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Multi-Vendor UNIX Fundamentals

This course is aimed at IT professionals wanting to become proficient in using a UNIX platform in a multi-vendor environment. It is also recommended for users of any UNIX system who need to ‘escape’ an application and use the system at the command line level.


Learning Objectives

The course explains how to use the basic facilities of a UNIX system and demystifies most of the major concepts and principles of UNIX operation. We discuss the role the shell plays in interfacing with the operating system, analyse the file system and explore file, directory and data manipulation utilities.

We also take a look at more advanced use of the shell, including a brief introduction to shell scripts (command or batch files) and how to use them to automate repetitive tasks. There is a very useful overview of simple UNIX system administration and network communication utilities.


No specific UNIX knowledge is required, but delegates must have a basic knowledge of the major computer components as well as computer operating system functionality and concepts.

Ability of working with command line (such as in DOS or VMS) and familiarity with hierarchical file structure, organisation and management is assumed.

Course Content

This multi-vendor UNIX Fundamentals course will provide the delegates with transferable skills, and – equally important – will give them appreciation of working in a multi-vendor UNIX environment. The course concentrates on the common approach to the variants of UNIX whilst looking at some specific areas of particular systems and shells.

The platform used for practical exercises is Linux, with SSH access provided to at least one other version of UNIX, for example HP-UX

Hands-on work (labs, demos and interactive exercises) accounts for nearly half of the course. Each lab session is carefully structured to lead you through the concepts of the preceding chapter, thereby building knowledge and confidence in using UNIX. Each delegate is assigned his/her own machine, and all machines are configured as a network.

Course Outline


    What is UNIX?
    Origins and variants
    Architecture and purpose
    Good and bad points

UNIX Session

    UNIX users
    Logging in process
    GUI vs. CLI
    Shell programs
    Basic commands
    Logging out

The File System

    File system concepts
    Navigating the file system
    Manipulating files and directories
    Examining file contents

The vi Editor

    Concepts of the visual editor
    Useful vi commands
    Extended vi commands

The Korn Shell

    What is a shell?
    Shell as a command line interpreter
    Commands and arguments
    Using wildcards
    Command history and line editing

The Shell Environment

    Shell variables
    Customising user’s environment
    The search path
    Korn shell aliases
    Start-up files: /etc/profile, .profile and .kshrc

Command Input and Output

    UNIX I/O streams
    Standard input, output and error
    I/O redirection
    Using noclobber option
    Redirecting to /dev/null


    Programs, processes and daemons
    Communicating with processes using signals
    Background jobs and job control
    Multiple commands and sub-shells
    Command substitution
    Batch jobs with at

Pipes and Filters

    Command pipelines
    Simple filters
    Building complex filter pipelines
    Using pipelines in problem solving

Organising Files

    File ownership
    File protection
    Hard and soft links
    Modifying file access attributes

Power Tools

    Using diff and find
    Regular expressions
    Using regular expressions in a variety of UNIX tools
    Overview of a stream editor sed

Writing Shell Scripts

    Simple scripts
    Positional parameters
    Selection commands
    Looping commands
    Interactive input

Basic Communications

    UNIX in a networked environment
    TCP/IP utilities: ifconfig, ping, traceroute, hostname
    Remote sessions with SSH suite of tools

Looking After a UNIX System

    Starting and stopping the system
    Adding users
    Backup tools
    Interfacing to tapes and disks
    Working with DOS format files
    Deferring tasks with at and batch

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