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NOTE: CentOS Enterprise Linux is built from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux source code. Other than logo and name changes CentOS Enterprise Linux is compatible with the equivalent Red Hat version. This document applies equally to both Red Hat and CentOS Enterprise Linux.


Welcome to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Introduction to System Administration.

The Red Hat Enterprise Linux Introduction to System Administration contains introductory information for new Red Hat Enterprise Linux system administrators. It does not teach you how to perform a particular task under Red Hat Enterprise Linux; rather, it provides you with the background knowledge that more experienced system administrators have learned over time.

This guide assumes you have a limited amount of experience as a Linux user, but no Linux system administration experience. If you are completely new to Linux in general (and Red Hat Enterprise Linux in particular), you should start by purchasing an introductory book on Linux.

Each chapter in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Introduction to System Administration has the following structure:

  • Generic overview material — This section discusses the topic of the chapter without going into details about a specific operating system, technology, or methodology.

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux-specific material — This section addresses aspects of the topic related to Linux in general and Red Hat Enterprise Linux in particular.

  • Additional resources for further study — This section includes pointers to other Red Hat Enterprise Linux manuals, helpful websites, and books containing information applicable to the topic.

By adopting a consistent structure, readers can more easily read the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Introduction to System Administration in whatever way they choose. For example, an experienced system administrator with little Red Hat Enterprise Linux experience could skim only the sections that specifically focus on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, while a new system adminstrator could start by reading only the generic overview sections, and using the Red Hat Enterprise Linux-specific sections as an introduction to more in-depth resources.

While on the subject of more in-depth resources, the Red Hat Enterprise Linux System Administration Guide is an excellent resource for performing specific tasks in a Red Hat Enterprise Linux environment. Administrators requiring more in-depth, factual information should refer to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Reference Guide.

HTML, PDF, and RPM versions of the manuals are available on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Documentation CD and online at

Note Note

Although this manual reflects the most current information possible, read the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Release Notes for information that may not have been available prior to our documentation being finalized. They can be found on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux CD #1 and online at

1. Architecture-specific Information

Unless otherwise noted, all information contained in this manual apply only to the x86 processor and processors featuring the Intel® Extended Memory 64 Technology (Intel® EM64T) and AMD64 technologies. For architecture-specific information, refer to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Installation Guide for your respective architecture.

  Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire