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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
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My name is Evan Rowley. I'm 21 living in Northen Virginia, USA. Currently I work as a Sushi Chef but used to work for a tiny PaaS company back in South Florida, where I grew up.
FOSS and Linux might just be my biggest interests ever. Computers have always fascinated me and its simply a wonderful thing to have free, open source software to hack away with. Often I dream up projects that combine Linux and other fantastic FOSS projects to one day complete. Read about them below! I'd love to hear feedback on them.
Lately I've been messing around with mdadm software RAID, particularly RAID1. In the basement where I'm staying, I've got a HP ProLiant MicroServer with 4 2TB HDDs. I plan on setting up a RAID1 on the partitions where Linux is installed and then use the rest of the space for a ZFS ZRAID1, using space on the 4th drive as a spare. ZFS support on Linux isn't perfect yet but I hope I'll be able to install the kernel modules on Debian without too many problems. On this machine I want to put all my multimedia files and have them shared on the network.
My budget is very low but one day when I have the resources, I'll create a multimedia center connected to this ZFS machine. I want it to use XMBC running on some flavor of Linux for the Raspberry Pi. The Raspberry Pi is an amazing piece of kit that is very open source friendly. Look it up!
One project I'd like to start is to automate the ZFS machine I mentioned above to rip CDs automatically once they've been entered into the disk drive, speeding up the entire process of optical disk backup. Lately I've been reading about Perl and a little about bash, so I'll probably use those to make this work. When I do, I'll be sure to post about it and share as much info as wanted.
I plan on accumulating a lot of CDs because my close friends from high school are music producers so I always get interesting stuff to listen to. While it would be easy to pirate the music I like via torrents, I would much rather buy it out of respect for the artists I listen to. - With any luck, I'll be able to convince them that ZFS is the best place to store music like the uncompressed audio files that they work so hard on.
Extending the auto-rip idea that I'm talking about above, I think it would also be ultra cool to automatically rip DVDs too. I'm very much into older anime and have been buying up rare DVDs when I see them. Unfortunatley the ZFS machine isn't too powerful, so I doubt converting video files would be a good use for it. I do however have two i7 machines that I plan to set up as thin clients. These should make quick work of DVD ripping. Figuring out how to orchestrate all that automatically will be a whole lot of fun.
One thing I've wondered about is whether or not the DVD decoder / encoders for Linux support OpenCL for accelerating the process via parallelization. So far, it seems that OpenCL support hasn't been implemented. If I get my C chops, I'll be sure to contribute to a project that could possible use GPUs via OpenCL for this purpose. I've taken some courses on C and C++ in college so I have basic knowledge. There is still a whole lot to learn about Linux before I can make a dent in any of the cool projects out there.
The 'biggest' idea I've had so far is very daring. Its an idea for a FOSS project that would eat into Microsoft's Office 365 and Google's Drive market share. Basically, it is to create a web front-end for the LibreOffice project that allows one to deploy a cloud appliance, stack, or infrastructure, that supports both private and public office software suite services. From the small research I've done, it seems that the puzzle pieces for an initial version of this are already scattered out there. The Chromium Browser has an feature called Native Client that allows it to run C/C++ code. There is an official way to built Native Client support in Qt applications. LibreOffice can be instructed to run using Qt. With those pieces already there, it seems possible that all of them could be connected to provide a half-decent interface to LibreOffice through Chromium. I've no idea how the entirety of LibreOffice's source code will run in Native Client and be transmitted to Native Client in a speedy fashion.
These are the ideas I've been playing with over the past few months. If I get any more, I'll be sure to bring them up to the community.
My first flirt with Linux happened in Holland during 2007 when the Windows OS on my old Compaq broke because the laptop powered down during a system update while the system was booting. A Ubuntu Live CD in a Linux magazine from the UK was in my possession. I booted it and the laptop worked! Naturally I learned about FOSS and before I knew what it meant, I had joined the dark side. After all that time, I'm just starting to learn about the command line, bash, coreutils, and other internals of Linux. Hopefully I can contribute some of that knowledge here to people asking for it and also get some help on understanding other Linux issues in return. I think it would totally rock to have a job as a linux sysadmin in the future - it would be the dream job.
Last edited by muahahaha9001; 11-19-2012 at 10:24 AM.