5 Common Linux Interview Questions (With Example Answers)
- April 27, 2021
- Posted by: sunaina rani
- Category: Uncategorized
Linux is a common computing environment, and for that reason, many specialties within IT will require basic Linux knowledge. If you’re getting ready to interview for a web or software developer, system administrator, network professional or other IT position, it’s important you understand what Linux is. This is because Linux powers common operating systems, most of the Internet, and even global stock exchanges and supercomputers.
In this article, you’ll learn some ways to respond to Linux interview questions so you can be better prepared to impress in your Linux interview.
What to expect from a Linux interview?
Because Linux is used widely across broad IT categories to support several existing systems that businesses rely on for operations, those interviewing for a variety of IT positions could be challenged to answer questions about Linux.
Questions about Linux will be technical, and are likely to range from basic to specialized. The position you are applying for could determine the depth of Linux questions you receive, and how many are asked. However, Linux questions will only make up a portion of an IT interview.
You can expect Linux questions to test your comfort level with Linux programming and basics. Experience is invaluable when answering questions geared at understanding your skills. In the following, we’ll use the STAR method of answering interview questions to help you accompany your answers with real experiences.
STAR is applied as follows:
- Situation: Describe an applicable situation.
- Task: Include your role in tasks for solving the situation.
- Action: Explain the actions you completed.
- Results: Close by talking about the outcome.
This can usually be accomplished in three to four well-thought-out and concise sentences. Think about some work scenarios around Linux before you go to the interview, and practice using the STAR method to describe them.
Common Linux interview questions
Whether you’re a generalist or specialist in information technology, you might encounter Linux interview questions. The knowledge you’ll be expected to know about Linux will vary based on the position, so it’s important to seek several specialized Linux questions that make sense of the skills required. You should also research more general example interview questions that have to do with behaviors and soft skills:
- What is Linux and what are its basic components?
- What is the difference between Linux and UNIX?
- What is LILO?
- What is Swap space?
- Explain the virtual desktop
What is Linux and what are its basic components?
This question tests your foundational knowledge of Linux as a computing environment. It offers you the opportunity to show your mastery of Linux by explaining it in basic terms. Since this question asks you to respond with two things, a Linux definition, and a list of its core features, it’s likely to be longer of an answer. You can benefit by keeping it concise and to the point, and explaining it with simple, easy to follow language.
Example: “Linux is a UNIX-based operating system that boots from a Linux kernel. It’s a common computing platform for enterprise businesses because of its wide use. The components of Linux mirror that of any other operating system. There’s a kernel, shells, user interfaces, utilities to configure and the functional application.”
What is the difference between Linux and UNIX?
Linux and UNIX are related systems with several important distinctions a Linux programmer would need to understand. As an interviewer, the “what’s the difference?” question can be an important tool. You get to test the candidate’s knowledge of two different subjects by asking them to compare and contrast the two. As a candidate, this presents a unique opportunity to offer a complete answer that shows your knowledge of the competing systems.
Other compare and contrast type questions could include:
- Bash versus DOS
- Cron versus anacron
- Rm versus rm-r
Example: “UNIX is the operating system on which Linux is based. UNIX was created as a proprietary operating system. A primary difference between Linux and UNIX is that Linux is free and open-source. In Linux, the kernel is community developed, whereas UNIX is developed by some of the biggest names in technology today.
What is LILO?
This is a technical question about a specific, important feature of a Linux operating system. To answer it thoroughly, explain what the acronym means, define the process and explain how it’s used. This offers you the opportunity to apply the STAR method of answering interview questions to make show mastery of LILO based on experience.
Example: “The acronym LILO stands for Linux Loader. LILO used to be the default boot loader for Linux. Now, it’s in the top three popular today, even though further development of the boot loader ceased in 2015. __Other popular boot loaders include GRUB and ELILO.
LILO allows businesses to boot into Linux to perform operational activities using a simple code system to help troubleshoot errors. LILO doesn’t have a streamlined interface, however, so those looking for a user interface might prefer to work with GRUB.
In my experience using LILO, its simple error codes were very helpful. For example, one time I was booting Linus using LILO when I experienced an error. I recognized the error because when LILO boots correctly Linux it displays the word LILO on the screen. When an error occurs it displays a code that makes up part of the word LILO. In this case, it got to ‘LIL,’ but didn’t finish booting. __Because LILO codes are easy to interpret, I was able to determine quickly my issue: a geometry mismatch. I was able to fix this issue and boot into Linux.”
What is Swap space?
For enterprise businesses, there’s little more important than the performance of technology. In a digital age, technology infrastructure performance correlates with overall company performance, so it is important that Linux-based systems work smoothly. A Linux professional should be able to define swap space clearly and succinctly, noting the role it plays in overall performance.
Example: “Swap space is a mechanism used by Linux to issue a temporary hold on programs concurrently running on Linux to optimize performance and free memory for prioritized operations.”
Explain the virtual desktop
One key enterprise benefit of Linux OS is its ability to help workers streamline workflows. It does this with important features like a virtual desktop. Showing an understanding of virtual desktop shows the interviewer you can efficiently use Linux from day one. If you’re asked about a key feature or benefit, expect it to be important to the daily function of the job. Other key features of Linux include:
- Open source
- Virtual memory
- File hierarchies; and more
Example: “Virtual desktop is an important feature that streamlines business practices by allowing users to switch effortlessly between virtual desktops rather than using multiple windows to have many applications running at once. With the workplace switcher tool, you can map each desktop to a workplace and switch back and forth as needed. This helps users who use Linux to multitask in a more resource-friendly, faster way.”