[conspire] (forw) Re: Looking for a way to gain Linux Admin experience

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Fri Mar 16 10:39:32 PDT 2012

New guy.  Looking for an opportunity to learn system administration.

----- Forwarded message from Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> -----

Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2012 10:33:39 -0700
From: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>
To: Linux Dude <in2linux at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: Looking for a way to gain Linux Admin experience
Organization: If you lived here, you'd be $HOME already.

Quoting Linux Dude (in2linux at gmail.com):

> I plan to build a computer -buy parts from frys-

That can be rewarding, and fun.

It can also be frustrating and a waste of time and money, but let's be
optimistic.  ;->

> - how much memory/disk do you recommend for a set up with VM/virtualBox?

Personally, I would do 2 GB, though I will qualify that:  You should
figure that you want at least 700 MB or so for the guest OS, above and
beyond whatever host OS you are running.

Me, I tend to use a very lean Debian-based desktop system for day-to-day
use, which means the host OS has very law RAM requirements, and I can be
perfectly happy with, say, only 256 MB total when running just Debian as
a standalone OS without any special additional needs such as VMs.  

Back in the mid-2000s, I worked at Cadence Design Systems, a huge
EDA-industry firm, as part of the 'Linux Engineering' department at
first, and then was put in sole charge of evaluating all new hardware
for Linux or Solaris use, as my main responsibility.  The firm gave my
an IBM ThinkPad T42p as my work machine:  I put Debian on it with my
preferred lean setup (no Desktop Environment, simple Window Maker window
manager), but that wasn't quite sufficient because Cadence relies
heavily on Exchange Server for e-mail and scheduling, and also has quite
a number of internal intranet Web sites that work only for MSIE users. 
So, to accomodate that part of my job, I installed VMware Workstation
5.5, and then installed the corporate image of WinXP Pro inside a VM.

My point is that one could pretty reliably predict RAM needs based on
about a gig for XP + Outlook + MSIE, a little bit of overhead for VMware
workstation, and 256 MB or less for Debian.  So, 2 GB on a laptop was
ample for running one bloatware MS-Windows guest OS virtualised on a
Debian box that otherwise would have been fine with 1/8 of its total RAM
(if not also running XP in VM).

> - where will I get the CentOS, RHEL, Debian, Suse, etc images? are those
> free? or a small fee needs to be paid?

Most people download the 'ISO' (ISO9660 format, which means CD/DVD
format) files and burn them to recordable optical media (CD or DVD
blanks) locally, or burn copies from a friend.  That's because a lot
more people have broadband Internet connectivity and CD/DVD burner
drives than used to.  However, there are still a few firms that sell
preburned Linux CD/DVD media via mail-order.  http://cheapbytes.com/
http://www.linuxcentral.com/_v3/ http://store.madtux.org/  (Latter seems
down; might have folded?)  Mostly, that was a 1990s business model.
Most firms that used to do that have gone out of business as fewer
customers are unable to do their own CDs/DVDs locally.

CABAL, my Linux user group that meets at my and my wife's house in west
Menlo Park every 2nd and 4th Saturday late afternoon/evenings, maintains
a library of current Linux and BSD distribution media that visitors are
welcome to duplicate or to use for installations on-premises.

Where, specifically, do you download them?  Lots of places.  Look
around.  One method is to search a search engine for the name of the
distro plus 'iso', e.g.:

    OpenSUSE iso

(I picked 'SUSE' in order to point out that there is no longer a single
'SUSE':  There is an enterprise, paid-support distro called SUSE Linux
Enterprise Server / SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop that includes
proprietary, per-seat-charged-money-for software and is not lawfully
downloadable, and there is the community development branch called
OpenSUSE that is downloadable freely.)

> I would like to have at least 4 different Linux flavors running at same time

At the same time?  I'm not sure why, but you presumably have your
reasons.  If you wish to do that on a single machine within virtual
machine sessions, you're going to need a lot of RAM on it -- at least 4

> Also. would it be appropriate to post/send email to local Linux forum.
> Asking anyone about my desire to help with system admin task at a company.
> preferably a non-profit one. By the way, I will do it for free. I just want
> to get exposed to real world situations.
> Please let me know if that would be appropriate.

Well, you can certainly ask, but in my experience job openings of any
kind (including the ones where you work for free or near-free) are most
often gotten through personal contact.

Be aware that some Linux online forums have specific rules about
postings concerning jobs, on account of past abuse, especially by
headhunters and especially during the dot-com boom.  SVLUG, for example
(Silicon Valley Linux User Group) strictly requires that jobs postings
be confined to the jobs at lists.svlug.org mailing list (which accepts only
jobs-offered postings, so other types are not tolerated on any of its
mailing lists).

----- End forwarded message -----

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