Learning What I Need To Know About Basic Linux

Hi,
On the system I'm using, I don't have the authority to administrate the 
operating system, but I do have the authority, and need to, administrate the 
other software on the box that doesn't come with it, so I need to come up to 
speed yesterday. You know how that is.

I cracked open the book called Learning The Unix Operating System Fifth Edition 
and started using it to learn basic commands. Among other things, two things 
are tripping me up. First, I'm using Putty. I have it set up properly with 
JAWS, but I'm being driven crazy any time data needs to scroll the screen 
because the whole screen is being spoken.

The second thing has to do with knowing what I need to learn. I'm just trying 
to learn what I need to know for now, and branching out from there. 
Unfortunately, I'm not sure exactly what all that entales. But fortunately, I 
do have some time, because we're just starting to use MySQL and PHP.

So I see three big tasks or things to learn.

* What's involved in administrating Apache, like not letting the logs get too 
big, possibly installing a friendly statistics package, or whatever.
* Setting up daily backups of the changed MySQL database or databases that we 
have.
* Whatever MySQL administration that I have no earthly idea I may need to do.
* I'll have to upgrade MySQL at some point.
* I'll have to upgrade PHP at some point.
* I pray that I never have to upgrade Apache.
* Possibly installing some nice, convenient packages like PHPMyAdmin. But I'm 
thinking that like the people who were advocating learning the dirty way, I 
think it's best to probably learn how to do it from command lines so that I 
have total control and really know what's going on.

But I'm starting with basic commands, but at the same time, trying to do my 
first Drupal installation, and I'm in real trouble because of course there's 
this deadline.

Back to my UNIX book.

Specifically, I didn't see in the book two things. First, what permissions do 
files and directories automatically get when you create them? Second, I used to 
know a little more about some sort of file in my home directory that I could 
put stuff in to customize the environment a little more. I know that that file 
has a name that starts with a period. Yet another thing. I'm pretty sure that 
the shell I'm using is called the bash shell, but I don't know how to find out. 
And how does that affect how I work with the system? For example, if there's 
another shell that's better, what is it, what does better mean, and how to I 
turn it on.

Like I was thinking of making aliases for cp and rm that automatically run the 
-i option to keep myself from trashing stuff.

Someone please hold my hand and tell me it'll be all right. <grin>

Jim
Jim Homme,
Usability Services,
Phone: 412-544-1810. Skype: jim.homme
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