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LPIC1 & CompTIA Linux+ Intro

Hardware Settings

Boot the System

00:00:00 - And welcome to section 101.2, Boot the System.
00:00:05 - Now of course I don't mean you should get on your kicking shoes and
00:00:07 - give the system what it probably deserves. No, we're going
00:00:10 - to talk about how your Linux system actually boots up. We're going to talk
00:00:15 - about a couple things. We're going to talk about the BIOS,
00:00:17 - then the boot loader. The boot loader will load the kernel. We're going to
00:00:21 - look at dmesg which, well we're going to talk more about
00:00:24 - later, but it gives us some important information about the
00:00:27 - running kernel. Where the log files like var/log/messages, where that's
00:00:32 - kept and what's contained in there. And then what init means
00:00:35 - and what we mean by init levels. So let's go through the process.
00:00:39 - It's going to be a little bit different on different systems,
00:00:41 - but for the majority of the stuff we're covering here, it's
00:00:45 - going to be the same on most systems without a whole lot of
00:00:48 - variation. And more importantly, this is the kind of stuff that
00:00:51 - you're going to be tested on in the LPIC exam.
00:00:55 - All right, first thing we're going to do is when it boots up go
00:00:57 - into BIOS, which for me means press F2. So press
00:01:01 - F2 and we'll see the BIOS. Now this is going to look a
00:01:04 - little bit different depending on what kind of computer you
00:01:07 - have. This is actually a virtual machine, but it still has
00:01:10 - a full-blown BIOS. Now for the boot up process what we're going
00:01:13 - to look at, these are the orders in which things boot.
00:01:17 - Here we have Removable Devices first, which would be like a floppy
00:01:20 - disk et cetera, then CD-ROM, then Hard Drive, then Network.
00:01:24 - Now you can rearrange these. If you look over on the right
00:01:27 - hand side there, there's a bunch of options for how to, how to change
00:01:31 - these. So like, pressing up and down or plus and minus in my
00:01:35 - particular thing can move this. So I want to boot the network first. I can put that
00:01:38 - on top or -- I actually like the order that it's in now and so I'm going to stick
00:01:42 - with that. Change that boot order and then the next time you reboot
00:01:46 - your computer, or usually just when you, when you actually
00:01:49 - escape and save your changes, it's going to -- let's see, save changes, or exit
00:01:55 - saving changes, and it should boot from, if there's no CD-ROM then
00:01:58 - boot right to the hard drive, which is actually what we're going
00:02:01 - to see here. It restarts and we should boot directly from the hard
00:02:06 - drive. Sure enough.
00:02:11 - So that's how the BIOS is edited.
00:02:15 - Okay, so now I've restarted the system and what we have here, now
00:02:19 - instead of letting it boot up I pressed Escape, and this is going
00:02:22 - to get us into the boot loader. Now in Linux there's two basic boot loaders
00:02:26 - that are used. There's LILO or LILO, L-I-L-O, that stands
00:02:30 - for Linux Loader; and then there's GRUB, or the Grand Unified
00:02:34 - Boot Loader. Now GRUB is the most commonly used, and that's what
00:02:38 - we're looking at right here. So let's look at GRUB right now
00:02:41 - and I'll show you some of the things you can do. Now I pressed
00:02:44 - Escape to get into the menu, and basically we have these three
00:02:47 - different options for what we want to boot -- the generic kernel
00:02:50 - for Ubuntu recovery mode, and then Memtest. Now Memtest
00:02:55 - literally does that, it tests your memory for you. So it's a convenient
00:02:58 - thing to do with a new system. But what I want to do is
00:03:00 - show you how you can edit some of the menu entries inside
00:03:04 - here. So I'll highlight the first default setting and I'll press
00:03:07 - E to edit it. And inside here you'll see a bunch of different
00:03:10 - lines. Now the top line, this UUID means the
00:03:15 - Universal Unique Identifier. And that long string of numbers
00:03:19 - and letters on the top there tells it which hard drive to boot
00:03:22 - from. Okay, now this doesn't have to be a UUID. This can
00:03:25 - also say something like HD(0,0)
00:03:29 - in parentheses and what that's going to say is instead of
00:03:34 - UUID it would just say root and then HD(0,0) in parentheses and
00:03:37 - that would show that it's the first hard drive, the first partition.
00:03:41 - But this is just specifying the first hard drive by device
00:03:44 - type, which we're going to talk about in several sessions down
00:03:47 - the road. But just know that that's pointing to the first hard
00:03:50 - drive. The next line here tells the system what kernel to
00:03:53 - boot from and it's located, where it's located, basically.
00:03:57 - Since we have the /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.28-11-generic,
00:04:05 - we're saying that that vmlinuz file is the kernel that
00:04:08 - it needs to boot, and it's located inside a boot directory
00:04:11 - of that hard drive identified by the UUID. And then you'll
00:04:15 - see that it says that UUID again. It's saying, it's telling
00:04:19 - the kernel itself. Now the first line tells GRUB where to look for
00:04:22 - the kernel. The second line where that says root=UUID,
00:04:25 - that's telling the kernel where its root directory
00:04:28 - is going to be located. Again, it's using that UUID. Now I'm going to
00:04:32 - press E because you'll see the arrow at the edge, it goes
00:04:34 - off the screen. So I'm going to edit this. So I'll press E and this
00:04:39 - gives us the whole line. Now we can scroll all the way back
00:04:42 - and see this is the whole line. And basically what I want to show
00:04:46 - you is at the end of that root directory it also has a couple
00:04:48 - other things. It says to mount that kernel read only, that R0,
00:04:52 - and then quiet and splash
00:04:55 - are two different things. Quiet means don't tell us as much
00:04:58 - stuff as you're booting up, and splash means give us
