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Linux job interview questions
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Thread: Linux job interview questions

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  1. #1
    Mentor jro's Avatar
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    Linux job interview questions

    Hey everyone, I just had an idea for a cool thread. Lets start a list of questions you have heard for a Linux related position interview. It always amazes me with some of the off-the-wall questions interviewers can come up with to 'test' your Linux knowledge. Usually they are highly esoteric, and require knowledge of not-oft used portions of our favorite OS. (Don't forget the answer to your question too!) Have fun!

    I will start, here is one I got a while back:

    Q: What are pipes, and how are they used?
    A: A pipe is a chain of processes or commands that send the output (stdout) to the input (stdin) of the next process/command.

    An example of their usage would be:

    Code:
    find /dir | grep filename
    Would basically search a directory for a file named 'filename'
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  2. #2
    Advisor beezlebubsbum's Avatar
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    good idea, I am about to start a 4 year degree and it's going to have a lot of Linux in it, so this is a thread I will learn off by heart!
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  3. #3
    Advisor Outlaw's Avatar
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    One I got interviewing for Ecommerce.com position.

    Why doesn't this work?

    Code:
    $ for nr in `seq -w 0 10`; do printf "%2i\n" $nr; done
     0
     1
     2
     3
     4
     5
     6
     7
    -bash: printf: 08: invalid number
     0
    -bash: printf: 09: invalid number
     0
    10
    I had to research this because I couldn't answer on the spot. I emailed the answer back after the interview.

    printf is interpreting '0' padded numbers as octals and
    complaining about 08 and 09. Removing the '-w' option to seq will
    prevent the padding.

    Code:
    $ for nr in `seq 0 10`; do printf "%2i\n" $nr; done
     0
     1
     2
     3
     4
     5
     6
     7
     8
     9
    10
    Same interview, I couldn't answer why whatever fedora version couldn't install on > 2TB partition. Answer was Not able to use GPT.

    Same interview - what I like to drink. My answer to the interviewer - whatever you're buying.

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  4. #4
    Mentor jro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outlaw View Post
    One I got interviewing for Ecommerce.com position.

    Why doesn't this work?

    ...

    Same interview, I couldn't answer why whatever fedora version couldn't install on > 2TB partition. Answer was Not able to use GPT.

    Same interview - what I like to drink. My answer to the interviewer - whatever you're buying.
    Wow, I couldn't have answered the first one, I would have had to look it up also Outlaw.

    The second one I would have gotten, I have actually encountered this, or else I doubt I would have known it. Beez, here is a link to an article that lays out GPT pretty well.

    Outlaw, your second answer is priceless! I only wish I could be that quick-witted in an interview.Kudos!
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  5. #5
    Advisor beezlebubsbum's Avatar
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    holy crap I got some learning to do!
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  6. #6
    My first job as a Linux Technician, I was actually given a hands on test as my interview. At the time, I was to install proprietary modem drivers on 2 computers, and had to have them dial out correctly after install. As an added bonus, I had to open ports, and add redirects on the NAT/Firewall without documentation, or a monitor.

    At this current time, I give the interviews, and this is what I do:

    1. Log into a XEN virtual server via SSH (and only SSH. No GUI logins)
    2. install apache, php, mysql, screen, ViM, and bind
    3. setup 3 sites on the apache server, with directory redirects, htaccess files, apache.conf/httpd.conf user account control, PHP setup, and custom site error/access logs (domains are given)
    4. setup a mysql database with custom user grants
    5. setup at least 2 zones on the DNS server as it was a primary DNS server, and allowing relay to an existing server
    6. setup iptables to allow to correct ingress traffic, disallowing any egress traffic that is not needed, while specifying established rules
    7. view logs for all servers, and firewall for troubleshooting
    8. test servers with telnet/dig, and test firewall with nmap/telnet
    9. set the network interfaces (static)/DNS servers, then view errors, routes, and connections by specified network protocol. Connections viewed with resolved names, and port numbers (not service names)

    I give each person 2 hours to do such, and watch their TTY as they do so. I also set time stamps on their history, remove pico/nano, and will not allow any other editor except for vi. Yes, not even Emacs. The servers have ViM, and they need to know how to use it even if they prefer Emacs (Is mentioned before the hands-on interview). I will allow Emacs for programming, but not sys/net admin.

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