A Little Linux Goes a Long Way
Getting started with Linux doesn't have to be hard or costly. So how come it's still not taught in school?
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When I was recently in the market for a desk, a popular app led me to a nice used one nearby and a new friendship with its previous owner, a recent college grad working in the tech industry who knew little to nothing about Linux.
Not that he wasn’t curious or alone. I’ve met many enthusiastic young tech workers like him over the years, most with degrees from major universities like his in North Carolina, who emerged with nothing but Windows experience. It’s not that Windows is bad, it’s just that today’s modern world is powered by Linux and companies are hungry for tech workers who understand it.
In the short time, it took us to load his now-former desk into my car, I managed to tell my new young friend about Rancher (for getting started quickly with Kubernetes), Proxmox (my favourite open-source hypervisor environment), Docker (the container environment), Linode (my favourite low-cost Linux hosting company) and Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), the built-in environment for running various Linux flavours natively on Windows 10 and 11.
I had to scratch my head, though, as to why none of his professors — over four years of quality education — had introduced my friend and his classmates to any of these technologies and resources. With the exception of Linode, all are free to try and use and provide a great place to start learning and using Linux.
If I’d had a few more minutes, I probably would’ve started to talk to my new friend about Raspberry Pis and other single-board computers as other good ways to experiment with Linux. Instead, we exchanged LinkedIn handles and agreed to carry on the conversation virtually.
It’s chance meetings and conversations like this that led me to write Practical Linux DevOps: Building a Linux Lab for Modern Software Development, published in August by Apress. I’ve spent decades learning and using Linux and wanted to share that experience with tech-minded folks who never had the chance to kick the tires in school, at work or at home.
I believe the key is to give curious new users, like my desk-selling friend, a way to try Linux in a zero- or no-cost way, and do it in a safe environment. By safe I mean in a way that doesn’t hose your workstation or laptop or isn’t otherwise easily recoverable. In my book, I encourage the freedom to explore and explain how to transform old equipment you probably have lying around— computers, laptops, routers — into a fully functioning “tiny Internet,” complete with DNS, mail servers, web apps and even containerized workloads.
I took this approach because I think of new Linux users like new guitar players. If you’ve mustered the energy and time to learn guitar, you want to play real music right away. You don’t want to leave your first lesson thinking about theory; you want to play a real song or two.
With Linux, as with music, it’s far more motivating to have early, tangible successes in order to keep going. By showing readers how to do real things with Linux I hope to show how a little Linux can go a long way.
Published at DZone with permission of John Tonello. See the original article here.
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