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Where Do You Go For Linux Training? 84

Posted by Cliff
from the have-to-learn-it-from-somewhere dept.
Spritzer writes "I work for a rather large corporation with multiple divisions around the world. Nearly all user computers in the company are Windows systems, and there is no plan to move to Linux in the future. However, a good many of our products are now designed to run on Linux systems for security and stability purposes. Obviously, the design/development teams are knowledgeable in the use of Linux operating systems. Unfortunately my field service teams are not, and their is no in-house training program. This has begun to affect our ability to provide efficient, quality service to customers when in the field. So, we need training and would prefer to stay away from online, self-paced courses and get our people some hands on training with an instructor. What training services have you used in the past to get people trained in the basics of using?"
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Where Do You Go For Linux Training?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 24, 2007 @02:08AM (#19249139)
    At lots of locations in North America.

    https://www.redhat.com/training/ [redhat.com]
    • I'm a strong supporter (and holder) of LPI certification, but I agree that Red Hat training/certification is the best fit for your situation.

      The hands-on nature of training for and achieving RHCT is ideal for staff who are likely troubleshooting systems they themselves did not set up.
      • by bprice20 (709357)
        I third that option. Have em go for the well respected rhct, rhce coarses.
      • Is the training very specific to Red Hat systems, or would you use it even if the final systems they'd be working on were, say, Debian, or Slackware?
        When I (some time ago, now) moved from Red Hat to Slackware at home, a lot of the basic commands I had learned for things like network setup turned out to be Red Hat specific tools. How does LPI fare in that regard?
    • by Gratch06 (969980)
      I just recently finished a course on kernel programming from RedHat, and found it to a very good experience. The instructor was top notch, and while the course was 5 days of 8 hours each, we had plenty of time to get hands on experience with what we were being taught, and have any questions answered,

      Since RedHat's development courses impressed me, I'd recommend considering their sysadmin courses for your purpose. Albeit, there is the issue that they will certainly be more RedHat centric in their teaching,
  • SCALE in Feb! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The Southern California Linux Expo [socallinuxexpo.org] is a great traing event for Linux and OSS platforms.
  • Where? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I go to the man.
    • by megaditto (982598)
      You should go to your mother's basement. That's where most current linux "experts" are trained these days.
  • Google (Score:2, Funny)

    by El-Wrongo (1105293)
    Where else?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by vga_init (589198)
      That pretty much sums up the experience that 90% of use have had with Linux.
    • I go to the man (Score:5, Insightful)

      by markov_chain (202465) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @03:16AM (#19249489) Homepage
      ...pages, of course!
      • Re:I go to the man (Score:4, Interesting)

        by WebCrapper (667046) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @05:42AM (#19250127)
        This comment may sound funny/stupid, but it's true.

        I personally bought 1 book, used Google a lot and dug through man pages to learn. Figuring out things for themselves is the key.

        A training company will teach them a few things and they'll come out knowing enough to be dangerous. Give them a virtual server on their computer of what they'll be working with (show them how to backup the image and restore it on their own) and then give them a few scenarios that you all get on a normal basis. After they break the machine within 20 minutes (rm -r *...SHIT!), restore it and they'll start learning to be more careful.
        • by Hegh (788050)
          I totally agree, that's how I learned, plus I needed to figure it out for college courses, because the CS machines were all Linux. Training will certainly speed up the process, but figuring it out for yourself is the best way, although probably the longest.

          Nice idea with the virtual machine to make restoration easy. VMWare even has a snapshot ability, so when you shut down the machine you can restore the last snapshot if you screwed something up.
        • The submitter of TFA doesn't want to teach them to be careful - he wants to teach them to be field technicians. Field techs, by definition, have to frequently go where Joe User fears to tread - and your method teaches the techs to fear to tread there as well.
        • by Wolfrider (856)
          --I read an article a few years back that basically said RM is the #1 cause of *nix farkups.

          -- ' mc ' is your friend when deleting files...
          • by bensch128 (563853)
            Maybe alias rm="rm -i"

            or alias rm="mv -i ...something... ~/Trash/"

            or tell the user just to use the bloody trash can :)

            Ben
    • Where else?
      The usernets.
    • by sharkey (16670)

      Where else?

      Ask Slashdot, of course!

  • Empirically (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Eddi3 (1046882) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @02:26AM (#19249237) Homepage Journal
    If you really want to be proficient with an OS, the only way to really do it is through experience. In school, I took a class where I learned how to use MS Office (I've been to hell and back a few times), and after the semester, do you really think I understood how to use it?

