Tech Learning Collective

Technology education for radical organizers and revolutionary communities.

Taming Daemons: System Administration and Operation Basics

Poster for Taming Daemons: System Administration and Operation Basics

How much good does a powerful tool do for you if you don’t know how to use it well? How much more capable would you be if you mastered all the tools available to you? It might sound ridiculous, but failing to learn the practicalities of computer system operation basics is arguably the most common mistake people in the fast-paced tech scene make.

Modern computers are power tools, and behind each one of them is a human operator, or “system administrator,” responsible for configuring and maintaining that computer. If you have a personal computer such as a laptop or smartphone, then you are already a system administrator whether you realize it or not! Making sure the apps you want to use are installed and up to date, managing the amount of free space you have for your photos, and connecting or disconnecting from the Internet are all examples of simple system administration tasks that you probably already take on a daily basis.

In this beginner’s workshop, we’ll start by exploring what happens inside your computer when you take every-day tasks like open a Web browser or save files, and then dive down the rabbit hole to meet the special class of programs that make it possible for all your other programs to work. Called daemons, short for Disk Access and Execution Monitors, they make up the world of Operating System services, signals, sockets, and more under the hood of your desktop environment. By the end of this workshop, you’ll have a far deeper understanding of how to care for your computer, as well as the ability to understand any new tools or services you encounter a whole lot faster than ever before.