Originally Posted by clsgis
How do I get a "real" job making Linux work for people?
Start taking money for what you do?
Seriously speaking, look at the wanted pages (wanted for job, not dead/alive) and start picking up firms that sound like they have work to do with computers - especially servers. I'd say it's difficult to find a job where you can do just one thing you like to do with Linux, and get paid for it - most of the time you'll be doing something else (with some other operating system, very probably) and when you are on Linux, you might be doing something you didn't expect. But you do get paid..now if you really enjoy using Linux and helping people out, it might be a good idea to find some other sort of work to get paid for; if you do only Linux-related things at work and outside it, you'll soon grow tired of it all.
Here it looks like they're eager to hire people who can write device drivers for Linux or administrate (read: fix, when something "odd" happens) some Linux servers. I'm sure they do offer such jobs there too, but like I said, it's unprobable that that's the whole story they offer.
Reading some basic book about Unix is good theory-wise; Linux books are equally good, but Unix books tend to be easier to get, not that distribution-specific (at least those I've read; it seems Linux is more "flavour-branded" than Unix, or then it's just me) and still offer everything you'd want to know in theory (why there is no C:, where Control Panel went, what's this mounting stuff all about, ...) - everything that doesn't "change much". All the things that do change, like desktop environments and such, you need to learn by using them or by reading from websites. Get the book or don't, but do install some Linux distribution - it's the very best and fastest way to learn (read things tend to get forgotten for life, but done things come easily back).
One more word about the distributions: a lot of people say "start off with Ubuntu, and when you know how to use the graphical desktop, switch to Slackware or Gentoo and ultimately to Linux From Scratch (LFS)". That's partially nonsense: every [not-too-specialized] distribution of Linux does offer the command line, which is one of the things you should understand, and usually a graphical interface which is good to know too. Ubuntu is no less "pro" Linux distribution than Slackware - they surely do things differently, but both come with a command line and allow you to make changes to things. If you are happy with Ubuntu (or any other distribution), and you don't know it from the top till bottom, stay with it rather than waste time installing a new one. You'll have plenty of time for that later - but before you get along well with command line and the system in general, there is no sense in hopping in and out. It's like people told you to buy a Fiat Punto and when you got it's engine started and moved the car a little, you should be getting a Mercedes as fast as you can; surely both of them can do all the agent tricks you see in movies, both can teach you how to slide, how to drive dangerously - and more importantly, how to drive safely and sensibly (of course - they are both cars).
Once you do feel you know very much about the (Linux) operating system you like so much, feel free to try the others. Notice the differences in configuration and (usually system-wide) file locations, namings and all that. Pay attention to having dhcpcd instead of dhclient, things like that - they are the major differences between distributions, and are less important to learn than the general usage of both graphical desktop (the main ones, to get the idea) and command line.
And once you feel brave, dive into scripting. It's like getting a new dimension in your world - like going from three to four, or further. There's lots to learn, things that ease up your daily life a lot and things that make you spend time ten times longer on things you'd normally do in a sec
After some time you'll probably notice that you can't possibly learn everything trough during your life (taking into account the speed at which new things come and old ones evolve). Focus on the things you think are important, learn what you need to feel comfortable in the OS, and get a job - you'll learn while doing, too. There are a lot of people not living in the too-well-being countries that do get a job and learn while doing, and get the money you don't while you're studying for perfection and never going to work.
EDIT: that means..stay sharp, get work.