    Same goes for Linux. The only reason I know how to use it (fairly) well is because I've been using it for a few months.

    I suggest you have your teams just start trying stuff and looking online (I know, I know) for reference.

    Eddie
    • by xtracto (837672) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @03:40AM (#19249615) Journal
      How can you suggest that a company which might have thousands of employees should let them train for such skill as Linux admin/setup "Empirically"? Empirical learning is OK for the mom-basement geeks which might just put their web server online. What are they going to do? are they going to give the guys 2 daily hours to mess around with some computers? uh, *great* use of time (and money).

      I would definitely suggest getting some formal (read *real*) training. As others have stated in the thread, there are lots of Linux certification programs. What companies usually do (at least the ones I have been which does not have a lot of money to send 100 monkeys to learn about X or Y technology) is to choose 2 or 3 people and send them to take a course and certificate on the technology (some kind of Linux administrator cert. on http://www.lpi.org/ [lpi.org] for example) and then arrange some time to let these guys teach the other people in your place. That way you will have a structured plan of learning.

      Of course you may want to have practical sessions (to "try stuff and look online") but you will know what to try and look. I can just imagine a chemist going to the laboratory to "try stuff" in order to learn about the effects of nitroglycerin when combined with different reactants...

      If you are a lone consultant, sure just google your way to get this new set of knowledge (of course do not get pissed of when the guy who has the Red Hat Certified Engineer cert. gets your job...). But for big companies, you'd better get real training (to justify the time/money you will be spending).
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        It probably is the best way to really learn an OS. I've taken some computer courses, and you often spend lots of time learning stuff you already knew before you started the course, and a lot of time recapping stuff that other people don't understand that the class already went over. While I realize it's important for the class to review stuff that some students didn't understand so that everybody comes out learning everything they're supposed to, I think it's a waste of time for the people that already do
      • by wellingj (1030460)

        I would definitely suggest getting some formal (read *real*) training.
        You mean like the kind of training I got in college? I think *real* Training is self directed.
        Everything else is just monkey see monkey do.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jguthrie (57467)
          What you're supposed to get in college is education, not training. The difference being that an education is not directed toward a specific purpose, while training is all about learning a particular set of skills. Education is supposed to increase your broad knowledge level while training is supposed to make you able to do some specific thing. My opinion is that education is important, but most training is pretty useless for me. Although other people find formal training to be quite useful, the utility
          • by wellingj (1030460)

            The difference being that an education is not directed toward a specific purpose, while training is all about learning a particular set of skills.
            I don't know what your major was, but as a CS major for me, it was training all the way.
            But I guess I see your point...Maybe we can agree there is a rather large gray area between
            training and education?
      • choose 2 or 3 people and send them to take a course and certificate on the technology (some kind of Linux administrator cert. on http://www.lpi.org/ [lpi.org] [lpi.org] for example) and then arrange some time to let these guys teach the other people in your place.
        I wonder how long it will before copyright law gets extended to make that illegal?

        [note to self - patent that]
  • by Jazzer_Techie (800432) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @02:35AM (#19249287)
    I suggest sending a large number of emails liberally sprinkled with the phrases "RTFM" and "n00b". It works wonders on my mailing list. I haven't listened to a single complaint.

    (It's a joke. Laugh)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by suv4x4 (956391)
      (It's a joke. Laugh)

      All right! Typical Linux user attitude. We need to laugh at it since it's an open source joke, not because it's funny, right.

      (It's an OS. Use it.)

      Now that's a joke too, but you may chose whether to laugh at it, or go sell yourself to the networks and watch some quality comedy :P
  • by mr_nuff (212669)
    RTFM, noob! ;)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Why is this modded funny? This is damn straight advice. 5 years ago I had a short term contract to write some QT stuff on Linux. I think it was redhat. I hadn't used Linux before but I read the manual that was in a PDF file and away I went. Most of the stuff you need to know to get around Linux is in the manual. It's not that hard. Like what did people do when the first got their hands on a C64 or Amstrad 6128 or an Amiga 500? They read the manual. How did people learn to use Lotus 123? They read the manual

      • The original article is about technical training for support staff. If someone calls on the phone with a problem, and the technician says, "Give me a few hours, I have to go RTFM for a solution" it will not go over well.

