January 30, 2004

Linux Migration

Think you're ready to go Linux? You don't need a Linux certification to troubleshoot an ailing system, but you can't fix a thing without hands-on
experience. Most organizations assume their Windows admins can just jump aboard Linux and sail off into the sunset. That may be true in rare cases,
but Windows administrators typically avoid the command-line interface, and steering your organization's Linux server fleet requires CLI know-how.
For that reason, it may work just as well for nonserver folks like switch and router experts to work on the migration project, since they're probably
more comfortable with the command line than some admins. One IT shop we visited recently brought some Cisco infrastructure staffers to its Linux
project. The move wasn't a big jump for these IT professionals--the "enable" comman-line interface in Cisco's IOS is very similar to the "root" prompt
in Linux.

The command line may not be as sexy as point-and-click, but if you know the internals of an operating system, you'll be better able to customize and
troubleshoot the machine. Command-line interface users tend to know (and want to know) how things are configured.

This depth of knowledge pays off because you can't point and click for every Linux server function. You can keep your CLI time to a minimum by
utilizing Web-based administrative tools like WebMin (webmin.com), but even if you use user-interface-friendly distributors like those from Red Hat or
SuSE, you'll still have to roll up your sleeves and delve into a terminal window occasionally.

Knowing the CLI also makes automation easier. If you're command line-proficient, you simply type in the command line, see if it works interactively
and then type that same command line into the scheduler so it executes at a given time. GUI users, meanwhile, have to worry about whether their GUI
application supports batch or scheduled processes.

Link: nwc.com


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