Book Review: Debian 7: System Administration Best Practices

Debian 7: System Administration Best Practices


By : Rich Pinkall Pollei

Chapter 1: Debian Basics for Administrators

This discussion is oriented towards those who are new to Debian. In it, we’ll cover Debian’s place among the various Linux distributions, project organization (and how that impacts administration), and licensing issues. Those who are already familiar with Debian may wish to skip ahead to the next chapter.

1. Linux Distribution
2. The three Branch Packages Binari
– SLS (Softlanding Linux System)
– RPM Red Hat Package Manager
– DPKG or DEB (Debian Packaging System)

3. The Debian Project
– The Social Contract
– Constitution
– Polices
– Licensing
– repository
– Debian Environments
– Impact on Administration

Chapter 2: Files System Layout

This chapter serves as a basic introduction to the concepts of boot loading and disk partitioning, along with some guidelines to keep in mind when installing Debian or updating your boot or partitioning schemes. Do not worry if you are still uncertain what is best for your situation when first installing Debian. As we shall see, the defaults will work just fine for most cases, and the beginner can’t really go wrong while using them when in doubt.

1. Partiotion Tables
Each architecture has its own characteristic method of partitioning disk drives and placing boot code in the appropriate place. For most, this is very straightforward. However, the Intel architecture is undergoing changes that require some understanding of the boot process and disk layout.

2. File System Types
Selecting a filesystem format is the next major choice before installing Debian. The supported formats that are appropriate for a Linux installation include ext2, ext3, ext4, JFS, XFS, ReiserFS, and Btrfs. The first three are actually progressive versions of the extended filesystem (ext) developed specifically for Linux.

3. Partitioning
There are the following three main considerations when deciding how to partition storage for a Debian system:

• Efficient backup and recovery
• Limiting space
• Disk management

4. Eccription
There are two main options, disk encryption and directory encryption.

Chapter 3: Package Management
All of these, and more, are the province of the Debian package management system. In this chapter, we’ll cover package managers, software selection and maintenance, how to update your system, and how to set up automatic updating.

1. Packages Managers
– dpkg and dselect
– Advanced Package Tool
– aptitude
– Synaptic

2. Packages selection and maintainenance
– Configure media or repositories
– The significance of the release name
– Selecting Packages
– Updating Packages Cache

3. Keeping Current
It is possible to perform automatic, unattended updates to a system, but there are some potential problems. Setting it up is quite simple.

4. Foreign Packages
– Alien
– Manual Build

5. Upgrade Your System
The apt-get command dist-upgrade or the aptitude full-upgrade will perform the necessary special calculations to upgrade to the next major distribution release after the package information cache has been updated (either using the normal update command if you have configured the release name as stable, or after changing to the new release name and executing the update command).

Chapter 4: Basic Package COnfiguration

Debian depends heavily on the configuration methods used by the upstream developers of each package, supplemented by the Debian developers’ modifications and additions to standardize package configuration, and make the administrator’s life easier. In this chapter, we will cover the standard location of configuration files, utilities available to assist in configuration, trends in configuration file management,
and some examples.

Chapter 5: System Management

This Chapter configuring individual software packages, an administrator is responsible for managing how the various services on his systems are started and stopped, managing network connections, maintaining the filesystem, managing system logs, and configuring the face the system shows to the users.

Chapter 6: Basic System Security

Debian provides some assistance here, with special packages that help in hardening your systems, but this is only the beginning. In particular, you must pay attention to how you set up the root account, how to block improper access to your systems, and how to monitor your system for security problems.

1. User Administration
2. Firewall Tolls
3. Intrusion Detection

Chapter 7: Advanced System Management

n this final chapter, we’ll cover briefly several advanced administration subjects. Remote backups and configuration administration will be covered, and we will briefly look at cluster management. Finally, we will look at one of the most useful administration tools for any Linux system, Webmin.

– Remote backups
– Configuration management
– Clusters
– Webmin

Overall, this book is a great books. The author is well written this book. You should buy this book if you serious onto Debian 7: System Administration Best Practices


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