Linux Installation and Package Management

By Emmett Dulaney

The Linux+ certification exam from CompTIA requires knowledge of the Linux installation and package management. This table shows the subtopics, weights, descriptions, and key knowledge areas for this topic.

Breakout of Domain 102
Subtopic Weight Description Key Areas
Design hard disk layout 2 Designing a disk-partitioning scheme for a Linux system Allocating file systems and swap space, tailoring the design to
the intended use of the system
Install a boot manager 2 Select, install, and configure a boot manager Boot loaders; GRUB and GRUB 2
Manage shared libraries 1 Determine the shared libraries that executable programs depend
on and install them when necessary
Shared library locations and how to load
Use Debian package management 3 Know the Debian package tools Install, upgrade, and uninstall Debian binary packages
Use RPM and Yum package management 3 Know the RPM and Yum tools Install, upgrade, and remove packages with RPM and Yum

To adequately address these topics, focus on the following files, terms, and utilities: /(root) file system, /boot/grub/menu.lst, /etc/apt/sources.list, /etc/ld.so.conf, /etc/yum.conf, /etc/yum.repos.d/, /home file system, /var file system, apt-cache, apt-get, aptitude, dpkg, dpkg-reconfigure, grub-install, LD_LIBRARY_PATH, ldconfig, ldd, MBR, mount points, partitions, rpm, rpm2cpio, superblock, swap space, yum, yumdownloader.

Here are the top ten items to know as you study for this domain:

  1. The ldd command is used to see what shared libraries a program is dependent upon.

  2. The ldconfig command is used to update and maintain the cache of shared library data. You can see the current cache by using the command ldconfig –p.

  3. Popular package managers include Red Hat’s Package Manager (rpm) and Debian’s (dpkg). The purpose of both is to simplify working with software.

  4. Options available with rpm include –i (for installing packages), -e (for removing packages), -q (for querying what packages belong to what files), -b (for building a package), and –p (to print/display information).

  5. With dpkg, you use the dselect command to use the graphical interface. You can also use command-line options that include –i (to install packages), -l (to list information about the package), -r (to remove the package), and –c (to list all files in the package).

  6. The Advanced Packaging Tool (apt) was designed as a front end for dpkg but now works with both .deb and .rpm packages.

  7. The Yellow dog Updater, Modified is more commonly known as Yum and can be used at the command line to download RPM packages.

  8. The superblock contains information about the type of file system, the size, status, and metadata information.

  9. The GRUB bootloader (an acronym for GNU’s Grand Unified Bootloader) allows multiple operating systems to exist on the same machine and a user to choose which one they want to boot on startup. The latest version is GRUB 2.

  10. Linux uses both a swap partition and a swap file for swap space. The swapon command can be used to toggle designated swap space on and off. Areas for swap space can be created with mkswap.