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which is the best linux version as a beginner?

Discussion in 'Linux / Unix Discussion' started by shadowwebs, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. shadowwebs

    shadowwebs Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    So, I look at job adverts and see that Linux is mentioned more and more, I can only think this is due to licence costs being lower than the Microsoft area, and from previous working experience I know that the EPOS systems were running on Linux, but I cannot remember which flavour.

    Can anyone recommend the best linux flavour to me please for me to get hold of and run on a VM to try and get to grips with the GUI before looking at the shell in more detail.
     
    Certifications: compTIA A+, Apple Certified Technical Coordinator 10.10 (OS X Yosemite, Server and Support)
  2. ade1982

    ade1982 Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Everyone would have a preference, but I learnt Linux on Ubuntu. The Unity feature is much better on the latest version, so get the latest version, whether it has LTS or not.

    I've also played with Mandrake (Mandriva) and Slackware, but didn't get on with them as much.

    Hear very good things about Linux Mint too.
     
  3. Beerbaron

    Beerbaron Megabyte Poster

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    Not so sure its always cost as you have to pay a subscription for updates for Red Hat. Ubuntu, Debian or Centos are probably what I would recommend.
     
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  4. shadowwebs

    shadowwebs Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    I will get a copy of Ubuntu and see if I can work my way around it, I have seen it in the past so am sure will be fine.
     
    Certifications: compTIA A+, Apple Certified Technical Coordinator 10.10 (OS X Yosemite, Server and Support)
  5. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    You can't go wrong with Ubuntu 12.10 which can be found here. Linux Mint is also a very user friendly first taste of Linux.
     
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  6. BB88

    BB88 Kilobyte Poster Gold Member

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    I first started with Ubuntu back in 8.04 days, it has changed a lot since then. It was very good, but I would tend to favour Linux Mint, as mentioned above.

    If you are very familiar with Windows, I would check out Zorin OS, it is the most like Windows, and is based off of Ubuntu.

    I personally use Arch Linux now for all my Linux purposes.
     
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  7. mcbro

    mcbro Byte Poster

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    Onthe subject of learning Linux here is a useful post by a very knowledgeable Linux guy on another forum i go on;

    With the explosion of "cloud" providers like Amazon AWS, Rackspace etc, the number of Linux jobs have gone through the roof compared to 18 months ago when they were like rocking horse ****. It's still a relatively niche area (there are a lot of sysadmins out there, but not a lot of good ones) and the banking sector in particular is leveraging Unix/Linux extremely heavily on cheap x86 hardware. I would highly, highly recommend being at least proficient in it simply because there's no barrier to entry, you don't have to pay licensing costs like with MS stuff.

    If you really are interested, here's a decent outline of what I'd do to get yourself familiar with it.

    - buy some cheap hardware (like a HP microserver) and install VMware ESXi free version
    - build and create VM's to your hearts content. get used to lower level OS stuff like building software RAID configs, utilising LVM, using fdisk etc

    once you feel like you've grasped navigating around the bash shell, have a decent idea how the filesystem is laid out etc, you'll need to start learning some basics sysadmin stuff. Having ESXi in this instance is incredibly useful because you can spin up production VM's and not feel like you're going to break stuff.

    The way I learnt sysadmin stuff to begin with was actually pretty straightforward. The first thing I'd do is replace some of the functions of your router

    - get a free domain name from afraid.org
    - set up an autoritative BIND nameserver for that domain and setup ISC DHCP. Make sure your DHCP and DNS work correctly (ie dynamic DNS is configured properly)
    - setup a simple apache webserver with something like wordpress, hosted internally. Mess with DNS and vHosts to ensure if you go to blog.domain.tld it points to wordpress in apache
    - write some bash/perl scripts to send email alerts when things happen. get familiar with cron and how it works to send automated status updates (there are tools available like nagios that do this automatically but doing it this way gets your familiar with scripting etc)

    This should be more than enough to get you an entry level linux support job/junior sysadmin job. If you want to go further look at:

    - setting up an automated build environment and config management system with cobbler/puppet
    - experimenting with different virtualisation platforms like KVM, Xen
    - looking at file sharing with CIFS and open source domain controllers with samba
    - setting up a mail tranport agent like postfix or sendmail
    - creating routing and security rules with selinux and iptables
    - compile a kernel from scratch. I guarantee you'll never ever do this again in your life, but for me it was the quickest way of learning the fundamentals of how an OS works


    If you can do all that at any point, I'll personally give you a job in 2 years

    A few final things:
    - don't get caught up using desktop linux. It brings its own problems that just detract from what it's useful for
    - don't box yourself into a corner. Learn all this stuff with Linux, but at least know your way around networking (which is covered with CCNA) and windows Active directory stuff
    - understand that you WILL get **** wrong and you WILL break stuff. It's half the fun!
    - do as much scripting stuff as you can now. script everything if possible. It'll turn you from a mediocre sysadmin to a decent one
    - know the fundamentals. It's astounding how many people I've interviewed before that don't know the fundamentals of how DNS actually works but claim they can configure bind from scratch.

    Hope that helps, apologies for the wall of text
     
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  8. nXPLOSi

    nXPLOSi Terabyte Poster

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    Like yourself shadowwebs, I've never really used Linux in a personal or work environment, but I see it on nearly every job advert nowadays!

    I've just started the Ubuntu 12.10 download as a taster.

    /delves into the unknown :blink
     
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  9. ade1982

    ade1982 Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    In Uni we used to say that using Opera as a web browser was going to the darkside. :blink
     
  10. shadowwebs

    shadowwebs Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    I used to like using Opera as a browser due to having a forced refresh after every 30 seconds or whatever you set it to for a specific page... came in very handy in the early days.

    nXPLOSI, let me know how you get on please as might be worth kind of having a lab partner to run through together... I have a VM starting the Ubuntu 12.10 installer now.
     
