.
18
votes
1answer
10k views

What is difference between User space and Kernel space?

Is Kernel space used when Kernel is executing on the behalf of the user program i.e. System Call? Or is it the address space for all the Kernel threads (for example scheduler)? If it is the first ...
18
votes
3answers
18k views

What is the most high-performance Linux filesystem for storing a lot of small files (HDD, not SSD)?

I have a directory tree that contains many small files, and a small number of larger files. The average size of a file is about 1 kilobyte. There are 210158 files and directories in the tree (this ...
18
votes
3answers
5k views

Why does the 'bin' user need a login shell?

During an audit of /var/log/auth.log on one of my public webservers, I found this: Jan 10 03:38:11 Bucksnort sshd[3571]: pam_unix(sshd:auth): authentication failure; logname= uid=0 euid=0 ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

Run a command for a specified time and then abort if time exceeds

I want know how I can run a command for a specified time say, one minute and if it doesn't complete execution then I should be able to stop it.
18
votes
6answers
2k views

Is there a way to limit overall CPU consumption?

My laptop (an HP with an i3 chip) overheats like crazy every time I run a resource heavy process (like a large compilation, extracting large tarballs or ... playing Flash). I am currently looking ...
18
votes
7answers
11k views

Linux boot loaders supporting full disk encryption?

Are there any Linux boot loaders supporting full disk encryption (a la TrueCrypt). I know there was work towards adding encryption support to GRUB2, but this does not seem to be ready yet. Any other ...
18
votes
2answers
38k views

How to recover a crashed Linux md RAID5 array?

Some time ago I had a RAID5 system at home. One of the 4 disks failed but after removing and putting it back it seemed to be OK so I started a resync. When it finished I realized, to my horror, that 3 ...
18
votes
2answers
43k views

How can I change a user's default group in Linux?

Being new to Linux administration, I'm a little confused about the following commands: useradd usermod groupadd groupmod I've just finished reading the user administration book in the Linux/Unix ...
18
votes
2answers
14k views

how to check rx ring, max_backlog, and max_syn_backlog size

Quite often in the course of troubleshooting and tuning things I find myself thinking about the following Linux kernel settings: net.core.netdev_max_backlog net.ipv4.tcp_max_syn_backlog ...