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The calling of the Rosary
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Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States

I am the most wanted man on my island; but I'm not on my island. More's the pity.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Our recent unknown intruder penetrated using the superuser account, giving him access to our whole system.

--The Plague

I saw this on Veritas' Backup Exec support site. After staring at the screen, stupefied by what I was reading; then I just started to laugh. Let me pull up the relative sections. I'm sure there are going to be like, eighteen people tops who will ever read this and find it funny.

3. How to tell what version of the Backup Exec UNIX agent is installed?


a. Start the UNIX Agent up at the command line by typing ./ &. This will start another instance of the UNIX agent and display the version number when the agent starts.

b. Reboot the UNIX computer. When the computer comes back up, the version of the agent will be displayed on the screen.

Reboot the UNIX computer?

Yeah, that's what you want to do. Just go into a closet and start flipping switches.

# sync;sync;reboot -y

Feel the rush!

"Why the hell is our server down?"

"Uh, I was just checking which version of the Backup Exec Client we had on it."

8. What rights are necessary to install the UNIX agent?

The operator must be logged in as root.

See #14

10. Are Differential and Incremental backup jobs possible?

Differential and Incremental backups are not allowed. Only the Normal, Copy, and Daily backup methods are allowed. Differential and Incremental backup jobs rely on an archive bit, which a UNIX computer does not have.

You can't do an incremental backup? Wow! That's not a good thing to admit. Get on that, Veritas.

11. What is UNIX?

UNIX is a multi-user operating system with built-in networking capabilities.

If you're going to do a "What is UNIX" FAQ, shouldn't you make "What is UNIX?" #1? I'm just sayin'...

12. How can UNIX support multiple users?

UNIX can take multiple terminals hooked up to its serial ports.

UNIX can have users logging in from the network (telnet or rlogin).

UNIX can act as a file server (NFS).

UNIX can act as an application server.

Actually, no on that third one. An NFS server doesn't really support multiple users, it just allows parts of a filesystem to be shared by multiple systems. It really doesn't do much, except allow users to see files from other servers.

13. Is there just one type of UNIX?

No, there are three major types: System V (Five), System IV (4), and BSD. System V is the most popular. AIX is a combination of the two. Each vendor adds support for more commands and changes switches sometimes. For example, SCO and Solaris are both based on System V whilst HP-UX is based on System IV but most commands are the same in principle.

System IV? What the hell is System IV? I own so many O'Reilly books, my kids no longer go to the zoo. I don't think one of them mention System IV.

So I went looking for backup:

If you have your System III or PWB documentation handy, you might look at the title page. You'll find Ted Dolotta's name prominently displayed.

Ted was at Princeton, Bell Labs, and INTERACTIVE Systems in the '70s and '80s, and he just retired from Softbank, where he was vice president.

Hi, Peter,

I noted your query in ;login: regarding System IV UNIX at Bell Labs.

As best I remember, there was indeed a System IV, but it was never offered for licensing via Western Electric. I no longer recall the exact reason why, but I think that it was not a major step beyond System III.

Good job, Veritas!

14. Is there an administrator account in UNIX?

Yes, it is called root or superuser. The login ID is always root. Although it is technically possible, it is rare to see users equivalent to root setup in security. Usually, a small group of users who needs it shares the root account.

15. What is "root"?

Root has the rights to all files and directories. It can start, stop, or change anything it wishes. It is (usually) the only user who modifies the operating system or installs new software (like the Backup Exec UNIX agent). Many system level utilities require root privileges to work.

Shouldn't this one have gone somewhere near #8? Conversely, doesn't #14 answer this?

16. Is UNIX space sensitive?

Yes. For example, typing cd/ is not the same thing as cd /.

There are people who actually wonder this?

17. Is UNIX GUI-based?

No, most versions of UNIX are text-based. A user can usually buy an add-on for GUI support. The GUI add-on is referred to as X Windows.

Someone has actually bought a UNIX GUI package since 1979? For what, SCO? XENIX? I've worked with UNIX systems since 1995. I think I saw one version of UNIX that didn't ship with a GUI, and that was a LINUX box that just needed one downloaded.

19. How are users created?

This is normally done through vendor supplied utilities, which are often menu driven. In SCO, there is a program called scoadmin. However, it can be done through the useradd command. For example, useradd steve will create an account called steve and give it a login ID. There are more switches to specify to create home directories, default shells, group membership, and so on. Some UNIX administrators prefer to edit the /etc/passwd file directly.

Change that to "Any UNIX admin with a shred of personal dignity prefers..."

30. How can the UNIX agent be manually stopped?

a. Type ps -df | grep agent (this gets a listing of the processes that have the word "agent" in them).

ps -df? Someone uses the -d argument? When and where? -df? What, did they want to be special, and not say ps -ef like everyone else in the world?

Note to Veritas. I can do documentation on the side for cheap. Feel free to contact me.


Blogger The Mad Tech said...

Fantastic. Once I had our resident ubergeek explain a few things I was rolling. My Unix is so feeble I don't even include it on my resume. Thanks for the heads up.

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