Does the distro matter?
I got a phone call yesterday from a recruiter wondering if I would be interested in a Linux administrator position. The first question she asked was did I have any experience with Oracle RAC and I could hear her eyes glaze over as I answered her with a brief description of what I have done with RAC. After shaking herself back to life, she asked if I had any experience with Unbreakable Linux.
Unbreakable is the Oracle distribution and while I have heard of it, I had to admit I had never worked with it as a distribution but I asked what they were looking for specifically. Experience with Unbreakable. Yes, but what sort of experience. I have used Red Hat for years, it's just Linux. This discussion when back and forth like that for a few minutes but clearly fifteen years of Linux experience was not good enough for a job that was looking for distribution specific experience. We parted with me promising to send her my resume and that was that.
But it got me thinking. A few weeks ago, I asked, Is there a best distro?. The question this phone call raised was, does it matter which distribution you are running? For the moment, let us put aside which has a better desktop and focus on the server. Is there really a difference between distributions when it comes to what you run on a server? Is there anything so specific within a distribution that it matters whether you are experienced with Debian or Red Hat? I will admit that in all my years of working in the Windows world, no one has asked me if I have experience with Datacenter instead of Standard. Why, in the Linux world should it matter if I have experience with CentOS instead of Unbreakable?
Are there differences? Of course. Most notably is in the package manager, and where the init scripts live. At a previous company, we used Mandriva as our underlying distribution, but there was no reason we could not have used something else, and in fact, we moved to CentOS with little problem because it was not about the distribution. We compiled our applications, the distribution provided the libraries. We had custom installation locations, custom security settings, and custom scripts, all pretty much automated. It was not an issue of where the distribution put the web files, but were the right libraries available.
I could have taken the opportunity to explain to this recruiter the similarities between the distributions but I do not think it would have made much of a difference. She was reading off a list of requirements and if there was not a one-to-one correlation of the buzz words, then I did not fit the bill. And at the end of the day, I am not 100% sure I want to work for a company that seems to be so hung up on a particular distribution, rather than the critical skills needed to manage an infrastructure.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
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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- Stunnel Security for Oracle
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Returning Values from Bash Functions
- Manage Your Configs with vcsh
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Product Review: Diffpack
- VLANs on Linux
- Radio's Next Generation: Radii
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