Natty Narwhal netbook: The ultimate network administrator toolkit

With a tiny laptop and the latest version of Ubuntu, you can be a netadmin ninja

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Natty Narwhal's baked-in software

There is a wide range of networking software included in the default Natty LiveCD image, so you don't have to install them. These break down into several useful categories.

Name services

  • <strong>bind9-host</strong>
    helps with DNS lookups.
  • <strong>dnsutils</strong>
    provides the
    dig
    DNS querying command, nslookup (deprecated DNS query), and nsupdate for dynamic DNS updates.
  • <strong>isc-dhcp-client</strong>
    is a client for DHCP networks.

File transfer

  • <strong>cifs-utils</strong>
    provides the SMB/CIFS protocol for cross-platform file-sharing with Unix, Mac OS X, and Windows.
  • <strong>ftp</strong>
    is command-line file transfer protocol client.
  • <strong>lftp</strong>
    is an advanced CLI FTP client that supports FTP, HTTP, FISH, SFTP, HTTPS, FTPS, IPv4, and IPv6, works in the background, and resumes interrupted transfers.
  • <strong>mount</strong>
    displays and manages local and remote filesystems.
  • <strong>rsync</strong>
    provides fast, efficient remote file copying.
  • <strong>wget</strong>
    is a reliable HTTP and FTP file retriever.

Network and host discovery and connectivity

  • <strong>tcpdump</strong>
    is a powerful workhorse packet sniffer for most packet types and protocols.
  • <strong>mtr-tiny</strong>
    is an
    ncurses
    traceroute tool that combines the functionality of the
    traceroute
    and
    ping
    programs.
  • <strong>iputils-arping</strong>
    sends ICMP echo requests to an ARP address.
  • <strong>iputils-ping</strong>
    is the good ol'
    ping
    command that tests to see if a network host is reachable.
  • <strong>iputils-tracepath</strong>
    traces network paths to remote hosts.
  • <strong>net-tools</strong>
    is a suite of networking commands, including
    arp
    ,
    ifconfig
    ,
    netstat
    ,
    rarp
    ,
    nameif
    ,
    route
    ,
    plipconfig
    ,
    slattach
    ,
    mii-tool
    ,
    iptunnel
    , and
    ipmaddr
    .
  • <strong>netcat-openbsd</strong>
    is a versatile tool that reads and writes data across TCP and UDP connections.
  • <strong>iproute</strong>
    includes commands for networking and traffic control.
  • <strong>telnet</strong>
    -- wait, really? Yes! It's insecure as it sends traffic in cleartext, but it's still a useful server diagnostic tool.
fig-4-traceroute.png
Ubuntu's graphical Network Tools suite includes the
traceroute
command. Here it shows the path to itworld.com.

Hardware tools: Discover, configure, and manage hardware devices

  • bluez
    ,
    <strong>bluez-alsa</strong>
    ,
    <strong>bluez-cups</strong>
    , and
    <strong>bluex-gstreamer</strong>
    are all Bluetooth utilities.
  • <strong>hplip</strong>
    includes tools for Hewlett-Packard printers and multifunction printer/scanner/fax devices.
  • <strong>cups</strong>
    ,
    <strong>cups-bsd</strong>
    ,
    <strong>cups-client</strong>
    all constitute a printing subsystem with query and test commands.
  • <strong>ifupdown</strong>
    configures and control network interfaces.
  • <strong>pciutils</strong>
    detects and identifies PCI bus devices.
  • pcmciautils
    controls PCMCIA devices on laptops.
  • <strong>parted</strong>
    takes care of disk partitioning and resizing.
  • <strong>wireless-tools</strong>
    provides essential utilities for managing wireless interfaces.
  • <strong>rfkill</strong>
    enables and disables wireless devices.

Security: Basic tools for secure network connections

  • <strong>wpasupplicant</strong>
    is a client for WPA and WPA2 wireless networks.
  • <strong>iptables</strong>
    provides packet filtering and network address translation.
  • <strong>openssh-client</strong>
    is a client for connecting to SSH servers.
  • <strong>openssl</strong>
    provides essential network cryptography and useful commands; one of the most important is
    s_server
    , which tests TLS/SSL on mail and other servers, and verifies encryption certificates.

A few miscellaneous (but important!) programs

  • <strong>coreutils</strong>
    provides essential file, shell, and text commands.
  • <strong>lsof</strong>
    shows what files have been opened by running processes.
  • <strong>mobile-broadband-provider-info</strong>
    provides database of mobile broadband service providers in multiple countries.
  • <strong>ppp</strong>
    and
    <strong>pppconfig</strong>
    supply dial-up networking capabilities.
  • <strong>pptp-linux</strong>
    is a point-to-point tunnel protocol client.
  • <strong>rdesktop</strong>
    is an RDP client for Windows NT/2000 Terminal Server.
  • <strong>rsyslog</strong>
    provides an enhanced, reliable syslog over TCP and SSL/TLS.
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