        Formal training won't teach you everything, but it can help you troubleshoot common problems and give you a framework for approaching other ones. One of the most difficult problems I had while learning Linux was getting a feel for which combination of search terms (inside a manual or on
        • by Mr2001 (90979)

          The original article is about technical training for support staff. If someone calls on the phone with a problem, and the technician says, "Give me a few hours, I have to go RTFM for a solution" it will not go over well.
          If he had RTFM himself, then he'd already know the solution!
    • by Spritzer (950539) *
      Thanks so far to people who have offered real advice. RTFM is perfectly useless at this point. Someone (I know who) dropped the ball when they decided to field 100s of units and not provide any notice, much less training, to the field service teams. With products in the field and need to support them now RTFM does not cut it. These people need a crash course in basic *nix OS structure and operation. I've looked into redhat training as well as courses offered by linuxcertified.com. Does anyone have any input
  • IBM (Score:3, Informative)

    by Datamonstar (845886) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @02:37AM (#19249299)
    IBM offers Linux and UNIX training, but it's pricey, like everything IBM carries.
    • Re:IBM (Score:4, Insightful)

      by donaldm (919619) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @04:04AM (#19249745)
      There are many commercial organisations offering training in Linux and prices vary enormously, however from my personal experience I have found Redhat courses are excellent but pricey since you get both theory and hands on fault finding because the instructors do break your software and it is your job to fix it. It must be stressed that all the theory in world is not going to help you much unless you develop a comfortable attitude to faultfinding.

      In my opinion the best way of learning Linux is to get a "dull bleeding edge" distribution like Fedora or even OpenSuSE and install it on a laptop. I will guarantee you are going to have issues however there are many forums that can help. In doing this you will either learn or just give up in disgust and if this is the case you can forget about the "bleeding edge" distributions which would be the next logical step after feeling comfortable with something like Fedora.

      When picking a forum to subscribe to pick one that is about the same level or just a little higher (can be hard to judge) as your current expertise but please don't go to the advanced forums and bug the people there. In fairness to advanced users who will say "RTFM first" they are more interested in advanced or complex issues than trying to help a new user who wants to know how to "list files". Visualise yourself in the position of someone who has all the kids in the neighbourhood coming round to ask you how do you add 2 plus 2 and you can see why an advanced user is standoffish to new users.

      Please note there are a huge number of Linux distributions, some easier and others harder to maintain. Just about all are almost boring to install. You do need to do some reading (ie RTFM before asking) and decide what path you wish to follow, keeping in mind that if one distribution does not work or is too hard for you there are many others that may be more suitable and the cost to you is minimal.

      If you want to work on commercial Linux try CentOS which basically is Redhat. The latest version now has Xen setup to make virtualization much easier so you can play with more unstable distributions without having to blow away your base OS.

      From what I have read and heard Ubuntu is the most stable Linux for the desktop. This is a excellent way of having a stable base OS and you can still use Xen to install and play around with other Linux distributions. I have heard that you can even install Open Solaris under Xen and this can be a very marketable skill in the future.
  • by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Thursday May 24, 2007 @02:37AM (#19249301) Homepage Journal
    When I took my last Oracle class, the instructor told me they were finalizing a new set of Linux classes. I just hopped over to their web site [oracle.com] and did a search on linux and it came up with a few classes they offer.

    All the classes I have taken from them have been for the database, or Peoplesoft. They all were built around hands on labs with instruction. They are not cheap. My last RAC class cost $3700 for 5 days.

    I can't recommend the Linux classes, as I have never taken them, but just thought I would mention that they are out there. I don't know about availability location wise either, but I would assume that eventually they will be available wherever Oracle training is available - which should mean choices in many countries.
    • $3700 a student for 5 days work? i want that gig
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by CastrTroy (595695)
        Very believable. I took a 5 day VB course back when I was a student and it cost $2000 (paid by my coop employer). That's why I think it's best to just have the people sit down and read a book. I could have learned everything that I learned in that class by just sitting down and reading a book, with some free time to try out the stuff I was reading about. Give somebody a book ($100) and 5 days where you don't bug them at all, and you will be surprised how much they can learn. I don't see why companies
        • You know - I had a book and a couple weeks and there were some things that I really struggled to grasp. Having a teacher who knew the software extremely well right in front of me was very helpful. I could ask him questions and discuss the areas I didn't understand as well.

