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Where Should One Go for Unix/Linux Training? 87

jwitko asks: "I work for an international telecommunications company. They're pretty enormous when it comes to size/budget so their willingness to send employees to get training and to better themselves is pretty strong. I am simply a student who got lucky to become a part-time contractor with this company and I've loved every minute of it. My job primarily relies on working on Unix platforms and installing/configuring our product on laptops for sales people to go out and sell to telecommunications company's (ex: T-Mobile, Verizon, and so forth). However, before I came to this company I had barely ever even touched a Unix-based OS. This summer, I would like to travel to as many different seminars, lectures, and classes to really get experience with *nix based operating systems and learn a lot more about how to use them. Where are some good places to find ongoing seminars, lectures, etc. in Unix and Linux that you think would really help a somewhat-new guy learn a lot and become more experienced?"
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Where Should One Go for Unix/Linux Training?

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  • Right here. []
  • LISA 2006 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Corbets ( 169101 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @04:37PM (#15505306) Homepage
    I highly recommend LISA, although if you're truly novice it may be a bit above your level. It wasn't the most advanced training, but it did assume an intermediate knowledge of Unix when I attended in '04. There's a variety of seminars you can attend, learning about topics that interest you or discussing up and coming technologies that your company could/does make use of. I focused on the security track and got to learn some very interesting things that I later applied in my environment (about 150 systems at one point).

    It's a by-Unix-people for-Unix-people sort of thing, so not really formal training, but still very educational.

    Of course, when I attended it was in Atlanta (Hotlanta?) which may have made it more enjoyable than this year's Washington DC location. :)
    • I've been to LISA a few times over the years and it is easily the best training environment I've run across. Their tutorial sessions (which run over the days before the actual conference kicks off) are every bit as solid as the training you would get from Sun, HP, or Oracle. (I can only speak for the vendor training I've attended.) That said, I also think well of Sun's Solaris admin training and have heard good things first-hand of Red Hat's.

      The most important thing, though, is to spend time on it afte

    • LISA is of the highest quality (like being back in college for all of the best reasons.) There is also OSCON [] and check for items of interest on LWN's Events Page [].
    • There are VERY strong classes offered. You can take Ldap from the guy who wrote the book and Samba from the guy who wrote it (ok, one of many and not Andrew...)

      The "Hallway" track is amazing. Soooo many deeply intelligent people who have solved the same problems you might face ONLY FOR A BILLION MACHINES.

      It's one conference I'd go to if I had to pay my own way.
  • Maybe this is too simple of an answer, but INSTALL A VERSION of unix/linux and get a BOOK!

    (What a waste of a article.)
    • Maybe this is too simple of an answer, but INSTALL A VERSION of unix/linux and get a BOOK!

      Yeah... I'll partially agree with you. The best way to learn Linux is simply to play around with it at home. I'd recommend grabbing a mainstream distribution, usually anything ranking in the top 5 on [] is a good place to start.

      (What a waste of a article.)

      As for this article being a waste, I hope it wont be. On this same topic, I'd like to know where to get education on Linux that looks good

    • You'll want to do both of the things the PP mentions, but for goodness' sake, don't do it in that order.

      I'd recommend getting a shell account (there are still places that give them away) and using it alongside an online guide to learn the basic shell commands. If you want to take the plunge, get a copy of the documentation of your distro of choice (in print, preferably), download and burn the install CD/CDs/DVD, find a second hard drive (or second computer), and perform the installation with the documentati
      • I agree with your sentiments. Wayyy back in college I had a shell account and learned the "end-user" way around Unix and so did my spouse. Later we purchased the "Unix/Linux for Dummies" which had a decent overview of the more obscure aspects of the two operating systems. However, even with books and shell accounts at some point you do need to take the plunge and install the OS. The SUSE distribution is a good one to start with and has a relatively painless installation. At the end of the day, as with
    • Yup, it's too simple.

      Fact is that running or programming Unix based systems in production environments is not well learned by use of a book. It's fine if you're looking to plunk around, but you probably know the basics anyway.

