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Education Linux Business

Best Training in Linux Administration? 467

Love to Learn Linux asks: "My company is making the move to Linux. I've been a Windows admin the last 5 years and have been asked to learn Linux. I've got some O'Reilly books but I need some hands on experience. My company will pay for any Linux training I choose. I'd prefer an online course to one of those 4 day classroom courses since I'd like to take my time and really learn it. So far, I've been recommended the Red Hat eLearning course and the O'Reilly Learning Lab. Would you recommend either of these over the other, or are there some better choices?"
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Best Training in Linux Administration?

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  • Use it at home (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SonicTooth ( 561342 ) <willis@@@irmak...org> on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:00PM (#10208241) Homepage
    Install Linux at home. It's the best training you'll ever get. And then switch over your best friends and finally your grandparents. You'll be a pro in no time.
    • The key is learning on a hard distro, and sticking with it until you master the damn thing. I started my Linux career with Slackware (although I did know sh from my required "introduction to unix" course so I wasn't that fucked.)

      Was that wise? I doubt it, but I'm nothing if not stubborn. ;)
      • by KermitJunior ( 674269 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @08:32AM (#10211349) Homepage
        I would recommend you start with Gentoo and move to Debian or Suse.

        Before I'm modded flamebait, here's why:
        1)Gentoo has some of the best install documents in the Linux community
        2)It requires that you set up a lot of things by hand (system logger, kernel if you choose expert, etc)
        3)It has some of the best forums/support around. Even Gentoo critics admit this.

        After you get gentoo working on your box, wipe it and reinstall. After the fourth or fifth time, you'll actually have learned something. Then wipe and install Debian:
        1) Debian has the largest volunteer following.
        2) Deb has one of the simplest updgrade paths
        3) If you choose stable, its old but very secure.
        4)Suse is pretty darned awesome, too.
        5)Then make a customized patched kernel for the heck of it.

        Just my two cents. I took the Gentoo->Debian Road for the simple reason of learning and it helped.
    • by Dark Coder ( 66759 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:10PM (#10208318)
      By picking the hardest distro such as an older Slackware (don't knock the new ones), you've essentially master-micro-managed all aspect of Linux administration in virtually no time.

      It's no different than mastering the DOS 3.3 command set and scripting; just [infinitely?] more commands scripting, languages and widgets at your disposal.
      • by jburroug ( 45317 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMacerbic.org> on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:23AM (#10209993) Homepage Journal
        This is one situation where I'd really recomend Gentoo since the installer is pretty much just a series of commands you have to run it's a good intoroduction to the "Linux Way" of doing things. Sure it won't teach you everything and will be radically different than more corporate distos in some ways but ultimately you'll learn a lot of basic, low level Linux shit just by doing the install. Hell I've been using Linux as my primary OS since 1997 or so and even I learned a couple things during my first Gentoo install about two weeks ago.

        Course for a production (public) server it's all about the FreeBSD in my book ;-> Linux is still my choice for desktops and internal utility servers but that's besides the point for this guys question.

        One final note. Once you've done your install and get ready to start installing your mission critical apps (Apache, Postfix or whatever) don't use emerge or RPM or Yast etc... grab the source tarball and follow the README/INSTALL directions. It's often a little harder but gives you more control and you learn more about both the app and your OS in the process.

        Good Luck!
      • by tunabomber ( 259585 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:36AM (#10210049) Homepage
        I agree with this approach in general, but I think that Linux From Scratch [linuxfromscratch.org] is really the best "hard" distro to learn from. Unlike Slackware, LFS is set up specifically with learning in mind, with very explanatory step-by-step documentation. Just about every aspect of the installation is done by hand- the instructions even show you how to write your own boot scripts.
        It takes a long time to get an LFS distro up and running, but by the time you do, you will know your system inside and out even before you've started experimenting with different configurations.
        • by MoThugz ( 560556 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @03:58AM (#10210511) Homepage
          That's not the best way... that's overkill. Hard doesn't necessarily mean best.

          But hey, don't think that I'm knocking off LFS. I went through it myself... but after a year plus of using Slackware (following a year of using Mandrake consistently).

          LFS is really useful if you want to understand how to build a Linux distro. It's technically not even a distro. It's more of a commando-style survival training, whereas a distro would be summer camp.

          I also doubt the "you will know your system inside and out" argument. I believe "you will know how to build a working Linux system" is a better description of the LFS learning process.

          Bear in mind that the poster is a Windows admin for five years... and he wants to have working knowledge of adminning Linux... not building a distro. Moving from Windows, and getting an introduction to Linux via LFS is really not something you'd want to go through.

          My recommendation? I live and breathe Slackware... but the poster should really try out a few distros. Fedora Core & Mandrake would scratch that need-some-GUIs-to-get-me-going itch for a start. After that, you might want to try some of the more traditional distros... Slackware and Debian would be my recommendation then.

          In the end, Linux is about choice. Just sometimes, the choice isn't yours... just your company's. Take a course on whatever distro they've decided upon... but play with a different distro at home for a different "feel".
      • Pick an old book (Score:3, Interesting)

        by iNiTiUM ( 315622 )
        In addition to choosing a difficult distro to start with, pick up an older unix book. Something mid-80s or earlier. Why? Those books have more useful commandline tricks, simple stuff that is often overlooked in the modern day age of pointy-clicky. Scrounge your used book stores for a copy of "A Practical Guide to UNIX System V" for starters. I also scored a whole accounting box full of HP-UX manuals awhile back, many many neat tricks, mostly forgotten shell script kung-fu. You'll quickly pick up what still
    • Re:Use it at home (Score:5, Insightful)

      by zangdesign ( 462534 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:12PM (#10208330) Journal
      Set up a small, representative network at home - don't bother making it work like you would use a home machine, but rather concentrate on how the company would need it.
      • by GoClick ( 775762 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:47PM (#10208656)
        Depending on how complex your network is you might even be able to get the company to fund a "model city" at work in a spare room.