          Along with that, for example in the RAC class, I wasn't just paying for the lecture. In the labs we installed the software, built a cluster, messed around with the cluster and a number of other things that I don't think would be
          • by CastrTroy (595695)
            You probably couldn't set that all up in 5 days. It might take you 10. Or more. But you'd come out knowing it a lot better. I know a guy with his MCDBA that couldn't configure log shipping. If you're a DBA, you should know how to configure a server for log shipping. It should be a basic task. It seems to me from reading this thread that a lot of the Linux or Oracle certifications are a lot more in depth than what Microsoft Certifications required. We use mostly MS where I work, so I don't run into a lo
            • Oracle has three levels of database admin certs - the first two are attainable without knowing what you are doing. There is a lot of griping in the Oracle community (that I have seen anyway) about the fact that the first two, Oracle Certified Associate and Oracle Certified Professional, are not worth a whole lot. The top level - Oracle Certified Master is extremely difficult and expensive to attain - but there are just a handful of people world wide that hold it.

              The thing with the labs that I thin
              • by CastrTroy (595695)
                But why are companies paying big bucks for certifications that the community views as a joke. You can say they have X and Y certification, but if they still don't know anything, you are wasting your money. If the certifications actually do mean something, and obtaining them proves (to some extent) that you are a competent admin, then I don't see a problem with shelling out the cash. But it just seems like all these businesses are spending money so that they have a piece of paper so they can pretend that
                • Well - I don't think the classes are a joke. I think a lot of companies send their employees to the classes because they want them to have the training, not the certification. Though I could be wrong. The OCA and OCP only require that you take one class and pass one exam each.

                  A lot of people I've talked to in the classes are not seeking certification though- they just want to learn what is in the class. My boss wants me certified, but to be honest - I think it is only because he thinks it is im
  • man(1) (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dos (415274)
    man(1) and their sister organizations apropos(1) and whatis(1) meet most of my training needs. Sometimes I have to go to their less organized competitor /usr/share/doc, or the overly bureaucratic info(1), but most of the time all I need is man(1), man.
    • Re:man(1) (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Beolach (518512) <beolach@NoSPam.juno.com> on Thursday May 24, 2007 @03:56AM (#19249695) Homepage Journal
      For actual learning purposes, I very much agree w/ you. The problem is though, training is as much or more (IMO MUCH more) for the gaining of credentials as for learning. I've been running Linux exclusively on all my personal boxen for several years now, and pretty much everything I've wanted to do I've been able to learn how to do. But I haven't had any "official" training, and I have no certification or credentials, so whenever I look at postings for jobs that really interest me, I feel like I'm under-certified. I might actually have a shot at acceptance to some of them, but between my feeling of being unqualified & my innate laziness, I haven't yet bothered to really go for any of them. Various things (mostly low pay & my current job being in MS Windows shop) are currently prompting me to reconsider doing some active job hunting, so I might put whether or not I'm qualified to the test.

      On the other hand, part of me thinks I really should do some official training to get certifications before starting a serious job-hunt. I really ought to go back to school and get a bachelor's degree, but there's so much time & money required for it that I don't want to. There are of course simpler test-certifications, some of which I could pass w/out needing any additional training, but while they don't require as much time, I'm still too much of a cheapskate to be comfortable paying for them, especially as they aren't worth as much as a B.S.

      This has gotten a bit longer than I intended, really all I intended was to agree that for learning, reading easily obtained free documentation is usually enough; but for useful employment-wise credentials, I get the feeling they're almost worthless.
      • You've hit the nail on the head with the idea of "official training". An employer isn't going to care at all if you claim that you've got x years experience administering your own network of Linux boxes. People can claim lots of things. If, however, you do go in for some "real" training classes, you gain the ability to document what you've learned (or in some cases already knew going in). Personally, I do think it's a bit if a racket that you have to pay some organization to certify that you know wh
  • Get to like rice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by extrasupermario (1084831) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @03:39AM (#19249607)
    I thought I was pretty good with dozens of system installs of Redhat 6 through 9 but it wasn't until I got through a couple of Gentoo installs that I felt my linux skill set was worth a damn. Say what you want about Gentoo but as a Linux learning tool, there is nothing better. Their documentation is first rate and much of what you learn by installing Gentoo carries over to every other Linux flavour.
    • by lazycam (1007621)
      I agree. I started off using an early version of Red Hat, but it was not until I used gentoo that I "actually" learned Linux. Also, I found it particularly helpful to set up a simple network (2~3 machines) and worked on making a router, NIS, dhcp server, etc. I took notes and placed them on a personal wiki. One of these days I'll get around to posting it online, but the only way you will learn is by getting your hands dirty. Oh, and for a real challenge, read the Linux from scratch documentation and have a
    • by alexandre (53) *
      Or try a linux from scratch from any other linux distribution... this will really teach you things :)
  • LinuxZoo (Score:3, Informative)

    by 4D6963 (933028) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @03:42AM (#19249625)

    Well, I don't know if it's pertinent, but LinuxZoo [linuxzoo.net] can be helpful when you wanna learn..

