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How about some real-world type examples
Published on September 28, 2007 By terpfan1980 In Personal Computing

Argh, administering Linux systems is really not supposed to be this tough, but I swear that there are too many times when, in working with Linux, the answers that should be shared for everyone (Linux is 'open source' isn't it?!??) just aren't.

Sorry to break out the broad brush again, but I'm about to paint a lot of Linux guru's and publishers with that broad brush.

I remember years ago asking questions about to do things in Linux that I was easily able to do in SCO Unix.  SCO, the enemies (in recent years) of open source or at least the enemies of Linux as they tried to claim ownership of patents and code in Unix System V that it turns out they never owned at all.  Ooops.  I digress though, as my point is that there were things that I was easily able to do in SCO Unix and had learned in a prior job that I wanted to be able to do with Linux.  Things like -- warning, bad words coming up here, or at least so claim the Linux gurus -- rlogin.  OMG!!! He said rlogin!!!  evil.  bad.  security violation.  VIOLATION!!!  Uh, calm down Geek/Nerd/whatevah.  rlogin is a perfectly viable tool to use in some environments.  As is the ability to telnet into a box.  OMG!! get security again.  He wants to telnet in to a Linux box.  Doesn't he realize that telnet is unsecure.  Impure!!  Security lock this guy up before he hurts himself and his users!!!

Ack, calm down nerds.  If I go into configuring a system knowing up front that I'm enabling settings that lower my security then that is on me.  Warn me about if you wish (and I do appreciate the warning) but don't withhold information on getting me to the configuration I want because it's not good practice or is seen as verbooten.

Anyway, apologies for the detour to my point.  Here's my latest point -- how about giving me more real world samples and walk-thrus and/or how-to's that will help budding Linux sys admins out.  How about borrowing from our friends in Redmond and releasing some actually useful Whitepapers and How-to's that will give a wannabe system admin examples to follow and learn from.

The source of my latest gripe?  I'm working with a fellow sys admin on a very, very, very simple high availability system.  A two node Linux cluster with a shared SCSI RAID that will run a few very simple services (sftp and the like).  A fairly trivial task when working with Windows Server 2003 Enterprise, or even back in Windows 2000 Advanced Server.  What should be a trivial task, and I suspect would be a trivial task, in Linux if there was a simple-minded walk-thru available.  Something that tells you to install such and such a package and how to install it (if not already there), turn on such and such a service (and provides examples of how to do that), and then walks you through configuring a shared disk device/resource, and finally shows an example of virtualizing a service like SSH or SFTP.

Microsoft (man, I really hate to give them credit) does a pretty good job of writing up and releasing whitepapers that do 'real world' examples using bogus server names like Miami or Boston, or Contoso or whatever they are currently using in their examples.  They walk idiots like me through step-by-step and get us comfortable with the concepts and how to actually perform the tasks that we can then easily do on our own systems.

Red Hat's documentation talks about services, about abilities to do things in their cluster environment, but provides pretty much no real world type examples.  When we call up Red Hat for support (which we've paid for) we get told we need to ask specific questions and because of liability issues that Red Hat can't provide direct walk-thrus on how to perform task.  Say what?!?  Because you are concerned that you might get sued for telling how to use your software you can't tell us how to use it!?!  Then what did we pay for?


Comments
on Sep 28, 2007
Sorry Red Hat fans (and I'm one myself), I really think you all drop the ball a lot of times when it comes to getting your software into more locations.  With just a little more help for system admins that are trying to learn your systems, you'd have a few more fans out there that would be pushing your solutions instead of opting to pay the guys with the Windows flags.
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