Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm configuring a new Linux server install and was just wondering if anyone has a list of useful general-purpose tools that they always install on Linux server boxes as a matter of course? I've already installed the following packages and tools:

  • vnstat
  • maven2
  • subversion
  • perl
  • php
  • java
  • apache2
  • mysql

Any other generally useful packages that you would recommend installing? I'm looking for things in the category of "generally useful utilities with no application-specific value", such as vnstat. Things that provide useful tools for monitoring, testing, troubleshooting, etc..

share|improve this question

closed as not a real question by Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams, Chris S, David Schwartz, Wesley, Zoredache Jan 9 '12 at 6:12

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Nethack falls under "etc.", right? – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jan 9 '12 at 2:33
Sure, why not? Also, tough crowd it seems. I like how the Windows variant of this question is at +47, while the Linux version has -1. – aroth Jan 9 '12 at 3:51
The thing is that Windows comes with almost nothing so lists like this are important, whereas with Linux everything is a yum install or apt-get install away. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jan 9 '12 at 3:54
This is a fair question. I ensure that the same core set of utilities is available on all of the systems I manage. – ewwhite Jan 9 '12 at 4:29
@aroth The usefulness isn't in dispute. It really is a useful question. But it's a bit like selling leaf blowers at a steakhouse. Leaf blowers are useful, but they're not supposed to be sold at steakhouses. That's not the steakhouse's strong point ServerFault isn't supposed to be for open-ended questions. That Q/A nature of the site doesn't allow open-ended questions to be its strong point. Only questions that can be answered with one, or very few, solid deductive answers. But yes, this is a good question that is best answered on a traditional forum or in chat. Come on in and chat with us! – Wesley Jan 12 '12 at 1:15
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I like to have these tools available on systems I manage. They're mostly in the monitoring realm:

nmap, ncdu, bash_completion, nmon, iperf, iftop, screen, bonnie++, stress, collectl.

share|improve this answer
Thanks, I particularly like iftop and ncdu. Had no idea either of those existed. – aroth Jan 9 '12 at 7:20

htop - 100 times more useful than top

share|improve this answer
Whyso? What makes it better? – ewwhite Jan 9 '12 at 4:07
@ewwhite More simple intuitive controls, tree, scrolling the list is more obvious (arrow keys) most commands shown on screen (so no 30 minute man page searches), great menu config, etc – TheLQ Jan 9 '12 at 4:25

my favourite

mc, iotop, iftop, wget, nmap

share|improve this answer

arpwatch, tcpdump, nmap....

What's the machines job?

share|improve this answer
Running a database-intensive LAMP web application, for starters. Potentially other similar tasks down the road, if the system has the capacity to support them. – aroth Jan 9 '12 at 3:49
If that's the case I suggest you play around with nginx, sqlite, linux-ha :) – Jake Jan 9 '12 at 8:32

You should install only packages that this specific server needs. And this is correct for any server no just Linux.

screen, nc, nano, mlocate

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.