  • You can learn from linux in a nutshell...
    O'reilly books...
    But if you are wanting a broad knowledge you really need baptism by fire...
    whether fed by a fire hose @ some intense 5day course or setting up an internal server that houses live services that everyone uses...and you get to figure out how to make it all play nice...
    hands-on is the only way to go...with 'man' pages at your fingertips & google for backup...
  • TIC (Score:2, Informative)

    I go to http://www.tic.ac.uk/ [tic.ac.uk] (Technology Innovation Centre) in Birmingham, UK. They have a RedHat an Sun Academy for Linux training. It's also the central training centre for CISCO for the world apart except the Americas.
  • You said that the development people were fine with linux, and were pushing it for security reasons. That means they know your product, on linux, with security features turned on. They're the best source to find out which versions of Linux they're recommending and which ones the clients are using. On top of which, they can most easily convene a train-the-trainer session for several of your senior support people, including yourself, and can answer questions not only about Linux but more importantly about you
  • I think it may be a little informal for your needs, but attending local LUG meetings can be a great way to develop your Linux skills. You can interface with other people interested in Linux, and there's usually someone there who can answer any sort of question you have. The only downside is that they have everyone from the hobbyist to professionals, so like I said it may be a little informal.

    I also know that a lot of companies are forming their own LUGS, so perhaps it would be a good idea to start one at
  • Read The F... Manual! Some of them are outdated, but then again, some things don't change. Go to The Linux Documentation Project and read.
  • Hi (Score:1, Troll)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135)
    Where do I apply?
  • by davecb (6526) * <davec-b@rogers.com> on Thursday May 24, 2007 @10:24AM (#19252831) Homepage Journal
    http://www.starnix.com/ [starnix.com] who are one of the sponsors of Linux Professional Institute (LPI)

    --dave

  • You can get all your questions answered by reading the forums. Don't dare ask any questions, just read. If you can't figure out what you're looking for then you have no business using linux, since they can't be bothered to help those they deem unworthy.

    OK, done ranting. Just tired of the "use a forum or wiki for all your support needs" crowd.
  • Seriously, consider a good liberal education. It lasts far longer than the current tech fad and with it you should be able to tech yourself from the foundation that you have been given to handle new challenges.
  • Search for "Linux and Unix Certifications" on my page http://1wit.com/links/links.htm [1wit.com]
  • The community college in my area has a technical training program that they offer on Linux (I'm taking a course there right now). It's great for getting a comprehensively taught course on the basics, and costs a ton less than any "training academy" or other specialized training service vendor.

    They can supplement this with any online materials on a specific distro.
  • (Disclaimer: I teach the following courses) SANS [sans.org] has two 6-day courses on Linux and Unix; Linux System Administration (track 408) [sans.org] and Securing Linux and Unix (track 506) [sans.org]. Both are hand-on courses that require laptops. The first focuses on system administration, the second on hardening and security, with a small amount of overlap. --Bill

    • I did SANS GSEC in Amsterdam and can vouch for their training. You actually use your computer during Class unlike CISSP course which are pure book learning. They give you a pile of documentation to read and practice with. I do agree with the people who say get a spare box install linux and mess with it. You have to destroy the village in order to save it. Install it, break it, install it again...but when you are done you will have the strongest castle in the swamp: http://www.mwscomp.com/movies/grail/gra [mwscomp.com]
  • Believe me, I really can't stand tech snobs. But linux is a special case--if someone can't manage to self-teach on a free operating system that is perhaps better documented than any other technical topic on the entire internet, I really don't want them working in my environment. If they're doing it for the certification and credentials, fine. But if for the knowledge, no thanks, that is a serious indication that you are hiring a hand-held spectation junkie.
  • Why aren't you acting like every other company out there and firing all your (now "worthless") staff and outsourcing to some big Linux geek company? LOL!

    (It's a joke, kinda.)

    Seriously though -- if the skill-set of the Field Engineering staff doesn't match the products anymore, you *might* have some culling to do. They can learn Linux on their own.

    If they're not learning it on their own already, it might be a sign that they're not interested. Find people that are.

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell, "Skeptical Essays", 1928

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