        You can use local sources to buy outdated computers, used switches, hubs, routers and etc to build a "dumbed down" low cost clone of your current network which will allow you to learn using it just like the real network, heck even the same IPs if you're going to put that much effort in. You can practice deploying software, using the systems etc. You might also want to get exact (sans-serial-numbers) clones of key servers if possible so you can test things very carefully.

        It's a great way to learn but it'll really help to have a guru to get you going.

        Find the local Linux User Group and get involved, make friends and then pester them on IM.
    • Re:Use it at home (Score:2, Informative)

      by wnarifin ( 800540 )
      Install one distribution (I'd prefer Fedora Core 1), then http://www.tldp.org/ [tldp.org], then http://www.linuxquestions.org/ [linuxquestions.org]. Free, but takes time.
    • Re:Use it at home (Score:5, Informative)

      by damiangerous ( 218679 ) <1ndt7174ekq80001@sneakemail.com> on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:30PM (#10208491)
      Install Linux at home. It's the best training you'll ever get.

      No, it's not. When you just install a distro at home and start using it you'll learn a lot, sure. But what you'll learn a scattershot and mostly just what you need to do to get a functional system, because that's what your incentive is to do. You won't learn best practices and you won't learn why things are they way they are. Heck you probably won't even learn about some fairly basic tools just because you didn't happen to need them. You really need the formality of a structured learning environment (not a class, specifically, but a structured curriculum at least) to make sure you cover everything you need to know.

      I know it seems to be the number one recommended method here on Slashdot, but it really has some serious flaws that everyone seems to conveniently overlook. Following your advice leads to sloppiness and "good enough"-ness. Not exactly skills that will endear you to an employer.

      • Re:Use it at home (Score:5, Insightful)

        by antirename ( 556799 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:38PM (#10208568)
        Oddly enough, everyone I know who is good at Linux administration (or programming in general) is self-taught. Yes, you wind up with holes in your knowledge, but they are usually small. Take a class, you think you know it all, and all of a sudden you are in over your head when you see something new. I see it all the time in new hires. (I only bring up programming because config files really seem to confuse MCSE's, since there is nothing to click on and you actually have to type.)
        • by damm0 ( 14229 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @10:00PM (#10208781) Homepage Journal

          Yes, everyone I know who is best at Linux is self-taught. But how much time did that take? Valuable lessons can be learned alone, but you can reduce the time it takes by a factor of 10 or more with structured lessons.

          I'm talking years here. You can reduce 10 years of lonerdom to 1 year by using structured learning tools. No class is going to teach you to be a guru in 4 days.

          • by SealBeater ( 143912 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @10:58PM (#10209208) Homepage
            I disagree. I am all self-taught, and I belive that taking a class only
            teaches you how to think the way the teacher thinks. I have seen countless
            IT people with formal skills approach a problem the exact same way, go through
            everything they can remember, once they have gone down the list, they are
            stumped. I would much rather be in charge of the training of my brain, esp,
            since you can study what you want, it's always "play" and never "work". My
            self-teaching has been of tourrmendous advantage, since I, having not
            undergone the grinding down of formal education in computers, have developed
            novel and unique ways of looking and solving of provblems.

            • by mindstrm ( 20013 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @11:20PM (#10209366)
              Courses augment self teaching.. they don't replace it.

              I firmly believe that to be a good sysadmin, programmer, technologist, etc, you have to be able to learn on your own.. that is the primary skill you need... and this is why almost every single skilled person you meet in this field will tell you they really learned it all on their own.

              School, however, is a source of knowledge.. and not every course is there to teach you a bunch of narrow-minded BS.

              If you really want to bean up on a specific area, for instance, you are getting more into Linux, taking a couple courses your employer is willing to pay for is certainly not a BAD thing to take advantage of... especially if you feel you will learn something out of it. Especially if you are a learning on your own kind of guy.. you will absorb a lot from the course. Make sure the instructor is someone who can actually add knowledge to you.. the entire course could be worth it if a handful of your unanswered questions are answered.

              I think most of us just suggest "do it on your own, courses are silly" because we want people to realize that learning on your own is the most important skill.. that courses are just a brief foray into some new knowledge.

              • Well said.

                I'd like to add that an important aspect of teaching yourself is that you learn how to learn.

                It's much more valuable to know that you can type "man grep" than to memorize that "-i" means case-insensitive.

                One thing is for sure: nothing can replace self-teaching. You will be a much more valuable resource to your company because of it.

                However, the orginal poster's company needs him now. I think he should install linux everywhere he can and start taking classes. Then, I'd just pick the instructor'
          • by maxpublic ( 450413 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @03:07AM (#10210356) Homepage
            Valuable lessons can be learned alone, but you can reduce the time it takes by a factor of 10 or more with structured lessons.

            That's rather amusing, given how useless a college degree is in most professions - CS included. Structured learning often does very little to teach CS students anything of actual, real-world value.

            I'd argue for self-learning (the way most of us have done it, I'd imagine), with liberal doses of research on the internet and question/answer sessions on the newsgroups. There are a lot of people out there who'll lend you a helping hand if you ask for it.

            Some - a very few - current administrators and programmers are also good at apprenticeship situations. Many aren't; not because they lack some indefinable skill, but because they're too busy with other things to be bothered with training up a newbie.

            I'd say take a class as a very last resort. Avoid a college course as if your professional life depended on it.

            • "That's rather amusing, given how useless a college degree is in most professions - CS included."
              I would agree about CS but I am curious about your list of "good" and "bad" majors. Of course, I do not agree with respect on Mathematics; I think Don Knuth would agree that a Math degree is worthwhile. I cannot imagine learning "real" physics (as compared with "popular" physics) without studying it at a university. Also biology (e.g. sequencing), chemistry (e.g. good lab technique, P-chem.), some (but not
              • Remember that I said "a college degree is useless in most professions". That doesn't mean that the learning obtained while getting the college degree is useless, but that the degree itself rarely qualifies one for work in the profession that requires that degree.

                Mathematics is a degree I did not consider, and a rather good example of a degree that might actually be useful right from the point of graduation. But then I did say "most" and not "all".

