The Top Ten Reasons for Learning Linux, Number 8, More Control Over the Computer

linux66 The Top Ten Reasons for Learning Linux, Number 8, More Control Over the Computer
Levi Reiss asked:

vides several dozens commands enabling you to control your computer to a degree that far exceeds the possibilities of Windows systems. For example, take the ls command that lists files and directories. To the uninitiated this is Linux’s version of the Windows DIR command that also lists files and directories. Both the ls and the DIR commands provide lots of switches; options that enable a savvy user to fine tune some operations. But the Linux ls command (don’t type in LS) includes multiple, powerful options that simply often do not exist in the Windows world.

For example, the ls command displays file and directory permissions. With a simple command the system administrator can block regular users from modifying or executing a file. What does this mean to you? This reduces the likelihood of a user launching a virus by opening an e-mail attachment. If the execute permission hasn’t been specifically turned on, the file won’t be executed and the attachment won’t be executed.

Another Linux function is inode. Briefly it works like this: A single file can be accessed with several names in different folders. Why would anybody want to do that? This functionality lets the system identify a given file with different natural file names for different users. Can you do this in Windows? Sort of, on the more sophisticated versions but only if you are a systems administrator or if you have been granted special permissions. Can you do this on Damn Small Linux? Yes, we’re going to cover this in one or more tutorials.

Linux is a multi-user system. Upon installation Damn Small Linux creates two users with very different file permissions. This gives you a real-life introduction to computer security. It is easy to create new users and control what they can do. Of course, Windows allows you to perform many of these activities but doing so often presents a danger of a costly error or security breach that may disable some essential computer functionality.

Linux provides multiple commands. Why would anybody want to run arcane commands when Linux, as Windows, offers an attractive graphical user interface? Let’s say that your job is to create five hundred new user accounts at the beginning of your school’s semester. Do you really want to repeat the whole click and caboodle five hundred or more times, once for each user without mentioning the extra times needed whenever you make a mistake? The answer is no.

You’ll want to work with a script, a custom program using Linux commands to save your sanity by automating these tasks. A good script will pick up student details from their registration files so that the data won’t have to be reentered. Whether the script is good or not depends on the skill set of the individual that composed it. But Linux offers all the tools necessary for writing good and even great scripts.

When you know how to create and manage users you may want to look into Linux Certification. That’s the subject of our next article.

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