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#1 2018-07-18 13:19:01

jbenge1
Member
From: Lordran
Registered: 2018-04-09
Posts: 113

Learning linux tool reccomendations

I am wondering if anyone can give me any recommendations for books, blogs, vidoes, or anything of the sort where I can further my understanding of linux? I have searched the internet and most of the text I've found seems to be very surface level (more or less for beginners).

Definitley using arch for the past several months I feel I have learned far more than I ever did using ubuntu and reading the aforementioned texts, but now  I am looking more on maybe systems administration (?). So does anyone have any pointers to where they got their knowledge, or any text they feel accuraratley represents their knowledge base?

Also I have an operating systems course coming in the fall, would this also be a good start?

Thanks!! big_smile


"Dr. Madden, why don't the natural numbers include 0?" -me
"....... Take a philosophy course" -Dr. Madden

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#2 2018-07-18 14:20:01

Trilby
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Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 20,451
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Re: Learning linux tool reccomendations

I suspect these both may fall into the "surface level" category, but for general shell use and scripting, the wooledge guide has been a standard recommendation, more recently I've been recommending ryan's tutorials.  Both of these do indeed focus on the basics, but unlike many other basic tutorials, they aren't dumbed down: they really teach a fair bit of content.

But beyond that level, I've never found any text that can replace experience.  Partially because there is no singular "system" to learn about for system administration.  A "system" is a collection of different interchangeable tools - which tools do you want to learn about?  You can read all about systemd if you want to know more about that as an init system, but there are many other inits.  You can read about postfix or dovecot if you want to set up a mail server, but there are alternatives to these for mail servers.

But the second reason I suspect good texts on such material is hard to find is that there is really nothing to teach beyond reading the manual pages.  Certainly someone can have memorized lots of man pages and still be useless at managing *nix systems - and many very good sys admins may not have read many man pages before-hand, but they just pick it up as they go.  The defining characteristic would relate to thinking style, not informational knowledge.  And I know of no reading material that can substantially change one's thinking style.


"UNIX is simple and coherent..." - Dennis Ritchie, "GNU's Not UNIX" -  Richard Stallman

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#3 2018-07-18 17:00:44

jbenge1
Member
From: Lordran
Registered: 2018-04-09
Posts: 113

Re: Learning linux tool reccomendations

Thanks for the link! I will definitely check it out after I finish typing this! I think where I struggle though is bridging the gap between (at least what I think is) the general knowledge of the man pages and the per use cases when I run into issues, as well as knowing what to look for in the log dumps, but maybe that is just an experience thing? I've really only been trying to delve deeper into the guts of linux systems fairly recently (which is also why I switched over to arch!


"Dr. Madden, why don't the natural numbers include 0?" -me
"....... Take a philosophy course" -Dr. Madden

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#4 2018-07-18 17:18:15

NuSkool
Member
Registered: 2015-03-23
Posts: 78

Re: Learning linux tool reccomendations

Quote OP:

or anything of the sort where I can further my understanding of Linux?

I am looking more on maybe systems administration

I couldn't agree more with Trilby on this:

they just pick it up as they go

In my opinion, nothing beats hands experience in most subjects, trades, occupations.

I view Linux and shell scripting as two related but different subjects though.

If your goal is to know how a Linux distro works and how to keep it going, just dive in. Getting Arch set up and running to your preference is just the beginning.

I was afraid to break my system in the beginning. Getting over that seems to have been a turning point for me as far as learning goes.

Start with setting up an (automated)* backup system so you no longer have to worry about breakage. Or set up (auto deployment)* of test systems on either bare metal or VM's. Set up some container images....

Then dive in and change major components such as boot loaders, fstab and partitions, shells, learn how to use systemd, implement start up scripts, etc...

Arch is of course best for learning, desktop, etc use, but uncommon for being paid to admin. Try different distros to see how they do things different. Check out non systemd distros to learn init systems.

I'm thinking system admins most commonly work with RHEL (Centos) and Debian. Spend some time with them at some point.

This stuff kept me busy for years as my hobby.


* = Or manually as automating is more shell scripting involved.

After I felt I had a grasp on the system, I (currently) focus more on shell scripting.

I'm pretty old, not very smart, started using computers in my 30's, and do this as a hobby, spare time allowing. I'm in close to a decade of Linux use at this point and still feel I have just barely scratched the surface of what there is to learn.

For someone young, smart, and ambitious, you could get this all down in months rather than years. You may also learn shell scripting as you go but for myself, I put it  off.

I skipped learning vi vim and now view it as something useful, that I lack. You may want to consider investing time to learn a good editor. Others may have more on this though.

Last edited by NuSkool (2018-07-18 17:23:47)

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#5 2018-07-18 18:26:17

Trilby
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Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 20,451
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Re: Learning linux tool reccomendations

NuSkool wrote:

I skipped learning vi vim...

I put that off for quite a while too - but now I do almost everything in vim and have no idea how I lived with out it.

But one must be at the right place to learn such things.  Early on, vim made no sense.  I needed some (minimal) experience with grep, sed, and other utilities before the 'aha' moment came that they are all very similar.  Prior to that vim's mechanics seemed arcane.

So learning a bit of unix history would be good - not so much the people invovled, though that is nice to know too, but rather the history of it's development.  Seeing the shared ancestry and the ecosystem of *nix tools makes it much easier to truly understand them rather than simply wrote memorizing a few command line flags and useful syntaxes (for example, it's sad how many thin people think s// is sed's only command, and it reflects wrote memorization of one thing sed can do rather than any comprehension of how sed works).

Perhaps my view might be that if you are deliberately memorizing anything, you're probably doing it wrong.

