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Old 12-21-2006, 11:56 AM   #1
JRink
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Registered: Dec 2006
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Few simple questions...


Not sure where to start with my Linux ignorance so I'll just let it fly.

I'm wanting to learn Linux as I've been supporting MS servers and environments for almost 10 years now. Linux so far leaves me scratching my head.

1. A friend of mine gave me a copy of RedHat 9. Can I run this legally? I was under the impression Linux is all open source, but it was also my understanding that RedHat is not free?

2. How old is RedHat 9? 3+ years? Is it even worth running and trying to learn on?

4. The kernel on my RH9 is 2.4.20. I only found this out when trying to figure out why my USB flash drive doesn't work. Is it even worthwhile to update the kernel on my RH9 machine to the 2.6.x?

5. What versions of RedHat have come out since RedHat 9? I keep reading about RedHat Enterprise Linux 4. Is that the latest one? What came out between RHEL4 and RH9?

6. Any opinions on what Linux variety I should run for someone who is 100% Linux illiterate and wanting to learn? I've also downloaded CentOS4 which seemed nicer than RedHat9, and a friend also gave me a copy of Susi10.1.

7. Is it safe to assume that, once a person has a good familiarity with one flavor of Linux, be it Susi, RH, CentOS, or something else, that the vast majority of that knowledge can easily be transferred to a different flavor of the OS?

8. Are there sites specific to helping a MS engineer like myself learn Linux? So many of the terms I read about and simple tasks seem confusing to me right now. I thought a site/book like, "So, you're a MS engineer and you want to learn Linux? This book is for you..." or something. haha.

10. Desktops. Is there a perferred choice to learn from? KDE or Gnome? Or should I focus on learning things through the shell instead?

Appreciate any help. Thanks much!

Regards
JR
 
Old 12-21-2006, 12:15 PM   #2
pljvaldez
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First I'll caveat that I'm not a systems admin except of my own home network. So take anything I tell you with a grain of salt...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRink
1. A friend of mine gave me a copy of RedHat 9. Can I run this legally? I was under the impression Linux is all open source, but it was also my understanding that RedHat is not free?
You can run this legally. RH9 was the last boxed version of RH. RH's Enterprise is fee based, but if I'm not mistaken, the fee really gives you access to official repositories/security updates. I could be wrong. I never liked RH much (it wasn't intuitive to me). Instead I use Debian.
Quote:
2. How old is RedHat 9? 3+ years? Is it even worth running and trying to learn on?
It's around the middle of 2003. You could use it to learn linux basics, but you're better off with something newer so you can get support from other people. If you want to learn RH Enterprise, I'd use CentOS, which is a clone of RHEL and $0.
Quote:
4. The kernel on my RH9 is 2.4.20. I only found this out when trying to figure out why my USB flash drive doesn't work. Is it even worthwhile to update the kernel on my RH9 machine to the 2.6.x?
You can try. But 2.6 kernels use some different userspace programs that you may struggle to find suitable replacements for on RH9. But RH9 is still used in a lot of places around the world.
Quote:
5. What versions of RedHat have come out since RedHat 9? I keep reading about RedHat Enterprise Linux 4. Is that the latest one? What came out between RHEL4 and RH9?
Check out this wikipedia entry.
Quote:
6. Any opinions on what Linux variety I should run for someone who is 100% Linux illiterate and wanting to learn? I've also downloaded CentOS4 which seemed nicer than RedHat9, and a friend also gave me a copy of Susi10.1.
I think the server market right now is dominated by RHEL and Novell Enterprise (which OpenSuse is based on, but not a clone). I think Ubuntu server might be getting more play in the future. Personally I would pick Ubuntu because I like Debian based distros better. But it'd probably be good to use CentOS and Suse too. Then you'll have your bases covered.

Quote:
7. Is it safe to assume that, once a person has a good familiarity with one flavor of Linux, be it Susi, RH, CentOS, or something else, that the vast majority of that knowledge can easily be transferred to a different flavor of the OS?
Stick with one at first to learn the basics of linux and then it'll be a shorter learning curve when switching between them. But each will have it's own way of handling certain management tasks and RH and Debian store some system files in slightly different locations. But yeah, much of what you learn will be applicable. I've also been told in the past that if you really want to "Learn Linux" you should try using Slackware, Gentoo, or Debian. I haven't used slackware in a long time, but all the configuration is done by editing text files. There is no ncurses based helpers or gui helpers. Not sure about Gentoo. Debian has a lot of tools to help you admin, but many of them are ncurses based (more like a dos menu driven system). You also have to do some config by text file only. I think it's a nice compromise between hand holding and making you learn.
Quote:
8. Are there sites specific to helping a MS engineer like myself learn Linux? So many of the terms I read about and simple tasks seem confusing to me right now. I thought a site/book like, "So, you're a MS engineer and you want to learn Linux? This book is for you..." or something. haha.
No idea. But if you go to the Linux Documentation Project, there's a lot of good howto/guides on linux administration (and also on linux basics). I'd recommend you start there. Or google for Linux 101, Newbie, etc.
Quote:
10. Desktops. Is there a perferred choice to learn from? KDE or Gnome? Or should I focus on learning things through the shell instead?
If you're going to be a system admin, you should focus on the shell, I would think because most servers don't install a gui (it's just another security risk). But you certainly can use a desktop to learn a lot about linux basics and later just turn it off. As to KDE or Gnome, you'll start a flamewar with that one. My take on the argument is that KDE is more Windows-like and Gnome is more Mac-like. I will say that I typically use KDE but have a lot of gnome programs installed on my desktop machine. So I probably essentially have them both installed (the programs require many gnome libraries) but boot into KDE.

