Linux tools

Learn about different tools, tips, programs and resources from every genre of Linux tools, and learn how to deploy and configure the tools that suite your needs.

The Linux Tools guide provides resources and tips for implementing the most important tools for each category of the Linux operating system: application server administration, network, scripting, mozilla, security, management, and the desktop.

Application server administer tools

Application server administration tools are designed to help administrators deploy, build up, and carry out all application operations between an organization's backend databases and the users. Application servers are software engines that deliver applications to client computers and devices while handling a good amount of the business logic and data acess of the application. LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) is a stack software solution that provide a way to deploy rich Web 2.0 applications on inexpensive clusters of service computers. Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) application server is another open source application server, along with it's commercial open source counterpart, Red Hat's JBoss appserver. Others include Apache Application Server, Perl Server, and Enterprise JaveBeans. Learn how to manage these applications and how to use them to your advantage within your Linux system.

Learn how to configure an application server, install MySQL, improve infrastructure security and monitor network performance with a few of these application server administrator tools.

Tip: Keys to successfully running Samba in a production environment
Learn best practices for configuration, backup, and support while running Samba in a diverse production environment with Linux/Unix and Windows systems.

Tip: How to install CentOS 5.2 via a Preboot Execution Environment
Learn how to improve your OS installation experience by installing CentOS 5.2 using a PXE server.

Tip: Installing the MySQL database server securely
The author of "Hardening Linux" gives step-by-step process to securing your MySQL installation, focusing on infrastructure security.

Interview: Open source and mission critical: The Linux application server landscape
In this Q&A, Michael Dortch discusses the cost benefits, weighs the pros and cons of Linux application servers, and weighs the pros and cons of IBM WebSphere and JBoss.com

Tip: Sybase vs. Oracle: 10 reasons to use Sybase on Linux
An expert lists why Sybase running on Linux is a better choice than Oracle-on-Linux for enterprises today.

Tip: Linux sendfile and Apache servers: How an underused feature can offset overused resources
Linux hacker and system administrator explains how to improve Apache performance by taking advantage of the operating system's efficient data transfer routines.

Tip: MySQL: Choosing the most important features
In this tip, learn about the benefits and drawbacks of LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) with an emphasis on MySQL.

Tip: Try these useful BIND tools
BIND (Berkeley Internet Name Domain) is a server that implements Domain Name Service (DNS). Learn these tools: hstcvt, dnswalk, nslint, host and dig.

Expert response: Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) drivers for Linux
Learn more about ODBC, MySQL, and these tools: ksql, pgaccess and TkSQL.

Expert response: Monitor Linux performance with simple tools
Learn how to monitor Linux system performance with vmstat and other "stat" commands.

Additional application server administer tools:

Dynamic Languages Powered by GlassFish v3 Application Server
GlassFish v3 is an open source multilanguage application server with support for many Web frameworks, including Grails, Rails, Merb, Sinatra, and Django.

Get Nagios for your Ajax applications
Ajax applications must be monitored remotely over the networks. One program that can do this is Nagios, an open source host, service, and network monitoring program.

Apache Web server tools
A comprehensive list of Apache Web server resources and tools.

Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) LAMP server setup
Installing a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) server on Ubuntu 8.04 can be done in 15 minutes.

JBoss application server Wiki
All things JBoss including hints for JBoss on Linux, an admin guide, and configuration instructions.

 Network tools

OpenSSH, Nagios, and Autofocus are just a few examples of Linux network tools. Linux network tools consist of network performance monitoring, routing, and connectivity tools used on the Linux network. These tools help improve network performance and reduce downtime, configure routers, secure tunnels, and access network areas outside your local LAN.

Network tools help improve network performance and reduce downtime, as well as configure routers, secure tunnels, and access network areas outside your local LAN.

Tip: Using OpenSSH for secure network tunnels on Linux
Learn about the basic uses of SSH and how tunneling traffic through an SSH session works on Linux.

Tip: Managing events with Nagios Event Broker
Find out how Nagios Event Broker (NEB) allows users to output and integrate events into a mix of tools including MySQL databases, SNMP traps, and syslog messages.

Tip: Enterprise open source migrations: Dealing with file services
Learn about the file services options in the open source world and how they work to combat problems when migrating to Linux.

