The categories of administration tools

Administration tools fall into one of a number of categories:

Command-line tools, while they're not visually appealing, have the advantage that they will still work if you've toasted your X configuration, or if you're connecting to your Linux host through a serial port or across the network with telnet or ssh.

In addition, while some command-line tools might be interactive, requiring you to answer questions in real time, some might have the advantage of being non-interactive, where you can run the command with all of the required information as options or arguments on the command line, which means they can be used inside shell scripts to automate some of your administration.

Menu-based tools can normally still be used on a regular command line and, while they're more visually appealing than regular commands, it's highly unlikely that they can be used in an automated solution like a shell script.

Finally, graphical utilities are (not surprisingly) the most appealing, but they require a properly configured X session and, typically, they really end up just invoking an underlying command line in the end anyway.

Our approach will be, as much as possible, to work with the command-line administration utilities. If you choose to work in the graphical environment, you're free to wander through the menus to find the equivalent graphical tools. (Of course, even if you're working in an X session, you can always run a command-line utility within one of your terminal windows.)


For those who might be familiar with earlier versions of RedHat Linux, many of the administration tools have been replaced with utilities whose names have the form redhat-config-something. For example, the command Xconfigurator has been replaced by redhat-config-xfree86.

If you want a list of these new utilities, just run:

$ls /usr/bin/redhat-config-*