Solaris vs Linux - SysAdmin differences

The purpose of this article is to introduce the system and network administration features of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) for Solaris Administrators and to describe the differences between the Solaris 9 Operating System and Red Hat Linux with respect to system administration tasks.

Solaris vs Linux differences

File System Management

Default file system type ufs ext3
Supported file system types hsfs, nfs, vxfs, pcfs, udfs ext2, iso9660, vfat, hfs, nfs, ufs
Temporary file system in memory tmpfs tmpfs
Swap file system swapfs swapfs
File descriptor file system fdfs
Process file system procfs procfs ACSII text data on RedHat
binary data on Solaris
Mount file system mntfs
Partition a disk format fdisk, parted
Disk label VTOC - on first disk sector
bootstrap program (bootblk) Follow VTOC in Sectors 1-15
Primary superblock Sectors 16-32
View inodes ls -i ls -i
Construct a new file system newfs, mkfs mkfs, mke2fs -j, mkfs.ext3
Tune existing file system tunefs
Determine a file system type fstyp
Check and repair file system fsck fsck
Display file system disk space usage summary du du
Display disk space df df
Enable disk quotas quotaon quotaon
Disable disk quotas quotaoff quotaoff
Summarize quotas for a file system repquota repquota
Summarize file system ownership quot
Mount and unmount file systems mount, umount mount, umount
Mount all file systems mountall
mount -a
mount -a
Umount all file systems umountall
umount -a
umount -a
Display processes using files fuser fuser
File systems configuration /etc/vfstab /etc/fstab
List devices sysdef cat /proc/devices

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Software Installation

Automatic updatessmpatch, smcup2dateup2date requires registration with the Red Hat Network (RHN)

Interactive installation program suninstall anaconda
Determine OS level, kernel version uname -a
cat /etc/release
uname -a
Boot options CD-ROM, disk, network CD-ROM, disk, network, floppy
Installation options CD-ROM, NFS, HTTP, Flash, Live Upgrade CD-ROM, local disk, NFS,FTP, HTTP
Network installation procedure jumpstart kickstart
Install additional software pkagadd rpm -i
Uninstall software pkgrm rpm -e
List installed software pkginfo rpm -qa
Verify installed software pkginfo -i
pkginfo -p
rpm -V
List files in a package pkgchk -l rpm -ql
List installed patches showrev -p
patchadd -p
Show package owner pkgchk -l -p rpm -qf
New software directory /var/sadm /var/lib/rpm
Checking patch levels showrev -p
patchadd -p
Package management GUI redhat-config-packages Use gnorpm on RH Linux AS-2.1
Product registry GUI prodreg
Display unique host id hostid hostid hostid is used by some applications

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System Boot Procedures

Process control initialisation init, telinit init, telinit
Initialization script /etc/inittab /etc/inittab
Kernel boot-time module configuration /etc/system /etc/modules.conf
Run level 0 System is running the PROM monitor Halt
Run level s or S Single-user mode with critical file systems accessible
Run level 1 Single-user administrative state Single-user administrative state
Run level 2 Multi-user mode without NFS or other network resource servers Not used
Run level 3 Full multi-user environment (default) Full multi-user without X-windows
Run level 4 Not used Not used
Run level 5 Transitional - OS is shutdown, system powered off Full multi-user with X-windows desktop
Run level 6 reboot reboot
Identify current run level who -r who -r, runlevel
Graceful system shutdown /usr/sbin/shutdown /sbin/shutdown
Immediate system shutdown /usr/sbin/halt /sbin/halt
Immediate system shutdown and turn power off /usr/sbin/poweroff /sbin/poweroff
Immediate shutdown and restart /usr/sbin/reboot /sbin/reboot
Boot single user <OK> boot -s At the boot loader menu: {lilo} control-x linux S {grub} e select the kernel entry from the listing (kernel vmlinux .....) e add the word single to the end hit return b
Run control script directories /etc/rcX.d, X=run level /etc/rc.d/rcX.d Linux also links each directory from under /etc.

For example: /etc/init.d --> /etc/rc.d/init.d /etc/rc3.d --> /etc/rc.d/rc3.d
Start or stop services and applications manually /etc/init.d/xxxxx start
/etc/init.d/xxxxx stop
/etc/init.d/xxxxx start
/etc/init.d/xxxxx stop
service xxxxx start
service xxxxx stop
xxxxxx are the scripts in the init.d directory.

Many services also have a restart option.

