YA My sysadmin toolbox
I've been working as a Linux admin for more than six years, and using Linux for a little longer. Like a lot of Linux administrators, I started with Red Hat, but now I use Debian stable at work and Gentoo at home. Recently, NewsForge asked readers to "let us know about your most valuable utilities." Here are mine.
I wouldn't survive a day without the Vim editor. When you have a new system, the first thing you need is a tool for editing and creating configuration files and such stuff. The more you use Vim, the more features you discover, and the more you get used to its shortcuts and coloring. It would be hard for me to switch to something else now. But since Vim ports exist for virtually every system, you always have the option to install and use it. Learn once, use forever.
Manuals are very important, and that brings man to the second spot on my list. Usually you don't want to go through the complete documentation for a command, you just need a couple parameters for your immediate needs, and you will find such information in man. Eighty percent of the time consulting a man page is enough to resolve my problems. By using man, you can free some room in your brain by purging options and syntax for commands you rarely use.