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LPI exam 201 prep: Hardware

Intermediate Level Administration (LPIC-2) topic 204

David Mertz, Ph.D. (, Developer, Gnosis Software
David Mertz
David Mertz is Turing complete, but probably would not pass the Turing Test. For more on his life, see his personal Web page. He's been writing the developerWorks columns Charming Python and XML Matters since 2000. Check out his book Text Processing in Python.
Brad Huntting (, Mathematician, University of Colorado
Brad has been doing UNIX® systems administration and network engineering for about 14 years at several companies. He is currently working on a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and pays the bills by doing UNIX support for the Computer Science department.

Summary:  In this tutorial, David Mertz and Brad Huntting continue preparing you to take the Linux Professional Institute® Intermediate Level Administration (LPIC-2) Exam 201. In this fourth of eight tutorials, you learn how to add and configure hardware to a Linux™ system, including RAID arrays, PCMCIA cards, other storage devices, displays, video controllers, and other components.

View more content in this series

Date:  02 Sep 2005
Level:  Intermediate PDF:  A4 and Letter (240 KB | 13 pages)Get Adobe® Reader®

Activity:  14777 views

Before you start

Learn what these tutorials can teach you and how you can get the most from them.

About this series

The Linux Professional Institute (LPI) certifies Linux system administrators at junior and intermediate levels. To attain each level of certification, you must pass two LPI exams.

Each exam covers several topics, and each topic has a weight. The weights indicate the relative importance of each topic. Very roughly, expect more questions on the exam for topics with higher weight. The topics and their weights for LPI exam 201 are:

Topic 201
Linux kernel (weight 5).
Topic 202
System startup (weight 5).
Topic 203
Filesystem (weight 10).
Topic 204
Hardware (weight 8). The focus of this tutorial.
Topic 209
File and service sharing (weight 8).
Topic 211
System maintenance (weight 4).
Topic 213
System customization and automation (weight 3).
Topic 214
Troubleshooting (weight 6).

The Linux Professional Institute does not endorse any third-party exam preparation material or techniques in particular. For details, please contact

About this tutorial

Welcome to "Hardware," the fourth of eight tutorials designed to prepare you for LPI exam 201. In this tutorial, you learn how to add and configure hardware to a Linux system, including RAID arrays, PCMCIA cards, other storage devices, displays, video controllers, and other components.

The tutorial is organized according to the LPI objectives for this topic, as follows:

2.204.1 Configuring RAID (weight 2)
You will be able to configure and implement software RAID. This objective includes using mkraid tools and configuring RAID 0, 1, and 5.
2.204.2 Adding new hardware (weight 3)
You will be able to configure internal and external devices for a system including new hard disks, dumb terminal devices, serial UPS devices, multi-port serial cards, and LCD panels.
2.204.3 Software and kernel configuration (weight 2)
You will be able to configure kernel options to support various hardware devices including UDMA66 drives and IDE CD burners. This objective includes using LVM (Logical Volume Manager) to manage hard disk drives and partitions as well as software tools to interact with hard disk settings.
2.204.4 Configuring PCMCIA devices (weight 1)
You will be able to configure a Linux installation to include PCMCIA support. This objective includes configuring PCMCIA devices, such as Ethernet adapters, to autodetect when inserted.

While you will often use userland tools to work with hardware devices, for the most part, basic support for those devices is provided by a Linux base kernel, kernel modules, or both. One notable exception to the close connection between the Linux kernel and hardware devices is in graphics cards and computer displays. A simple console text display is handled well enough by the Linux kernel (and even some graphics with framebuffer support), but generally advanced capabilities of graphics cards are controlled by XFree86 or more recently X.Org, X11 drivers. Almost all distributions include X11 and associated window managers and desktop environments; but for non-desktop servers, using X11 may be superfluous.


To get the most from this tutorial, you should already have a basic knowledge of Linux and a working Linux system on which you can practice the commands covered in this tutorial.

In addition, some information on adding hardware is covered in two other tutorials: "LPI exam 201 prep (topic 201): Linux kernel" and "LPI exam 201 prep (topic 203): Filesystems." The LPI exam on hardware expects familiarity with kernel and filesystem tuning, so please refer to those other tutorials during exam preparation.

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TutorialTitle=LPI exam 201 prep: Hardware