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Linux Professional Institute Certification Exam 102 Topics

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Survey of main topics covered in Linux Professional Institute Certification Exam 102

By Editorial Team on 2018-11-15

Linux is by far the most popular operating system for personal and business servers. Obtaining a Linux certification from a reputable company such as Red Hat or Linux Professional Institute (LPI) carries lots of weight on a candidate profile. Indeed, Linux is highly regarded by system admin professionals. This article reviews LPI exam 102 that is aimed at system admin professionals.


Unlike CompTIA that only offers Linux+ certification, LPI offers many Linux-based certifications for both system admin and application engineers. The most popular system admin certifications are exam 101 and 102 that can qualify a candidate for many entry to mid-level system admin jobs. This article reviews topics and subtopics that are used in exam 102. In particular, LPI system admin 102 exam is composed of 6 topics: 1- Shells and Shell Scripting, 2-Interfaces and Desktops, 3- Administrative Tasks, 4- Essential System Services, 5- Networking Fundamentals, and 6- Security. Below we discuss subtopics covered in each topic category.

Topic 105: Shells and Shell Scripting

105.1 Customize and use the shell environment

Candidates should be able to customize shell environments to meet needs of users. Candidates should be able to modify global and user profiles.
Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Set environment variables (e.g. PATH) at login or when spawning a new shell.
  • Write Bash functions for frequently used sequences of commands.
  • Maintain skeleton directories for new user accounts.
  • Set command search path with the proper directory.

105.2 Customize or write simple scripts

Candidates should be able to customize existing scripts, or write simple new Bash scripts.
Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Use standard sh syntax (loops, tests).
  • Use command substitution.
  • Test return values for success or failure or other information provided by a command.
  • Execute chained commands.
  • Perform conditional mailing to the superuser.
  • Correctly select the script interpreter through the shebang (#!) line.
  • Manage the location, ownership, execution and suid-rights of scripts.

 

Topic 106: User Interfaces and Desktops

106.1 Install and configure X11

Candidates should be able to install and configure X11.
Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Understanding of the X11 architecture.
  • Basic understanding and knowledge of the X Window configuration file.
  • Overwrite specific aspects of Xorg configuration, such as keyboard layout.
  • Understand the components of desktop environments, such as display managers and window managers.
  • Manage access to the X server and display applications on remote X servers.
  • Awareness of Wayland.

106.2 Graphical Desktops

Candidates should be aware of major Linux desktops. Furthermore, candidates should be aware of protocols used to access remote desktop sessions.
Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Awareness of major desktop environments
  • Awareness of protocols to access remote desktop sessions

106.3 Accessibility

Candidates should demonstrate knowledge and awareness of accessibility technologies.
Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Basic knowledge of visual settings and themes.
  • Basic knowledge of assistive technology.

Topic 107: Administrative Tasks

107.1 Manage user and group accounts and related system files

Candidates should be able to add, remove, suspend and change user accounts.
Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Add, modify and remove users and groups.
  • Manage user/group info in password/group databases.
  • Create and manage special purpose and limited accounts.

107.2 Automate system administration tasks by scheduling jobs

Candidates should be able to use cron and systemd timers to run jobs at regular intervals and to use at to run jobs at a specific time.
Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Manage cron and at jobs.
  • Configure user access to cron and at services.
  • Understand systemd timer units.

107.3 Localizations and internationalization

Candidates should be able to localize a system in a different language than English. As well, an understanding of why LANG=C is useful when scripting.
Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Configure locale settings and environment variables.
  • Configure timezone settings and environment variables.

 

Topic 108: Essential System Services

108.1 Maintain system time

Candidates should be able to properly maintain the system time and synchronize the clock via NTP.
Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Set the system date and time.
  • Set the hardware clock to the correct time in UTC.
  • Configure the correct timezone.
  • Basic NTP configuration using ntpd and chrony.
  • Knowledge of using the pool.ntp.org service.
  • Awareness of the ntpq command.

108.2 System logging

Candidates should be able to configure rsyslog. This objective also includes configuring the logging daemon to send log output to a central log server or accept log output as a central log server. Use of the systemd journal subsystem is covered. Also, awareness of syslog and syslog-ng as alternative logging systems is included.
Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Basic configuration of rsyslog.
  • Understanding of standard facilities, priorities and actions.
  • Query the systemd journal.
  • Filter systemd journal data by criteria such as date, service or priority.
  • Configure persistent systemd journal storage and journal size.
  • Delete old systemd journal data.
  • Retrieve systemd journal data from a rescue system or file system copy.
  • Understand interaction of rsyslog with systemd-journald.
  • Configuration of logrotate.
  • Awareness of syslog and syslog-ng.

