[Wolves] advice on version of Linux to install

Dave Morley davmor2 at davmor2.co.uk
Tue Jan 7 09:13:10 UTC 2014

On 07/01/14 05:44, Andy Smith wrote:
> Hi Nick,
> On Mon, Jan 06, 2014 at 12:29:19PM +0000, Nick Hall wrote:
>> Well here is my first question about Linux. I am working towards the Linux Professional Institute Linux Essentials exam (the very basic one), and I am using Ubuntu, but was thinking is this a good version. Should I use another, a mate suggested I use Fedora? Or Red Hat. 
> As you're probably aware, the LPI certifications are vendor-neutral
> so are not designed around any particular Linux distribution.
> The Essentials exam is a very high level overview of Linux that
> doesn't require you to get very specific and so for the purposes of
> passing that exam you should just be familiar with using Linux -
> *any* distribution of Linux.
> So if you are happy with Ubuntu and your immediate goal is to pass
> the Essentials then I think you are fine to continue on with Ubuntu
> alone.
> If you attempt any of the more advanced certifications then you will
> start to need to know a little more about administration and
> advanced usage. The rest of this email is assuming you want to do
> LPIC-1 and beyond.
> There are two main kinds of Linux distribution: those derived from
> Debian that use dpkg format packages, and those that use the Red Hat
> Package manager (RPM) format packages. The more advanced LPI
> certifications expect you to be familiar with package management on
> *both* kinds of distribution.
> (There are other Linux distributions which use other package formats
> than dpkg and RPM, but they aren't anywhere near as popular and LPI
> doesn't test you on these. It doesn't mean that they are bad choices
> outside of your need to pass LPI exams.)
> There is also the fact that Linux as a desktop environment and Linux
> as a server operating system can be very different experiences, and
> not all distributions are commonly used for both purposes.
> Ubuntu is derived from Debian and uses dpkg-format (.deb) packages.
> It is popular both on the desktop and increasingly used for servers,
> especially cloud-based ones. If you already have experience of using
> Ubuntu then it is a good choice to practice both desktop and server
> tasks.
> I am not saying much about Debian, the parent distribution to
> Ubuntu, because you've said that you already use Ubuntu. For a
> beginner who is focusing on passing LPI tests I don't think there is
> a big enough difference between them and it's down to personal
> preference.
> For the RPM side of things it may seem that the most natural choice
> is Red Hat Enterprise Linux, however this costs money. RHEL is a
> popular server OS in the corporate environment so it would be useful
> to have experience with it, but this is hard to get when you can't
> afford a licence.
> Fortunately there is a derivative of RHEL called CentOS that is
> available for free. Having a play with CentOS would provide useful
> experience of a server OS that uses RPM packages, much of which
> would be applicable to administering RHEL if you ever had to do
> that.
> Neither RHEL nor CentOS are commonly used on the desktop. Fedora is
> an example of a popular RPM-based distribution mostly aimed at
> desktop users.
> My advice would be to pick one distribution as a desktop and use it
> as much as you can, and then pick another as a server. Choose a
> dpkg-based distribution for one task and an RPM-based distribution
> for the other. Run the server distribution inside virtualisation if
> you don't have a spare machine to put it on.
> So for example if you intend to stick with Ubuntu, use Ubuntu as a
> desktop and run CentOS as a server either on another machine or
> inside a virtual machine.
> Or Fedora as a desktop and Debian/Ubuntu as a server.
> Beyond this, Linux distribution choice is a highly personal topic,
> sometimes the cause of religious wars; there is no one right answer.
> If you intend to become a professional Linux sysadmin you must be
> aware that companies tend to have existing deployments and will
> expect you to administer those, not replace the whole lot with
> whatever your favourite distribution of the month is. :)
> As a result you will develop your preferences but will probably need
> to keep an open mind.
> Good luck!
> Cheers,
> Andy

I'm with Andy here.  If you use Ubuntu daily and like it most of the
(deb) based stuff is covered, cli is almost identical to that of debians
and others.  However if you go for the more advanced lpic stuff, then I
would start using Ubuntu as a base for knowledge because you are used to
it and then add a vm and in the vm install centos (RHEL free clone) and
pure debian.  Debian itself is the most used server os next is Ubuntu
and following on shortly behind that is RHEL and Centos so that should
cover you nicely.

You make it, I'll break it!

I love my job :)

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