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Is an Operating System for all sort of things. In this database, I refer to Unix via Linux

Please note: I mainly use Ubuntu Server or Debian, so your mileage may vary with other distros.


  • On a laptop: disable standby on lid close: in /etc/systemd/logind.conf, uncomment and change HandleLidSwitch=ignore

Install FTP server

  1. sudo apt install vsftpd
  2. sudo nano /etc/vsftpd.conf to edit configuration
  3. sudo ufw allow 21
  4. sudo systemctl restart vsftpd
  • Cron: Job scheduler

Cockpit - Remote administration of server

  1. sudo apt-get install cockpit and with:
    • cockpit-machines for KVM
    • cockpit-docker for Docker
  2. sudo ufw allow 9090
  3. sudo systemctl restart cockpit.socket
  4. If you cannot update packages, network manager may be in use, check with nmcli d
    • sudo systemctl disable network-manager.service
    • sudo systemctl stop network-manager.service

Advanced configuration

  • See this guide to change port. Create file and directory if needed.
  • Configuration file is /etc/cockpit/cockpit.conf, not created by default - see reference
  • Setup with Cloudflare Tunnel - Based on this blog post.

    1. Setup a Let's Encrypt certificate below
    2. Setup a copy script - See example in Nextcloud




      echo "SSL certificates renewed" cp /etc/letsencrypt/live/$FQDN/fullchain.pem /etc/cockpit/ws-certs.d/$FQDN.crt cp /etc/letsencrypt/live/$FQDN/privkey.pem /etc/cockpit/ws-certs.d/$FQDN.key chown cockpit-ws:cockpit-ws /etc/cockpit/ws-certs.d/$FQDN.crt /etc/cockpit/ws-certs.d/$FQDN.key

      echo "Restarting Cockpit" systemctl restart cockpit ```

    3. Setup /etc/cockpit/cockpit.conf

      ```conf [WebService] Origins = https://URL:PORT

      ProtocolHeader = X-Forwarded-Proto

      AllowUnencrypted = false

      [Session] IdleTimeout = 10 ```

    4. Setup Cloudflare Tunnel and Access

    Install on VirtualBox

    See VirtualBox page.

    Tips & Tricks

    • Date & Time
    • timedatectl to check
    • sudo timedatectl set-timezone TZ
    • See also
    • Screen terminal multiplexer

    Command-line kung-fu

    • less to redirect output to a pager
    • watch to watch regularly an output
    • | grep x to pipe to grep which is going to select lines with x ^a163bc
    • clear to clear the command line
    • Check this Ars introduction about redirection, grep, sed, awk.
    • echo $? to inspect program exit code
    • du -h like disk usage to check size of directory
    • which abc to check where the abc binary is stored
    • See also:
    • Vi - text editor

    Install a software on system

wget the latest release of the chosen software
sudo apt-get install # dependencies
sudo mkdir -p /opt/software_name
mv # move the app to /opt/software_name
sudo chmod +x /opt/software_name/executable # make the executable executable
sudo ln -s /opt/software_name/executable /usr/bin/executable # create a simlink

CPU & Processes

  • Check system stats
    • htop for processes
    • nmon for the whole system
  • Health
    • Check CPU frequency cat /proc/cpuinfo
  • System information dmidecode
  • Do a stress test with full CPU utilization: for i in $(seq $(getconf _NPROCESSORS_ONLN)); do yes > /dev/null & done

Services with systemctl

  • Service management
    • sudo systemctl restart SERVICE
    • sudo systemctl start SERVICE
    • sudo systemctl stop SERVICE
    • sudo systemctl kill SERVICE
  • Service enable/disable
    • sudo systemctl enable SERVICE
    • sudo systemctl disable SERVICE
    • sudo systemctl is-enabled SERVICE
  • Services mask/unmask
    • sudo systemctl unmask SERVICE
    • sudo systemctl mask SERVICE
  • Service status
    • sudo systemctl list-timers
    • sudo systemctl status SERVICE

Disk & Data

  • Current working directory: pwd
  • Check free disk space df -h
  • Tree file & folder with space taken ncdu
  • Check for partition corruption fsck /dev/sdaXX00
  • Stop a (USB) disk
    1. Unmount sudo umount /dev/sdXX
    2. Spin down sudo hdparm -Y /dev/sdXX
  • Erase a disk sudo dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/sdXX bs=10M - Source
  • Check what is mounted where: findmnt
  • List all block devices: lsblk

View SMART disk data

Source 1. Install smartmontools 1. View SMART data & status sudo smartctl -i /dev/sdXX 1. Find estimate & current SMART test sudo smartctl -a /dev/sdXX 1. Launch a test: sudo smartctl -t short /dev/sdXX * Possible options instead of short: * long * conveyance (after transport) for ATA disks * If the HDD go to sleep (especially true for USB ones), try the following:

    while true; do
        dd if=/dev/sdXX iflag=direct count=1 of=/dev/null
        sleep 60
  1. Read the result sudo smartctl -l selftest /dev/sdXX

Test read/write speed

Source 1. sync; dd if=/dev/zero of=tempfile bs=1M count=256; sync: write to tempfile 256 Mb 1. sudo /sbin/sysctl -w vm.drop_caches=3: clear the cache 1. dd if=tempfile of=/dev/null bs=1M count=256: read tempfile

