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Linux Professional Institute Certification
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Exam 101 Topics

Exam 101 tests five Linux administration topics, each containing a series of objectives:

  • Topic 1.3, GNU and Unix Commands. This is a broad topic, comprising these objectives:
    1. Work Effectively on the Unix Command Line. This means understanding the nature of commands, environment variables, history and command editing, and other shell capabilities. This objective will be a challenge for those who haven't used command-line text interfaces (and DOS doesn't count!).
    2. Process Text Streams Using Text Processing Filters. The idea of piping data through filters is fundamental to the "Unix way." This objective includes a long list of commands used as filters, such as fmt, pr, and tr.
    3. Perform Basic File Management. No GUI here -- strictly command line, including wildcards.
    4. Use Unix Streams, Pipes, and Redirects. All about redirection. Again, this may be unfamiliar to Windows users.
    5. Create, Monitor, and Kill Processes. This objective includes a list of relevant commands such as ps and kill.
    6. Modify Process Execution Priorities. Check out nice.
    7. Perform Searches of Text Files Making Use of Regular Expressions. This involves basic regular expressions using grep and sed.
  • Topic 2.4, Devices, Linux Filesystems, Filesystem hierarchy Standard. This Topic details much of the activity surrounding the filesystem. It has these objectives:
    1. Create Partitions and Filesystems. This is essentially the use of fdisk and mkfs.
    2. Maintain the integrity of filesystems. This objective covers inodes, free space, fsck, du, and df.
    3. Control Filesystem Mounting and Unmounting. Contained in this objective is just about everything on mounting, including the contents and syntax of /etc/fstab
    4. Set and View disk Quotas. This involves filesystem quotas, using commands such as edquota.
    5. Use File Permissions to Control Access to Files. This objective covers the mode bits, including SUID, SGID, and sticky.
    6. Manage File Ownership. This one is straightforward and involves chown and chgrp.
    7. Create and Change Hard and Symbolic Links. If you've never seen links before (maybe because NTFS doesn't support them) you'll like ln.
    8. Find System Files and Place Files in the Correct Location. This is essentially requires that you study the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, and understand commands such as find and locate.
  • Topic 2.6, Boot, Initialization, Shutdown, and Run Levels. As the name implies, this topic covers startup and shutdown, along with runlevel maintenance.
    1. Boot the System. This objective requires more than a cursory exposure to the Linux boot procedure. Lilo is covered a little here, as well as messages and kernel module setup.
    2. Change Runlevels and Shutdown or Reboot the System. This objective covers everything about runlevels, including shutdown.
  • Topic 1.8, Documentation. This is a general overview of documentation for Open Source.
    1. Use and Manage Local System Documentation. Man pages, man sections, and /usr/doc are covered here.
    2. Find Linux Documentation on the Internet. Be aware of Linux Documentation Project, et. al.
    3. Write System Documentation. Open source programmers are encouraged to write docs for their projects. This is a general-purpose objective that essentially proposes the same without getting very specific on methods.
    4. Provide User Support. This one's a bit vague as an exam objective, but serves to remind us that end users are people, not people's computers.
  • Topic 2.11, Administrative Tasks. Users, cron, logs, and backup.
    1. Manage Users and Group Accounts and Related System Files. Everything pertaining to users except Pluggable Authentication Modules, which is beyond the scope of LPIC-1.
    2. Tune the User Environment and System Environment Variables. This involves stuff in /etc/profile and /etc/skel. Note that the exam is bash centric.
    3. Configure and Use System Log Files to Meet Administrative and Security Needs. This covers the configuration of syslog.
    4. Automate System Administration Tasks by Scheduling Jobs to Run in the Future. Cron configuration.
    5. Maintain an Effective Data Backup Strategy. This objective is sketchy on the details, and is not specific to any particular tool (such as tar or dump). It's basically an overview of good backup practice.

Admittedly, that's a lot of information. Even if you're already a Linux admin, there are bound to be items in the objectives that you haven't had to deal with (like quotas, perhaps). More detail on these topics is available from the LPI list of objectives.

LPI's Program Objective Management System

In addition to the list of objectives already cited, the LPI maintains a CGI-based Program Objective Management System (POMS). This system is primarily used during the development phase of exam objectives, but a few additional clues on established objectives may be found there. For example, Topic 1.8 Objective 4 (Objective 1.8.4 in POMS) reads as follows:

Provide technical assistance to users via telephone, e-mail, and personal contact.

You may wonder just how the LPI intendes to test something as personal as user support. If we examine POMS for item 1.8.4 we find this note:

This objective has been considered important and therefore is retained to remind would-be sysadmins; it will be difficult to test.

Based on the comment, be advised that user support is part of the job, but not part of the exam. Other details not mentioned in the summaries can be found in POMS, particularly for exam 102.

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