                I've had the rare opportunity to study a variety of recen
        • Re:Use it at home (Score:5, Insightful)

          by damiangerous ( 218679 ) <1ndt7174ekq80001@sneakemail.com> on Thursday September 09, 2004 @10:02PM (#10208789)
          Take a class, you think you know it all

          Exactly, you hear that a lot here about "paper MCSEs". Yet that's just the converse of the typical proposal here: "You don't need a class, you can learn it all by running Slack on your old 486." Yet somehow one is sage advice and the other is mocked. You can't learn without doing, but you can't learn in a vacuum either. Neglecting either one will lead to sometimes critical (from a business standpoint) holes in your knowledge.

          Just like you shouldn't take a class and think you know everything before you have real experience, you shouldn't think you've seen it all already "in the wild" and structured learning is beneath you. It's the same personality flaw. It's just manifesting itself in a different way.

        • Re:Use it at home (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Nailer ( 69468 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @01:07AM (#10209901)
          Yes, you wind up with holes in your knowledge, but they are usually small.

          As someone who learnt Linux at home, then took some classes, then became an instructor, I think most people who learn from home's knowledge holes are gaping.

          Basic stuff like quotas. How the kernel knows where the root partition is. What the difference between the exire time in an SOA record and the TTL in the zone file is.

          Most self-taught Linux users are no worse than the self-taught NT admin who has no idea what a port is.
          • Re:Use it at home (Score:4, Informative)

            by Skweetis ( 46377 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @09:07AM (#10211559) Homepage
            Basic stuff like quotas.

            Learned everything I needed to know in an hour from the man pages the first time I needed to set them for users.

            How the kernel knows where the root partition is.

            Learned this the first time I had a disk array fail and had to restore from backup. I don't remember where I found it, probably in the LILO documentation somewhere.

            What the difference between the exire time in an SOA record and the TTL in the zone file is.

            Haven't set up a fresh DNS server since I switched to djbdns a few years ago, so I didn't remember this one. Ten seconds of googling refreshed my memory.

            I guess my point in all of this is that it doesn't matter if you have holes in your knowledge. Instead, it is important to know that you do have them, and to know where to find the information you need. And, for what it's worth, I'm mostly self-taught, but I've taken some classes. Both are valuable.

        • Re:Use it at home (Score:4, Insightful)

          by zerocool^ ( 112121 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @07:31AM (#10211082) Homepage Journal
          That's because the most important aspect of being self taught isn't knowing the information, it's knowing where to look for the answer. There's still volumes about linux that I don't know, but when I run into a problem, I have a good idea where to start looking for the answers. It's kind of getting the zen of linux.

      • Re:Use it at home (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Confessed Geek ( 514779 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @10:21PM (#10208950)
        As an actively employed "Linux Systems Administrator" (my real job title) I must concur with "damiangerous." While I was a windows admin I set up multiple linux boxes out of curiosity, slackware, rh5, and it was interesting and educational, but once I was done I just sort of looked at them and was like "Now What?"

        Only after I attended a 3 night a week month long class did it all come together.

        Don't disregard the classroom setting. A online course or reading o'reilly books (and even the Linux for Dummy's book) are good but for your first introduction a classroom (with hands on training) is the best place to start. If you have a good instructor you won't just learn "the Facts" but will get a better grasp of the implications and how to use the tools, and get some real practical advice.

        Your milage may vary as some people are much better book learners while others do better with lecture, but a good class does a really good job of giving a good foundation to start from so additional online or deadtree training is more approachable and rewarding.
        • Re:Use it at home (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mcrbids ( 148650 )
          As an actively employed "Linux Systems Administrator" (my real job title) I must concur with "damiangerous." While I was a windows admin I set up multiple linux boxes out of curiosity, slackware, rh5, and it was interesting and educational, but once I was done I just sort of looked at them and was like "Now What?"

          Only after I attended a 3 night a week month long class did it all come together.

          Well, as "an actively employed "Linux Systems Administrator" (my real job title)" I can say that I followed a dif
      • Re:Use it at home (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @11:05PM (#10209254) Homepage
        Following your advice leads to sloppiness and "good enough"-ness. Not exactly skills that will endear you to an employer.

        Depends on the employer. For many, "good enough" is... good enough. After all, it's why one former employer of mine is (by now) switching to Exchange and IIS on Windows, instead of Postfix and Apache on Linux: they're "good enough" and have the advantage of being from the same software vendor and consultants they (now) buy everything else from. And (setting aside my perfectionist tendencies and principle for a moment) for some businesses, anything better than "good enough" is a luxury... one they can't afford.

    • Re:Use it at home (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:36PM (#10208544) Homepage
      Actually the best training is at work; home networks just don't typically have the complexity you find in a business environment. Unfortunately most people can't just hang out with a linux admin team for a few months to pick up stuff.
    • Re:Use it at home (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tverbeek ( 457094 )
      Using it at home is the approach I used, and I've been surprised by just how well it's served me. When I decided it was time for me to learn Linux, I picked up a mainstream Linux distro (Red Hat 6.0) and one of those thick guide books (SAMS Linux Unleashed) to give myself the maximum possible safety net... but nearly everything I know about it I picked up by solving real-life problems with it at home.

      It's been almost spooky at times how often something has come up in my professional life which I'd just b

    • Do both (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dpilot ( 134227 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:48PM (#10208661) Homepage Journal
      I honestly can't recommend a training program, though perhaps others can. I would keep it in line with the Linux your company plans to deploy.

      But *in addition* set up a small network at home. Set it up as a mini-professional network, not a slapdash home network. You never learn like you do when you're doing, too.

      But managers like Certifications, so I wouldn't suggest shorting out the course. Besides, some problems are related to scale, and you won't touch that on most home LANs. Book learning and practical learning can work together.

      I'll second what someone said about Gentoo. While you want to deploy what your company uses, it wouldn't hurt to install a Gentoo box. Gentoo has very little handholding, and the install teaches you more than other installs. I wouldn't make Gentoo your first install, or even a particularly early one, though.
  • Real life (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:01PM (#10208242)
    Yes, some people mock Gentoo, but installing it is once of the best linux learning experices I've ever had. Even if you don't end up running it, it'll teach you a good bit about the internals. The documentation is pretty good as well.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:13PM (#10208338)
      Yes, some people mock Gentoo, but installing it is once of the best linux learning experices I've ever had. Even if you don't end up running it...

