If anyone cares to comment, what is the easiest type of Linux development to get into as far as knowledge required to be effective? I rate myself as a good developer in general (say 8 out of 10 for kicks), have good knowledge of the web, and can learn new languages fairly quickly. I'm just about a 3 or 4 out of 10 on Linux. Do you find you have to know a lot more about Linux to be a web developer (say with PHP/MySQL) or to be a Java developer doing business apps (perhaps with J2EE or something similar)? What would be the perfect small development project to get someone up to speed on Linux development?
Yes, I'm still a M$ whore. But before you judge, please hear my tale of woe...
Barely a week after my last journal entry, I was laid off from my job. I was a Microsoft developer doing VB6, VC++ 6, and ASP for a DotCom. (Yeah, yeah, DotComs, I know...) Fortunately I did receive a decent severance package, so at least I could pay the bills for a while. This did present me with an opportunity
to finally do what I always wanted to do - go into business for myself. So I set myself up as Munson Technologies, LLC, and found a gig doing TabletPC development with C# and
So basically the only thing I've had time to do with Linux is install the Java SDK 1.4 and Opera. Sheesh - wish I could win the lottery so I could really spend some time with Linux. In any event, I feel that being an independent developer will give me the opportunity to focus more on Linux in the future. But until I can save up enough to take some time off, I'm afraid I'll still be a M$ whore. Sigh.
Part 2 - The Installation
After prepping my system two nights ago (see Part 1), I was anxious to install Mandrake 9.1. Last night I actually had some free time (miracle of miracles!) so I went to work installing Mandrake. I popped in the first CD, booted up and the install program came up. I opted to go with the standard install, rather than the advanced install and proceeded to go through most installation options quickly. It recoginized my mouse and keyboard without trouble and I chose standard security (not really interested in opening up this box to the Internet at large yet.) So far so good...
The first major decision was what to do about disk partitioning. This was my biggest worry about the whole process, but fortunately Mandrake made it easy. I chose custom disk partitioning and the DiskDrake utility started. My worry was I didn't want to wipe out my Windows XP disk. Since I installed a new hard drive I wasn't too worried. I selected the "hdb" tab and clicked "AutoPartition". Done! It created a 5 GB root partition, a ~ 500 MB swap partition, and used the remainder (~ 24.5 GB) for the user partition. Impressive - I barely had to do anything. Even WinXP won't do automatic partitioning - maybe there *is* something to this Linux thing I keep hearing about!
I'm a software developer (mostly Windows, but I'm trying to learn Linux programming), so I like having software tools and compilers installed. Naturally I selected that package group. And console tools, of course! I selected just about every package and added the Web/FTP and Database server groups. I also made sure KDE was selected for the graphical environment, then hit next and let Mandrake install the packages. Uh oh, wife calling, Queer Eye is about to start! (That show is hysterical!
Back from watching Queer Eye (episode 106), I checked on the install - "Please insert CD labelled 'disc 2'..." DOH! Ok, well that's an hour of time lost... So I swapped CDs and let the install progress. After at least one more CD swap, the package install was done. I set the Root password, created a user account for me (hmmm, I'll add the wife later
I didn't recall seeing "WindowsXP" or "OtherOS" in the LILO menu. Uh oh, I've got a bad feeling about this... So I went to the Boot configuration section in the Mandrake Control Center. Hmmm, how to add an entry for WinXP... I try to add a menu item for WinXP, told it to boot from hda1, but "Check configuration" didn't like that. Yikes! Ok, so I'm having trouble with getting Windows XP to boot. It's about 12:30 AM now. This can't be fixed tonight - it's going to have to wait until I can research the issue. Now I *did* look into this before I installed, and the consensus I got was "It's ok, Mandrake will take care of it for you." Hmmmm, well that didn't quite work out. So that's my next todo...
Fast-forward to this morning:
To be continued...
