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Boning up on Linux

My company is balking at signing up for the new Microsoft Windows license. Linux could be an option. Can you offer a couple of suggestions of Linux technologies that Windows administrators need to bone up on first?

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The first thing I would recommend is: read all the software licenses. Make sure that you understand them before you make any form of move. With each possible IT solutions implementation -- identify under the terms of the license precisely who is taking what risks.

Next, ask yourself the question, "If my suppliers were to make a sudden and rash change towards a more restrictive and much more costly licensing scheme, what precisely is my company's exposure?"

Third, BEFORE implementing a Linux solution, make sure you understand the platform and know how to manage it. For starters, you need to know how Unix file system and access control permissions work. You need to understand how to configure users and groups. You need to know how to back up and restore the system with minimal (no) downtime.

Get trained -- sit for the LPI exams if you want to go the route of least costs. Enroll in the Red Hat Certified Engineer program and get up to speed fast.

You will also need to learn how to find support and solutions for your problems.

Lastly, identify all the important Linux applications you will be dependant on, find the support and training channels for these products, and start listenting in on key IRC channels and mailing lists for these products.

Good places to start:

This was first published in May 2003

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