      Still waiting for it to finish compiling, eh?
    • Re:Real life (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eric_ste ( 446052 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:36PM (#10208549)
      Yep, parent is right. And you have the Gentoo forums to help you if you are in need. Installing gentoo will certainly teach you lot's of stuff. But if you are to become a Linux sysadmin, your first step, IMHO, should be to drop windows and start using Linux on your work computer and on your home computer. Also, get him to give you a few old PC's to play with. Like 333Mhz which you can get for about 50$. On these PC's, don't use gentoo, compiling everything will be much too long. Use a precompiled distribution and preferably the one your Boss wants you to use in prod.

      Set up the networking, play with apache, PHP, postfix, Openldap. Create and delete useracounts, explore /etc/init.d, read the rc script to understand how your server boots.

      Instead of going on a class, get him to buy good books. I like wrox and Oreily books but others may be good also.
      Learn to use man, the sysadmin's bestfriend.

      Learn vi. Vi may be hard at first but it is very useful. the linux version is generaly vim. You may also use gvim but it's better to kick yourself in the ass and learn it if you are to become a Unix sysadmin.

      Also, a good source of info is generally included in /usr/share/doc.

      Finally, http://www.google.com/linux [google.com], I could not live without.

      I do not know many sysadmins that understood Linux and wanted to go back to windows.

      Have fun!
    • I run several machines at home, one of them is a gentoo machine. I like Gentoo, but it will *not* teach you much about being a system administrator. It will teach you about some basics about linux (installing one, to be specific), which I don't believe have much to do with sys admin. For example, bootstrapping your kernel. During the gentoo installation, that's just one command, you run the bootstrap script (I believe it was bootstrap.sh), and off it goes (for the next few hours). You don't really learn any
  • by AJWM ( 19027 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:01PM (#10208246) Homepage
    Set up a firewall, web server, mail server etc, play with the hardware, reconfigure the things, set up raid, lvm, etc.

    Nothing beats hands on, and nobody I've interviewed for a sysadmin job (and I've done quite a few recently) who didn't have a setup at home was any good.

    • by Bistronaut ( 267467 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:14PM (#10208351) Homepage Journal

      I totally second this.

      I'll add that I think that the best distro to learn the guts of Linux on is Gentoo. Go the full compile-it-yourself route. There are easy to follow, step by step instructions, and they take the time to tell you why you're doing everything. By the time you have it installed (and it will take a while), you'll be a virtual expert on Linux.

      Of course, you shouldn't limit yourself to just one distro, and Gentoo probably isn't the easiest to manage. I like Debian stable for server things because it is so easy to keep up to date.

      • What I don't agree with here is the Stage-1 isn't really as tough as bootstrapping a GCC tarball from scratch (no compiler on hand). I'm actually performing a Stage-1 on another machine as I write this, and the whole thing is scripted. /usr/portage/scripts/bootstrap.sh and it does the rest.

        While I agree in principle that Gentoo is one of the best methods for learning how to get into the nooks and crannies of Linux, you aren't going to learn major "oh shit" tasks. I learned best by making massive mistakes
        • Learn either LILO or GRUB like your life depends on it.

          And for the love of Pete, If you compile a new kernel, DONT OVERWRITE THE OLD KERNEL!!!!!

          Set up a new menu entry, so you can always failsafe back into the old kernel. I don't know how many times I've seen this done.
    • by mo ( 2873 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:14PM (#10208358)
      Just to add to this, I'd like to point out a reason why this is a good idea.

      In taking a class, the instructor tells you directly how to do something. You may or may not retain the information long enough to reuse it the next time you have to, say, install qmail.

      However, doing it yourself at home will teach you that all-imporant skill of how to google for linux howto information on the web.

      I've done a couple of qmail installs in my lifetime, but any knowledge I've gained has long been forgotten. Except for the fact that I know that qmailrocks.org [qmailrocks.org] is the place I go to re-learn what to do.
      • I absolutely second that. Knowing how to do things is mostly useless (by the time you do it again, the syntax will have changed anyway).

        Knowing how to find how to do things is the useful talent.

        Knowing how to find how to do things without an Internet access is an even more useful talent. It takes longer to aquire it though. And often several catastrophes.
    • Not only that, but get a few PCs, some switches (don't have to be good ones) and some wifi gear, a couple of windows clients at the very least if not some macs and stuff, and figure out ways to get maximum connectivity between all of them. A bunch of 486s will probably work for most of your linux systems, especially if you're willing to work with older versions of Linux for most of your clients.

      Set up ALL the major software packages in every category you can come up with. Learn to configure both primary

    • For an office sysadmin, using it at home is a start, but not the end of the journey. Get yourself a lab. You will need three computers, a linux to be your "server", a linux to be a "client" and a windows to be a "client". (If you have more than one Win32 OS in your office, add one client of each type to your lab.)

      Now, start playing. Basic install on your server, play with the interface for a bit. Get out the "Linux Network Administrator's Guide" and read it cover to cover. Read the Samba documentation in e

    • "Nothing beats hands on, and nobody I've interviewed for a sysadmin job (and I've done quite a few recently) who didn't have a setup at home was any good"

      I second that. It frustrates the hell out of your family though.

      "Is the network broken? Again?"

      "Err, yeah, I'm just working on something, sorry!, I'll have it back soon, I promise!"



      It's funny though, a lot of MS "sysadmins" have networks at home yet it doesn't seem to do any good for their skill levels, most of the time anyway.

    • Going from the Windows world to doing things like setting up mail servers in Linux is a really big step.

      Firewalling is probably harder than a web server (especially if you use thttpd).

      I disagree with the other comments about Gentoo--I'd say Slackware or Crux is a better compromise between getting you to actually start using your system quickly and forcing you to learn how to use it.

