The odds are that anyone porting applications from Solaris to Linux has better Solaris skills than Linux know-how. That was fine for your other life, but now you'll need to become a Linux expert. Even if you're not doing a Unix-to-Linux server migration or porting applications from Solaris or other Unix flavor to Linux today, you might as well read the writing on the wall and get up to speed on Linux. Any Unix administrators, programmers and support staff who get formal training in Linux now will be valued employees tomorrow. After all, if you came from an HP-UX environment, and all of a sudden were tasked to support AIX, would you not get some formal training? Sure you would.
Start out by doing some research on the differences between Solaris and Linux. The following table will help you understand some of those differences by comparing some basic commands and functions.
|Adding user accounts||Admintool
|Name resolution||etc/nsswitch.conf||etc/nsswitch.conf /etc/resolv.conf|
|NFS share definitions||/etc/exports||dfshares|
|NFS share command||Share||exportfs -a|
|network interface info||/sbin/ifconfig
|Sniffing your network||Snoop||tcpdump
|Hardware def commands||cfgadm -l
|What is your run-level||Who –r||/sbin/runlevel|
|Checking your swap space||swap -s
|Show installed software||Pkginfo||rpm -a -i
|Adding software||Pkgadd||rpm -hiv|
|Allowing or denying root log-ins||/etc/default/login||/etc/securetty|
|System log and messages||/var/adm/messages
|Managing system boot-list||Eeprom||config|
This is just a description of some basic things that you'll need to know. You must not stop here. Do your homework to help you gain a better understanding of Linux. If your budget prohibits you from getting formal on-site training, look at the abundance of on-line training now available for Linux. SearchEnterpriseLinux.com is actually a great place to find training courses and more information on Unix-to-Linux migration.
The absolute best way to learn Linux is to just get yourself a copy and load it on one of those used PCs you have floating around. You can either download it or get a CD from a book and start to play. There's no real substitute for this type of playground work. Some of the best administrators I know started this way, and Linux makes it so easy for you, because it is pretty much free. (Are you listening SCO?)
There are many resources available to you on the Web to help you get started. If Red Hat is the distribution you think you'd like to use, start at Red Hat Training. WorldWideLearn offers a listing of many training courses. Want SuSE? Novell has a training and certification program. Novell also has a guide to Solaris-to-Linux porting tools, as well as other porting tools. To find more specific information on Solaris-to-Linux porting, go to IBM DeveloperWorks. This IBM article is a little dated, but it still contains some useful advice. Intel offers information on Migrating Web services from Solaris to Linux.
However you do it, broadening your horizons with Linux training will put you in a great position to help your company and your own employment prospects.
This was first published in August 2004