    Certifications: compTIA A+, Apple Certified Technical Coordinator 10.10 (OS X Yosemite, Server and Support)
  11. reverb

    reverb Byte Poster

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    You would ideally want to get away from the desktop Ubuntu and focus on the server one instead. You will learn much more, for example in the desktop version you will not learn how to configure DHCP, DNS etc (I assume Ubuntu will just grab IP from your router providing your VM is bridged). In a real job, you will be working at bash shell. You would use the desktop version like you would in Windows so you would not learn much to be honest, after all it's aimed at the general user market.

    I would skip Ubuntu and start with CentOS. Red Hat and CentOS knowledge and experience are more in demand than say any Debian distro like Ubuntu. Do a search on a job site and compare and see the number of results you get.

    Learn what each folder contains and its purpose; Linux is all files and folders, no registry :) Know where to find logs because you will constantly looking at these. Also install a web user interface like webmin to help you a bit.
    Like mentioned by mcbro, set up the LAMP stack on your VM and learn to configure it so you can get multiple websites (simple test page for example) on one box working or install something like Wordpress. You would also want to learn to set up samba and create folder shares which you can access on your Windows pc and by doing so you will learn about Linux file/folder permissions and how chown/chgrp works.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012
  12. nXPLOSi

    nXPLOSi Terabyte Poster

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    Haha we've got a few random things we come out with at work, what makes it funnier is the looks we get from the other staff, or 'the lemmings' as we call them. :twisted:

    Yeah sounds good shadowwebs, i've just started the download again as I forgot to stick it on my harddrive at work, D'oh! Lets see how we get on! 8)
     
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  13. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

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    Interesting post, as I agree that knowing and having some Linux skills is useful in both server and network infrastructure. A few weeks ago I was contemplating installing CentOS on a VM in my lab to play with.

    We had a consultant at work a while back and he did not know how to logon to the DOS prompt looking screen and I had to show him what to do. Anyway, wasn't a big deal at the time but just goes to show that if you're working in IT as a systems administrator then knowing the basics of Linux can't harm.

    Personally, am not keen on the desktop version of Linux either after playing around with our CentOS single sign on box at work as it has been pretty solid and reliable. In a little over a year now I can confidently say I have only restarted the boxes on a number of occassion and this was not owning to a fault in any shape or form.

    I am sounding like a real CentOS Linux fan now:), thanks for sharing all.
     
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  14. paulwatson5

    paulwatson5 Byte Poster

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    CompTIA Linux + may be a usefull cert for you to aim towards once you get to grips with it. I'm hoping to do Linux + or Security + after my Network + exam which im currently studying for. I have used Ubuntu, Linux Mint and CentOS before, all very briefly before re-installing Windows lol.

    I'm determined to properly setup my network using open source operating systems. I have a HP Microserver so will be using VM ware or ESXi to mess around on. I want to know about Ubuntu Server, CentOS (mainly for web hosting) and something like IPCop for a firewall.

    I bought a linux book from my local supermarket (it was next to the computer mag's) called "Master Linux Now! 2012"
    It is basically the BEST projects that Linux Format magazine have ran over 2012 in one book and it was only £10.

    It has lots of beginner stuff for Ubuntu and then goes onto more advanced stuff like web hosting, making your own router from an old pc etc.

    Would recommend it, even though i havent yet done anything with mine!!
     
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  15. nXPLOSi

    nXPLOSi Terabyte Poster

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    I've got Ubuntu installed on a VM now and had a brief play last night, its good at least to learn the different "feel" for another platform. I've never really had an interaction with anything other then Windows or Mac so its completely new ground for me.

    I do agree that it would be helpful to have a look at a server platform once I've had a look around and got use to the basics in the user platform. CentOS sounds like the way to go so I'll be looking into installing that and having a play in the near future! 8)

    How you finding it Shadowwebs?
     
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  16. shadowwebs

    shadowwebs Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    I like it so far, it's very easy to use from a basis of GUI so would be easy to move to Ubuntu from Windows without too much fear, although I don't think I would ever do that completely.

    I almost look at it though and wonder, where do I start in that I need something to do to get me going.
     
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  17. ade1982

    ade1982 Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    install some packages, compile some packages from source (just to see how it's done)

    Good idea would be to go to some University Comp Sci website, find their course on Linux (probably called Operating Systems or something), and download the course notes. Try all the examples. Easy ones to do from the terminal are things like ls, chmod, grep, etc. Find out what they all do!
     
  18. BB88

    BB88 Kilobyte Poster Gold Member

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    I highly recommend Linux Survival
     
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  19. Gav

    Gav Kilobyte Poster

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    From what I understand, in the last few versions, Ubuntu has gone from a general-purpose Desktop OS to a heavily consumer focused one. Whether that's enough to make you steer clear of it or not, I don't know.

    If you're looking at Linux from an enterprise perspective, I'd definitely go for CentOS (or Fedora if you're running it on your Desktop). We run around 100 or so Linux servers on CentOS and it's rock solid. My biggest gripe is Hyper-V support. Microsoft used to support CentOS 5.3, but have dropped support in Hyper-V 3.0, which is massively annoying as we have legacy apps that can't run on newer versions!

    I've never used Linux as a desktop OS for longer than a month though, and I don't think I'm the only person who would happily maintain and manage a headless Linux server, but wouldn't let it within a mile of my desktop!

    - Gav
     

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