      Linux from Scratch is probably the best, closest equivalent to an online 'course.' It's much more engaging than a Gentoo in

  • by Semireg ( 712708 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:01PM (#10208248)
    I did a 6-day bootcamp style training session with TrainingCamp [trainingcamp.com]. I successfully attained my LPIC-1. Out of the 6 people in my class 2 (including myself) had previous Linux experience and we both passed, the others failed. However, having many coworkers and friends that are teaching themselves linux, this would have given them one of the best starting points around. Highly recommended no matter what your skill level.
  • Go RedHat (Score:5, Informative)

    by buchalka ( 416106 ) <tim@bucNETBSDhalka.com minus bsd> on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:02PM (#10208256) Homepage
    Personally I'd recommend the RedHat training.

    This will be more of benefit to you if you actually are going to use RedHat, but of course the general principles will apply.

    If I were you, I'd also get Linux on a home machine and start "fiddling" to get up to speed.

    Maybe install Vmware or a similar product so you can try different things.

    Personally I took a leap and went from Windows to Gentoo [gentoo.org] linux and never looked back!

    Good luck with it.

    You could dual-boot an existing Windows machine or run VMWARE so you c
    • I did the same thing with Gentoo. I went from windows to mandrake to gentoo. Gentoo is good because you have a little more control of what happens to your system. Some people say that they learned a ton from just installing, but I think they're a little mistaken. Installing Gentoo will give you more experience and knowledge than installing say Mandrake. This is probably because you'll have to fiddle and fudge it more, but it's worth it in the end. If you work for a big company, see if you can get an e
    • Re:Go RedHat (Score:3, Interesting)

      by HiThere ( 15173 ) *
      Warning: This info is two years old.

      The Red Hat training is for those who are already Linux admins. You need to have a lot of background as an administrator already. I found it quite useful...but didn't pass...so this may be biased, however...

      Much of the Red Hat training centers around features that one won't normally encounter, and assumes that you already know how to do all the common stuff. Also, the Red Hat training assumes(-ed) that you are doing most-to-all of your work with the command line too
  • Online courses... (Score:5, Informative)

    by chrispyman ( 710460 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:03PM (#10208261)
    If I were you I'd stay away from an online course. From what I've found, they usually aren't much better than just reading and doing reseach on your own, the only diffrence is that they have exams and it adds to your GPA. Perhaps you should find a real class of some type (perhaps one of those weekend campy type deals) and get some real world hands on experience.
  • Stick w/the books (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RealBeanDip ( 26604 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:03PM (#10208264)
    I see you mentioned the O'reilly books - they are the best. I found Unix Power Tools and System Administration (Alein Frisch, sp?) to be the best books you can buy.

    As far as online course, I haven't found any worth a sh*t.
    • Re:Stick w/the books (Score:3, Informative)

      by rayde ( 738949 )
      The book you mentioned, Essential System Administration [amazon.com] by AEleen Frisch is definitley an excellent reference. It was the core textbook, along with A Practical Guide to the UNIX System [amazon.com] by Mark Sobell in my college Unix introduction course. The first book will act more as a reference, while the second book may be a better walkthrough.
    • A good friend (Score:5, Informative)

      by tyler_larson ( 558763 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @11:12PM (#10209309) Homepage
      I see you mentioned the O'reilly books - they are the best. I found Unix Power Tools and System Administration (Alein Frisch, sp?) to be the best books you can buy.

      There's nothing that even comes close to having a hardcore hacker as a good friend. Information is quickest gained through other people's personal experience.

      I've done it all. I've read a whole series of O'Reilly books (don't even bother with any other publisher) on various Linux and Network related subjects--I've read at least 25 of them cover-to-cover in the last 4 years. I have a whole bookshelf lined with them.

      Then I subscribed to O'Reilly's Safari online [ora.com] program, and will never again be without it. I'll never have to buy another tech book again. If you can tolerate reading books online, getting a subscription is an ABSOLUTE must. And if you buy (or would like to buy) an average of more then two or three books a year, this will save you loads of cash. You can read up to about 60 books a year for $10/mo.

      However, when you need to come up to speed as quick as possible, by far and away the best resource is a friend who knows it all. Install Linux on all your computers, and play with every piece of software you may be even slightly interested. Read all the books, read all the man pages. Write a few scripts in Bash, Perl, Sed, Awk, and anything else you hear about. And when you get stuck (and believe me, you will), call up that friend or drop by his desk. You'll be an expert faster than you can immagine.

      It's the little things, you know, that make you an expert. Anybody can copy files to another computer, but if you can come up with something like

      tar cf - dir{1,2} | (ssh host2 'cd destdir; tar xpf -')
      off the top of your head, then people will start feeling the respect.
      • Re:A good friend (Score:3, Informative)

        Because I know someone will ask, here's the answer right now:

        Q:How is
        tar cf - dir{1,2} | (ssh host2 'cd destdir; tar xpf -')
        better than
        scp -p dir{1,2} host2:destdir

        A:tar preserves more about the files than scp, for example, scp follows symbolic links, tar copies the links themselves. Also, the method I proposed allows more versatility, such as:

        tar cf - * | (ssh host 'md destdir; cd destdir; tar xpf -')
  • just a thought (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wrinkledshirt ( 228541 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:04PM (#10208271) Homepage
    In addition to whatever training you want to do, audit your office for its current tech needs. If time is short, you might not want to spend too much time studying minutiae unrelated to your future tasks -- some of that time can be put to better use preparing for the switch away from Windows.

    Just a thought.
  • Are You Crazy!?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eSims ( 723865 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:05PM (#10208280) Homepage
    Take the offsite training!

    These days it is difficult enough to get training (at least in the corp America I work in) let alone offsite. A whole week to do nothing but dig in and learn. Take it... then on your own you can always do self paced work and such... it's a win-win.

    Good Luck!

    • by barzok ( 26681 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:17PM (#10208385)
      Not only dig in & learn, you get to go on a trip on the company dime! Once class is over for the day, check out the city, meet up w/ friends for dinner, catch a baseball/basketball/hockey game, whatever. Turning a company-sponsored trip into a mini-vacation is what offsite training is all about!

