Linux Journal had double-duty in Washington, D.C. this December at Open Systems World—in addition to running a two-day “Linux Conference”, we also had a booth in the exhibit hall where we handed out magazines, sold books and distributions, and answered questions about Linux. This created a problem on Thursday, when both the Linux Conference and the booth were in operation. If all the gurus were speaking and sitting on panels, not to mention listening, who would answer questions about Linux at the LJ booth? Although the people who knew about Linux did stop by to help when they could, for most of the day the booth was staffed by Linda Lacy and myself, both relative Linux novices. I use Linux at home, but don't play around with it, and Linda knows people who know Linux and is fairly computer literate, but we are both mainly Linuxers by association. As it turned out, that was enough.
Here are some of the questions most often asked at the booth. They are fairly basic. Some of them I knew the answers to simply by having been around Linux people, others could be answered by reading LJ, and still others have answers in the wealth of documentation written for Linux, if you just know where to look! I think these questions shed light on what the outside community has learned about Linux and what it still needs to learn.
This is my favorite question to answer—“It's pronounced LIH-NUCKS. There is a good explanation on page 4 of this Linux Journal....” If the questioner smiles and nods as though he needs more explanation, I go on to explain that it is a free Unix-like operating system that can be run on the 386, 486, and Pentium chips. (At this point, the questioner is usually not interested in the ports of Linux to the Alpha, PowerPC, or other platforms.) If the questioner is interested, he might ask the next question:
The answer to this question depends on whether the person asking knows much about Unix. If he is totally satisfied with Windows or DOS and the software for those platforms, feels no need to multitask, and never wants to network his computers or connect to the Internet, then it is possible that Linux would not be useful for him. On the other hand, if the person is interested in one or all of these things, and is interested in working a little to learn how to use his computer better, Linux could be for him.
In addition, Linux is useful because the source code is “free”, a quality not appreciated by everyone, but interesting to the people at the conference who had just stopped at the Free Software Foundation booth next door to ours. booth.
Yes, and many people (including myself) do. It really does look just like other Unix systems, and it really does run on as little as a 386-SX16 with 8 megs (or less) of RAM; I've seen it done. On larger computers it runs as fast or faster than the workstations one would see in business.
In other words, “My wife and kids use Windows for word processing and games, but I'd like to be able to do some of my Unix work at home.” This is made very simple for the DOS users by LILO, the LInux boot LOader, so that when you turn on the computer, if you press shift or some other key of your choice after the “beep” sound, you can go right into DOS and use whatever you need. Plus, you may be able to convince the other members of your family to use Linux—they may even like it. A “DOS emulator” (called “dosemu”) is available that runs most versions of DOS and most DOS programs from within Linux, as well.
I always answered this question “yes” and encouraged people to page through Matt Welsh's Installation and Getting Started to get some idea of what actually installing Linux involves. However, there is a way of installing Linux “over” a DOS filesystem without repartitioning, but for maximum performance, repartitioning is recommended. All the distributions come with a program called “FIPS”, which can split a DOS partition into a DOS partition and a Linux partition without destroying the data on the DOS partition.
A Linux distribution is the Linux kernel, together with essential utilities and whatever the person or people putting it together thought would be useful. The main difference between distributions is in installation and in what comes along for the ride. There is no best distribution in itself—everything depends on what the person installing it is trying to do.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide