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Linux Interview Questions and Answers

1. Which command is used to check the number of files and disk space used and the each user's defined quota?

repquota command is used to check the status of the user's quota along with the disk space and number of files used. This command gives a summary of the user's quota that how much space and files are left for the user. Every user has a defined quota in Linux. This is done mainly for the security, as some users have only limited access to files. This provides a security to the files from unwanted access. The quota can be given to a single user or to a group of users.

2. What is the name and path of the main system log?

By default the main system log is /var/log/messages. This file contains all the messages and the script written by the user. By default all scripts are saved in this file. This is the standard system log file, which contains messages from all system software, non-kernel boot issues, and messages that go to 'dmesg'. dmesg is a system file that is written upon system boot.

3. How secured is Linux? Explain.

Security is the most important aspect of an operating system. Due to its unique authentication module, Linux is considered as more secured than other operating systems. Linux consists of PAM. PAM is Pluggable Authentication Modules. It provides a layer between applications and actual authentication mechanism. It is a library of loadable modules which are called by the application for authentication. It also allows the administrator to control when a user can log in. All PAM applications are configured in the directory "/etc/pam.d" or in a file "/etc/pam.conf". PAM is controlled using the configuration file or the configuration directory.

4. Can Linux computer be made a router so that several machines may share a single Internet connection? How?

Yes a Linux machine can be made a router. This is called "IP Masquerade." IP Masquerade is a networking function in Linux similar to the one-to-many (1: Many) NAT (Network Address Translation) servers found in many commercial firewalls and network routers. The IP Masquerade feature allows other "internal" computers connected to this Linux box (via PPP, Ethernet, etc.) to also reach the Internet as well. Linux IP Masquerading allows this functionality even if the internal computers do not have IP addresses.
The IP masquerading can be done by the following steps:

* The Linux PC must have an internet connection and a connection to LAN. Typically, the Linux PC has two network interfaces-an Ethernet card for the LAN and a dial-up PPP connection to the Internet (through an ISP).

* All other systems on your LAN use the Linux PC as the default gateway for TCP/IP networking. Use the same ISP-provided DNS addresses on all systems.

* Enable IP forwarding in the kernel. By default the IP forwarding is not enabled. To ensure that IP forwarding is enabled when you reboot your system, place this command in the /etc/rc.d/rc.local file.

* Run /sbin/iptables-the IP packet filter administration program-to set up the rules that enable the Linux PC to masquerade for your LAN.

5.What is the minimum number of partitions you need to install Linux?

Minimum 2 partitions are needed for installing Linux. The one is / or root which contains all the files and the other is swap. Linux file system is function specific which means that files and folders are organized according to their functionality. For example, all executables are in one folder, all devices in another, all libraries in another and so on. / or 'root' is the base of this file system. All the other folders are under this one. / can be consider as C: .Swap is a partition that will be used as virtual memory. If there is no more available RAM a Linux computer will use an area of the hard disk, called swap, to temporarily store data. In other words it is a way of expanding your computers RAM.

6. Which command is used to review boot messages?

dmesg command is used to review boot messages. This command will display system messages contained in the kernel ring buffer. We can use this command immediately after booting to see boot messages. A ring buffer is a buffer of fixed size for which any new data added to it overwrites the oldest data in it. Its basic syntax is

dmesg [options]

Invoking dmesg without any of its options causes it to write all the kernel messages to standard output. This usually produces far too many lines to fit into the display screen all at once, and thus only the final messages are visible. However, the output can be redirected to the less command through the use of a pipe, thereby allowing the startup messages to be viewed on one screen at a time
dmesg | less

7. Which utility is used to make automate rotation of a log?

logrotate command is used to make automate rotation of log.
Syntax of the command is:
logrotate [-dv] [-f|] [-s|] config_file+
It allows automatic rotation, compression, removal, and mailing of log files. This command is mainly used for rotating and compressing log files. This job is done every day when a log file becomes too large. This command can also be run by giving on command line. We can done force rotation by giving –f option with this command in command line. This command is also used for mailing. We can give –m option for mailing with this command. This option takes two arguments one is subject and other is recipient name.

8. What are the partitions created on the mail server hard drive?

The main partitions are done firstly which are root, swap and boot partition. But for the mail server three different partitions are also done which are as follows:
1. /var/spool- This is done so that if something goes wrong with the mail server or spool than the output cannot overrun the file system.
2. /tmp- putting this on its own partition prevents any user item or software from overrunning the system files.
3. /home- putting this on its own is useful for system upgrades or reinstalls. It allow not to wipe off the /home hierarchy along with other areas.

9. What are the fields in the/etc/passwd file?

It contains all the information of the users who log into the system. It contains a list of the system's accounts, giving for each account some useful information like user ID, group ID, home directory, shell, etc. It should have general read permission as many utilities, like ls use it to map user IDs to user names, but write access only for the superuser (root). The main fields of /etc/passwd file are:
1. Username: It is used when user logs in. It should be between 1 and 32 characters in length.
2. Password: An x character indicates that encrypted password is stored in /etc/shadow file.
3. User ID (UID): Each user must be assigned a user ID (UID). UID 0 (zero) is reserved for root and UIDs 1-99 are reserved for other predefined accounts. Further UID 100-999 are reserved by system for administrative and system accounts/groups.
4. Group ID (GID): The primary group ID (stored in /etc/group file)
5. User ID Info: The comment field. It allow you to add extra information about the users such as user's full name, phone number etc. This field use by finger command.
6. Home directory: The absolute path to the directory the user will be in when they log in. If this directory does not exists then users directory becomes /
7. Command/shell: The absolute path of a command or shell (/bin/bash). Typically, this is a shell.

10. Which commands are used to set a processor-intensive job to use less CPU time?

nice command is used for changing priority of the jobs.
Syntax: nice [OPTION] [COMMAND [ARG]...]
Range of priority goes from -20 (highest priority) to 19 (lowest).Priority is given to a job so that the most important job is executed first by the kernel and then the other least important jobs. This takes less CPU times as the jobs are scheduled and are given priorities so the CPU executes fast. The priority is given by numbers like -20 describe the highest priority and 19 describe the least priority.

11. How to change window manager by editing your home directory?

/.xinitrc file allows changing the window manager we want to use when logging into X from that account. The dot in the file name shows you that the file is a hidden file and doesn't show when you do a normal directory listing. For setting a window manager we have to save a command in this file. The syntax of command is: exec windowmanager.After this, save the file. Next time when you run a startx a new window manager will open and become default. The commands for starting some popular window managers and desktop environments are:
-KDE = startkde
-Gnome = gnome-session
-Blackbox = blackbox
-FVWM = fvwm
-Window Maker = wmaker
-IceWM = icewm

12. How documentation of an application is stored?

When a new application is installed its documentation is also installed. This documentation is stored under the directory named for application. For example if my application name is App1 then the path of the documentation will be /user/doc/App1. It contains all the information about the application. It contains date of creating application, name of application and other important module of the application. We can get the basic information of application from the documentation.

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