00:05:03 - a nice graphical-looking boot thing so that we don't have
00:05:07 - to look at the text flying by. But I'm going to press Enter because
00:05:09 - I want to get rid of those to show you the difference. Now
00:05:11 - you saw that GUI Ubuntu logo the last time we booted
00:05:15 - up. But this time you're going to see that if you remove those
00:05:18 - splash and quiet things, you'll get to see all the debugging stuff
00:05:21 - as it goes by. Now this next line is the initrd, or the
00:05:25 - initial RAM disk. Now this is how the kernel loads some tools
00:05:30 - that it actually needs to get itself going. Now when it, once the
00:05:33 - system is booted, it doesn't use the initrd, it uses
00:05:37 - the programs installed on the hard drive. But it has to use
00:05:41 - this, this initial RAM disk in order to get to that point, to
00:05:44 - load device drivers and mount appropriate partitions, et cetera
00:05:48 - et cetera. So this initial RAM disk is another file located in
00:05:52 - the same spot here in the boot directory and it loads this as
00:05:56 - a RAM disk and it just has the tools it needs to finish the boot process.
00:06:00 - And then this last line is quiet, which again isn't going to give
00:06:03 - us, it's going to hide a lot of those, those kernel messages
00:06:07 - on boot up, and I'm going to delete that. I'm actually going to press
00:06:09 - D to remove that whole line, all right. So then we just have these
00:06:13 - three lines, and now if I press Escape it's going to forget
00:06:16 - all these because GRUB doesn't remember any of the things you
00:06:19 - modify that you change on boot. You have to be in the system to
00:06:22 - change the GRUB menu. So I'm going a press B, and pressing B
00:06:26 - is going to boot the system based on the changes I've made. So
00:06:29 - I'll press B and instead of that GUI Ubuntu logo, you'll see
00:06:33 - that we have all of this information that it tells us as it's
00:06:37 - loading. So that's one way you can watch for what's going wrong
00:06:41 - if your system doesn't work quite right. You'll see what's
00:06:44 - going wrong because it will show you the debugging stuff
00:06:46 - as it goes.
00:06:49 - Okay, so far we've looked at two things. We've looked at the
00:06:52 - BIOS, and oh, we didn't circle it well though, did we. We've looked at the BIOS, which
00:06:58 - stands for Basic Input Output System, and that's just the computer
00:07:01 - hardware's way of looking at what boots. And it tells not
00:07:05 - what, not only how it boots but what order it boots in. You
00:07:08 - can also specify other hardware things in there like what
00:07:11 - devices are on board and that kind of thing, but for this purpose
00:07:14 - we're just going to talk about that's how you specify boot
00:07:16 - order for like CDs or hard drives. And then we looked
00:07:19 - at boot loaders. We specifically looked at GRUB, but LILO or LILO
00:07:24 - is also another option, not as often used anymore, though. So GRUB
00:07:28 - is the boot loader and it specifies what to boot. It tells the computer
00:07:32 - you know, load this kernel, load this RAM disk, and then
00:07:36 - it goes through the process of actually booting up the computer.
00:07:39 - And once we're booted into the computer, we can actually look back a little
00:07:42 - bit at some of the, some of the logs and those sort of
00:07:45 - things that took place while we booted up. So let's look at those
00:07:48 - logs inside our booted system.
00:07:52 - Okay, the system is booted up and we're going to open up terminal
00:07:55 - window. Now inside the terminal window I want to show you two things, and it's very
00:07:58 - easy to confuse them. Actually, I just had to restart my recording
00:08:01 - because I confused them. So what we're going to look at is a command
00:08:05 - called dmesg, D-M-E-S-G. Now what that does, it gives
00:08:10 - you a link, or this will show you currently the changes
00:08:15 - that take place in the memory. And you're going to compare this
00:08:17 - with an actual file on the computer, I'm going to type cat for var/log/dmesg.
00:08:23 - Same name as the command we actually just ran,
00:08:27 - but if we type that out, notice the end here. Pay close attention
00:08:30 - to what the last few lines are -- Bridge firewalling registered
00:08:34 - and then eth1: link up.
00:08:36 - If we type this, you'll see that the information about eth1
00:08:39 - is not in this file. Well what's going on there is the file
00:08:44 - itself is actually just for the information as it booted up. So what's
00:08:51 - in the var/log/dmesg file is just from when the computer
00:08:55 - booted up. If you type dmesg,
00:08:59 - it gives you all the information after that as well, all right.
00:09:02 - So again, the system booted up right there. It stopped writing
00:09:06 - to that dmesg file and now it's going to keep writing
00:09:09 - to this ring buffer, so to speak, in memory as things
00:09:12 - happen. So it's really important to know the difference between
00:09:15 - dmesg and the var/log/dmesg. Now one more
00:09:18 - place I want to show that some very useful information is
00:09:21 - stored is in the var/log/messages file. Now this is going to
00:09:27 - have a lot of the same stuff you'll see -- oh, look, that's all the same
00:09:31 - information that we just looked at in the dmesg file. And that's
00:09:34 - true, but this also adds things from other computers like the
00:09:38 - pulseaudio Daemon just added into here doesn't support
00:09:41 - 4400 and blah-blah-blah-blah. So all of -- this is kind of like
00:09:44 - the catch-all log place for all the different things like the
00:09:48 - kernel log from dmesg will go into here and applications
00:09:51 - like Apache or in this case pulseaudio, they're going
00:09:54 - to put all of their log information in there as well. So again,
00:09:58 - var/log/dmesg is going to be the file that is stored
00:10:02 - when the computer boots up. To type dmesg, you'll get the more
00:10:05 - current version as things happen, and then var/log/messages