Chapter download: Testing Local Resources, chapter 7 of 'Nagios: System and Network Monitoring'
In this book excerpt, discover the dynamics of the different plug-ins needed to work with Nagios on Linux.

Tip: Sharing files between Linux servers with NFS
Learn how to establish communication between Linux servers using the Network File System (NFS).

Tip: Configure your RHEL4 network
Learn how RHEL4 utilities and commands can solve problems accessing the network or areas outside your local LAN.

Tip: Remedial network performance testing 101
Improve Linux network performance with mii-tool, mii-diag and ethtool.

Interview: Linux routers, part 2: Router functionality lives in Linux kernel
An expert shareshis thoughts on commercial routers, routing options available for Linux, and discusses the fundamentals of the kernel.

Interview: Linux routers, part 3: Expert describes optimal Linux routing setup
The final installment of a three-part interview series reveals the best Linux networking environment is one that is customized to meet the needs of the your individual environment.

More on network tools

9 Tips to diagnose remote GNU/Linux server network connectivity issues
Try these tips and tools to diagnose problems when connecting Linux networks to remote or local servers.

Bandwidth monitoring tools for Linux | Ubuntu Geek
Learn about a number of different bandwith monitor tools for Linux, including Autofocus, EtherApe, and vMstat, and find out which tool is right for you.

How I used Linux network tools to solve real problems
Greg Schaffer presents real-life examples of utilizing the combination of the Linux distribution Fedora Core with open-source packages libpcap, tcpdump, iptraf and MRTG to solve network problems.

Monitoring network performance with speedometer
Use Speedometer, a network performance tool, to view your network connection's history on a graph at a glance and to monitor downloads individually.

Scripting tools

Linux features powerful scripting languages like Bash, PHP and Perl, thus demanding scripting tools to execute script commands. Shell scripts allow several commands that would be entered manually at a command line to be executed automatically and quickly. Administrators and users use shell scripting tools to improve backup runs, purge /tmp directories, monitor processes and create users, among many other tasks. Some applications are written in shell script, and some users rely on shell scripts for installation or integration purposes. Shell customization, the list command, and hex codes are all scripting tools that can help improve the quality, security, or performance of the shell script.

Administrators and users use shell scripting tools to improve backup runs, purge /tmp directories, monitor processes and create users, among many other tasks.

Chapter download: Debugging IPC with Shell commands from "The Linux Programmer's Toolbox"
Author John Fusco recommends what open source tools are available for GNU/Linux and offers advice about utilities for debugging communication between processes.

Tip: Managing high-volume CPU processes with Bash
Learn how to use Bash script to check top-performing processes and lower the load of the CPU if it gets too high.

Tips: Seven tips for optimizing shell script security
Simple tips to make your shell scripts on Linux hosts as secure as possible.

Chapter download: Chapter 3 -- Databases with Perl -- of 'Beginning Perl Web Development'
This chapter download explains how users can utilize open source database MySQL with the Linux Web application Perl and connect to relational databases.

Tip: Fighting spam with qpsmtpd
Learn how to install qpsmtpd, a perl-based smtpd daemon, for spam protection on a Linux-based distribution in the first part of this three-part tip.

Expert response: What is BPEL?
Learn how the business process execution language for Web services can combine web services to implement business processes.

Tip: End the end-of-line hassle
This tip explains how you use hex codes 0x0a, 0x0c and 0x0d to help describe the ends of a lines in a file on Linux or Unix applications.

More resources on scripting tools

100 best JavaScript resources
Review 100 of the best JavaScript techniques, plugins, and resources to use when working on Linux, based on the major libraries jQuery, Prototype, Scriptaculous and more.

Scripting best practices Read best practice tips for scripting languages, with an emphasis on perl and bash.

Get to know Linux: Bash scripting basics
Bash scripting is a necessity when using Linux. Learn the basics of bash scripting and find out how to build upon this knowledge to create more and more complex bash scripts.

Advanced Bash-Scripting Guide
A guide for those wishing to start shell scripting. Starts at the beginning and quickly advances to more complex scripting.

Linux and UNIX How To: Scripting SSH and SFTP
There are times when it is helpful to script some action or series of actions for SSH servers rather than performing them interactively. Python and paramiko are useful scripting tools to use in this scenario.