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User Administration

Password files /etc/passwd
Group file /etc/group /etc/group
Group passwd file /etc/gshadow
nobody group number nobody=60001 nobody=99
nogroup group number nogroup=65534
Add user accounts useradd, smc, admintool useradd, adduser, redhat-config-users
Remove user accounts userdel, smc, admintool userdel, redhat-config-users
Modify user accounts usermod, smc, admintool usermod, redhat-config-users
Change password passwd passwd
Add a group groupadd groupadd
Delete a group groupdel groupdel
Modify group name or GID groupmod groupmod
Set a group password gpasswd
List users group membership groups groups
Globally update user names and passwords chpasswd
Change password aging policy passwd -n chage
Change gecos information passwd -g chfn
Change user’s default shell passwd -e chsh
New user startup files /etc/skel/* /etc/skel/*

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Printer Management

Submit print request lp
Cancel print jobs cancel cancel
Configure the LP print service lpadmin lpadmin
Accept/reject print requests accept
Display status of print service lpstat
Enable/disable printers enable
Start print service lpsched
Move print requests lpmove lpmove
Printer services daemon /usr/lib/print/in.lpd /usr/sbin/lpd
Common UNIX printing system (cups) daemon cupsd /usr/sbin/cupsd cups is the default Red Hat 9, cups is not shipped with Red Hat Linux AS 2.1

Refer to for additional information.
The cups configuration file /etc/cups/cupsd.conf
The cups configuration interface http://localhost:631
LP print service scheduler daemon /usr/lib/LP/lpsched
Printer capability database /usr/share/lib/terminfo/* /usr/share/terminfo/*
Printers configuration database /etc/printers.conf /etc/printcap
LP server configuration directories /etc/LP
Print queues directory /var/spool/* /var/spool/lpd/
Print request logs directory /var/LP/logs/
Printer configuration GUI /usr/sadm/adm/bin/printmgr redhat-config-printer-gui
Configure serial ports GUI admintool
Configure serial ports sacadm
Serial port device files /dev/ttya

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System Backups and Restores

Display and manage active processes prstat, top, sdtprocess top gnome-system-monitor
Execute commands at a later time at, batch at, batch
Display jobs queued to run atq atq
at -l
Files associated with the at process /var/spool/cron/atjobs
Maintain crontab files crontab -l
crontab -e
crontab -r
crontab -l
crontab -e
crontab -r
Files associated with the cron process /var/spool/cron/crontabs
Print statistics about users’ connect time acctcon acctcon1 acctcon2 acctwtmp ac
Turns process accounting on or off acctron
acctwtmp "acctg on"
acctwtmp "acct off"
Show listing of last logged in users last last, last
Summarizes accounting information acctcms sa
Print out information about previously executed commands acctcom lastcomm
Merge or add total accounting files acctmerg
Process accounting acctprc
Shell procedures for accounting acctsh, chargefee, ckpacct, dodisk, lastlogin, monacct, nulladm, prctmp, prdaily, prtacct, shutacct, startup, turnacct
Manipulate connect accounting records fwtmp
List open files pfiles lsof
Display process tree ptree pstree

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Software Installation

Magnetic tape control mt, rmt mt, rmt
Archiving utilities tar, cpio, jar, pax tar, cpio, jar, pax
File copy and conversion dd dd
File system backup ufsdump dump (ext2 filesystem)
File system restore ufsrestore restore
Record of backups /etc/dumpdates /etc/dumpdates
Tape device names /dev/st0
/dev/nth0 - IDE/ATAPI
/dev/st0 - SCSI
/dev/rft0 - floppy
Create, query or delete a temporary read-only snapshot of the file system fssnap
Create an hybrid ISO9660/JOLIET/HFS file system with optional Rock Ridge attributes mkisofs mkisofs
Utilities for dumping and verifying ISO9660 images devdump, isoinfo, isovfy, isodump devdump, isoinfo, isovfy, isodump
Amanda (Advanced Maryland Network Disk Achiever) amdump, amflush, amcleanup, amrecover, amrestore, amlabel, amcheck, amadmin, amtape, amverify, amrmtape, amoverview, amplot, amreport, amtoc, amcheckdb, amgetconf

Amanda is a client-server backup utility that uses tar or dump on the back end.
Amanda works with the Solaris also, but it is not distributed with the Solaris

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Additional Resources

The following documenation sources provide detailed information for the Solaris 9 and Red Hat operating systems:

TitleOnline documentation
Solaris 9 documentation
Red Hat 9 documentation
Red Hat Enterprise documentation