This is the first in a series of journal entries about my installation of Mandrake Linux 9.1. My goal is to set up my desktop workstation with Mandrake running KDE with a dual boot with Windows XP. (I know, I know, but my wife still has to use it, plus there are some games I like that will only run on XP
So, let the fun begin...
Part 1 - Prepping the System
First things first, I have a Gateway E5200 that I got back in 1999. It's a Pentium III 500 MHz and I had previously bumped the RAM up from 256 MB to 512 MB. I have a 30 GB hard drive plus a CDROM and a CDRW. Granted it's not the most up to date box in the world, but it should be good enough for Mandrake 9.1. I actually bought (yes, *paid* for!) the Mandrake Linux PowerPack & Definitive Guide bundle. I want to try to do my part to keep Mandrake around, plus it's cheaper than buying Windows XP and definitely a lot better - that to me is worth $79 + shipping!
First thing I really had to do was buy a new hard drive. With Windows XP I had partitioned and formatted all of the old drive. Rather than have Mandrake fight XP over the old drive (and from what I've read it would probably work just fine) I went ahead and got a new 30 GB hard drive from CompUSA. So last night, I installed it. It did not go smoothly, as it seems that Gateway used to (still does?) go out of their way to make it difficult to get to the hardware inside the box. The hard drive bay was screwed into the case, betwixt the cooling fan and the 5.5" drive bays. Took me forever to get the bay uninstalled so that I could add the new hard drive. Finally it came out, almost ripping all of the other wires out of place in the process. (I *did* remember to unplug the box, of course!
As it was now 12:30 AM, and installing the darn hard drive took *way* longer than expected, I decided to give it a rest and come back to install Mandrake later. Can't wait!
WTFFF? Another critical vulnerability in Windows? I'm shocked! Here's the article.
Is it possible to secure a Windows box? I have done my best in my professional career to ensure that each Windows box I have had any control over is secure, but I can't feel 100% confident that one of the boxes I've configured won't be 0wn3d at some point in the future. Especially if they're not patched every other day to prevent the latest 'sploit. If I were still a consultant, I could not in good conscience recommend a Windows setup anymore if security were critical to the application.
I used to think that it was possible to secure Windows. I even took a course on Windows security that was taught by a former NSA spook who claimed he had set up a secure NT4 based network that was never compromised. Hmmmmm - that he *knew* of anyway...
I feel that the main reason for the continuing Windows security problems is that Windows was never designed to be a secure operating system. That and what Tackhead said about Trustworthy Computing. All the security code that has been added is nothing but window dressing (pun intended
Now to be fair, Linux can be made insecure and people do find security flaws (usually not with the core OS, tho.) Can Linux be misconfigured by an admin? Sure, same as Windows. But Linux is designed with security in mind - that's a huge difference! My eyes are opening - I feel like I've finally been unplugged from The Matrix...
I'm a Microsoft developer who has finally "seen the light". For me, the light bulb turned on last year after really trying to comprehend Microsoft's licensing and the direction they seem to be headed (always seemed to be headed?) That and after receiving the umteenth report of a "critical Windows flaw" from their security bulletin...
So, after years of hearing about Linux I finally downloaded Mandrake Linux for an old Pentium box I had and tried it out. I was amazed at how easily it installed on my old hardware, and just *worked*! It's running rock solid now, and my college UNIX knowlege is finally paying off for me. I would consider myself an advanced newbie (know enough to be dangerous) but I'm learning fast. I'll probably dedicate a more up-to-date workstation for the latest Mandrake release soon and try to use it for my desktop, supplanting WinXP Pro.
I'm also starting to get the Open Source bug. Who'd have thought there's so much *good*, *free* software available? The quality I've seen of open source software in most cases seems to equal or surpass that of most commercial software (especially from *ahem* that company in Redmond...) I plan to contribute some tools I'm working on at some point to open source. When that happens I'll post to my journal so check back.
One thing I think that M$FT has done right is they've always spoiled their developers. I've found that it's very easy to get up to speed on their technology and finding documentation is not difficult. Their