Useful CentOS howtos

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Community ENTerprise Operating System (CentOS), is a GNU/Linux enterprise distribution, based on the freely available sources of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and, just as RHEL or Debian stable, CentOS is focused on stability and security.

CentOS delivers a long-term support, stable APIs and ABIs for your own software, integration of modern security technologies, backported security fixes so that updating doesn’t break anything. A new release comes out every 18 to 24 months, and each release is supported for around 7 years. With these characteristics, CentOS is an excellent desktop and server operating system for people who want a robust system that just works. Due to its heritage, CentOS is also an excellent migration path for former Fedora legacy users.

All these characteristics make CentOS the perfect operating system for University computer labs and for setting up a test Grid for educational and/or development purposes.

How to

 

  • disable the system beep edit /etc/inputrc and uncomment following line:
    # do not bell on tab-completion
    set bell-style none

    Then run:

    root:# rmmod pcspkr
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  • install Flash Player:
    • visit http://get.adobe.com/it/flashplayer/
    • choose “YUM for Linux”;
    • click on “Accept and install now”;
    • choose to open with “Software installer”;
    • after installation go to Applications / Add/Remove Software;
    • search for “flash”;
    • check on “flash-plugin-etc…” and press “Apply”.
  •  
     

  • disable all the not necessary services (such as bluetooth, isdn, etc) run:
    root:# ntsysv
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  • make your machine not boot in graphical mode (highly recommended if you are planning to use the machine as server only):
    root:# vim /etc/inittab

    and change the id:5:initdefault: line with id:3:initdefault:
    To start the windows manager simply run “startx” once logged in;

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  • configure name server lookups edit your /etc/resolv.conf and add to the right of the “search” option the list of domain names to be tried separated by spaces or tabs;
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  • to make your machine automatically install security updates with a daily basis:
    root:# vim /etc/cron.daily/yumupdate

    and paste into it

    yum update -y

    save and change its permission to:

    root:# chmod +x /etc/cron.daily/yumupdate

    this will make your machine do the update every day at 4:02am, provided it’s turned on at that time;

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  • keep your machine system clock accurate by synchronizing it over the Internet with a daily basis:
    root:# vim /etc/cron.daily/ntpdate

    and paste into it

    ntpdate -u ntp1.inrim.it ntp2.inrim.it

    replace “ntp1.ien.it” and “ntp2.ien.it” with other NTP public servers geographically near to your machine: you can choose them here. Save and change its permission to:

    root:# chmod +x /etc/cron.daily/ntpdate

    this will make your machine do the update every day at 4:02am, provided it’s turned on at that time;

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  • install RPMForge following these instructions;
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  • install RAR you need to install RPMForge first, then run:
    root:# yum install -y rar
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  • install a good LaTeX editor:
    root:# yum install tetex tetex-latex kdegraphics kile
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