Difficulty: Experience dependent
Estimated Time: Up to 45 minutes

Welcome to the Interview exercise.

This exercise is designed to be a collaborative process between your and your interviewer.


This host contains a simple guestbook webserver and a database.

The database uses redis - a key/value store widely used in open source tools. If you are not familar with redis, please don't worry - we are not testing your knowledge of Redis!

The exercise consists of two parts:

Part 1

Your first task is to get the Redis database running. Someone has carelessly added a line to the redis configuration file which is not valid.

In order to complete the task, you must do the following:

  1. Find the configuration file for redis
  2. Remove the incorrect configuration line
  3. Start the operating system service to get web redis running

Once you have completed this, you should be able to use the redis-cli command to confirm the database is running.

Part 2

The second task involves the web application. An operator has carelessly run a command that has broken the permission for the web application. As a result, the application is not starting!

In order to complete the task, you must:

  1. Find the directory that the webapp lives in
  2. Identify the correct file with incorrect permissions
  3. Fix the directory so the permissions are correct
  4. Start the operating system service so that the web server is running

Once you have completed this, the interview is over.

Important Notes

The test is not designed to trip you up. We are trying to test not only your problem solving ability in a Linux environment, but also your communication and collaboration skills. We encourage you to discuss the problem with your interviewer, ask for feedback and help when you're stuck. We are not expecting you know all the answers.

Searching for answers

We encourage you to use Google to search for answers to the problems. Please feel free to search for answers, or alternatively you can ask your interviewer for assistance.

Operating System & Other Notes

The operating system in use here is Ubuntu 18.04. You should not need to know anything Ubuntu specific to complete the exercises.

All of the software installed is from the default operating system packages. Ubuntu 18.04 uses systemd to manage the startup scripts. You may need to be familiar with the following commands:

Start a service

systemctl start <servicename>
  # or
  service <servicename> start

An example interview

Step 1 of 2


In this exercise, you'll be asked to start the redis database.

Unfortunately, the redis database is misconfigured.

You can attempt to start the database using the following command:

systemctl start redis-server

Make a note of the error, and ensure you read all of the output from the terminal message

Find the config file

The previous command should provide you enough information to find the configuration file.

Remove the configuration error

You'll need to use the editor of your choice to remove the errant configuration line

Start the database

You can start the database using a similar command to the command in the intro

Verify the connection

You can check the status of the database by running the following command:

redis-cli ping

If you see "PONG" you've been successful!