      No, seriously. If the class starts on a Monday, fly out Friday and stay with a friend for 2 nights. You'll actually save the company money on airfare by staying over a Saturday night.
  • Just a thought (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drgonzo59 ( 747139 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:06PM (#10208284)
    Ask a friend o someone else you know that has some experience to share it. People who love linux often love it because they learned it as hobby and those are the people who usually like to share the knowledge and help others learn it. But if the company has the money to spend, give that a try. Also read through the HOWTOs those helped me.
  • ...and are they hiring?

    If I even mention "training" where I work the laughs can be heard clearly from the other side of the planet. Funny how an organization that is so gainst paying for anything is staunchly anti-Open Source.
  • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:09PM (#10208304) Homepage Journal
    It seems quite a few geeks are recommending hands on experience as the way to go for learning linux. At risk of sounding like an offtopic troll, I would also recommend hands on as a way to learn about girls. No, not hands on *that*! Hands on the girl!

    I bet that I now lost my reputation for being a geek.
  • by Xoro ( 201854 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:09PM (#10208305)

    Seriously, get your co to pay for training in the most interesting setting they'll allow, where you can score a free lunch.

    If you have time to "take your time", where you'll really learn is by installing at home. Have the co fork over for VMWare, and set yourself up with a nice virtual network on your home machine. You'll learn way more than through any online training course. You may even want to do this for a few weeks before starting the official training course.

    This is a little off beat, but if you're totally new to unix, it might be helpful to nab a copy of Solaris x86 and put that in a vmware machine. I hate to admit this, but when I was starting I had a hard time understanding the linux man pages. The Solaris documentation was just luxurious, and the main options for commands pretty much the same. It used to be (maybe still is) free so you can probably get a copy someplace.

    Good luck.

  • Get your boss to buy you a laptop and install Linux on it - the countless hours you spend up pulling your hair out at night will be the best training money can buy.
  • Geek Cruise... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Heh - if my company were footing the bill - I'd go for one of them Carribean geek-cruises. :)

    Realistically - aside from the "install at home" and "online courses suck" and "go to TLDP" - find a local Linux Users Group. Nothing at all beats face to face and it's value is compounded by the fact that it's hard to come up with months of future questions in a 5 day class - having a group of people you can sit down with any time goes miles to improving your skills with Linux. They'll often see things you'll miss
  • Lucky (Score:2, Funny)

    by dance2die ( 596340 )
    My company will pay for any Linux training I choose You are one of the Luckiest bastard I know...
  • Find a local consultancy (ask around, get recommendations, and perform interviews, maybe start with your local sage group [sage.org]) that's full of a bunch of Unix gurus, and contract one or two to act as mentors for about two weeks. Do not settle for anyone with less than about 7 years experience with Unix, and 5 years experience with Linux. Make sure and have a list of tasks (setup an email server, setup a webserver, configure backups, that kind of thing) that are indicative of your needs, as exercises which will
  • by base_chakra ( 230686 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:12PM (#10208337)
    If "someone" recommended Red Hat eLearning, I assume your company is adopting Red Hat? At the outset eLearning might be a reasonable choice, but if you really want to understand Linux, you'll probably want to laern more than just the Red Hat way of doing things. Experiment with Fedora or Red Hat 9 at home; then, after a few months, test a distribution that doesn't rely centrally on RPM and you'll gain a new, edifying perspective.
    • I hate to break it to you, but there are only two major distributions that don't rely on RPM (or DEB, which is more or less the same damn thing), and neither of them are really appropriate for a corporate environment.

      Also, if they do a good job of teaching RPM, they'll tell you how to _build_ them from spec files, which does involve knowing how to install tgz's and such. You take knowledge, and you apply it to other things - that's what a good education lets you do.

  • by Neo-Rio-101 ( 700494 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:14PM (#10208349)
    I agree with everyone else who says that you need hands on starting in your own home and in your own time.

    I found that the O'Reilly books are really good, but their LPI in a nutshell is not the be all and end all of LPI study materials at all (if you're interested in going for level 1 of that). Sometimes the man pages will do - but more often than not, they won't cut the mustard.

    One by one you'll have to go through getting different Linux servers up and running... starting with the old faithful Apache, BIND, qmail, NTP, FTP, SSH, Samba, Net-SNMP, etc., and once you've done setting up all of those, try your hand and some of the other more obscure open source projects out there and get them compiled.
    Stuff like Nagios, MRTG, Big Sister, IPsec tools (freeswan, KAME), learn how to craft a firewall with iptables, try encrypting a file system with dmsetup, etc.

    Don't stick to one distribution. Try as many of the free ones as possible. Each has thier own strengths and weaknesses,... not to mention different locations for config files, and different methods of package installation.

    Enlist to as many mailing lists and IRC groups as possible..., then unsubscribe when you're email box can't cope anymore.

    Compiling the Linux kernel is a right of passage for all admins.

    Leanr how to write a shell script, and don't be tempted to play with X windows or all of RedHat's easy to use configuration programs too much.

    Finally, be patient - this takes time, and drink lots and lots of coffee and keep a supply of hair on your head for occasional ripping out. You'll need it.
  • http://www.ce.wpi.edu/IT/Unix/

    I had been administering Windows boxes since the first betas of NT, but I just couldn't wrap my head around Linux.

    Concerned about my then-current job, I paid for this training out of my own pocket, and it was well worth it.

    It is intense, 3 days a week for 6 months. There are 11 books, and multiple projects. And I got a lovely certificate at the end.

  • Novell's training is GOOD stuff... well worth looking their gear up.
  • I had a class at a local junior college that was really good. The department was using RH 7/8/9 (at the time no one really knew what was happening bc redhat fired out major release numbers so fast) but the instructor *made* us use the command line for everything. He taught basic scripting and vi, how to lock down the box, how to install things via source and rpm and keep them updated. I did the course on FBSD and someone the previous semester used Solaris, so the material largely transfered all over. To
  • by smoon ( 16873 )
    Sans [sans.org] offers some great security training, which while not a general "Intro to Linux" does provide some very intensive insight into securing Unix/Linux.

    Books can be good, but research them carefuly before you plop down $50 for "linux unleashed" or some other crap book.