      If there is some training available through the company, that's great. Number one is to find a good mentor and/or systems group; an apprentice experience that can really make the difference. That's because most books will tell the how to with clarity, but often skip the why part

  • You just got thrown into the fire. That's the absolute best place to learn.
  • easy []
  • by soren42 ( 700305 ) * <j@son[ ] ['-ka' in gap]> on Friday June 09, 2006 @04:46PM (#15505381) Homepage Journal
    There has already been some good feedback - get a book, put up a sandbox system of your own to try, and finally, at the end of the day, there is no substitute for real world hands-on training.

    That said, I presume you work with a finite set of operating systems. In my experience, the best training courses tend to be the certification track offerings from the OS vendor. Sun, HP, IBM, Red Hat, Novell, and the others know their operating systems very well. The drawback to this approach is that most companies depend on third-party software to perform critical functions - backup/recovery, authentication, remote management, etc. No single source will typically offer formal training on your company's stack unless you have a large training organization.

    That said, many large companies do have just such a large training organization that offers specialized courses on their own environment. Take advantage of that to get better at your job, but look to the vendors for more general and reusable training.
  • At home! (Score:4, Informative)

    by MarkRose ( 820682 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @04:48PM (#15505398) Homepage
    At home. Seriously. You'll learn the most by using a *nix-based system every day. You'll want to do something, then research how to do it, then you've learned. The courseware you'll find out there will be great to expanding your horizon, however, on just the possibilities on what can be done. If you come from a Windows background, it'll take you a while to realise just how flexible and endless the possibilities of a *nix system are. Get yourself a *nix system you have full control over and start tinkering.
    • "At home" is bit of a facetious argument. Obviously daily use is the best thing, but it doesn't do you any good if you can't get your system up and running.

      In this sense, the answer is as valid as "from Red Hat" who might be able to get you up and running, but is essentially useless for learning anything after that.
      • Obviously daily use is the best thing, but it doesn't do you any good if you can't get your system up and running.

        Any geek wannabe who can not get a modern GUI distro up and running should turn in his pocket protector and go bag groceries for the rest of his life.
        • Hmm....I dunno man....getting an X window server going on FreeBSD required inputting some pretty funky mumbo jumbo about refresh rates.

          Sure it was available online, but unless I can surf with Lynx it doesn't do me much good if I just wiped my own system and didn't get the info first.

          Man, I loved surfing with Lynx too.

          Geek wannabe maybe. Not everybody wants to be a geek though.
  • by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @04:48PM (#15505403) Homepage Journal
    Off the top of my head...
    1. Get this book: Invaluable []. Read it, from start to finish. It's that good.
    2. Get this other book: also very good [].
    3. Check out your local Linux/BSD/UNIX user group: google is your friend for this. For instance, NYCBUG [] is very good if you live in New York City. Also Linux International [] has got a lot of conference-related announcements.
    4. Pick a Linux distribution, any Linux distribution really, and try to find forums and User's group in your area. Then, do the same for another distro. And another. Lather, rinse, repeat.
    5. For complete newbies, Linux Questions [] and The Linux Documentation Project [] are invaluable places to start. For more advanced advice, check out Unix Guru universe [], or the O'Reilly web site [].
    6. Finally, do check the local university and/or community college to see if they offer some sort of training

    But, in everything you do, just remember: Google is your friend.

    • Get involved with your LUG. If you get involved you may find they are involved in many projects in your community. They may be involved in FOSS projects, network installations ... They will have an email list where you can ask any question you and should give you near instant responce. The LUG in my area is run by the Univerity professors that teach linux.
      IBM has online stuff on getting your LPI. []
      I think you can take the exams online for free as well.
    • Get this book: Invaluable. Read it, from start to finish. It's that good.

      I dunno about that book. The site is very very buggy in firefox. If you using linux isn't firefox what your going to be using to browse the site?
  • uni extension (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bill Dog ( 726542 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @04:48PM (#15505406) Journal
    Check to see if your university has an extension program. I didn't know these things existed when I went to school, but I make heavy use of them now. These are where you sign up for an individual class here and there -- no commitments or programs to enroll in, no transcripts to submit, etc. Around here it's typically 1 night a week for 3-4 hours, for 6-8 weeks, around $600 a class, company pays.

    Many uni's have distance learning programs, but there are so many free tutorials on the web, I like to be taught by a live person I can throw questions at, to get that kind of money's worth.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you just want to practice/learn on a unix command line, get a free shell account on a public access unix server. Google for "free shells" or try one of these: [] [] [] []
  • If you do something with your own hands, the lessons tend to stick. I'd grab copies of a few Linux distros, FreeBSD, and maybe Solaris or something and try to install them at home. You can pick up a decent PC on eBay for less than $100 to use as an experimental box.

    I got my initial UNIX experience (1) installing and playing with Linux and (2) taking a UNIX admin course at a local college, both in the early 1990's. The two different types of learning complimented each other well, at least in my case.
  • They're pretty enormous when it comes to size/budget ...

    Uhmmm.... ya, sure kid, I'm a eunix guru. Pipes 'n filters 'n stuff. Sure I can teach ya all that stuff.

    It's just my ah, courses are, you know, full all the time so you'll have to send me a sizeable deposit, something in the high 5 figures should save ya a chair in my advanced course. That'll be cash if you don't mind.

    At the end of the course you'll get a t shirt that says "I got root". Oh yea and prerequisets are you don't shower or shave or get a ha

  • Your Local LUG ! (Score:4, Informative)

    by keyshawn632 ( 726102 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @04:58PM (#15505488) Journal
    I have learned quite a bit from my local LUG [].
    Fellow members give presentations on their particular interests and can provide the opportunity to ask in-person questions with other linux enthusaists who, with respects to my LUG, have a great variety of experience.

    Not to mention, it is more sociable than to RTFM and use google ^_^ / a bit obvious ?! / oh wait, most of us here are not that extraverted.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    What better way to learn than by building it from scratch... learn as you go and pick up a general *NIX book for help with each of the tools
  • What? (Score:1, Informative)

    by tornsaq ( 961735 )
    I don't know where these "get a box and throw *nix on there" and "get a book" comments are coming from. You need proper training. Does your work pay for you to take college classes? You shouldn't just learn a handful commands and be done with it. If you are going to be primarily working with *nix software as you job you need real training to find out what the commands mean, how the filesystem works, and some experience in shell scripting or C. If you can only take certification type courses I'd say go for i
    • Proper training is important, particularly if you're going to be working with more than one flavor of Unix. Solaris (especially v10) is vastly different than any flavor of Linux you'll find. Same with HPUX, AIX or any other commercial flavor out there. Their administration tools are quite diferent between the diferent flavors. File locations are different (/usr/sbin/perl on IRIX, anyone?).

      There are even some fairly substantial diferences between the two major Enterprise Linuxes (RH and SUSE).

      In any

  • The best advice I can give is to find an older PC (or use your current one at home) and install a distribution on it. And use it. A lot. It's so different that you may find it annoying at first, but eventually (even if/when it annoys you) you'll find windows annoys you a lot more. Also, I highly recommend an easier distribution to get into things, namely Mandriva or Kubuntu. That will ease the transition, as well as bug you less because of certain friendly similarities.

    Once you're starting to get comfort
  • I recommend Slackware ( []) along with the official book, Slackbook: []. Slackware and Slackbook is a nice introduction to Linux. You can view it online or download a PDF.

    Slackware is, as far as I know, the oldest Linux distribution in existance. It is simple and clear. I hear comments say that it is very close to pure Unix (I can't say myself, I haven't used Unix, nor any of the modern BSDs). It's a a "do it yourself" fashion, it doesn't rely on configuration "wizards". From
  • I was fortunate enough to take two classes at my community college. I found them totally valuable. I think that most places don't have these kind of classes, but if you do have the opportunity to learn in a classroom/lab environment, from a Real Unix Administrator, you can really learn alot.
  • I learned the most by using *NIX systems for 10yrs or so, but sometimes we need help!

    One of the most valuables sources I found is the forum of the distro I use (I will not name it, but let's say I like to watch gcc working ;) ). When you ask politely, more often than not you get an answer! Just don't forget to help others!

  • Install linux in a separate partition on your own PC.

    Then destroy your windows installation (accidental or otherwise). Bonus points if you don't reinstall it.
  • Learn to learn (Score:3, Interesting)

    by A.K.A_Magnet ( 860822 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @05:19PM (#15505671) Homepage
    If you're asking such a question, you first have to learn to learn. Seriously, I'm sure of all *nix users here on /. (and elsewhere), 90% never asked "How to [...]". They just Googled it and learned by themselves, because it's simply interesting. I don't understand why people "Ask Slashdot" while they won't even read the previous ones; because, this has been asked 1000 times, may it be "learning UNIX" or "learning to program". That's the same, you can't *know* UNIX/*nix if you don't know how to program -- and the answer's always the same: learn to learn, do it, and RTFM.

