The right tools make any job easier, and the lack of them can make some tasks almost impossible. When you need an Allen wrench, nothing but an Allen wrench will do. On the other hand, if you need a Phillips head srewdriver, you might be able to make do with a pocket knife, and occasionally it will even work better.
The first section of this chapter will consider ways the commands and utilities that Unix provides can make system administration easier. Sometimes that means applying common user commands to administrative tasks, sometimes it means putting commands together in unexpected ways, and sometimes it means making smarter and more efficient use of familiar tools. And, once in a while, what will make your life easier is creating tools for users to use, so that they can handle some things for themselves. We’ll look at this last topic in Chapter 14.
The second section of this chapter will consider some essential
administrative facilities and techniques, including the
cron subsystem, the syslog facility, strategies
for handling the many system log files, and management software packages.
We’ll close the chapter with a list of Internet software sources.