Resources for Linux Professionals
Resources abound for either newly engaged Linux professionals or experienced ones. With the amount of individuals that have endeared themselves to open source software over the years, there are a multitude of educational avenues to consider. Doing simple searches will point you in the correct direction for wherever your interest lies. In the following few paragraphs, I will just point out a few of them that have had the largest impact over the years.
With Linux and open source software being open, there is ample opportunity to get a grasp of the entire framework of it by monitoring the communication that takes place among developers. First and foremost is the importance of the mailing lists.
If you are interested in Linux kernel work, monitor the Linux kernel mailing list (LKML). There is even a kernel mentors mailing list if you are ready to dip your toes in the water. Your questions on that mailing list are often answered by experienced kernel developers that get your development efforts off on the right foot. If it is PHP application development that interests you, go to php.net and find an appropriate mailing list for you. No matter where your interest lies in the open source software space, there is an appropriate mailing list for you to monitor and eventually interact with.
The huge benefit that is gained by viewing the mailing lists is that it allows you to become intricately aware of the communication that takes place among the developers. You will get to know the individuals that are most active. As a result, you will be able to ascertain the tone they display while interacting with other developers. It is not a hidden secret that the mailing list's sometimes display an environment that is less than pleasant. But in all honesty, people tend to be more direct than anything else.
In any regard, you want to make sure you know what to expect when it is time for you to interact with other members of the community. Of course, the code that you get to analyze has an extremely high level of importance. That goes without saying. But, knowing the ecosystem of each open source group is a factor that some fail to take into consideration. By having a good grasp of the expectations, it can go a long way into determining the level of success you have as an open source professional.
Another way that the open source community communicates in an open format is the use of Internet Relay Chat (IRC). There is an IRC channel for just about every open source project out there. IRC is another open forum that provides you with a lot of insight to the interaction flow of developers of specific projects. It is worth the time to just sit back and watch the communication flow of a project that interests you via IRC. It provides a lot of the same benefits of the mailing lists.
Linux User Groups (LUGs) can be another resource that is beneficial to anyone interested in Linux. While the height of embrace for LUGs probably existed a few years ago, they still play a very vital role in the establishment of the open source community. The real benefit of these groups is that you are able to get answers about nearly any question you have about open source software from people that are local to your area. And, a lot of them have monthly meetings that take place that allow you to meet other open source professionals in person instead of always having to communicate electronically. In the end, it is a great networking tool from both a professional and personal perspective.
Another way to get a good grasp of different open source software is to pick up an appropriate book. O'Reilly publishes books on any open source topic you can think of. I know there are plenty of other publications out there, but O'Reilly has been visible in the open source software space from a very early stage of its existence, and thus it has become the de facto standard in this category. From Python development to Linux system administration, every subject matter is covered by an O'Reilly book. And, this is just not for newbies. I know plenty of experienced developers that will take the time to review a certain topic by investing time in an O'Reilly book. Therefore, make the most of this resource that is at your disposal.
Staying along the lines of available publications, every company or organization that offers Linux certification have a periodical that covers a lot of the most important basics for a Linux administrator to know. These books provide great assistance to both individuals new to Linux or experienced administrators. Thus, even if you decide that you do not want to complete the entire certification process, at least picking up one of the publications that deal with each certification is going to provide you with a lot of the knowledge that is needed to succeed.
Lastly, the vast amount of web sites that focus on open source software are a great resource for both developers and administrators. Whether it is that latest Linux news or in-depth background on a particular open source project, there are a number of sites at your disposal. As people's tastes and preferences change, so do some of the successes of the open source sites out there. Thus, I will hesitate from naming names (though you're on a good one now). But, there are a number of sites that have stood the test of time and can easily be identified through simple searches for your particular interest area.
Bottom line, the resources available to open source professionals are plentiful. By investing time and energy into utilizing all these avenues, it will greatly enhance your chances of success during your open source software career. There is no excuse for not being up-to-date on the latest advancements in your area of interest with the amount of information that is available to you.
The fact that open source software is open is a great way to level the playing field. Every individual has as much chance to succeed as the person next to them. It is a technical area where there is no beneficial treatment toward certain individuals. Therefore, the people that make the most of the information at their disposal are the ones that have achieved the greatest amount of fulfillment throughout their careers. As always, if you get active and stay active and act professionally, the sky is the limit for the opportunities that await you in open source software.