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Old 08-20-2008, 10:19 AM   #1
Registered: May 2003
Location: Surabaya, Jawa Timur, Indonesia
Distribution: Debian x64 and Ubuntu LTS Servers
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Question Linux Career Future.

Dear Tux Defenders,

Hi, I just quite shocked about the fact for Linux Administrator's future.
I worked as an inhouse System & Network Administrator at Indonesia,
one of the biggest country in South East Asia.

I found Linux is VERY POWERFUL and can SAVE A LOT OF MONEY to
replace Router, Firewall Appliances, File Servers, Mail Servers,
Policy Routing, VPN service, Proxy Servers and even
Network Monitoring systems.

Basicly, the company I worked for, do not even have to spend a single cent for Network Appliances. I used Pentium III desktops
to work as 7x24 network components. Those desktop were salvaged from
being disposed. All I can do is to cannibalize and replace bad
parts with the good ones. As there are so many of the
discarded PC's, I can prepare some of them as clusters or hot standby
component. Just in case the primary one is down.

Now, I joined a very reputable System Integrator company in Singapore.
I cannot reveal my company name nor client names.
While on this company, I found bitter facts about Linux :

1) Most of our clients are using Windows and they dont even care
about the licensing cost. Whatever the projects require, like
Windows 2008 Enterprise, MS-SQL 2005 Enterprise, Exchange 2007,
whatever on the Microsoft Product List; our customer can sign
the Invoice without any hesitation.

2) Most of my colleaques are Microsoft certified, whether it is
MCSE, MCDBA, MCT or Exchange Certified Professional. And they have
a lot of projects to work for. I happenly discuss and exchange
opinions about the course of IT career. He has a good market
knowledge and he found out that no matter how expensive M$ products,
enterprise clients would be happy to pay and even upgrade without
any cost consideration. He was working in a Linux based System
Integrator service & support. That company was dying and
found very hard to survive. Most of the customer prefer Microsoft
over Linux.

3) I also heard that, many of the IBM pSeries using AIX also
reduce the support and facing a market decline.

4) Most of the enterprise rather paid the M$ license than
hiring a team of Unix Experts. On their view, IT cost is inevitable.
It is on which area you are going to spend : Software (Microsoft)
or Brainware (Linux Admin). Microsoft software is not cheap, but
those are easy to maintain for average system administrators.
On the other case, Linux software is Free but very difficult
to maintain. Not many sys admins can do Linux.
That is why those enterprises choose Window$.

Look, I know how powerful our Tux is. But the market is saying
a different fact. Technically speaking, Linux and UNIX is
the most stable systems. Personally, I have a great passion
on this lovely Penguin.

Having these facts, I can conclude that career in Linux is a bit,
you know ... not as bright as Microsoft career. I just need to know :

a) What is the right employer for Linux administrator to work for ?

b) Are most of UNIX/Linux experts work on Internet Service Providers
or Hosting Companies or Large Enterprise with inhouse support ?

c) How about salary between M$ Admins and Linux/UNIX admins ?

Please advise, since I am confused after having these facts.
Please dont hesitate to correct me if I am wrong.

Any inspiration would be appreciated.

Thank you in advance.
Old 08-20-2008, 10:32 AM   #2
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If you're a Microsoft administrator, you're competing with virtually 99% of the admins for the average sys admin jobs.

If you're a UNIX admin, you can get into niche areas provided you look for the right avenues. You cannot expect a Microsoft centric company to accept UNIX admins. I guess you need to search specifically for UNIX admin jobs or you'll be disappointed.

There are plenty of opportunities for all kinds of system admins. Just search for the job you're looking for specifically rather than get discouraged because the majority prefer Windows.
Old 08-20-2008, 10:39 AM   #3
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I think that your experience is accurate but not complete. For every company that will sign the invoice "without any hesitation", there is at least one that keeps looking at its IT infrastructure and trying to find a better way, trying to find solutions to intrusion problems, trying to get clear of the dependence upon a sole-source provider.

Perhaps in your region of the world, for one reason or another, Linux is not as viable an option. Perhaps there are not enough qualified Linux administrators, thus making it difficult to build out a linux infrastructure. I don't know.

What I do know is that *nix runs the internet. I see a lot of job postings around here for Linux administrators, and embedded programmers. Linux is becoming a dominant force in the embedded computer marketplace (which is growing rapidly). Linux on the desktop is gaining ground, though not quickly. Linux is appearing pre-loaded on computers sold in retail stores.

I personally have been making some good money doing embedded linux programming, and I also very recently failed to convince a computer newbie to go with linux rather than windows.

