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Linux Configuration Files
and What They Do

Dave Carlson - June 6, 2012

Common Linux Configuration File Names and Primary Purpose

/etc/profile System wide environment variables for all users.
/etc/fstab List of devices and their associated mount points. Edit this file to add CD-ROMs, DOS partitions, and floppy drives at startup.
/etc/motd Message of the day broadcast to all users at login.
etc/rc.d/rc.local Bash script that is executed at the end of the login process. It is similar to autoexec.bat in DOS.
/etc/HOSTNAME Conatins full hostname, including domain.
/etc/cron.* There are 4 directories that automatically execute all scripts within the directory at intervals of hour, day, week, or month.
/etc/hosts A list of all know host names and IP addresses on the machine.
/etc/httpd/conf Paramters for the Apache web server.
/etc/skel Template files for new users.
/etc/default Default location for certain commands.
/etc/redhat-release RedHat version info (Linux kernel version with uname Ėa)
/etc/inittab Specifies the run level into which the machine should boot.
User account information (groups and passwords).
BASH system wide and personal user init files.
TSCH system wide and personal user init files.
/etc/resolv.conf Defines IP addresses of DNS servers.
/etc/smb.conf Config file for the SAMBA server. Allows file and print sharing with Microsoft clients.
/etc/X11/XF86Config Config file for X-Windows.
    ~/.xinitrc Defines the windows manager loaded by X.
    ~ refers to userís home directory.

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