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Essential System Administration, 3rd Edition by Æleen Frisch

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Chapter 2. The Unix Way

It’s easy to identify the most important issues and concerns system managers face, regardless of the type of computers they have. Almost every system manager has to deal with user accounts, system startup and shutdown, peripheral devices, system performance, security—the list could go on and on. While the commands and procedures you use in each of these areas vary widely across different computer systems, the general approach to such issues can be remarkably similar. For example, the process of adding users to a system has the same basic shape everywhere: add the user to the user account database, allocate some disk space for him, assign a password to the account, enable him to use major system facilities and applications, and so on. Only the commands to perform these tasks are different on different systems.

In other cases, however, even the approach to an administrative task or issue will change from one computer system to the next. For example, “mounting disks” doesn’t mean the same thing on a Unix system that it does on aVMS orMVS system (where they’re not always even called disks). No matter what operating system you’re using—Unix, Windows 2000, MVS—you need to know something about what’s happening inside, at least more than an ordinary user does.

Like it or not, a system administrator is generally called on to be the resident guru. If you’re responsible for a multiuser system, you’ll need to be able to answer user questions, come up with solutions to ...

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