It is better to avoid trouble than it is to fix things after trouble arises. Because avoiding trouble is one of the primary motivations for good security, some of the techniques described in Chapter 12, "Security" (such as keeping the system software and your knowledge of potential problems up-to-date) apply equally well, whether the threat is a security intruder or a bug that crashes your favorite application. The bug fixes posted at the vendor's site are not always about security, but they are almost always of interest to you.
There is a difference between fixing bugs and enhancing the system. Fix bugs that you have detected on your server or that you know are a direct threat to your server. Avoid installing things just to get a new feature—reliability is more important than new features for a server. Try out the latest bells and whistles on your desktop system or a test server, and debug them before you move them to the server.
Despite your best efforts, things will go wrong. It's inevitable. No matter how great your knowledge, you will make mistakes; and no matter how hard you try to avoid them, problems will appear. Networking your system only adds to this potential because mistakes made by someone far away can negatively impact your users.
This chapter examines several basic Linux commands that can help you analyze and solve network problems. But before getting to them, let's look at how to build an updated Linux kernel.
The heart of your Linux system is the kernel. Therefore, keeping the kernel updated is an essential part of keeping the system software up-to-date. This chapter begins by looking at how you can avoid trouble by keeping your Linux kernel current.
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