    Some good books to look at:
    UNIX System Administration Handbook (3rd Edition)
    by Evi Nemeth, Garth Snyder, Scott Seebass, Trent R. Hein [THE classic Unix admin book, this edition also has some Linux-specific stuff]

    Linux Administration Handboo
  • I find the Red Hat Linux Bible to be a good crash course, everything on the book is in the distribution on the cover (except possibly sources which you can download). Does a general overview of all the aspects. Though like the others you sould take a few days hands-on which would get yourself quickly in sync with the system and make the reading less tedious.
  • Set up a Linux box at home. It can be an old machine that's not able to run WinXP.

    As far as distros go, you could choose whichever distro they plan to run at work. If they haven't selected one yet you could try the Xandros Free version for now to get your feet wet - it's supposed to be quite easy to set up. Or you could try one of the liveCDs like Knoppix for a while. After that if you really want to learn all of the ins & outs I would suggest Gentoo - you'll learn a lot setting it up since they don
  • by SCHecklerX ( 229973 ) <greg@gksnetworks.com> on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:22PM (#10208429) Homepage
    As many others have suggested, you should play on your own. I'd still take the class though. Set up a small network BEFORE going to the class, though. Then you will have intelligent questions to ask, and you will have some goals in your training.

    In your work lab get 2-3 computers. Set up a linux box as a DHCP and DNS server, then maybe add apache, samba, etc. These are the things that you'll likely be using linux for in the enterprise, right? You can play with firewalling and IPSec if that is your thing too.

    After the initial install, go here to learn the rest:
    The Linux Documentation Project [tldp.org]

    The basic sysadmin guide there will give you the basics, and the specific howto's are great for setting up DHCP, DNS, etc.

    Another good guide:
    IBM Linux Newbie Guide [dbstreams.ca]

    Set up that small net, play, learn, then go to your class and learn a lot more.

    Have fun!

  • LPI? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by psyconaut ( 228947 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:26PM (#10208451)
    Might be a good career choice if certifaction rocks your (or your employers) boat.


  • Be careful (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hdparm ( 575302 )
    Admining Linux is not easy. Learning how to do it is, given you have plenty of time on your hands. You need to do huge amount of reading (howto_s, man pages, some good books) while actually DOING all that stuff on (at least) 2 connected computers. Once you're able to setup most common services without constantly refering to docos, you're well on your way.

    I am not sure what distro is your company's choice but if you have an opportunity to do so, suggest Red Hat. Product is stable, support is unbelievably goo


    You get that 386 running, I don't care if it has 4 megs of ram, an ISA video card and 120 megs of hard drive space! I need it going PRONTO! Got it? Or yer butt is outta here!

    And I don't want any whining, I want dual screen X11 running in 16 bit color, with apache and mysql and openldap, as well as samba.

    And don't forget, no cdrom or network here, pal. WE'RE installing from floppies, and get plip going on your parallel port, real men don't have time for ethernet!

    Oh and I also want it
  • Some Good Links (Score:2, Informative)

    by teoryn ( 801633 )
    Here's a good online book:
    http://rute.2038bug.com/index.html.gz [2038bug.com]

    The best place for questions:
    http://www.linuxquestions.org/ [linuxquestions.org]

    More reading:
    http://www.tldp.org/ [tldp.org]

    You've seen the posts, now see the website!
    http://hiddenuniverse.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

  • Learn how to do your job first

    There are several levels you will need to go through before you are proficient. Someone with unlimited time would do this:
    a) Install Mandrake
    b) Play a bit
    c) get UNIX admin in a nutshell or some such
    d) get tuition from a master sysadmin
    e) learn
    f) understand
    g) gain enlightenment
    h) install gentoo/bsd or something more server-y

    UNfortunately time limitations mean you probably will need to do it this way around:
    a) Install Fedora
    b) Point a browser at localhost:10000 (webmin)
    c) learn
  • Most towns these days have at least one Linux users group. For learning I would A. Take a deep breathe, your entering a world that at times can have leetist s that would like no more then to see you fail so they can bring themselves up. With that in mind join the community and develop friendships with others that are both learning and those that are already experts. Remember that its always handy in a pinch to be able to reference a friend to see if they have had the same problem you are and often its more
  • Linux From Scratch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BroadbandBradley ( 237267 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:44PM (#10208626) Homepage
    Roll your own using http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/ [linuxfromscratch.org]

    I've found most distros have thier own GUI tools to simplify configuring your system but all these tools simply mask what's going on underneath where everything is really just shell commands and scripts strung together. When the GUI fails what you want to do, you're lost without knowing what goes on underneath. Beyond that, if you become familiar with Redhat tools and GUI and your work installs Debian you're starting over. I'd also reccomend learning Bash shell scripting which is the ultimate in telliing your Linux system what to do.

    for an example of what's been done with Linux from scratch check out ByzantineOS [sf.net]

  • by wobblie ( 191824 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:46PM (#10208644)
    and sandbox your activities in it. If you can get your hands on 3 or 4 pc's and a cheap hub, you can get very far.

    What you want to concentrate on are
    *auth services (pam, unix, nis, samba, ldap, etc)
    *mail (set up a few MTA's and try some different configurations)
    *name services (dns - probably where you should start)
    *shell usage (this takes a while)
    *routing and firewalling
    *printing (cups, samba)

    Set aside a few tasks for yourself and star trying to do things. Stay simple at first, then work your way up to bigger things.

