Config Files - An Introduction

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Config Files - An Introduction

Postby wolfden » Tue Oct 09, 2007 3:56

Without config files the operating sytem would be blah. Are you finding yourself confused with all the messages of portage telling you:
IMPORTANT: 124 config files in '/usr/share/X11/xkb' need updating

Well unfortunately with the amount of config files on your computer it is impossible to go over them all. I'm going to try and hit on the more important ones that are used more frequently.

Do you have to update your config files? The answer will be yes. Why? Cause things change over time.

How do I update my config files, portage keeps telling me I have config files to update? Well there is several ways to do this, you will need to run one of the following more popular methods.:
--------etc-update: http://www.gentoo-wiki.info/HOWTO_etc-update
--------dispatch-conf: http://en.gentoo-wiki.com/wiki/Dispatch-conf

Do not and I repeat, do not blindly auto merge config file updates. You can hose your system to the point it won't boot back up. Well there is so many, how do I know if it is safe to or not? Good question and the rule of thumb is - if you have not edited a config file than generally your are safe, but this isn't a sure fire way. Using dispatch-conf will keep a back up copy of you old config files in case you need to restore them. Get to know your config files so you can be aware of certain files.

Remember to edit the config files you need to be root, so you will want to open konsole, type su, enter password and than nano or vi the file. You can do this via GUI too, just open konsole and run kdesu konqueror and when the box comes up, enter you root password and than you will have a root file manager window, gnome users will use gksu nautilus.

/etc/rc.conf
- for general, system-wide configuration. Read the comments in the file, it's pretty well explained. If your window manager suddenly changes upon boot, this is one of the first files to check.
http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handbook/h ... t=1&chap=8

/etc/conf.d/xdm - Is what controls your GUI login and window Manager. So if you GUI or login is messed up, be sure to check it out. It's self explanatory.
http://gentoo-wiki.com/HOWTO_Activate_Graphical_login

/etc/hosts - helps in resolving host names to IP addresses for hosts that aren't resolved by your nameserver.
http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handbook/h ... t=1&chap=8

/etc/make.conf - This file contains various variables that are used by Portage. Portage will check the currently-defined environment variables first for any settings.
http://gentoo-wiki.com/MAN_makeconf
http://www.sabayonlinux.org/forum/viewt ... 54&t=10578

/boot/grub/grub.conf - Your boot manager so you can boot 1 or more operating systems. This is one of the first screens you will see and is asking for you to choose what operating system to boot.
http://gentoo-wiki.com/HOWTO_Quick_GRUB
http://gentoo-wiki.com/HOWTO_Dual_boot

/etx/X11/xorg.conf - Xorg is the X Window server which allows users to have a graphical environment. Got resolution problems? This file is for you.
http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/xorg-config.xml

/etc/conf.d/net - your network configuration, see /etc/conf.d/net.example for a very well documented example – dhcp, static, wireless, wired networking settings
http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handbook/h ... t=1&chap=8

/etc/resolv.conf - your DNS file, nothing to complicated, but if you can access your router but can't get web pages to load - check this file for DNS settings
http://gentoo-wiki.com/MAN_resolve.conf

/etc/fstab
- This file contains the mount points of your partitions. Need to mount a hard drive? Add it here so it is available on every boot up.
http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handbook/h ... t=1&chap=8

/etc/modules.autoload.d/kernel-2.6 - You may have decided to compile some kernel components as modules (as opposed to compiled directly into the kernel) and would like to have them autoloaded on bootup like you did with 2.4. Also, if you installed any external modules from the portage tree you will probably want to autoload them too.
http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/migration-to-2.6.xml

/etc/exports
– This is great for doing shares on the network using NFS
http://gentoo-wiki.com/HOWTO_Share_Directories_via_NFS
This also works great of sharing portage across multiple computers. You only need to sync one main computer than share your portage so the other computers will connect to your main computer for emerges
http://gentoo-wiki.com/HOWTO_Using_a_sh ... ge_via_NFS

This hardly puts a dent in the amount of config files, but those are the ones I run across the most, plus trying to keep it friendly for people new to config files. I could of mentioned like local.start, but that is for experienced people. Gentoo wiki has a small list of config files too:
http://gentoo-wiki.com/TIP_List_of_Configuration_Files

Generally you can google and find some thing about the config file. Enter into google "gentoo xorg.conf" and you will find your answer. Feel free to add more that I may have missed here.
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Re: Config Files - An Introduction

Postby archwndas » Sun Dec 09, 2007 14:01

Thank you Wolfden, that is great man. This is something that was missing. They say that one of the advantages of Linux is that it is transparent to the user, you can control it and can modify it e.t.c. But this is not true practically because it needs hours of reading studying and practicing. Moreover it is hard to find the necessary details somewhere. This is a good place to start at list for the newbies. Thank you once again.

It would be nice though if you could explain another important chapter which is glibc. Tell us how important that is for the system. How to check its version. How to update it. Which important programs depend on it. What does it have to do with all kinds of executables even in other systems like FreeBSD.

More later.
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Re: Config Files - An Introduction

Postby bdacus » Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:18

Great post..
bd
bd

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Use Linux....
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Re: Config Files - An Introduction

Postby hexxamillion » Thu May 01, 2008 10:34

This goes to show you the quality that is being put into Sabayon. This post is great. I'm somewhat of a newbie but all this great documentation (Gentoo handbook, Sabayon wiki, Sabayon forum..etc) is by far the best I've seen.
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