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Linux Learning - what to do after basic install?

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I've had a job function change, from end user support back to the server side of the force, for which I was originally hired about 15 years ago.

It was unexpected and has caught me a little flat-footed as I never expected to be reprieved from the user side of the force.  Now I am trying to catch up on all of the server skills that have been dormant and unnurtured, lo all these years.

So I'm jumping to Linux (as a server - no interest as a desktop as yet). I have one project to play with - putting my Xbox on my home network as a media centre - but I'm looking for other tasks to help me learn more about getting around in, and managing Linux.

I have a zillion pdfs on how to *begin* learning Linux, but after installing etc. and learning basic commands, how to get around, and all the other basic stuff, I don't know what to do next to put my beginner skills to use.

Any suggestions are gratefully accepted.  Considering that my work focus is on managing servers, more tasks to practise those skills would be more appropriate than learning to play a movie an mp3 or other "desktop/User" oriented tasks.

Thanks Y'all!

If your orientation is towards server administration the two most necessary skills you'll need to be up on are basic shell commands and scripting; and the use of the VI editor. If you're in the sysadmin group, you'll be using VI and shell extensively. Bash is the most common shell so it's best you start with that. O'Reilly puts out several excellent books that will bring you up to speed on everything you need to know. A quick browse on Amazon or a walk through one of the larger bookstores will also suggest other titles and publishers.

Another thing you'll likely need to know about is the LAMP foursome. Apache, MySQL, and php are among the most common software found on a Linux server. Learning to set up LAMP from scratch is a good skill to have since learning about how these packages interact and how to create and modify config files and databases are skills which have application beyond running webservers. So one good starter project would be to set up LAMP and then try your hand at installing something like a blog engine to become comfortable with actually using web technologies.

There's some other things I could suggest but I'm on the road today with nothing but a smartphone so I can't lookup titles and weblinks right now. But I'll try to get back to you later. In the meantime I'm sure DC's Nixers can provide some other ideas and links for you to try.

So welcome & well met! I think you're really going to
like working with Linux.

I agree with 40hz on vim: it's the one truly ubiquitous software.

There is the command "vimtutor" which will get you started with vim, then there are several books, some of them are even free.

Do not try to learn everything at once:


I've already setup semi-LAMP; we use Postgres rather than MySQL, but all the rest is there.  But I'm glad you mentioned it because yer basic website setup had totally slipped my mind. Now at least it gets on the list. However, all I did was the installs for those products, no configuration.  As I'm just starting, my jobs for the past couple of weeks are to learn the general environment and tools we use, and then those "joe-jobs" that prepare the real NetAdmin to get to the heavy lifting.

So I've configured a few blades, installed a few VMs and then in them, installed Debian with PHP, Apache (A Patchy Server - still makes me laff) and Postgres.

The intro texts I'm working through assume bash, which is what I have at my disposal. Using Debian here at work, so that's what I'll be working with. Have done zero scripting on linux, but plenty of scripting in other environments so that should be less of a hill to push my brain up.

When you're off the road, I look forward to whatever else you have to suggest.


Thanks for the suggestion. I'm tracking down vimtutor right now.  I've had limited experience with Vi in the past, but know that it will become a daily tool.  Mind you I am a big fan of eMacs.  When I was running DLG BBS on my Amiga, I installed a version of the emacs editor as the syste/user editor and a lot of people told me they liked it.  Of course, that was back when computers were steam-powered so who knows what it's like today.  Got a good laugh out of the illustration though ;)

When you are a fan of emacs and are already used to emacs, I strongly suggest you stick with it. I see no point in switching from a tool you are used to.

You should really try to make use of your shell. They are very powerful and meant to be adjusted to YOUR needs. Invest time to develop helper scripts or aliases, saving you keystrokes.

Oh one more tool I can recommend: screen or tmux, which are so called terminal multiplexers. They let you start programs in windows without blocking the terminal; the programs can keep running, even when the connection is lost. This is extremely helpful for tasks that might take longer. I even use screen on my local machine: one terminal-window with screen, which in turn has several windows (irc, updates, mediaplayer, monitoring).


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