00:10:09 - is kind of a catch-all. That's usually the one that you go to when you're
00:10:11 - looking for information on problems or when things are going
00:10:14 - wrong, or when things are going right you want to see
00:10:16 - why they finally went right. So anyway, those are the log files that
00:10:20 - you can look at to show booting stuff on your Linux system.
00:10:24 - Okay, so the next thing I'm going to talk about is called init.
00:10:28 - Now before we do that I've got to talk a little bit about
00:10:31 - init. See, init is the process that spawns all other processes.
00:10:35 - It's the very first process that's run when the kernel boots
00:10:38 - up and it's the parent process or the process in charge of all
00:10:42 - the other processes that run. One way to visualize it is
00:10:46 - like a big family tree, if you will. Now this command, pstree, this
00:10:50 - is the only thing I've ever used pstree for, but pstree shows this
00:10:55 - hierarchy of commands. See, init is right here at the very
00:11:00 - beginning. And then Network Manager, all of these other commands
00:11:04 - are then child processes of init. And what happens like, say
00:11:09 - this x-session manager process were to die -- or actually, let's
00:11:13 - go back up further. Let's say like this gdm process were to die,
00:11:15 - all of these things would then become children, direct children
00:11:21 - of the init process. So it's responsible for starting all
00:11:24 - these processes and managing them, and then like if Network
00:11:27 - Manager dies then init would then be the parent of dhclient,
00:11:31 - Network Manager in brackets here. So it's important to know that that's the
00:11:35 - hierarchy of how it goes, but the buck stops with init. And it's important
00:11:39 - that you understand init. Now here's, here's the little confusing
00:11:43 - part. Init, as a process for starting the system,
00:11:46 - is being replaced in most operating systems. For example,
00:11:50 - Ubuntu since -- oh gosh, Hardy Heron, 8.10,
00:11:54 - I believe -- has been using a new program called upstart. Now
00:11:58 - it's a drop in replacement for init, but it means that the files
00:12:01 - are going to be slightly different. Same thing with like
00:12:04 - Red Hat Fedora 11. In fact, if you want to really use the init
00:12:09 - process or the init system purely, you need to go back to like
00:12:12 - Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 or CentOS 5.
00:12:17 - And why it's still important for us to learn it is really twofold.
00:12:21 - One, that's what's on the test. So if you're trying to
00:12:23 - get LPIC certification, you're going to need to learn the
00:12:26 - init system because it doesn't test on upstart at all. The
00:12:30 - other thing is, a huge, huge number of servers and things that
00:12:34 - you will be administering are still running the init system.
00:12:38 - Like I said, Red Hat Enterprise 5, it's still running
00:12:42 - the init system. So that's, it's important for us to know it
00:12:44 - but you need to know that it's being replaced and you're
00:12:48 - being tested on this old, going out of style kind of
00:12:52 - program. So anyway, init is the key process that starts everything
00:12:56 - going, and from there we're going to move on to our next
00:13:00 - session, our next nugget, and that's going to be about how the
00:13:04 - init process works, how to switch between run levels, and all
00:13:09 - of that kind of stuff. Before we move on, though, there's one
00:13:12 - more thing I want to show you inside the system here. If you
00:13:16 - go to the boot directory.
00:13:19 - Now do you remember at the very beginning we talked about
00:13:23 - describing what kernel to boot. I just wanted to show you that
00:13:26 - this boot directory, you know, there's the root directory and then
00:13:30 - boot directory, that's where these things fit. Remember we talked
00:13:33 - about there was the initrd, vmlinuz -- these are the actual
00:13:38 - files that it's referring to. So this would be, you know, it's --
00:13:43 - I've actually updated the system since we started, so
00:13:45 - we have a new kernel as well. But this would be the kernel
00:13:49 - file that it was referring to; this would be the init RAM disk
00:13:54 - file that it was talking to. And if we wanted to edit some of the GRUB
00:13:58 - files -- we're going to do this later, this is a whole new nugget
00:14:03 - on configuring the boot loader. But I just wanted to show you
00:14:05 - where they live. So here are the different config
00:14:09 - files, like the menu.lst file shows us all the stuff
00:14:12 - on there. And we're going to talk about, like I said, later on
00:14:15 - how to configure this. But just so you can correlate like what
00:14:17 - that UUID
00:14:19 - and the hard drive and the root directory and everything. So you
00:14:21 - can see where it fits into the scene here. This is the boot
00:14:25 - directory and the GRUB directory inside there. All right, so before
00:14:29 - we move on to the next session or the next nugget, let's
00:14:31 - look at what we've done so far.
00:14:35 - So back here at our original slide we discussed what BIOS is,
00:14:39 - what it does, and how to get there. We know that boot loaders are
00:14:42 - either GRUB or LILO or LILO and what that means. We showed what
00:14:45 - kernel it is and how it chooses that. We know the difference
00:14:49 - between dmesg and var/log/dmesg.
00:14:54 - A little bit confusing, but it's important to know the
00:14:57 - difference between those two. And then we showed you
00:15:01 - var/log/messages. And last but not least, we talked about init, which
00:15:04 - is really what we're going to talk about in the next nugget in more depth,
00:15:07 - but I wanted to point out this time so that you know that although
00:15:10 - init is something we have to learn, it's also something that
00:15:12 - is going away. So you need to know it because it's important
00:15:16 - but there's new stuff to learn on the horizon. So I would like
00:15:20 - to thank you. I hope that this has been informative for you,
00:15:23 - and I would like to thank you for viewing.

