Red Hat Linux, like other UNIX systems, was intended for use by more than one person at a time. Multiuser features allow many people to have accounts in Red Hat Linux, with their data kept secure from others. Multitasking allows many people to use the computer at the same time. Sophisticated networking protocols and applications make it possible for a Red Hat Linux computer to extend its capabilities to network users and computers around the world. The person assigned to manage all of this stuff is referred to as the system administrator.
Even if you are the only person using a Red Hat Linux system, system administration is still set up to be separate from other computer use. To do most tasks, you need to be logged in as the root user (also referred to as the super user). Other users cannot change, or in some cases, even see some of the configuration information for a Red Hat Linux system. In particular, security features such as passwords are protected from general view.
General principles of Red Hat Linux system administration are described in this chapter. In particular, this chapter covers some of the basic tools you need to administer your Red Hat Linux system. It also helps teach you how to work with file systems and monitor the setup and performance of your Linux system.