Mozilla

Mozilla tools are used to improve the performance, optimization, and security of the Mozilla platform, a free, open source browser and set of applications descended from the Mozilla Application Suite. With the Mozilla platform and Mozilla tools, IT shops can better handle quick hats and desktop business process tasks, as well as Windows-to-Linux migrations and interoperability. Mozilla tools consist of the browser, e-mailer, composer, and the DOM Inspector and JavaScript debugger in the Web space.

Read tips on migrating from Internet Explorer to Firefox, discover how to detect against threats to your Firefox browser, and find out how to get the most out of your Mozilla Application Suite on Linux.

Tip: Firekeeper configuration: Hardening your Firefox browser
Learn about Firekeeper, a new IDS engine tool that integrates with your Firefox browser available for Windows and Linux and can detect and protect against online threats.

Tip: Firefox plug-ins: Download or tune out?
In this tip, users are directed where to find safe Firefox add-ons and realize they are downloading plug-ins at their own risk.

Tip: How to switch an enterprise from IE to Firefox
This tip highlights important concerns enterprises must consider when switching from Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) to Mozilla Firefox.

Tip: Where's the Firefox security button?
Learn the differences between the Firefox security model and Internet Explorer's, the main point being Web security within Mozilla tools is not something you customized individually.

Tip: Try these handy Mozilla tools on your Linux system
Discover how to get more out of Mozilla Application Suite on enterprise Linux.

Q&A: Expert outlines Mozilla benefits, part 1
Learn how the Mozilla platform can help IT shops with Windows-to-Linux migrations and interoperability.

Q&A: Expert outlines Mozilla benefits, part 2
Read about Mozilla tools such as DOM Inspector and Debugger that can help IT shops debug tools and develop Web applications.

Additional Mozilla tool tips and information

Debugging Mozilla on Linux FAQ
In this FAQ, learn tricks you can use to debug Mozilla's components on Linux and how to work around GDB memory usage problems during this process.

The Mozilla toolkit
Learn about the important components of Mozilla, such as Gecko, XUL, XPCOM, and JavaScript.

Mozilla executives address Firefox's challenges
In this article, Mozilla executives argue there is still room for Firefox among competitors such as Apple and Microsoft.

Security tools

Linux security tools are developed to defend and protect your Linux platform. Vulnerability scanning, monitoring, and intrusion-detection tools are all security tools you can implement that can protect your Linux platform from hackers, malicious code, and inappropriate use. Snort, Nessus, Netstat, OSSIM and Bastille Linux are all tools that can shield your system.

The resources, tips, and articles below highlight many popular and effective monitoring, intrusion detection, and other security tools available to make your Linux distribution as safe and secure as possible.

Tip: When to use SELinux: An introduction to security-enhanced Linux
Learn more about security-enhanced Linux (SELinux), what it can do for you, how to deploy it, and more.

Tip: Linux open source firewall software options
Examinesome of the open source firewalls and routers in a networked environment for Linux that influence netfilter/iptables.

Tip: Security information management: OSSIM
Attain an enterprise-wide view of Open Source Security Information Management, a monitoring package of integrated open source tools, and the security it brings to security professionals.

Tip: Improving Snort performance with Barnyard
In this tip, find out how to tune Snort, the intrusion detection application system (IDS), to work faster and more proficiently with the third-party application Barnyard.

Interview: Platform and application security: Linux distributions, AppArmor and more
Hardening Linux author and security expert discusses options for the safest Linux distribution and compares security tool strength between AppArmor and SELinux.

Tip: Bastille Linux: Introduction and installation
Learn how automated security tool Bastille Linux works and why it is ideal for configuring heterogeneous IT environments.

How to be a 'security warrior,' part 1
Learn about several useful security tools you can use to outfit your secure Linux enterprise, including Nessus, Bastille, and nmap.

Tip: Vulnerability scanning with Nessus
Learn how the free security tool Nessus works.

Commentary: Addition of IPsec locks down 2.6 kernel
Find out how the addition of IPsec and Netfiller built into 2.6 kernel is bringing Linux on par with Unix.

Administrator tip: Netstat: A small but powerful tool for administrators
Read more about Netstat, a command already built into most Linux/Unix machines.

Check out additional security tool tips and resources

The Best Linux Security Tools
Learn about ten of the best Linux security tools including Nmap and Nessus.

