How to Keep Your Linux a Clean, Lean, and More Efficient Machine
Though not as popular commercially as its Windows and Mac counterparts, Linux is the OS platform that powers governments and big businesses. It is used by government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), as well as industry titans like Amazon, IBM, Cisco, Wikipedia, and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
Google famously runs its servers on Linux to power its search engine, apps, and computing devices like the Chromebook. Its mobile version even makes up the core of the operating system of Android devices.
Linux is also the OS of choice for hardcore computer programmers and engineers. And although the selling point of Linux machines is being open source, versatile, and low-maintenance; you still have to perform certain tweaks in order to keep them running at peak performance. Below are a couple of ways to keep your Linux a clean, lean, and more efficient machine:
1. Check your machine’s disk space and disk usage
Typically, the maximum capacity of a Linux machine is 95%. Anything beyond that would slow down your system. To find out which files are taking up the most space on your hard drive, it is best to analyze your disk usage periodically and trash any unnecessary files. To do this, go to Applications > Accessories > Disk Usage analyzer and then click on Scan Filesystem.
You may also want to check how much space certain apps are taking up on your machine or device as this also contributes to slowing down your machine. If possible, switch to the lighter version of the app instead. If you’re using a desktop computer, you might also want to check and change your desktop environment to lightweight versions as well.
2. Remove unnecessary programs and delete temporary files
After checking the status of your hard disk, the next step is to remove programs that are not useful to you and clean up temporary files accumulated through use. Doing so will free up more space in your hard disk, resulting in a faster machine.
Be careful with the “-exec” command when cleaning up your temporary files, though, as deletion of files through this command is permanent.
3. Back up your files
Without a backup, there is no assurance that you can recover your files once you have accidentally deleted them through the -exec command. This is why backing up your files is important. You can choose among three ways to do this: manual, local automated, and remote automated.
If your Linux machine is for personal use, scheduling occasional manual back ups on your own is sufficient enough. But if your main concerns are security and reliability, you may opt for local automated back ups. Since it is automated, you won’t have to worry about not being able to initiate backing up on schedule and you can be assured of a way to recover your files every time.
On the other hand, if you are using your Linux machine for business or if you can afford it, a remote automated backup system is your best option because it enables storage on multiple mediums and “increases the distance between backup and production systems”, according to this system guide on Ubuntu.com,.” To make backing up easier, TheFu of Lifehacker.com recommends tools such as Back-In-Time and rdiff-backup for local systems, and Crashplan for automated remote.
4. Update your system
Another key to your Linux machine running smoothly is making sure that the kernel is always up-to-date with the latest patches. Doing so results in better system security and stability, making it less prone to hackers and bugs. Other benefits include updates of the latest open source drivers, increased speed, and new kernel functions for improved overall performance.
Note that not every Linux distribution updates in the same way. The distinctions may vary from tools that you can use, to the file types for package management. For instance, .deb is for Ubuntu and Debian, .rpm is for Fedora, SuSE, and Mandriva, .tgz is for Slackware, and .bin or .package for packages coming from the source.
5. Keep the security of your machine in check
It is not enough that you install kernel updates, however. You should also review the following items for added security, especially on issues concerning your local environment:
-Server access within the last 6 months
-Firewall rules within the last 6-12 months
-Changing/updating of passwords
These actions are important to ensure that there are no remaining vulnerabilities or loopholes left for any hackers to exploit on your Linux system.
6. Review logs and statistics
Lastly, you will want to review the logs and statistics that monitor your machine on a daily and weekly basis. This is to check for any bugs or errors you may have missed in the past and which may need your immediate attention.
Performing these actions may appear overwhelming or tedious at first, but become easier once you get in the habit of doing so. Moreover, implementing automating systems make the process even simpler. Linux is a stable, practically self-maintaining platform that’s free, has high immunity against viruses and malware, and limits the instances of slowdown, crashes, and need for repairs. But even the most advanced technology needs the help of human intervention to assure full efficiency, and this is where the above tips come in handy.
This is a guest post written by Alex Gomez.
Alex Gomez is a freelance writer that writes for Adorama.com, an online computer and software store that is located at New York. He loves to write contents, read about technology news. You can follow his activity on his facebook.