Most of us simply install our favorite distribution, accepting many/most of the defaults, including the boot loader setup, without a second thought. However, there has been a lot of time and effort spent on the bootloader over the years, GRUB taking the place of the venerable LILO. GRUB offers a lot of flexibility in controlling our system during boot, allowing us to have Linux along with (boo) Windows on a nicely partitioned system. Let’s talk about some of the options we have and how to make those changes.

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IPv4: DeMystified

Terrence T. Cox —  June 11, 2013

We all ‘know’ what an IP address is and what it’s significance in the age of the internet is. What remains a mystery to a large number of people however (surprisingly even those in the technology industry) is exactly what an IP address is, in detail, and what the component parts represent and the significance of each. Today, we are going to define those components and talk a bit about each in an effort to make things a bit clearer as well as prepare you for the eventual (and inevitable) move to IPv6 (the subject of a series of later articles). Let’s get started…

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There are many source control mechanisms in use for all types of projects, large and small. Some tools are much more complex than others and better suited to large distributed teams. However, what about an easy to setup, easy to configure, easy to manage tool that can offer version control for a large number of files without eating a huge amount of storage? Let’s dive in with a simple Subversion (often abbreviated as SVN) install and set up a repository for some local documents.

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I have implemented a new passwd policy and am forcing users to change their password. The problem I’m facing is I don’t they dont’ know what the password requirements are. How can I communicate this to them before they change their password using passwd?

That’s a great question, and it’s actually really simple. What we have to do is create our own custom script that displays the password requirements and then calls the passwd program. And we have to call the script whenever  a user types passwd command at the prompt.

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Sudo, the one command to rule them all.  It stands for “super user do!”  Pronounced like “sue dough” As a Linux system administrator or power user, it’s one of the most important commands in your arsenal.  Have you ever tried to run a command in terminal only to be given “Access Denied?”  Well this is the command for you!  But, with great power comes great responsibility!  It is much better than logging in as root, or using the su “switch user” command.  Read on to see what sudo can do for you!

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For those people who have made the switch to a laptop as their primary system, Linux has presented a bit of a problem. Some integrated devices have less than stellar support and even the proprietary binary graphics drivers have left something to be desired. Worse, modern laptops that contain the ‘Optimus’ technology (multiple GPU configurations – NVidia and Intel) either had to be used in one mode or the other (one or the other X Server, but not both). Enter the ‘bumblebee’ project. This project allows you to compile support onto your system to allow you to designate certain applications to use the discrete driver (NVidia) for better video/game performance but did not address the ability to use both video cards for desktop display of multiple monitors. Today, we will address that shortcoming.

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In March of this year, CentOS gathered all of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux upstream packages released and created the latest version of CentOS for distribution. We are going to talk about some of the changes and additions to this version so you can decide when is the right time for you or your organization to upgrade.

If you want to try it out now without upgrading your own systems, you can head on over to Linux Academy and check out their Linux training tracks. You get a personal server to use during all the online lessons and CentOS 6.4 is one of the distributions available right now.

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The network tool ‘ping’ has been used by almost everyone who regularly uses a PC at one point or another. The tool is so ubiquitous that it is installed by default on every modern networkable operating system and has been for some time. It is both simple to use and can be a powerful means of exploring your network locally and the internet at large. We are going to go over some use cases and explain exactly what it is and how it works.

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The Linux Academy brought to you by Pinehead.tv is happy to announce two new premium courses to take our total number of lessons to 114 as of today!

The first of the two courses is Enterprise Amazon Web Services. This course focuses on advanced Amazon Web Service concepts such as:

  • Running large scale web applications
  • Load balancing
  • Auto scaling
  • Amazon RDS
  • Automatic code deployment

Our second course was highly requested and brought to you by our new Instructor. He has 20 years of technical expertise managing and leading Linux teams. That course is Linux Security Essentials and focuses on:

  • Hardening your server for public access
  • Testing your system and correcting common security issues

Visit Linux Academy by Pinehead.tv and begin your journey towards Linux Certification today!

One of the most common complaints about Ubuntu since the launch of version 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) is the inclusion of Unity as the default user desktop. Although version 12.10/13.04 has come a long way since then in terms of stability and useability, many people miss some of the ‘eye candy’ that was so easy to set up in previous versions. Today we are going to talk about how to set up Compiz for composite desktop effects like the 3D Desktop Cube, Window Wobble and many others.

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