Linux System Administrator

Every computer in the world has a system administrator. It may be that the majority of system administrators are probably those who decided as to what software and peripherals would be bundled with the machine when it was shipped. That status remains because the majority of users who acquire computers for use probably do little to change in the default values. But the minute the user makes some changes in applications and decides what softwares and applications to run he becomes a system administrator. 

Such a high duty brings with it some responsibilities. No one whose computer is connected to the Internet, for instance, has been immune to the effects of poorly administered systems, as demonstrated by the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) and e-mail macro virus attacks that have shaken the online world in recent years. The scope of these acts of computer vandalism (and in some cases computer larceny) would have been greatly reduced if system administrators had a better understanding of their duties.

The Linux system administrator is more likely to understand the necessity of active system administration than are those who run whatever came on the computer, assuming that things came from the factory are properly configured. By its very nature as a modern, multiuser operating system, Linux requires a degree of administration greater than that of less robust home market systems. This means that even if you are using a single machine connected to the Internet by a dial-up modem — or not even connected at all — you have the benefits of the same system employed by some of the largest businesses in the world, and will do many of the things that the IT professionals employed by those companies are paid to do.

Administering your own system does involve a degree of learning, but it also means that in setting and configuring your own system you gain skills and understanding that raise you above mere “computer user” status.

By definition, the Linux system administrator is the person who has “root” access, which is to say the one who is the system’s “super user” (or root user). A standard Linux user has limitations. But the “root” user has unfettered access to everything — all user accounts, their home directories, and the files therein; all system configurations; and all files on the system. A certain body of thought says that no one should
ever log in as “root,” because system administration tasks can be performed more easily and safely through other, more specific means, which I will discuss in later posts.


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