Format & mount a USB stick



  • zip -r ./ to zip current directory
    • unzip ./ to unzip
    • unzip -l ./ to list files in the zip (and the validity of the zip)
  • tar -xvf file.tar.gz to extract tarball and zip (x for extract, v for verbose, f for file)
  • bunzip2 filename.bz2 to extract a bz2 file
  • find / -name filename to find filename in entire system (/) or active folder (.), and sudo to avoid permissions problems
  • cp -a to copy everything (-Archive)
  • find /path/to/folder -name "thing to search" to find something

Virtual Systems: Mount QCoW2

  1. sudo apt install libguestfs-tools to install required tool
  2. sudo guestmount -a /var/lib/libvirt/images/IMAGE.qcow2 -m DEVICE --ro /mnt/FOLDER
    • DEVICE being the partition within this image. Make it bogus so a list will be shown
    • --ro if you only want read-only
  3. sudo guestunmount /mnt

Network & Internet

  • View current information (IP, netmask, ...) ifconfig
    • Assign an IP to a network sudo ifconfig wlan0 netmask up for instance
  • Edit network configuration
    • with netplan /etc/netplan/00-installer-config.yaml
  • Check Wi-Fi adapter status:
    • rfkill list wlan to list status
    • rfkill unblock wlan to unblock
  • Check used ports: ss -tunlp

Disable IPv6

  • ip a to list network adapters
  • sudo sysctl -w net.ipv6.conf.ADAPTER.disable_ipv6=1 to disable (temporary) IPv6, with ADAPTER like br6
  • Add the above to /etc/sysctl.conf and apply with sudo sysctl -p

Set up Let's Encrypt with Cloudflare DNS

  • Source
  • See this documentation on Cloudflare certbot
    • cloudflare.ini can be placed in /etc/cloudflared
    • Define proper permission with chmod 400
  • Steps
    1. sudo snap install --classic certbot certbot-dns-cloudflare You may need to proceed with additional commands as explained in the console
    2. sudo ln -s /snap/bin/certbot /usr/bin/certbot
    3. sudo certbot certonly --dns-cloudflare --dns-cloudflare-credentials /etc/letsencrypt/cloudflare.ini -d <EXAMPLE.COM>
    4. Automated renewal should be set up by the snap, check systemctl list-timers

Users & Groups

  • Users
    • useradd USERNAME add a new user
      • With a Home directory: -m
      • Remove shell access: --shell /bin/false
    • usermod -L USERNANE to lock access
    • passwd USERNAME define a password
    • id $user to get user PUID & GUID
  • Groups
    • usermod -a -G GROUP $USER to add self to GROUP
    • cat /etc/group to list all groups
  • Setup SFTP for without Shell: nice tutorial from Digital Ocean
  • Act as a user: sudo -u USERNAME command

Scripts execution

  • Can be stored in /usr/sbin/user_scripts/
  • visudo can help defining a script that can be run as sudo
    • <user> ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: /path/to/
  • Don't forget to
    • Set the script as executable with sudo chmod +x /path/to/
    • Prevent edition with chmod u-w,g-w /path/to/ (here we remove user and group write)
  • Know which OS, flavor, distro, distribution or version you are running cat /etc/os-release
  • Install fonts, check package fonts-liberation - can help you to fix Fontconfig error: Cannot load default config file
  • Change host name: hostnamectl set-hostname NEWHOSTNAME and update /etc/hosts
  • Check all installed packages, sorted by size: dpkg-query -W -f='${Installed-Size;8} ${Package}\n' | sort -n
  • Sometime reboot is not accessible ... then use systemctl reboot
  • Test RAM with sysbench --test=memory --memory-block-size=1M --memory-total-size=1000G
  • Check PCIe speed: lspci -vvvv

Power & Battery

  • Check system temperature
    1. sudo apt install lm-sensors
    2. sudo apt-get install lm-sensors
    3. sudo /etc/init.d/kmod start
    4. sensors
  • Check status & stats about battery
    1. List paths upower -e
    2. Get status upower -i <path>
  • Plan a reboot: shutdown -r 0:00 to restart at midnight for instance


  • Check BIOS version sudo dmidecode | less

Display, Media & Sound

  • Instead of changing the DPI to 125% which makes things weird, enable Large Text in Accessability


  • Source: OVH, DigitalOcean, DigitalOcean
  • Change all account passwords
  • Regarding SSH
    • Disable all unnecessary users logins, like root - Example
    • Change default port (between 49152 and 65535) - Generator
    • Use SSH Keys instead of passwords
  • Regarding network
    • Configure firewall like ufw
    • Configure fail2ban
    • Configure an Intrusion Detection System - Example
  • Disable unneeded services - Example, sudo ss -atpu
  • Implement unattended upgrades and livepatch - Example
  • Regularly
    • Update software
    • Check logs
    • Check for malware - Example: maldet
    • Make backups


Check logs

  • System messages: cat /var/log/messages | tail -n 50


Try Super Grub2 Disk

KVM - Virtual Machines


TABLE file.path as "Location"
FROM [[]] 
SORT file.path ASC