    RTFM isn't an insult, it's something that we all do; saying RTFM isn't rude, it's a service given to you; RTFM is our way to say: look by yourself, because once it becomes a reflex, you'll do whatever you want, a lot faster.

    So now, what fine manual should you read to have some *nix skills? Well, TCPL [] seems to be a requisite, installing a GNU/Linux distro and using it (it means, ditching Windows completely, no dual boot), then some book on UNIX programming (because the POSIX/*nix system calls API shows you how UNIX is designed, and what IS actually UNIX), and then, if you're only interested in doing some techie stuff, just install and configure the most popular daemons (postfix, apache2, etc). If you start by this last step, you won't actually understand how it *works*, and it will be done in no time (since it's really easy), but you won't have learned much.

    Once again, learn to learn by yourself. Don't rely on courses. The only CS interesting courses I have ever been to are software design or theorical CS (I'm a CS master student). The rest ("UNIX", programming, networking, etc) I already knew [because I had learned to learn ;)] or could have learned by myself (or it was just not interesting to me, like some lower level/electronics stuff).
  • To the original poster:
    The certification and training courses listed above should keep you busy for the summer. It might be easier to figure out where you'll be this summer and find out who does what training in their area. You might find some smaller training facilities that have better student/teacher ratios. As far as the "RTFM" and similarly phrased answers, ignore the fact that they didn't read your question (that you're looking for formal classes/seminars) and apply their advice to your after clas
  • What they said... (Score:4, Informative)

    by BigCheese ( 47608 ) <> on Friday June 09, 2006 @06:15PM (#15506076) Homepage Journal
    ... and I'll add my own bit. Read a lot. I like [] because I save a ton of money on books.

    Install your own Linux network and way over engineer it. You'll learn lots by setting up DNS, NIS, Apache and other services.

    When you don't know something Google is your friend. Lot's of people forget this. Got an error? Google it. Want to see how NIS works? Google it. It's pretty rare to have a question that hasn't been asked a hundred times before.

    Pick a subsystem and study it. Do a "ps ax" and pick a process and learn what it does, how to configure it and whatnot. That's the beauty of Linux you can dig as deep as you want.

    I also hear from a number of friends that installing Gentoo is a great way to learn. The docs are excellent and you learn a lot by the time you've got a base system up and running.

    Never lose your curiosity for how things work. It's the key to learning.
  • I am so used to having to do everything the hard way and so is the way I learned Unix/Linux. Try editing fstab/exports in efforts to set up a first ever linux network without a gui, without knowing about vi or less, and not even knowing commands enough to type anything after man. It worked though. Sometimes I amaze myself with what I can do with a command line and perl. My self forced discipline to stay away from a gui in the beginning was key for truly learning Linux/Unix. My first ever Linux gui was
  • Slackware (Score:3, Informative)

    by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @06:20PM (#15506115)
    Build a Slackware box. That's how I started.
  • by HockeyPuck ( 141947 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @06:34PM (#15506210)
    Everytime you have a problem, just post it to Ask Slashdot... seems like those are the most common questions around these parts.
  • Novell historically has one of the strongest IT training programs around - after all, they started the idea of IT certifications with the CNE. Since Novell bought SuSE a few years ago, they've moved intoLinux with the SuSE training as well. Course Technology has recently come out with a series of books that covers the basics fairly thoroughly, and includes the Linux+ certification.
    [] =Networking&subcategory=Novell%20Networking&isbn=1 -4188-3730-X []
  • by Chris Tyler ( 2180 ) on Friday June 09, 2006 @08:38PM (#15506874) Homepage
    Two thoughts:

    - In terms of summer events, the Ottawa Linux Symposium [] is supposed to be a great event. I haven't made it to one yet but I've wanted to for a few years. It's July 19-22 in Ottawa (Ontario, Canada).

    - [Shameless Plug] This doesn't quite match your description but I thought I'd mention it anyways: I teach at Seneca College, Toronto, and we have a 10-month intensive Linux Administration [] graduate certificate program that I think is one of the best Linux training programs available. We've had students from all different backgrounds including current staff from large systems vendors. We also throw a great Free Software and Open Source Symposium [] in October; this year we have Mike Shaver and Neil Deacon (Mozilla), Nat Freidman (Ximian/Novell), Chris Blizzard (One Laptop Per Child), and a raft of others.

