6.56. Configuring essential software

Now that all software is installed, all that we need to do to get a few programs running properly is to create their configuration files.

6.56.1. Configuring Vim

By default Vim runs in vi compatible mode. Some people might like this, but we have a high preference to run vim in vim mode (else we wouldn't have included Vim in this book but the original Vi). Create the /root/.vimrc by running the following:

cat > /root/.vimrc << "EOF"
" Begin /root/.vimrc

set nocompatible
set bs=2

" End /root/.vimrc

6.56.2. Configuring Glibc

We need to create the /etc/nsswitch.conf file. Although glibc should provide defaults when this file is missing or corrupt, its defaults don't work well with networking which will be dealt with in a later chapter. Also, our timezone needs to be set up.

Create a new file /etc/nsswitch.conf by running the following:

cat > /etc/nsswitch.conf << "EOF"
# Begin /etc/nsswitch.conf

passwd: files
group: files
shadow: files

publickey: files

hosts: files dns
networks: files

protocols: db files
services: db files
ethers: db files
rpc: db files

netgroup: db files

# End /etc/nsswitch.conf

The tzselect script has to be run and the questions regarding your timezone have to be answered. When you're done, the script will give the location of the needed timezone file.

Create the /etc/localtime symlink by running:

cd /etc &&
ln -sf ../usr/share/zoneinfo/<tzselect's output> localtime

tzselect's output can be something like EST5EDT or Canada/Eastern.

The symlink you'd create with that information would be:

ln -sf ../usr/share/zoneinfo/EST5EDT localtime


ln -sf ../usr/share/zoneinfo/Canada/Eastern localtime 

6.56.3. Configuring Dynamic Loader

By default the dynamic loader searches a few default paths for dynamic libraries, so there normally isn't a need for the /etc/ld.so.conf file unless the system has extra directories in which you want the system to search for libraries. The /usr/local/lib directory isn't searched through for dynamic libraries by default, so we want to add this path so when you install software you won't be surprised by them not running for some reason.

Create a new file /etc/ld.so.conf by running the following:

cat > /etc/ld.so.conf << "EOF"
# Begin /etc/ld.so.conf


# End /etc/ld.so.conf

Although it's not necessary to add the /lib and /usr/lib directories it doesn't hurt. This way it can be seen right away what's being searched and a you don't have to remember the default search paths if you don't want to.

6.56.4. Configuring Sysklogd

Create a new file /etc/syslog.conf by running the following:

cat > /etc/syslog.conf << "EOF"
# Begin /etc/syslog.conf

auth,authpriv.* -/var/log/auth.log
*.*;auth,authpriv.none -/var/log/sys.log
daemon.* -/var/log/daemon.log
kern.* -/var/log/kern.log
mail.* -/var/log/mail.log
user.* -/var/log/user.log
*.emerg *

# End /etc/syslog.conf

6.56.5. Configuring Shadow Password Suite

This package contains the utilities to modify user's passwords, add new users/groups, delete users/groups and more. We're not going to explain what 'password shadowing' means. All about that can be read in the doc/HOWTO file within the unpacked shadow password suite's source tree. There's one thing you should keep in mind, if you decide to use shadow support, that programs that need to verify passwords (examples are xdm, ftp daemons, pop3 daemons, etc) need to be 'shadow-compliant', eg. they need to be able to work with shadow'ed passwords.

To enable shadow'ed passwords, run the following command:


6.56.6. Configuring Sysvinit

Create a new file /etc/inittab by running the following:

cat > /etc/inittab << "EOF"
# Begin /etc/inittab



l0:0:wait:/etc/init.d/rc 0
l1:S1:wait:/etc/init.d/rc 1
l2:2:wait:/etc/init.d/rc 2
l3:3:wait:/etc/init.d/rc 3
l4:4:wait:/etc/init.d/rc 4
l5:5:wait:/etc/init.d/rc 5
l6:6:wait:/etc/init.d/rc 6

ca:12345:ctrlaltdel:/sbin/shutdown -t1 -a -r now


1:2345:respawn:/sbin/agetty tty1 9600
2:2345:respawn:/sbin/agetty tty2 9600
3:2345:respawn:/sbin/agetty tty3 9600
4:2345:respawn:/sbin/agetty tty4 9600
5:2345:respawn:/sbin/agetty tty5 9600
6:2345:respawn:/sbin/agetty tty6 9600

# End /etc/inittab

6.56.7. Creating the /var/run/utmp, /var/log/wtmp and /var/log/btmp files

Programs like login, shutdown, uptime and others want to read from and write to the /var/run/utmp /var/log/btmp and /var/log/wtmp. These files contain information about who is currently logged in. It also contains information on when the computer was last booted and shutdown and a record of the bad login attempts.

Create these files with their proper permissions by running the following commands:

touch /var/run/utmp /var/log/wtmp \
    /var/log/btmp /var/log/lastlog &&
chmod 644 /var/run/utmp /var/log/wtmp \
   /var/log/btmp /var/log/lastlog

6.56.8. Creating root password

Choose a password for user root and create it by running the following command:

passwd root