    Though I don't see how the boss asking you to learn linux is much of a motivator.
  • Welcome aboard! (Score:5, Informative)

    by NtroP ( 649992 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:59PM (#10208774)
    As a Linux SysAdmin who came from the Windows world I'd have to echo many of the earlier senitments:

    • Take advantage of an off-site "bootcamp". They won't make you a Linux SysAdmin, but they will give you a very good head start and are a good introduction to Linux. Let someone coach you through the first installs in class - you'll get plenty of opportunity to beat your head against the wall on your own later.
    • Definitely set up systems at home. The best way to learn is getting your hands dirty and using it every day. I'd also recommend using it as your primary workstation right off the bat at work; drink your own champaign, so to speak. With tools like rdesktop, smb4k, webmin and OpenOffice.org your should be able to do everything you need to do while you learn.
    • Build a good reference library. You've already mentioned O'reilly - they're great, but also build up a library of bookmarks and make friends with google!
    • Try many different distros. Everyone you ask will tell you difinitively which one is best. Don't take their word for it, find out for yourself. Besides, my recommendation for a desktop distro for my budy isn't the same as the distro I'd use for myself, and that is different still from the distro that I'd run as a web- or file-server, etc.
    Personally, I'd not spend my time, initially, on an online course. In my experience, you're better off starting out in an environment where you have someone in meat-space to bounce questions off of and get answers immediately. Once you know your way around Linux a bit, then pick some specific goals or projects (set up a mail server with DNS, set up a webserver with secure areas and cgi scripting, etc.). Just going through the process of downloading the latest apache and compiling it from source (and forgetting to compile in certain functionality or having to go hunting for supporting libraries for a function you're missing) will give you invaluable insight into the whole process of fine-tuning and customizing your Linux boxes to really make them perform as you want.

    And if you don't know perl and php, learn them! Windows admins don't naturally think of scripting something right off the bat, at least I didn't. Now, "how can I script this?" is the first thing I ask if I find myself doing the same thing more than once. I've even loaded ActivePerl onto my Windows Servers and have my entire user and group management process scripted. over 18,000 users are created, placed in groups, have their home directories created/moved/archived, etc. based on data gleaned from HR's databases. I used to get lists of hires, fires and transfers and have to manually manage their accounts and data. Not any more. A couple of perl scripts and an Active Directory perl module with a little Win32::OLE thrown in and I spend my valuable time doing more important stuff (like post on /.)

    Anyway, this is free advice, which means you get what you pay for ;-) Welcome to the club!

  • My Advice (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Glamdrlng ( 654792 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @10:07PM (#10208827)
    is not on where to get your training, but what to do before you start it. First, find out (if you don't know already) what distro your company is standardizing on, and make sure your training is geared towards it. You're going to suffer from infromation overload as it is, so there's no sense in going to suse-based training and learning yast if you'll be using red hat.

    Second, identify the tasks you do as a windows sysadmin, and come up with a list. The more the merrier. Keep that handy while you're learning, and don't let your training end without learning how to accomplish those tasks in a linux environment. Don't settle for the gui way either. You'll save yourself a lot of time and work in the long run if you learn the command line and some shell scripting, plus you'll make yourself more valuable to your organization.

    Also, get your company to get you a subscription to one or more linux sysadmin-oriented publications. Sysadmin mag is pretty good, but I'm sure there are others out there.

    Finally, network with other linux techs, whether it's through user groups, training, or some other means. It's a strong argument in favor of in-person training, just because you cant network as well during online or teleconference-style classes. Oh, one other thing -- be sure to explain to your superiors that "putzing around on slashdot" == "hard at work". Good luck!
  • by hazem ( 472289 ) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @11:22PM (#10209378) Journal
    It will be foolish to think that you can take one course or one training program and be just as proficient in Linux as you are in Windows. Make sure your bosses realize this. (I've been in places where they send you for a week of training, then say, "Here you go, you're an expert now. You take care of it."

    There are lots of good suggestions so far. I personally recommend multiple-approach solution:

    1) find a local Linux Users Group and get involved
    2) seek out the certification you think is best, such as the Red Hat. Has SAGE ever finished their certification program? Sure, a cert is worth the paper it's printed on, but if you're serious about learning (rather than just getting by), it will provide you with a solid foundation.
    3) set up a small network at home. Get a domain, and set up servers for mail, web, etc. See how quickly you get hacked, and learn how to prevent it. Get internal services like print servers, samba, file services, authentication, etc working. Will you be doing a mixed environment at work? Make sure your linux network can serve to your windows boxes
    4) someone suggested a "city" at work. this is like your home network, but maybe can mirror better the work environment
    5) see if your local community college or university has a unix course. It can be a great way to learn some basics about how a unix system is laid out and give you an intro to scripting.

    As for distros, I would advise using a common one that you can easily find help for. Fedora Core, Mandrake, Suse, Slackware, to name a few. Has your work settled on the one they'll use? Start with that one.

    Watch websites like rootprompt, and subscribe to magazines like linux journal, etc.
  • by karmester ( 746208 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @12:10AM (#10209634) Homepage Journal
    I cannot recommend LFS highly enough... http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/ 'nuff said
  • IBM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SlashDread ( 38969 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @02:39AM (#10210291)
    Take their distro agnostic Linux courses. I have never been better educated than by IBM (That was in the OS/2 days)

    Anyway, the disto agnostic approuch seems more usefull to me than a red hat cert.

  • Certification (Score:3, Informative)

    by LarsWestergren ( 9033 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @05:53AM (#10210802) Homepage Journal
    I've passed the 101 test for LPI Level 1 certification, and in one hour I'm going to take the 102 test. The LPI certificate is a good general indicator of how much you know of Linux, but I must say I'm a bit disappointed in the tests. There is quite a lot of "sausage stuffing" knowledge, such as memorizing standard ports, location of files, lots of command line commands and worst of all, command line parameters.

    Try to memorize what -d, -w, or -f means for 50 different commands. -f could mean first, force, fake (simulate), file....
    You might be able to force it in your brain, but it will fall out again two days after the test unless you are constantly using the commands.

    I don't regret paying for the certification and the LPI certainly fills its place, but if I would chose today, I think I would rather go for CompTIA Linux+ certification (which I believe is more up to date), or maybe RedHat Certified Engineer. Does anyone have any opinions on those certificates?

  • by sloth jr ( 88200 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @10:44AM (#10212553)

    Start with "man man". Most important man variation is "man -k someconcept" - eg, "man -k kernel". This will show man pages that purportedly have something to do with someconcept (in reality, that have "someconcept" as a substring in their description).

    These 5 commands can help bootstrap anyone on a linux or unix system (unless you are so unfortunate to have a box that does not contain man pages).


You know you've been spending too much time on the computer when your friend misdates a check, and you suggest adding a "++" to fix it.