Ultimately, Linux provides a choice in an environment that previously had very little choice. Some will choose linux, some won't. There is room for everyone.
Old 08-21-2008, 07:21 AM   #4
Registered: May 2003
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dear harishankar and jiml8,

Thank you for the advise.
Old 08-21-2008, 08:22 AM   #5
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Anticlimactic perhaps, but....
Consider the combination of the following properties of average humans:
herd instinct
fear of the unknown
varying degrees of technical understanding and insight

I am above average in the last one, but pretty much normal in the others. Even though I have extensive experience with Linux, if you came to me and wanted to re-configure my server--which had been working perfectly for years--I would still think twice.
Old 08-21-2008, 06:37 PM   #6
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Somehow i feel that most corporates have this misconception that since Linux or any *Nix variant is free and can be customized relatively well, that its prone not to work cuz there has to be a catch somewhere. For instance, the payment of horrendous licenses for M$ products with the "fake" illusion that thre is a guarantee someone will take responsiblity makes most companies opt for corporate products. As of sys admins having certifications, i guess the aim is to always get a job where they will feel you are competent by paper alone. If you have noticed most linux-savvy guys here or elsewhere dont have certifications. Why? Cuz i believe the essence of learning linux itself stems from DIY.

Just like jiml8 put it, Linux is everywhere(ubiquitous is the word) and every systems administrator worth their self-respect would admit to this fact. Personally, i dont use windows for various reasons and since linux does pretty much what i want. This varies though if your line of work is different.
Old 08-22-2008, 12:25 PM   #7
Registered: Sep 2007
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Distribution: CentOS, SLES 10+, RHEL 3+, Debian Sarge
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To answer your question Zepiroth, it doesn't hurt to know both sides of the house.

Not to be a 'nix bigot, but M$ products are close to brainless to use, but supreme PITA to fix if you run into problems...most of their certs are worthless because of that, they basically just test if you know how to use xyz product, but really doesn't focus much on troubleshooting and real world design issues. Case in point: I had a MCSE applying for one of our windows sysadmin openings, and the guy couldn't mount a share from a trusted

If I had a dollar for every MB of every email resto I've done for Exchange, really, I'd be living like a king in the Caribbeans...some were self inflicted, but 80% is because of borked patches that M$ releases (ahh, nothing like having messages deleted after applying a patch, your CEO will love you for it). Its to the point that unless we have problems, we never proactively keep M$ products updated to the latest patch levels.

In Asia, I find that a lot of shops are running pirated M$ software, so that more or less equalizes the up front advantages of going either Linux or M$...especially in China, where 90% of the companies focus more on capex than TCO (its almost cultural why they do things this way), M$ will make more sense to them.

A lot of us 'nix bigots like me learn M$ because we have to, its more of an auxiliary function for us. Here in the SF Bay area, there are more demand for Linux admins...and there's a huge shortage of good ones. In my last job, it took me 6 months just to find a good Sr Linux admin that doesn't look at me with the "deer in headlight" look when I ask them to write a simple script to deploy war files from our release depo and making sure the appropriate cluster nodes are synced/reloaded.
Old 08-22-2008, 01:35 PM   #8
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As I once heard it said, "always remember that you're not here to do battle with alligators: you're here to drain the moat."

There is no "one size fits all" in the computing industry, and that includes Microsoft and/ that includes Linux. Every company that you work for or with will be "draining its own moat in its own way," always trying to avoid those pesky alligators as it does so.

It's easy to look at that moat, see those alligators in there, and jump to the first conclusion that comes to you. (Which is a great way to become "alligator food...")

It's also easy to look at that moat, and say, "you know, we shouldn't drain the moat after all... we should build a nice turqouise-colored ice-palace on top of it."

Nope... "the moat must be drained, and if the best way to do that was to hire 10,000 clerks to count lima-beans one by one by hand, we would surely do that." Certain aspects about that problem are fixed in stone ("we can't move the moat..."), while some are begging for useful creativity.

In the IT-industry, the key to survival is to be adaptable. No matter how life tosses you around, "always land four-paws-down." Don't bother to ask "why the (business) world is the way it is." Get familiar with Linux, and get familiar with Windows, and if you have a chance to work in a mainframe/older-iron environment, do that too. All of these technologies are firmly-entrenched in the business world, so, the more of them you know, the more opportunities you will have. "Equip yourself to help businesses to 'drain their moats while avoiding the alligators therein,'" and the world will beat a pathway to your door.

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 08-22-2008 at 01:38 PM.
Old 10-09-2008, 01:19 PM   #9
Registered: May 2003
Location: Surabaya, Jawa Timur, Indonesia
Distribution: Debian x64 and Ubuntu LTS Servers
Posts: 56

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Dear Experts,

I am very grateful for all of your opinions.


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