108.3 Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) basics

Candidates should be aware of the commonly available MTA programs and be able to perform basic forward and alias configuration on a client host. Other configuration files are not covered.
Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Create e-mail aliases.
    Configure e-mail forwarding.
    Knowledge of commonly available MTA programs (postfix, sendmail, exim) (no configuration).

108.4 Manage printers and printing

Candidates should be able to manage print queues and user print jobs using CUPS and the LPD compatibility interface.
Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Basic CUPS configuration (for local and remote printers).
  • Manage user print queues.
  • Troubleshoot general printing problems.
  • Add and remove jobs from configured printer queues.

 

Topic 109: Networking Fundamentals

109.1 Fundamentals of internet protocols

Candidates should demonstrate a proper understanding of TCP/IP network fundamentals.
Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of network masks and CIDR notation.
  • Knowledge of the differences between private and public "dotted quad" IP addresses.
  • Knowledge about common TCP and UDP ports and services (20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 53, 80, 110, 123, 139, 143, 161, 162, 389, 443, 465, 514, 636, 993, 995).
  • Knowledge about the differences and major features of UDP, TCP and ICMP.
  • Knowledge of the major differences between IPv4 and IPv6.
  • Knowledge of the basic features of IPv6.

109.2 Persistent network configuration

Candidates should be able to manage the persistent network configuration of a Linux host.
Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Understand basic TCP/IP host configuration.
  • Configure ethernet and wi-fi network configuration using NetworkManager.
  • Awareness of systemd-networkd.

109.3 Basic network troubleshooting

Candidates should be able to troubleshoot networking issues on client hosts.
Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Manually configure network interfaces, including viewing and changing the configuration of network interfaces using iproute2.
  • Manually configure routing, including viewing and changing routing tables and setting the default route using iproute2.
  • Debug problems associated with the network configuration.
  • Awareness of legacy net-tools commands.

109.4 Configure client side DNS

Candidates should be able to configure DNS on a client host.
Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Query remote DNS servers.
  • Configure local name resolution and use remote DNS servers.
  • Modify the order in which name resolution is done.
  • Debug errors related to name resolution.
  • Awareness of systemd-resolved.

 

Topic 110: Security

110.1 Perform security administration tasks

Candidates should know how to review system configuration to ensure host security in accordance with local security policies.
Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Audit a system to find files with the suid/sgid bit set.
  • Set or change user passwords and password aging information.
  • Being able to use nmap and netstat to discover open ports on a system.
  • Set up limits on user logins, processes and memory usage.
  • Determine which users have logged in to the system or are currently logged in.
  • Basic sudo configuration and usage.

110.2 Setup host security

Candidates should know how to set up a basic level of host security.
Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Awareness of shadow passwords and how they work.
  • Turn off network services not in use.
  • Understand the role of TCP wrappers.

110.3 Securing data with encryption

The candidate should be able to use public key techniques to secure data and communication.
Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Perform basic OpenSSH 2 client configuration and usage.
  • Understand the role of OpenSSH 2 server host keys.
  • Perform basic GnuPG configuration, usage and revocation.
  • Use GPG to encrypt, decrypt, sign and verify files.
  • Understand SSH port tunnels (including X11 tunnels).

Now that you understand topics and subtopics that come in a LPI 102 exam, you need to plan and prepare for its exam. After obtaining LPI certifications, then you move on to Red Hat certifications like RHCSA for system admin or RHCE for system engineers. Here is a good article for candidates interested in Linux career.

It is advisable to consult with an IT career counselor to understand what career options best fits your skills. For instance, if you want to be a software engineer, learning HTML and CSS might not fit the bill. Here is an excellent article for learning more on coding and technology career roadmap. Once you know what career path you wish to pursue, you can make a plan on what, when, and how to learn. There are lots of online resources for learning coding and technology in general. For teenagers and high school students, High School Technology Services offers variety of hands-on training. For adults and professionals, Coding Bootcamps and DC Web Makers Companies offer basic to advance project-based programming and technology classes.

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