Why you should avoid running applications as root

I'm going to start this post by saying what I'm really thinking. 90% of the time if an application is running as the root user on a Unix/Linux machine; it is because the sysadmin who setup or designed the environment was being lazy. Now before getting offended, being a lazy sysadmin is a good thing. The fact is that most systems administrators are lazy in some way, and that is the reason why most systems administration tasks end up being scripted.

When it's Ok and Not Ok to use rc.local

On System V based OS's the /etc/rc.local file is executed by the init process at the end of the systems boot process. The fact that the rc.local file is executed during the boot process makes it an easy target for misuse by lazy Sysadmins. Since I started my Unix experience on FreeBSD which relies primarily on the /etc/rc.* configuration files, I've seen and shamefully contributed to my fair share of misuse in the rc.

showmount: See available NFS Shares

Showmount is a handy little command I've found out about in the recent few years. It allows you to see the available nfs shares on remote systems. Example: $ showmount -e Exports list on /volume1/music /volume1/data

Editing big files on systems with little memory

A friend of mine had a question on how to edit a huge (like as in xbox hueg) file without using vi. He probably didn't want to use vi because when you vi a file it will load the entire file into memory. This can be very bad if your system doesn't have enough memory to accommodate the file size. So how do you edit a specific line of a file without loading it into memory?