2001 10 18

                    LINUX NEWS
       Resources & Links From CramSession.com
            Thursday, October 18, 2001


1) Sean’s Notes

2) Linux News

Mandrake Powered Super Cluster
Opinion: Why Computer Vendors Should Push Linux
Cramsession Redesigned
Linux Mag Names Evolution #1

3) Linux Resources

Red Hat Offers Migration Solutions
How to Tell if Your Linux Box Has Been Cracked
How Does SSH Work?
Using Apache's mod_rewrite
Programming... In PostScript?

4) App o’ the week

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1) Sean's Notes

I was flipping through one of the trade rags that landed on
my desk, when an ad for one of those certification bootcamp
places caught my eye.  It featured a typical dorky looking
guy holding an MCSE certificate, flanked by a couple of
scantily clad ladies.  The general effect of the caption
was that a certification will make you more attractive to
employers and the ladies.

I find the current state of certifications disappointing.
Training companies push them as the only way of getting a job.
People desire the certifications, leading many to try to
acquire the test questions in advance (otherwise known as
braindumps).  Then there are companies that provide the
material, and ultimately, those that come the closest to the
exam itself succeed.  One exerts pressure on the other to
make the certification process easier, and we end up with
certifications that are meaningless because everyone has one,
and they aren't an indicator of competency anymore.

It would seem that the Linux community has been somewhat
protected from this mess, even though there are several
Linux certifications.  In my humble opinion, it's due to a
few factors, the first being the relative obscurity of Linux.
On the server end, it's still the realm of the hardcore
hacker, and picking those out of a pile of resumes is usually
pretty easy.  This will change as as Linux invades the
desktop, though.

The second is quite subjective, and I'm sure many will
disagree, but it's harder to fool your way past a Unix
interview.  I find it pretty easy to judge someone's Unix
knowledge after talking with them for a little while, so
certs don't help out.  Again, as Linux appears on more
desktops, more entry level people will be needed, and this
too will change.

The third is marketing.  Microsoft pushes the MCSE as a way
for HR departments to judge knowledge.  Ditto Cisco, Oracle,
and everyone else who offers a certification.  They make the
products, so they should be able to say who knows their stuff,
right?  Is Linus going to start stamping people as Linux-
certified?  I think not. So what's out there?

>From where I sit, there are three basic entry level certs for
Linux.  We've got LPI, SAIR, and CompTIA.

LPI, the Linux Professional Institute, offers a basic
certification that requires passing two exams.  The subject
matter is just what you'd expect, shell basics, scripting,
compiling, X-Windows, networking, and security.  There is work
being done on a more advanced level, but right now it looks
pretty basic.  Unfortunately, the LPI group seems to be
favouring absolute correctness over practicality.  As a
result, progress is slow.  Judging by some of their web pages,
much of the work is done by volunteers.  If these folks could
get properly funded, I'm sure they could create something that
people would envy.

SAIR and GNU offer a handful of certifications.  To get the
basic Linux Certified Professional (LCP), you only have to
pass one exam in either Installation & Configuration, or
System Administration.  Pass both, plus one each in networking
and privacy (for a total of four) and you're a Linux Certified
Administrator (LCA).  After that, you can add extra exams in
specialty topics like Sendmail and Perl to become a Linux
Certified Engineer (LCE), and eventually a Master LCE.  I
really like the progression available in this one, but I can't
help but notice that it's targeted toward the server end of
things.  If SAIR were to add a desktop component, I think this
would be a killer cert.

CompTIA is well known for their A+ certification, very popular
in the desktop support area.  They also have a handful of
certs in the server and network path, and have recently
introduced a Linux certification called "Linux+".  Like the
LPI, this is a comprehensive certification, covering most
aspects of installation of troubleshooting, including desktop
issues.  What I don't like about this is that almost 20% of it
is on hardware.  I've heard good arguments for hardware being
on there, but I still think it is overweighted.  In CompTIA's
favour is the recognition they have.  In certifications, this
is everything.

So those are the basic three entry level certifications.
Right now I'm not seeing employers asking for them, but I
know that is going to change soon.  As Linux moves into
corporations, certified individuals will be needed.  In my
books, Linux+ is the one to have, only because of CompTIA's
recognition.  SAIR looks like a great one to have if you want
to show off your advanced knowledge that doesn't appear on a

Of course, Cramsession.com has study guides for all of these,
and will be coming out with new guides as exams are developed.
Good luck in your studies!




Long live the Penguin,


Visit the Linux News Board at

2) Linux News

Mandrake Powered Super Cluster
A mere 385th in the world, but still a supercomputer. This
one was built by HP using ePC's (their model that isn't
made to be upgrade), and Mandrake Linux. Seems like their
research group is getting some good use out of it too.


Opinion: Why Computer Vendors Should Push Linux
Sure, people like Dell found it hard to get machines
preloaded with Linux out the door. Is simply counting the
number of boxes sold a good indicator, though? This opinion
piece looks at why vendors should still be selling Linux,
even though the machines aren't flying off the shelves.


Cramsession Redesigned
If you're not a regular on the Cramsession.com site, I
encourage you to check in every so often. The site has
undergone a redesign, and split off from Brainbuzz.com.
They have over 200 study guides, lots of technical resources,
and of course, the boards where lots of knowledgeable UNIX
folk hang out.


Linux Mag Names Evolution #1
Evolution, the mail client created by Ximian (the guys who
make that cool GNOME desktop package) won the Linux
Magazine's "Best Graphical Email Client" earlier this month.
High time to check it out!


3) Linux Resources

Red Hat Offers Migration Solutions
This site surprised me when I looked at it. Not the articles
on how Linux can save you money, but the whitepapers on
migrating from Solaris, and porting Solaris code to Linux.
This site is full of resources, but I can't help but wonder
if this is going to take Red Hat out of the sidelines, and
into SUN's crosshairs.


How to Tell if Your Linux Box Has Been Cracked
It's everyone's nightmare -- script kiddies have taken
over your system. Worse yet, you might not even know it!
This article has some great tips on things to regularly
do that will quickly spot an intrusion.


How Does SSH Work?
"Don't use Telnet, use SSH" is almost a mantra by now, but
what is the reasoning behind the statement?  he answer to
this, along with how to actually use SSH, can be found here.


Using Apache's mod_rewrite
mod_rewrite allows the server administrator to do fancy things
with user's requests, such as transparently change the page
that gets viewed based on the user's browser or the current
time. There are a lot of situations where this module can be
helpful, so as an addition to the documentation on apache.org,
this site shows common problems, and the mod_rewrite solution.


Programming... In PostScript?
PostScript is actually a powerful language.  By knowing some
of the language, troubleshooting printers can be made easier,
plus you can jazz up printed output that's been automatically
generated. Some examples of postscript tricks include CD and
Tape labels, and easy graph paper.


4) App o' the week
A rootkit is a software package that a cracker will install
that ensures that they can maintain ownership of your system,
and that you won't detect their intrusion. This software
checks for the presence of various rootkits, and is small
enough to fit on a bootable floppy or recovery CD.


(C) 2001 BrainBuzz.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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