Getting started with the Linux Intrusion Detection System
Find out more about LIDS, a patch to the Linux kernel that implements access control and goes beyond file system settings.

Linux security may be improved with hardening tool
Learn more about Security Blanket, a Linux hardening tool that is designed to be easy to use and aid administrators with compliance issues.

In latest release, Nmap looks better than ever
The 4.50 release of the Linux security tool Nmap includes Zenmap, a cross-platform GUI front end that makes the tool easier to use.

SELinux Symposium
Learn basic concepts of this security tool and how they can be applied to create SELinux policies.

Management and administration tools

Management and administration tools cater specifically to the Linux manager and administrator. These tools help administrators complete tasks such as monitoring Linux activity with performance reporting commands, implementing integrated remote control with remote management tools, and using Webmin to ease DNS management. Other management and administration tools used to simplify these duties consist of Nagios, top, and Puppet.

Read below for useful tools, applications and commands to manage and/or administor your Linux server to the best of your ability.

Tip: Understanding Linux system performance management using top
An expert explains what top performance results mean in order to help Linux server administrators determine how their system is performing.

Tip: Linux regular expression tutorial
Learn how Linux administrators can use regular expressions in grep to search for a specific text string within files to narrow a command search.

Article: After delay, Fedora 10 finally available
Learn about the Fedora 10 update that includes new remote server administration tools, cloud storage features, security enhancements, and power-saving features useful for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and other Linux distributions.

Tip: Is Nagios right for your data center?
Learn about Nagios' "simple build" philosophy to find out if this open source tool is the best fit for your data center.

Tip: Virtual host management: How to use Puppet on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5
Find out how to install Puppet, a centralized configuration management tool, on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 in order to manage environments with hundreds of virtual hosts.

Tip: How to keep an eye on Linux performance
Take a look at simple built-in Linux performance reporting commands.

Tip: Try integrated remote control
Read this short list of remote management tools for Linux/Windows.

Interview: OpForce server-provisioning tool
The OpForce server-provisioning tool adds support for SUuSE Linux. In this interview, Ranajit Nevatia talks about using Linux for utility computing.

Interview: How Webmin can ease DNS management
The creator of Webmin, a program designed to simplify Unix or Linux management, explains how Webmin can help handle DNS changes.

Desktop tools

The final featured category featured in our learning guide are desktop tools. From desktop virtualization tools to the latest OpenOffice upgrade, these desktop tools improve the performance, security features, and accessibility of the Linux desktop and Linux enterprise desktop.

Visit these different resources and Web sites to read about the benefits Linux desktop offers has over Windows and how to keep it this way with interoperability, desktop virutalization solutions, and other tools.

Tip: Virtualization options for enterprise Linux
An expert provides a summary of the most important desktop virtualization solutions for Linux and offers circumstances where different solutions are applicable.

Tip: Linux desktop interoperability: MS Office and OpenOffice
An expert weighs the benefits and drawbacks of Linux interoperability as it relates to PC clients.

Tip: How to use GNOME to manage end users' desktops on SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10
Learn how to set up a GNONE environment on SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 and use it to change desktop settings and lock down the desktop.

Interview: The Linux desktop: Browser and distro security tips
The author of "Hardening Linux" explains why the Linux desktop is more secure than Windows.

Tip: Linux business desktops: Open the pod bay doors, HAL
Two experts introduce the Linux Hardware Abstraction Layer, a tool that helps desktop users get connected with hardware devices.

Tip: How-to: MS-to-Linux desktops with Alacos' migration tool
Learn a step-by-step approach to installing and using the Linux Migration Agent Network Server Edition, an Alacos' desktop migration tool

Smart changes in latest OpenOffice upgrade
The most recent OpenOffice upgrade offers the ability to send editable documents to others and a new way to run your Impress presentations.

Additional desktop tool tips and resources

10 ways the Linux desktop improves the user experience
Jack Wallen explains the advantages the Linux desktop has over Windows and Mac, such as efficient and flexible design and superior update systems.

Make your Linux Desktop more productive
Learn ways to make your Linux desktop more productive with OpenOffice.org.

Linux desktop search
Read about the Linux Beagle search utility, a tool that allows users to search right from the Linux desktop without the command line.

This was first published in June 2009

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