Monday, October 30, 2006

top 31 for RHCE Exam

Top 31 Things with Red Hat RHCE Exam

One of RHCE requirements is passing a multiple-choice exam. The exam consists of 40-50 questions that are based on general Linux topics (such as regular expressions), as well as topics that are specific to Red Hat. The time period allotted for the exam is one hour.

Note that last month it was erroneously reported that the exams are given at a number of locations -- "about 20 worldwide." Randolph Russell, the RHCE Certification Manager, has pointed out that the exam is now often scheduled in 21 cities in the United States and Canada. It is also offered in Europe, Japan, Australia, and the Pacific Rim.

Looking at the top 31 topics to know for this part of the exam. Why 31? The list of topics mirrors those emphasized by Red Hat at: The following list of study topics includes links that will take you to sites documenting the topics in detail and should quickly bring you up to speed on your exam preparation. Bear in mind, however, that the difficulty of the RHCE exam lies not so much in the multiple-choice portion of the exam, but in the lab portion.

A thorough understanding of Linux disk partitioning is required. Appendix B of the Official Red Hat Linux Reference Guide outlines what you should know and is available at:

Know how to install Red Hat in a variety of environments. The installation guide for the Intel platform is available at: . The guide for the Alpha platform is located at:

Be familiar with the Linux Loader, LILO. It is the most common loader used. A mini HOWTO is available at:

Authentication in Linux is a broad topic. Know the simple practices, such as storing users and passwords in /etc/passwd, as well as shadowing, employing PAM (Pluggable Authentication Modules), and other common-sense items, including disabling unused services and unused user accounts.

The Filesystem layout is common between Red Hat and other Linux implementations with only a handful of unique files, which are detailed at:

Multiple boot installations can be accomplished with tools such as rawrite (for DOS) and fips, which are well documented at: Red Hat details how to configure a dual boot system at:

The /etc/sysconfig contains many files that are used to configure the system. Details on all files Red Hat has placed in /etc/sysconfig are available at:

KickStart can be used to automate installation and bypass many of the basics. A well-written HOWTO can be found at: Information specific to Red Hat can be found at:

The Red Hat Package Manager (RPM) is an industry standard for installing software and patches. The creation of new RPMs is defined at: Documentation relevant to all aspects of package management is located at: Be sure to read “Impressing Your Friends with RPM” at:

src identifies a source RPM package. Data within src.rpms from Red Hat is, by default, placed into /usr/src/redhat. More information on RPM is available at:

The /sbin directory holds executables that can be used to boot the system and start system recovery operations. An outstanding discourse on Red Hat system recovery steps can be found at: Rescue mode is documented at:

Users and groups can be created in a variety of ways. For the exam, know the methods defined at:

and the uses of Linuxconf, as detailed at:

The user environment can be reconfigured with a set of files based on each user's shell type. A classic example is that when a user logs in, /etc/profile will run to start the environment. If a user is running the bash shell, then .profile within their home directory can run as well.

The bash shell is currently the most common shell in use. Configuration options for the GNU Bourne-Again Shell can be found at: Bash environment variables are also listed for Red Hat at:

Quotas allow you to limit the disk space utilized by users or groups. The Linux quota mini HOWTO can be found at:

Jobs can be executed in unattended mode at regular intervals by root and other users via the cron service. Configuring repetitive tasks via cron is explained in the tips file located at:

The basic concepts of the kernel -- its purpose, numbering, and all other relevant aspects -- must be thoroughly understood for this exam. The Linux Kernel book posted at: is an excellent resource for this information.

Sufficient understanding of kernel development tools extends beyond the basics of the kernel and can be gleaned from the Programming Guide posted at:

LILO configuration (see item 3) utilizes lilo.conf as the main file. The man page for the loader can be found at:

Be familiar with network services that are frequently used on Linux, including:

Apache --

Samba -- and a-Tips.html

NFS -- and

sendmail -- and

DNS --

ftp --

Know the basics of troubleshooting networking services (see item 20). Most troubleshooting simply involves knowing the configuration and how to control access. Much of this information can be found at:

Controlling access to services can keep intruders out and ensure that your system is not being abused. Red Hat explains how this should be done at:

A number of other network services can run under Red Hat and are fully supported. They include the following:

squid --

innd NNTP server -- and

xntpd --

Understand the concepts of X and Xfree86. Configuration of X is discussed at:


Be familiar with the desktop environment usage and configuration as defined at: (read the GNOME Desktop Environment and KDE Desktop sections).

Remote logins and remote client sessions are possible with X. Configuration for both the local and the remote machine is presented in the simplest manner possible at:

The xientd daemon is a more secure version of inetd and is documented at: The tcp_wrappers tool provides a simple firewall and allow you to restrict traffic to and from the network. Documentation on using the tcp_wrappers tool to limit access can be found at:

NIS allows you to expand beyond a simple system. A Red Hat system can be configured as an NIS or NIS+ client, or as an NIS server. The steps involved in these configurations are detailed at:

Know how to use PAM (Pluggable Access Modules) to add additional security to a system. Detailed information is available at:

Routing (in terms of iproute2 and related concepts) is discussed at: IP forwarding is discussed at:

Know how to use ipchains to implement a basic firewall. The Linux ipchains HOWTO is located at: The concept of User Private Groups and their role in Red Hat’s world is defined at:

These are the 31 topics identified by Red Hat to know for the RHCE exam. While nothing can compare with hands-on experience, information from the links provided above can be used to enhance your knowledge in preparation for the multiple-choice portion of the exam.

sources: google, redhat, fedora, and sysadreview


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