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View Poll Results: What do you use to learn Unix administration?
Books 22 61.11%
Community (forums, IRC, etc) 24 66.67%
Classes 5 13.89%
Docs 27 75.00%
Man Pages 30 83.33%
Other 9 25.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 36. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 15th June 2008
bigb89 bigb89 is offline
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Default How have you guys learned Unix administration?

Hi guys,

I was just wondering how have you learned or what tools do you use to learn Unix administration?
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Old 15th June 2008
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I do not consider myself to have learned Unix System Administration as you put it, because there will always be much more for me to learn.


I began my time with FreeBSD when I chose it as the foundation for studying deeper into computers, after reading this document I knew it was going to be a Unix like ;-)


Programming, system administration, web development, mathematics, software engineering, computer science, and system design all interest me so it's a bit of a natural fit.


My initial research for using FreeBSD was the handbook and Wikipedia until I was able to make heads or tails of the systems manual pages.


One day when we stopped at the local library, they had a book sale going. On one of the shelves were three old LPIC prep course books from SmartCerify Direct: "Linux Fundamentals", "Linux Administration", and "Linux Networking", dated copyright 1998-2000 and dealing with Linux 2.2.x

First time I actually found a decent computer related book that didn't fit into the category of "Learn to use MS FooApp X.Y" -- I can do that in 10-20 minutes.

Read them and my systems manual pages and gained a bit more understanding of things closer to the system, although I have never and still don't actively use GNU/Linux on a regular basis !


Then after I got a new desktop for multibooting, I setup the old test machine and started to play: PC-BSD, NetBSD, FreeBSD, OpenBSD; ssh only access, samba, cups, lpd, sshfs, pf, nfs, mysql, apache, etc. That machine currently runs OpenBSD and functions as a file server with a database & http services tacked on for there usefulness in testing code.

Given enough time, strength, and energy I can learn just about anything I set out to learn.


One thing I like about this forum, is it's a chance to evaluate input from people more seasoned in things I am not ;-).


Never worked in 'computers' so to speak, although if they treated me better then my current employment and the pay check made the bills, I'd sleep in a server room if asked lol.


I use computers predominately because I love to, programming and caring for them is just the icing on the cake.
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Old 15th June 2008
bigb89 bigb89 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerryP View Post
I use computers predominately because I love to, programming and caring for them is just the icing on the cake.
Man, I feel the same way.

Sometimes I just enjoy sitting in front of computer, then open a programming book and start learning new things right away.

I know that sometimes things may get very frustrating when they'renot working right, specially if its part of a job that you gotta get done. But when I do manage to get that little problem solved after sometime spent on google, its just amazing the feeling of accomplishment that I get.

Lol, I sound a little geeky for saying that, but hey, that's what feel!
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Old 15th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerryP
I use computers predominately because I love to, programming and caring for them is just the icing on the cake.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigb89 View Post
Man, I feel the same way.

Sometimes I just enjoy sitting in front of computer, then open a programming book and start learning new things right away.

I know that sometimes things may get very frustrating when they'renot working right, specially if its part of a job that you gotta get done. But when I do manage to get that little problem solved after sometime spent on google, its just amazing the feeling of accomplishment that I get.

Lol, I sound a little geeky for saying that, but hey, that's what feel!
Well said!
* /me waves to fellow geeks *

Personally, my hacking days are over, my learning has now become more disciplined.

Last edited by ephemera; 15th June 2008 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 27th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigb89 View Post
Man, I feel the same way.

Sometimes I just enjoy sitting in front of computer, then open a programming book and start learning new things right away.

I know that sometimes things may get very frustrating when they'renot working right, specially if its part of a job that you gotta get done. But when I do manage to get that little problem solved after sometime spent on google, its just amazing the feeling of accomplishment that I get.

Lol, I sound a little geeky for saying that, but hey, that's what feel!
It's so nice to hear this. We're the motivated bunch. I have friends who admit that they have a weakness when it comes to technology, computers mainly, but don't do anything about it. A friend recently asked me for a recommendation on a laptop. Naturally, I recommend a MacBook or MacBook Pro, but she asked me why I chose a Mac over a Windows machine. I didn't want to go into the specifics, but I had to, and I ended up explaining to her about Unix. Then, I showed her a screenshot of my Mac OS X desktop, which is just a vanilla version with Xterm and screen running. I actually hid Xterm, but she said she couldn't use it. I asked her why, and she said it seemed too complicated. Macs are complicated....hmm, first I've heard. They can be if you delve deeper, but most won't. She won't. Really, it appalls me to see how people can just sit there an accept weaknesses and not do anything about them. It's nice to come here and find none of that.
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Old 15th June 2008
corey_james corey_james is offline
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To put it simply:

Code:
while ( 1 ) {
      read();
      break();
      read();
      fix();
}
books are useless - they go out of date too quickly
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Old 15th June 2008
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Quote:
books are useless - they go out of date too quickly
It depends on the subject of the book, and also how the book is written.

For example, a (good) 20 year old book on C is still useful today ...
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Old 18th June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpetsmoker View Post
For example, a (good) 20 year old book on C is still useful today ...
I assuming you're talking about Kernighan. I don't know too much about C but I heard his book is like the bible for learning it.
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Old 15th June 2008
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Irix and elm in the early nineties, some people told me it would be nice to have email. So I had to cope with it and eventually had success But yes I consider books like The C Programming Language from Kernighan and Ritchie even today as useful.
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Old 15th June 2008
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Hours and hours of playing, reading man and howto's, testing stuff... all at home. Then started working on some real things... at first, they were small jobs like web servers and db servers for web sites. As the time passed by my work environment grew from a few servers to hundreds of them, large network and so on.
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Old 18th June 2008
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Heh, I wouldn't be surprised if people have slept with a copy of K&R under their pillows lol.

For historical interest, a tutorial from Kernighan --> You would be surprised how much of it still holds water in 2008.


UNIX and derived systems on the other hand has changed quite a lot over the years.

Code:
#define	NPROC	50		/* max number of processes */
From param.h, UNIX v6. kernel source code.


Things like if you get a pascal or fortran or C++ compiler along with a C Compiler. The standard libraries and function calls defined by POSIX and such today, whether sigaction() is available or not. lp or lpr, does vi exist yet, the name of the kernel file (/unix, /bsd, /boot/kernel/kernel, blah blah), package management (if any), support for mmap(), classic, home brew, or GNU C compiler, Thompson, Bourne, or Korn shells, /proc or no /proc, a couple of headers, paths, Berkly sockets, TCP/IP support, monolithic kernels (with and without modules) or microkernels,

e.t.c.


The strange, sad, and freaking funny thing? Have you ever looked in /usr/share/doc/{smm,usd,psd} ?

FreeBSD has the 4.3BSD 'Revised June 8, 1993' line printer spooler manual from the old System Managers Manual -- my OpenBSD system says 'Revised May 31, 2002' on its copy --- BSD printing has changed so little since then that it is probably the best resource on it I've seen.


When I wanted to figure out how to setup NFS and found the syntax from Linux didn't work, I just hit the old SMM and read, somethings don't change a lot.


Other things, really do change a lot!
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Old 28th June 2008
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We are only at our 'best' when we accept all that we are now, as all that we can ever be

Rather then forever seeking to become better then we are.
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Old 10th July 2008
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I got into web development using php, postgres, javascript and html. I needed to learn how to setup my environment to program. I learnt first on slackware linux, move to freeBSD when I got a job.

bm
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Old 11th July 2008
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I started an e-commerce website with one of my friends the year I graduated highschool (way back in '97) and had to learn, mostly the hard way, how to maintain our 2 servers. I grew up in a Linux-friendly household, so there were some things I already knew and it was mostly policy and best-practices things I had to pick up on. Fortunately there was a friendly usenix group nearby that were willing to help me out with that. Later, at college, I enrolled in a major that catered specifically to network and systems administrators.

I think most of the practical stuff I picked up via trial and error and the occasional o'reilly book, but I think that my most-utilized resource now is forums. Those long nights reading SAMS, Deitel&Deitel, and fat Cisco books is mostly history.
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