Troubleshooting Red Hat Linux   «Prev  Next»

Troubleshooting Red Hat Systems Summary

Lesson 8
Effectively troubleshooting a Linux system requires diligence, organization, and experience. This module showed you basic troubleshooting techniques so that you can quickly identify and resolve problems. You examined a wide variety of common Linux problems, their symptoms, and their solutions. You also learned to use tools that can keep your Linux system performing optimally.

Learning Objectives

Having completed this module, you should be able to:
  1. Describe common types of system problems
  2. Describe general troubleshooting strategies
  3. List Linux system boot scripts and their functions
  4. List common user login problems and their solutions
  5. List root login problems and their solutions
  6. Use Linux tools to troubleshoot processes

Purpose of Page Tables in Computer Architecture

In computer architecture, "page tables" are a critical component of the memory management subsystem used by the operating system to manage virtual memory. The primary purpose of page tables is to translate virtual addresses into physical addresses, enabling the system to locate the actual data in physical memory (RAM) or on disk if the data is not currently in RAM (a situation known as paging or swapping).
Here's a more detailed breakdown of the purposes and functions of page tables:
  1. Virtual Memory Management: Page tables allow an operating system to implement virtual memory, a memory management technique that gives an application program the impression it has contiguous working memory, while in fact, it may be physically fragmented and even extend into secondary storage. This abstraction facilitates easier programming and improves the utilization of the available physical memory.
  2. Process Isolation: Each process running on a system is given its own virtual address space, which is managed with a separate page table. This ensures that one process cannot directly access the memory addresses of another process, providing a level of security and stability across the system by isolating the memory spaces of different processes.
  3. Memory Protection: Page tables support various protection mechanisms, such as read/write protection and execution prevention, at the level of individual pages. These mechanisms prevent unauthorized access to memory regions and can help in preventing certain types of software errors and security vulnerabilities, such as buffer overflows and execution of malicious code.
  4. Efficient Use of Physical Memory: By using page tables, the operating system can make more efficient use of physical memory. For example, through techniques like demand paging (loading pages into memory only when they are needed), the system can run applications that require more memory than is physically available on the system.
  5. Support for Paging and Swapping: Page tables facilitate the swapping of data between physical memory and secondary storage, such as a hard disk or SSD. When physical memory is full, the operating system can move less frequently accessed data to disk (swapping or paging out), making room for new data in physical memory. The page table entries are updated to reflect the new location of the data, and if the swapped-out data is needed again (a page fault occurs), it can be retrieved and loaded back into physical memory (paging in).
  6. Translation Lookaside Buffers (TLBs): To improve the performance of address translation, most modern CPUs include a cache known as a Translation Lookaside Buffer (TLB), which stores recent translations of virtual addresses to physical addresses. The TLB works in conjunction with the page tables to speed up the memory access process by reducing the need to repeatedly access the full page table for frequently accessed memory locations.

Page tables play a fundamental role in modern computing, enabling the use of virtual memory, which in turn allows for more efficient use of physical memory, process isolation, memory protection, and the ability to run large applications on systems with limited physical memory. They are a key component of the operating system's memory management subsystem and are crucial for the stable, secure, and efficient operation of computer systems.

Glossary Terms

This module introduced you to the following terms:
  1. Process ID : A process ID (PID) is a unique, non-negative number that you use to identify and control processes
  2. Runaway process: A runaway process may consume vast quantities of memory, causing your machine to thrash, or the process may consume lots of CPU, slowing your machine down. Most problematically, the process may start wildly spawning children that will eventually bring your machine to an unusable state.
  3. Services: Services are simply programs, like sendmail or FTP that perform a task for the user
  4. Signal: A method of communicating between processes in UNIX.
  5. System V: System V is an early version of UNIX that defined many characteristics of modern UNIX implementations.
  6. Thrash: An activity which requires a great deal of paging, where a process spends more time paging than executing, causing a significant negative impact on a system's performance. Thrashing occurs when there is not enough RAM to handle all the required processes, the solution is to move a process to disk, thereby leaving enough space for other processes to complete.
The next module discusses advanced troubleshooting techniques.

Troubleshooting Techniques - Quiz

Before moving on to the next module, click the Quiz link below to check your understanding of Linux troubleshooting techniques.
Troubleshooting Techniques - Quiz