    And I agree that there's no substitute for getting dirt under your fingernails and actually working with the technology! :-)
  • Even I know this one: RTFM!

  • Question: Where Should One Go for Unix/Linux Training?
    Answer: to your computer.

    UNIX cannot be learnt by:
    Chapter 1: ls, cd, mkdir, rmdir, chmod
    Chapter 2: ps, dmesg, netstat
    Chapter 3: sendmail, c libraries
    Chapter 4: Dev API
    Chapter 5: Advanced
    Appendix A: Commands
    Appendix B: Versions
    Appendix C: Ethics, privacy, other shit.

    To learn UNIX, get a copy on a media, get a computer and set targets.
    Heres how I was trying to learn all about HP-UX:

    Chapter 1: Buy an HP9000 workstation on ebay, and download test OS
    Chapter 2
  • Honestly. I didn't start out with Linux with any sort of training or anything – I just got a copy of Linux for Dummies with a free Red Hat 8.0 CD included, stayed with it not because of technical reasons but because it looked pretty – and now where am I? I'm running my own distribution [] (Slackware-based, if you're wondering), writing complex shell scripts and even the odd full-blown program, learning all sorts of new and creative programming languages – the only thing keeping me from doin
  • RTFM
  • Get a spare hard drive, a C compiler, a kernel, and sources for all the essential utilities. Compile all the sources, then format the drive and create a working *x installation using only cp(1) (or cpy.exe if you insist on Windows). You may want to bootstrap it by installing only what you need to boot to single-user mode using another system, then booting the system and installing the rest of the userland from there. If you can do this, it will qualify you as an expert. If you can do it without consulti
  • By experience. You get experience by trying it, be it on work, home, user groups, etc.. Belive me - I'm as familiar with AIX, HP-UX, Solaris, Linux as with EXEC8, MVS, OS/Z or 390, VM, GCOS, Guardian, etc.. or DOS ( the PC version ), Windows, PSOS, other "toy" systems.. because I got the basic training on computer/system architecture from IBM. So as far as I know - for Unix LISA is a good start, first year just listen, second year figure out some questions, third year you may be able to help some new people
  • I've dealt with HP, Sun, and IBM training material and courses. If your company will pay for it, then take the course appropriate to your skills and environment. The 'intro sysadmin' course is a great starter at any level--I finally took one after six years of being a professional SA, and still learned things. After that, the advanced admin courses and subject-specific courses are great.

    However, the only way you learn any of the stuff, courses or not, is by applying it and practicing it. Yes, computers requ
  • I highly recommend setting up a machine at home with some Unix/Linux distro. There is no conference that can do this for you. I'd go to confrences also, but I've never gone to one and am at least competent in setting stuff up, fixing simple problems. I'm not much of a coder yet, but I'm working on it. Again, I have one C++ book and google as resources. There is no substitute for experience. Find an old Pentium II in somebodies garbage, eBay, etc. You don't need anything fancy for this box, just find someone
  • I have no idea what *nix-based operating systems you use at work, and, thusly, I have no idea which sorts of *nix you'd really like to learn; please do keep that in mind.

    Pick a Linux distribution that doesn't hold your hand with graphical installers and graphical system administration tools, and preferably one without a crutch like apt-get or rpm. I would recommend Slackware, because it's one of the best distributions for learning how to run a Linux system. Google is your friend, alongside forums like Li []
  • I tried to learn linux from numerous books and online material and never really got anywhere. What changed this was when I bought myself a second PC and installed Linux on it. From then on I forced myself to use the Linux box for EVERYTHING - writing documents, paying bills, balancing accounts, browsing the net - and only reverted to the windows box when I was hoplessly lost. After only a month, linux felt so natural to me. I then blew away the other windows box and made it my Linux server. I did all admin
  • Read and understand these two books:
    • The Design of the UNIX Operating System, by Maurice Bach
    • The UNIX Programming Environment, by Brian Kernighan and Rob Pike
    Have done that, the you should be prepared to figure out the rest by yourself. It's not that difficult, but it might take a while.
  • The console.

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson