A roadmap for developers making the transition to Linux
IBM e-business architect Chris Walden is your guide through a nine-part developerWorks series on moving your operational skills from a Windows to a Linux environment. He covers everything from logging to networking, and from the command-line to help systems -- even compiling packages from available source code.
You're moving from Windows to Linux. You've decided you want the stability, flexibility, and cost savings of Linux, but you have many questions in your head. Isn't Linux like Unix? Isn't Unix hard? Where do you begin to make sense of all of this? Is there a map you can follow?
This roadmap is designed to help you take the experience and knowledge that you already have in computing and redirect it to working in Linux. It's not the only reference you'll ever need, but it will help you get past some of your first obstacles and adjust to a new and, I think, exciting approach to computing. As you follow this roadmap, you'll discover many new resources to help you learn, troubleshoot, and manage Linux.
We're assuming you already have Linux installed. If you don't, go to Linux.org and learn which distributions would fit your needs. You'll also find links to downloads there when you're ready to install.
Step 1. Thinking in Linux
The first step to success in Linux is learning to think in Linux. Take what you already know and redirect it to doing things the Linux way.
Read "Thinking in Linux".
Step 2. Console crash course
Linux provides great power and flexibility through the console. If it has been a while since you've spent much time at the command prompt, take a little time to reacquaint yourself with this environment by reviewing common commands you'll use all the time.
Read "Console crash course".
Step 3. Introduction to Webmin
While it is important to know the nuts and bolts of administration, it is often more convenient to have a tool. Also, a higher-level application makes complex configurations easier to handle. Webmin provides point-and-click configuration for beginning and experienced administrators.
Read "Introduction to Webmin".
Step 4. User administration
If a system has no users, is it really a system? Learn about the Linux approach to users.
Read "User administration".
Step 5. Linux logging
Linux makes extensive use of logging. Nothing is hidden from you. Becoming comfortable and familiar with logs will allow you to monitor the health of your system and track activities.
Read "Linux logging".
Step 6. Working with file systems
File systems are at the heart of every server. Linux provides a lot of flexibility in its file systems.
Read "Working with filesystems".
Step 7. Networking
Working unconnected is unthinkable in today's world. Linux on the network unleashes its full potential. However, Linux networking looks very different on its face. You'll need to learn some new terminologies and new tools.
Step 8. Backup and recovery
The first line of defense against disaster is a backup of the data. Linux provides different options, some of which are very simple to work with.
Read "Backup and recovery".
Step 9. Installing software
Linux can use prepackaged binary files, or you can compile programs directly from source code. The tools for installing Linux programs are very useful and provide functionality you might not expect.
Read "Installing software".