A review of recent changes to CompTIA’s Linux+

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Note: This is Part 1 of 2. Check out Part 2.

CompTIA is busting out new Linux+ all over.There have been a number of changes in the “CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI” certification over the past few years that make it worth taking a fresh look at. This entry-level certification requires two exams to be passed: LX0-103 and LX0-104. Each exam consists of 60 questions, and there are 90 minutes allotted. The passing score is 500 (on a 200-800 scale), and it is recommended that candidates have at least 12 months Linux administration experience. The domains, weighting, and the top level objectives beneath them, are as follows:

LX0-103101 System Architecture(14%)101.1 Determine and configure hardware settings
101.2 Boot the system
101.3 Change runlevels/boot targets and shutdown or reboot system
102 Linux Installation and Package Management(18%)102.1 Design hard disk layout
102.2 Install a boot manager
102.3 Manage shared libraries
102.4 Use Debian package management
102.5 Use RPM and YUM package management
103 GNU and Unix Commands(43%)103.1 Work on the command line
103.2 Process text streams using filters
103.3 Perform basic file management
103.4 Use streams, pipes and redirects
103.5 Create, monitor and kill processes
103.6 Modify process execution priorities
103.7 Search text files using regular expressions
103.8 Perform basic file editing operations using vi
104 Devices, Linux Filesystems, Filesystem Hierarchy Standard(25%)104.1 Create partitions and filesystems
104.2 Maintain the integrity of filesystems
104.3 Control mounting and unmounting of filesystems
104.4 Manage disk quotas
104.5 Manage file permissions and ownership
104.6 Create and change hard and symbolic links
104.7 Find system files and place files in the correct location
LX0-104105 Shells, Scripting and Data Management(17%)105.1 Customize and use the shell environment
105.2 Customize or write simple scripts
105.3 SQL data management
106 User Interfaces and Desktops(8%)106.1 Install and configure X11
106.2 Setup a display manager
106.3 Accessibility
107 Administrative Tasks(20%)107.1 Manage user and group accounts and related system files
107.2 Automate system administration tasks by scheduling jobs
107.3 Localization and internationalization
108 Essential System Services(17%)108.1 Maintain system time
108.2 System logging
108.3 Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) basics
108.4 Manage printers and printing
109 Networking Fundamentals(23%)109.1 Fundamentals of internet protocols
109.2 Basic network configuration
109.3 Basic network troubleshooting
109.4 Configure client side DNS
110 Security(15%)110.1 Perform security administration tasks
110.2 Setup host security
110.3 Securing data with encryption


When preparing for the exams, you are strongly encouraged to look at the topic lists and make sure you know all of the files, terms, and utilities listed for each. The following, however, is a brief study guide of the top ten items to know beneath each of the ten domains.

System Architecture

The top ten items to know as you study for this domain are:

1) The system log is /var/log/messages and this is where the majority of events are written to by the system log daemon (syslogd). Messages routed there can be viewed with the dmesg command.

2) The logrotate command can be used to automatically archive log files and perform maintenance as configured in /etc/syslog.conf.

3) You can manually write entries to log files using the logger command.

4) The init daemon is responsible for maintaining proper running of daemons at specified runlevels. The system attempts to go to the runlevel specified as the default in the /etc/inittab file upon each boot.

5) Runlevels can be changed with the init and shutdown commands.

6) Valid runlevels defined as standards are: 0 (power off), 1 (single user mode), 2 (multiple user without NFS), 3 (multiple user with NFS), 5 (X environment), and 6 (reboot).

7) The lsmod command is used to list loaded modules. The insmod command is used to install a module. The rmmod command is used to remove a module from the system. The modinfo command will show information about a module.

8) The modprobe utility can probe and install a module and its dependents, while the depmod utility will determine and show any module dependencies that exist.

9) Kernel software is typically named linux-x.y.z where x.y.z represents the version number.

10) The make config command executes a command line oriented view and allows you to respond interactively with the kernel build.

Linux Installation and Package Management

The top ten items to know as you study for this domain are:

1) The ldd command is used to see what shared libraries a program is dependent upon.

2) The ldconfig command is used to update and maintain the cache of shared library data. The current cache can be seen using the command ldconfig –p.

3) Popular package managers include Red Hat’s Package Manager (rpm) and Debian’s (dpkg). The purpose of both is to simplify working with software.

4) Options available with rpm include –i (for installing packages), -e (for removing packages), -q (for querying what packages belong to what files), -b (for building a package), and –p (to print/display information).

5) With dpkg, you use the dselect command to use the graphical interface. You can also use command line options that include –i (to install packages), -l (to list information about the package), -r (to remove the package), and –c (to list all files in the package).

6) The advanced packaging tool (apt) was designed as a frontend for dpkg but now works with both .deb and .rpm packages.

7) The Yellowdog Updater, Modified is more commonly known as yum and can be used at the command line to download RPM packages.

8) The superblock contains information about the type of filesystem, the size, status, and metadata information.

9) The GRUB bootloader (an acronym for GNU’s Grand Unified Bootloader) allows multiple operating systems to exist on the same machine and a user to choose which one they want to boot on startup. The latest version is GRUB 2.

10) Linux uses both a swap partition and a swap file for swap space.  The swapon command can be used to toggle designated swap space on and off. Areas for swap space can be created with mkswap.

GNU and Unix Commands

CompTIA is busting out new Linux+ all over.The top ten items to know as you study for this domain are:

1) When run, every command spans at least one process and processes can be viewed with ps or top (which continues to update the display dynamically).

2) Jobs can run in the foreground or background and be moved between the two. Jobs running in the foreground can be suspended by pressing Ctrl+Z.

3) Files can be copied using cp or moved using mv. Files can be deleted with rm and directories (which are created with mkdir) can be removed with rmdir. Recursive deletion can be done with rm –r.

4) To change directories, use the cd command. When used without parameters, this will move you to your home directory. To see what directory you are presently working in, us the pwd (present working directory) command.

5) The ls command has a plethora of options to allow you to list files. The –a option will list all (including hidden).

6) The cut command can pull fields from a file and they can be combined using either paste or join. The latter offers more features than the former and can be used with conditions.

7) The wc command can count the number of lines, words, and characters in a file.

8) The grep utility (and its counterparts egrep and fgrep) can be used to find matches for strings within files.

9) The find command can be used to search the system for files/directories that meet any number of criteria. When these entities are found, the xargs command can be used to look deeper within them for other values (such as in conjunction with grep).

10) It is possible to convert data from one value to another using a number of utilities. The most popular would include the tr (translate) utility and sed (the stream editor).

Note: This is Part 1 of 2. Check out Part 2.

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Emmett Dulaney


Emmett Dulaney is an associate professor and the author of numerous certification study guides, including the CompTIA A+ Complete Deluxe Study Guide, Second Edition (ISBN: 978-1-118324066).

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