Working at the System Level with AWS Tools - dummies

Working at the System Level with AWS Tools

By John Paul Mueller

All the AWS (Amazon Web Services) tools are relatively high-level tools designed to give you a good overview of what your system is doing. These tools normally provide what you need because they summarize information in a way that makes it easy to work with. However, sometimes it’s helpful to have a low-level view of your system using the tools that come in the System Tools group package.

The following list offers a brief overview (listed as either a default package or an optional package).

Utility/Package What It Does
Default Packages  
conman Provides connectivity with other remote consoles. See http://www.tutorialspoint.com/unix_commands/conman.htm for additional information.
mgetty Allows connectivity with modems. See http://linuxcommand.org/man_pages/mgetty8.html for additional information.
mkbootdisk Creates a boot disk for starting the system. See http://linuxcommand.org/man_pages/mkbootdisk8.html for additional information.
net-snmp-libs Contains the libraries used for Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)-related tasks.
nmap Performs detailed network mapping tasks. See https://nmap.org/ for additional information.
ntp Synchronizes the clocks of the systems within a given network with a master time source (ultimately allowing synchronization with an Internet source, such as time.nist.gov). See http://www.ntp.org/ for additional information.
openldap-clients Contains the libraries used for the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)-related tasks.
quota Manages disk quotas for both users and groups. See http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Quota.html for additional information.
rng-tools (includes: rngd and rngtest) Performs testing and configuration of the random number-generation capabilities of a system. Because a virtual machine can’t access the underlying hardware, this set of utilities isn’t useful when working with AWS.
screen Allows use of multiple shell windows when working with SSH. See https://www.rackaid.com/blog/linux-screen-tutorial-and-how-to/ for additional information.
xdelta Performs delta compression on C libraries to make them smaller. See http://xdelta.org/ for additional information.
zisofs-tools (includes: mkzftree) Contains the tools needed to work with compressed disks. See http://freecode.com/projects/zisofs-tools for additional information.
zsh Provides access to a shell used for interactive and scripted command-line tasks. See http://zsh.sourceforge.net/ for additional information.
Optional Packages  
adjtimex Displays and sets the Linux kernel time variables. See http://linuxcommand.org/man_pages/adjtimex8.html for additional information.
amanda-client Contains the tools required to implement the Advanced Maryland Automatic Network Disk Archiver (AMANDA). These tools are designed for use with Windows, so they won’t work with your free-tier Linux installation. See http://www.amanda.org/ for additional information.
arptables_jf Contains the tools required to work with the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP). See http://kb.linuxvirtualserver.org/wiki/Using_arptables_to_disable_ARP for additional information.
arpwatch Tracks Ethernet and IP address pairings. See http://linuxcommand.org/man_pages/arpwatch8.html for additional information.
audit (includes: augenrules, aureport, ausearch, and autrace) Contains the tools required to perform audits of processes. See https://linux-audit.com/tag/autrace/ and https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/how-to-use-the-linux-auditing-system-on-centos-7 for additional information.
avahi-tools Contains the tools used to implement the Avahi zero-configuration networking system. See https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/avahi for additional information.
createrepo Provides the means for working with RPM-metadata (repodata). See http://createrepo.baseurl.org/ for additional information.
gnutls-utils (includes: certtool, gnutls-cli, gnutls-cli-debug, gnutls-serv, and psktool) Contains utilities for working with the GNU Transport Layer Security (TLS) features of AWS. See http://www.gnutls.org/ for additional information.
iptraf Performs IP monitoring tasks. See http://linuxcommand.org/man_pages/iptraf8.html for additional information.
ktune Performs kernel-tuning tasks. Because a virtual machine can’t access the underlying operating system, this utility isn’t useful when working with AWS.
lslk Lists local locks on files. This utility is outdated. See http://linux.die.net/man/8/lslk for additional information.
lsscsi Obtains information about Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) drives attached to the local system. Because a virtual machine can’t access the underlying hardware, this utility isn’t useful when working with AWS. See http://sg.danny.cz/scsi/lsscsi.html for additional information.
mc Provides the means to manage files on disk using the Midnight Commander utility. See https://www.midnight-commander.org/ for additional information.
mrtg Tracks the activities of any routers attached to the system using the Mult-Router Traffic Grabber. See http://oss.oetiker.ch/mrtg/ for additional information.
net-snmp-utils (includes: encode_keychange, snmpbulkget, snmpbulkwalk, snmpdelta, snmpdf, snmpget, snmpgetnext, snmpinform, snmpnetstat, snmpset, snmpstatus, snmptable, snmptest, snmptranslate, snmptrap, snmpusm, snmpvacm, and snmpwalk) Contains a number of tools for performing SNMP-related tasks. See http://net-snmp.sourceforge.net/ for additional information.
pinentry Displays dialog boxes used to enter Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and other security information. See https://www.gnupg.org/related_software/pinentry/index.en.html for additional details.
uuidd Generates Universally Unique Identifiers (UUIDs) to ensure that apps and other system processes can recognize unique instances of any object. See http://linux.die.net/man/8/uuidd for additional information.
vlock Locks a virtual console, enabling you to save your current session. See http://linux.die.net/man/1/vlock for additional information.
watchdog Performs tests to ensure that the system hasn’t frozen because of an errant process. See http://linux.die.net/man/8/watchdog for additional information.

Some of the utilities mentioned here, such as mkbootdisk, won’t see any use while you work with AWS. You have no need to create an emergency boot disk (assuming that you can still find a system that has a floppy disk). It helps to know that these utilities exist, just in case someone gets curious and you end up with odd output from the system.

Linux offers a wealth of other group packages not found in this chapter that you might find helpful. For example, you might find that you need the tau-epsilon-chi (TeX) editor support provided by Linux, which means installing the TeX Support group package. (TeX is a typesetting system originally created by Donald Knuth.)