Hope this helps!

Last edited by pljvaldez; 12-21-2006 at 12:18 PM.
 
Old 12-21-2006, 12:35 PM   #3
raskin
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Registered: Sep 2005
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Redhat 9 - how many CD's? I guess that first three are composed of open source software. So Red Hat can sell the disks, and also take any money it wants for technical support, but they never had any intention of forbidding copying disks as is. There are more chances that your friend formally violated some requirements slightly, but it's hard to violate license for anything including open source software only by USING it.

RH9 is, I guess, a minor version of Linux kernel old. That is, 2.4 while I run 2.6.19. So most of new binary programs you can get will not run, and half of source packages you get will be very hard to compile.

Updating you kernel to 2.6 can need some pre-knowledge to set up a correct /dev. It contains some new entries you may have wish to use, but by default they are created by some program named udev, that can cause problems until you learn how to install it (without distribution automating it). It is not so difficult, but as you pose yourself as absolute newbie in Linux..

I guess you don't want RHEL for a while. It is paid, while Fedora Core is freely downloadable and is testing ground for RHEL, and CentOS is a freely downloadable package-for-package clone of RHEL. It is legal with GNU/Linux. When you get used a bit, you may consider buying RHEL to learn tricky details that vary - if you will have a perspective of supporting RH-based server.

Most distributions try to be user-friendly. If you succeed in installing and tuning CentOS - and you have a good chance - use it. If you will have an intent of studying inside of your system to be able to tune unobvious things - you have a good chance of getting past distribution level. Else you can never guess exactly what knowledge do you need, and CentOS - as close clone of RedHat - will give you enough base to learn such things on fly.

Really there are distro-specific and generic skills. If you want to get later - use, perhaps, any Desktop environment (I prefer Window Maker), but try to do any thing you need first in terminal. If you succeed, remember how. Else do it from some configuration tool, but do not give up trying to do it. It is not a silly idea to post a question like "I can do it from GUI like that, visible effects is such, but how is it called when done from shell and how to search for documentation for it?". By the way, man and info are good sources of information, tldp.org and this site also are.
 
Old 12-21-2006, 12:38 PM   #4
macemoneta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRink
Not sure where to start with my Linux ignorance so I'll just let it fly.

I'm wanting to learn Linux as I've been supporting MS servers and environments for almost 10 years now. Linux so far leaves me scratching my head.

1. A friend of mine gave me a copy of RedHat 9. Can I run this legally? I was under the impression Linux is all open source, but it was also my understanding that RedHat is not free?

2. How old is RedHat 9? 3+ years? Is it even worth running and trying to learn on?

4. The kernel on my RH9 is 2.4.20. I only found this out when trying to figure out why my USB flash drive doesn't work. Is it even worthwhile to update the kernel on my RH9 machine to the 2.6.x?

5. What versions of RedHat have come out since RedHat 9? I keep reading about RedHat Enterprise Linux 4. Is that the latest one? What came out between RHEL4 and RH9?

6. Any opinions on what Linux variety I should run for someone who is 100% Linux illiterate and wanting to learn? I've also downloaded CentOS4 which seemed nicer than RedHat9, and a friend also gave me a copy of Susi10.1.
Yes, you can run it. Linux is free, you pay for support. You can download as many different distributions as you like. Redhat, Fedora Core, SuSE, Mandriva, ... there are over 400 significant distributions currently (probably over 1000 in total). They are not "demos" or limited in any way. There is no pirating or bootlegging as far as Linux is concerned; the copy you get is simply unsupported. However, and I can't stress this enough, Redhat 9 is old software as far as Linux is concerned. While 3-4 years ago Windows was still on XP, in Linux terms this is like a copy of Windows 95. For your personal education, and to get a jump on future Redhat Enterprise Linux, I suggest you get Fedora Core 6. It's six releases after Redhat 9, and a "preview" of what will be in Redhat Enterprise 5.

Quote:
7. Is it safe to assume that, once a person has a good familiarity with one flavor of Linux, be it Susi, RH, CentOS, or something else, that the vast majority of that knowledge can easily be transferred to a different flavor of the OS?
In general yes, the knowledge is easily transferable. For the major distributions, the primary (really minor) difference is in the way software is packaged, and the way maintenence is performed. There are minor differences in the directory structure. For the most part, any other differences are driven by the choice of software included with the distribution.

Quote:
8. Are there sites specific to helping a MS engineer like myself learn Linux? So many of the terms I read about and simple tasks seem confusing to me right now. I thought a site/book like, "So, you're a MS engineer and you want to learn Linux? This book is for you..." or something. haha.
The easiest way to learn Linux is to use Linux. If you want to learn fast, immerse yourself as much as possible (don't use another OS). It will initially be painful as you figure out how to do things "the Linux way". Its the same with a programming (or spoken) language, right?

Quote:
10. Desktops. Is there a perferred choice to learn from? KDE or Gnome? Or should I focus on learning things through the shell instead?
Pick any, but try them all. For some reason, each person "clicks" with one over the others. This is where the mind boggling level of choice is difficult for new folks. In Linux, having a choice in how to do everything is key. It's like when you visit the optometrist - which do you like better: a or b? b or c? ... You will find the set of user interfaces, tools, utilities, languages, etc. that work best for you.

Quote:
Appreciate any help. Thanks much!

Regards
JR
You're welcome!
 
  


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