2002 01 10

                    LINUX NEWS
      Resources & Links From www.CramSession.com
                 January 10, 2002
           7,000 Subscribers Worldwide


1) Sean M’s Notes

2) Linux News

Misadventures in Linux
German SuSE Fans Can Breathe Easy
RedHat Now Shipping 7.2 for 64-bit Alpha and Itanium
Now THIS Sux0rz...
Chairman Mao to Chairman Gates: Get Lost

3) Linux Resources

Pleasure and Pain
Casting PERLs Before Swine
I'm a Dirty Spammer
Practice Safe Hex

4) App o’ the Week

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1) Sean's Notes

I've spent the last couple of weeks nosing through my
courseware for Sair Linux and GNU Level 1 Installation and
Configuration (3x0-101). This course is intended for students
wishing to challenge exam 3x0-101 which will earn you Sair
Linux and GNU Certified Professional (LCP) status.

The first thing you notice when you open your courseware
bundle is that it comes with a serious pile of software. My
courseware came with the following Linux distributions:

 - Caldera OpenLinux eDesktop v2.4
 - Debian v2.2
 - Mandrake v7.2
 - Red Hat 7.0
 - Slackware 7.1
 - SuSE 7.0
 - TurboLinux Server v6.0

When Sair advertises its certification as vendor neutral,
they aren't kidding. It's nice to see all the major flavors
of Linux getting a boost in the courseware (hint to CompTIA:
you should consider the same approach with your shoddy A+

It's worth noting that my courseware is a bit old (I really
meant to get around to it sooner) and that the latest
courseware will probably include newer distributions.

My approximately 400-page binder was divided into the
following sections:

Certification Roadmap

Knowledge Matrix

Module 1  History of Linux/Open Source
Module 2  Linux Structure and Overview
Module 3  Pre-Installation Issues
Module 4  Using the X Window System
Module 5  LILO and Dual Booting
Module 6  Start Up and Shut Down Procedures
Module 7  Getting Help
Module 8  Basic System Navigation
Module 9  The Shell
Module 10  Basic Administration
Module 11  Package Managers
Module 12  Applications
Module 13  Troubleshooting
Appendix A  Basic Commands
Appendix B  Questions and Answers
Appendix C  Glossary

The Good
Given that the target audience of this curriculum is basically
the clueless newbie (yeah, that would be me), I'd have to say
that the courseware does a very good job of taking complex
topics and breaking them down to an understandable level.
There is a good progression from one module to the next, and
each lesson builds nicely on previous learning objectives.

While there's no doubt that a live instructor would add a lot
of value, this course actually stands on its own pretty well.
I found that as I worked my way through it, I was learning at
a good pace and continually expanding my abilities.

Even better, I found that most of the software labs in the
courseware worked for me. Coming from the world of Microsoft
Official Curriculum, I'd have to say that this is a rare and
wonderful thing (if you think MS products are buggy, try
its courseware). There was only one lab that I couldn't get
to work for love or money.

Finally, there are practice questions at the end of each
module. While they're a bit simplistic, they do a nice job
of re-enforcing the material from the module.

The Bad
While I realize this course is aimed at beginners, there were
a lot of instances where I wound up grinding my teeth. Some of
the explanations at the beginning of each module are obviously
aimed at those with NO experience at all, and I wound up
skipping pages here and there to get to the meat of the subject.

Another complaint is that although the labs were very good,
there just weren't enough of them. The folks at Sair need to
beef up the courseware a bit in this area.

The Ugly
Say what you want about Microsoft Office, but it does come
with exceptionally good spelling and grammar checking
functions. Whatever application version 2.0 of this courseware
was authored in (EMACS?) apparently did not. There were some
spelling and grammatical gaffes that bordered on the
outrageous. (Note: I'm told that later versions of the
courseware have addressed the problem.)

Overall Impression
For the most part I'd have to say that I'm extremely happy
with this course. I learned more from it than I have from the
many Linux books I've purchased, and it helped me complete
and troubleshoot more installations than I ever have before.
When combined with a knowledgeable instructor who can bring
some real-world experience to the mix, I imagine this would
be a killer course for Linux newbies like me.

If you're a renegade Microsoftie like me looking to get your
soul back, The Sair Linux and Configuration course is a great
place to start.

Sean McCormick
Recovering Microsoft User

2) Linux News

Misadventures in Linux
Thomas Green's toil and tears with trying to install Linux
on his "crap Presario laptop" paralleled my own with trying
to get Mandrake up and running on my old Acer Travelmate 512T
notebook. Do NOT read this if you're drinking coffee as
you'll probably wind up shooting it out your nose during a
laughing fit. (Note to the timid: there are bad words at the
following URL.)


German SuSE Fans Can Breathe Easy
A ridiculous injunction brought against SuSE in Germany
temporarily prevented SuSE from selling or distributing
their distro. Happily, the matter has been settled out of
court and the injunction has been lifted.


RedHat Now Shipping 7.2 for 64-bit Alpha and Itanium
While I doubt I'll get to slap this around for a while, those
geeks lucky enough to have access to tastier hardware will
probably be happy to hear this. I'm kind of glad to see this
as I was getting worried about Linux becoming too dependent
on x86 architecture.


Now THIS Sux0rz...
I've discovered that the absolute best way to get any
television show off the air is to start watching it
regularly. That being said, I'd just like to point out that
I finally got up the courage to try installing Solaris on
my beat up old PII 350 MHz last week. Can you guess where
this is heading?


Chairman Mao to Chairman Gates: Get Lost
Red Flag Linux just opened up a big ol' can of Whoop Ass on
MS Windows in China if a recent report from Gartner is to be
believed. It looks like the Beijing municipal government is
serious about supporting local vendors and keeping Microsoft
out. Of course, Windows is still widely used in China, but
not by people who have actually paid for it...


3) Linux Resources

Pleasure and Pain
I've decided that I absolutely hate VI. It was designed from
the ground up to be annoying and dang near impossible to use.
Unfortunately, I've been arsing around with scripting and it
looks like I'm going to have to learn to like VI if I ever
want half of my scripts to work. I finally gave up on using
the man pages and found a good tutorial on VI instead.


Casting PERLs Before Swine
I was on Yahoo! chatting with one of my friends the other
night, and asked him for some good references for learning
PERL. This was followed by a 15 minute lecture on why I
really want to learn PhP instead of PERL, as PhP is totally
friendly to morons (nice friends I have, eh?). He went on to
recommend the following site which turns out to be pretty cool.


I'm a Dirty Spammer
But I swear it wasn't on purpose! During a previous
installation of Red Hat I decided to install just about
every piece of software that came with my distro, including
Sendmail. Big mistake! I clued into the fact a couple of
hours later when I discovered that my Internet connection
was red-lined and that my Linux box was churning away like
crazy. I had inadvertently set up an open mail relay and it
only took spammers a couple of hours to find it. Here's the fix:


Practice Safe Hex
After my negative experience with a default configuration of
Red Hat with Sendmail, I decided that I needed to get up to
speed with other problems common to default installations.
I found a ton of good advice on patching up the holes in my
Linux boxes here:


4) App o' the week
It's not Cool Edit 2000, but the Digital Audio Processor
(DAP) for UNIX is not a bad piece of work when you consider
that it's free. If you like messing around with audio,
you'll probably want to add this proggie to your list of
must haves.


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