Change Runlevels and Reboot or Shutdown the System

Design Hard Disk Layout

Install a Boot Manager

Manage Shared Libraries

Debian Package Management

RPM & YUM Package Management

Work on the Command Line

Process Text Streams Using Filters

Perform Basic File Management

Use Streams, Pipes, and Redirects

Create, Monitor, and Kill Processes

Process Priorities

Search Text Files with Regular Expressions

Perform Basic File Editing Operations Using vi

Create Partitions and Filesystems

Maintain the Integrity of Filesystems

Control Mounting and Unmounting of Filesystems

Manage Disk Quotas

Manage File Permissions and Ownership

Create and Change Hard and Symbolic Links

Find System Files and Place Files in the Correct Location

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Course Features

Speed Control

Play videos at a faster or slower pace.


Pick up where you left off watching a video.


Jot down information to refer back to at a later time.

Closed Captions

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MP3 Downloads

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Annual Course Features

Transcender Practice Exams

These practice tests help you review your knowledge and prepare you for exams.
Available only with the annual subscription.
Shawn Powers

Shawn Powers

CBT Nuggets Trainer

LPIC-1; CompTIA Linux+, A+; Cisco CCNA

Area Of Expertise:

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Video Options

This advanced buffering is applied to all streams regardless if you installed the doublespeed control or not. Sometimes the advanced buffering causes the video to hang or behave erratically. If you are experienceing issues with video playback please disable the doublespeed buffer.

Remember to re-enable the buffer if you want to use the doublespeed control.

If you are experiencing problems with our content delivery, please click here to switch to our alternate content delivery network or go to our network FAQ.
For other common video playback issues, including firewall and corporate network issues, please visit our Tech Support forum.