Just tinker.  Create opportunities to tinker.  Go outside of your comfort zone ... and get comfortable.

Last edited by Trilby (2018-07-18 18:27:02)


"UNIX is simple and coherent..." - Dennis Ritchie, "GNU's Not UNIX" -  Richard Stallman

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#6 2018-07-18 19:09:12

ewaller
Administrator
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 16,276

Re: Learning linux tool reccomendations

I suggest you plough through /usr/bin and take a look at what is in there.  It is daunting, there could be hundreds of files.  Try to understand where they came from and what they do. If you come across something that looks interesting read the manual for it.

On my system, I have bash set up with autocompletion and configured to display the man page of whatever command is on the line by typing alt-h (see the Arch Wiki Bash page for info on how)
When I get bored and want to go exploring, I will type 'a' <tab> and see all the commands that start with 'a'.  I select an interesting one and type Alt-h and read the manual.  Then I do the same thing with 'b', ...

Also, if you don't mind the GNU mindset, try out the info command.  Or, if you happen to be in emacs wink, ctrl-h I.  There is a lot of stuff in there; in particular, drill down into the individual utilities node.

Last edited by ewaller (2018-07-18 19:09:29)


Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature -- Michael Faraday
Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine. -- Alan Turing
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#7 2018-07-18 19:16:29

Alad
Wiki Admin/IRC Op/TU
From: Bagelstan
Registered: 2014-05-04
Posts: 1,874
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Re: Learning linux tool reccomendations

Also, if you don't mind the GNU mindset, try out the info command.

Mandatory plug for info bash


Mods are just community members who have the occasionally necessary option to move threads around and edit posts. -- Trilby
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#8 2018-07-18 19:51:57

NuSkool
Member
Registered: 2015-03-23
Posts: 78

Re: Learning linux tool reccomendations

Also forgot to mention, I learned quite a bit tinkering with cheap ARM based SBC's. Both getting Arch up and running on them and exploring the factory installed Linux on them.

Pogo plugs for running headless less than $20.00 including a serial to USB connector. They already have an embedded Linux you can add a package manager to and tinker with. I'd also recommend installing Arch on them.

Too many to mention cheap (and expensive) ARM based SBC's with graphics output.

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#9 2018-07-19 15:08:12

eschwartz
Trusted User/Bug Wrangler
Registered: 2014-08-08
Posts: 2,543

Re: Learning linux tool reccomendations

ewaller wrote:

Also, if you don't mind the GNU mindset, try out the info command.  Or, if you happen to be in emacs wink, ctrl-h I.  There is a lot of stuff in there; in particular, drill down into the individual utilities node.

Mandatory plug for a bash function that makes the info command readable for non-emacs users:

info() { info "$@" | less; }

Managing AUR repos The Right Way -- aurpublish (now a standalone tool)

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#10 2018-07-19 16:40:39

sonoran
Member
From: sonoran desert
Registered: 2009-01-12
Posts: 188

Re: Learning linux tool reccomendations

Compulsory recommendation for Linux From Scratch: http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/

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#11 2018-11-18 00:59:03

sophia
Member
Registered: 2018-07-10
Posts: 2

Re: Learning linux tool reccomendations

I'm in the same boat as you. I used Debian for years, switched to Elementary for a short while, and then landed here on Arch. I had to fix so much with Elementary to make it work on my hardware at the time that I started to pick up tinkering with my system as a hobby. I'd like to say that for me the Wiki + an extra SDD/HDD was the best learning experience for me. That and general curiosity about how Linux works, OSes in general, etc etc. has really helped my understanding, enjoyment, and general knowledge about computers/hardware grow exponentially. I can't say how many times I've decided to spend a weekend setting up a Jira server or really coming up with some crazy Apache configuration etc just to see if I could make it work. I made an account on this site originally thinking I would have to post often, but I have never posted since because the documentation is so well written that anyone who is motivated can figure out just about anything (with the exception of a few hardware specific issues perhaps which require one to look outside the Wiki). Simply doing so will teach an individual quite a bit - and since there is no risk to messing up your daily system it opens up the ability to reach a bit with your goals and push yourself to learn something you otherwise would not have learned.

So, first recommendation: Wiki + extra HDD/SDD

Second, the LPIC/Linux+ objectives. It's not a tutorial or a book exactly, but it is a more-or-less well laid out course in basic Linux systems administration. If you work through those objectives - truly taking the time to understand them and not merely studying for some test - you'll be a pretty well rounded Linux users (distro independent for the most part).

Thirdly, Gentoo and then LFS. I wouldn't use either of these as a daily driver; however, after the Arch install got me curious about building a system from just basic bits and pieces these documents/processes really helped me build on the LPIC/Linux+ fundamentals. It also got me out of my comfort zone and helped me learn more in-depth knowledge of how a Linux operating system works beyond what I would have encountered in my day to day use (even when pushing myself for a hobby/fun weekend project...some of LFS is anything but fun in my opinion).

Anywhoo...just my two unsolicited cents smile

edit: addition

Just real quick - something that happened to me when installing Arch for the second time (after realizing I made mistakes my first time): I tried so hard to wrap my mind about connecting to wireless from the install media the first time but failed. I had to resort to plugging in my ethernet. However, on my second install, I just decided to embrace the process of installing an OS. I learned so much about systemd, wireless networking, and eventually using the terminal to administer/troubleshoot networking issues from doing this. I also now never have to worry about having an ethernet to install Linux (regardless of the system) so not only did I learn someting about Arch but also Linux and computers in general.

I guess this was a reiteration of what I wrote above. Sorry for rambling y'all.

Last edited by sophia (2018-11-18 01:03:33)

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