01. May 2017 · Comments Off on The REAL reason we use Linux · Categories: Commentary, Linux

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We tell people we use Linux because it’s secure. Or because it’s free, because it’s customizable, because it’s free (the other meaning), because it has excellent community support…

But all of that is just marketing bullshit. We tell that to non-Linuxers because they wouldn’t understand the real reason. And when we say those false reasons enough, we might even start to believe them ourselves.

But deep underneath, the real reason remains.

We use Linux because it’s fun!

It’s fun to tinker with your system. It’s fun to change all the settings, break the system, then have to go to recovery mode to repair it. It’s fun to have over a hundred distros to choose from. It’s fun to use the command line.

Let me say that again. It’s fun to use the command line.

No wonder non-Linuxers wouldn’t understand.

The point with us Linux fans is – we use Linux for its own sake. Sure, we like to get work done. Sure, we like to be secure from viruses. Sure, we like to save money. But those are only the side-effects. What we really like is playing with the system, poking around, and discovering completely pointless yet fascinating facts about the OS.

There are three main reasons Linux is so much fun:

1. Linux gives you complete control

Ever tried stopping a process in Windows and the OS wouldn’t let you? Ever tried deleting a file – and you couldn’t? Even though you had admin rights?

Linux lets you do anything. That’s the great benefit of usually logging in as user. If you login as the root, the OS assumes you know what you’re doing. Once you become root, everything is allowed.

2. Linux isn’t widely used

This is a paradox. We often complain Linux isn’t more widely used. But that’s one of the reasons we use it. It gives us a feeling of being a special clique. Like we’re better than “those ignorant masses”.

If Linux becomes widely used, we’ll probably switch to something else. Or at least develop an obscure distro that only we will use. Because, let’s face it, we want to feel special.

3. Linux is free (as-in-speech)

We can get the source code for all our applications. If we want to know how a certain part of the OS works, we can. This lets us tweak and play with our systems. And we absolutely loo-o-o-ve tweaking our system.

Of course we can’t tell non-Linuxers we use Linux because it’s fun – they’d stick us into a mental asylum quicker than you can say “antidisestablishmentarianism”. So we’ll keep telling them the false yet plausible reasons for using Linux. But deep inside, we’ll know the real reason we use Linux.

And maybe, just maybe, next time someone asks me why I use Linux, I’ll flash a huge smile and answer: “Because using Linux is FUN!”

My latest article Build your own DNS name server on Linux, has been posted on Opensource.com. This is the second article in my series on DNS name services.

Published yesterday, April 6, Introduction to the Domain Name System (DNS), talks about how name services work on both the client and server side, and lists some of the more common DNS records and their uses.

You may also be interested in some of my other articles about networking. The following list of articles are posted on my Linux-DataBook website, and may also be posted on Opensource.com.

The following articles are currently posted only on Opensource.com as of April 7, 2017.

My latest article, Introduction to the Domain Name System (DNS), has been posted on Opensource.com. This article talks about how name services work on both the client and server side, and lists some of the more common DNS records and their uses.

You may also be interested in some of my other articles about networking. The following list of articles are posted on my Linux-DataBook website, and may also be posted on Opensource.com.

The following articles are currently posted only on Opensource.com as of April 6, 2017.

06. October 2012 · Comments Off on “Linux Servers and Advanced System Administration” Class Status · Categories: Linux, Millennium Technology Consulting LLC, Training

The advanced class I have been working on for over a year is nearly ready. This unique class, entitled, Linux Servers and Advanced System Administration covers a wide range of advanced topics in a manner never seen in other courses.

The topics covered in this course (still subject to change) will be:

 Administrative Tools  WordPress and MySQL
 IPTables  MailMan
Network Configuration  SAMBA
SendMail  CUPS
SpamAssassin  SELinux
MIMEDefang  Building RPMs
Apache Web Server

But it is how the class is structured as much as the specific subjects covered that makes it unique. Most classes that cover these subjects do not cover all of them, and they do not treat them as a part of an integrated whole system. The Linux Servers and Advanced System Administration class treats these as parts of a unified whole

By the end of the class each student will have a fully working Linux system with a firewall; a name server with forward and reverse zones; a DHCP server; an email server with integrated anti-spam; two working web sites with one a static HTML site and the other a complete WordPress site with a MySQL back end; A MailMan mailing list server; A VNC server; NFS and Samba shares. The student will also learn to build RPM packages.

In addition, students will learn advanced aspects of some of the system commands covered in my Theory and Practice of Linux System Administration course, as well as some interesting new commands that can be used for advanced system administration tasks and problem determination.

I expect this course to be ready for a test class in December of 2012. It will be held in my Raleigh, NC, training facility. The exact date is still a bit uncertain but, at this time, I expect it to be the first week of December.

The class will normally cost $2995. There will be discounts available for that session because it will be a test class. As always, the additional $500 discount for TriLUG members will apply. Please contact Millennium Technology Consulting LLC for details.

26. June 2012 · Comments Off on Theory and Practice of Linux System Administration Class Rescheduled · Categories: Linux, Training

I have rescheduled the session of my Theory and Practice of Linux System Administration class for the new dates of July 9 through 13, 2012. This class will be run at my class room in Raleigh, NC.

The cost is $2495 for this highly reviewed class. There is a $500 discount for members of TriLUG (Triangle Linux User Group); you must present your membership card or ID to take advantage of this offer.

Please contact me to sign up now.

08. January 2012 · Comments Off on Linux Class Schedules set for Q1, 2012 · Categories: Linux, Millennium Technology Consulting LLC

My Company, Millennium Technology Consulting LLC, has set its Linux training schedule for the First Quarter of 2012. We will be presenting one session of our highly acclaimed “Theory and Practice of Linux System Administration” class each month.

Classes are set for the following dates:

  • January 23-27, 2012
  • February 13-17, 2012
  • March 12-16, 2012

Please refer to the Millennium Technology Consulting LLC Training Page for complete schedules and prices.

I have had my Toyota Prius for 10 years this past April. I am very happy with it. This news makes me even happier because future Toyotas of all models will use embedded Linux for the onboard control and entertainment systems.

See http://www.linuxinsider.com/rsstory/72867.html for the details and an interesting Top Ten List.

I am in the process of forming a class roster to test a new Linux Administration course I am creating. This 5-day class will be held in Raleigh, NC, July 25 through 29. The normal cost for this course would be $1995 per student, but because this is a test class, there will be an $800 discount for a cost of $1195 per student. This is a one time offer. All future classes will be at the full rate. To obtain this discounted rate you must be enrolled and course fees paid no later than 5:00 PM on July 15, 2011.

I have a couple students committed to this class and would like to have a few more.

This class is based upon material I have put together over several years for a number of different specialized reasons. I am in the process of filling out the areas needed to cover all aspects of an Introduction to Linux  System Administration.

Course Synopsis

This course is intended for  junior Linux Systems Administrators who wish to advance their knowledge, and administrators of other Unix versions or Windows who wish to become Linux System Administrators. This class is heavily oriented towards hands-on activities. At least half of the class time is allotted to lab projects. The class is based on Fedora because it is the upstream distribution for Red Hat Linux.

The student will learn about the history of Linux and the philosophy of Linux and how it applies to the everyday tasks that she will be expected to perform. The student will install a current Fedora Linux system on common Intel hardware, using various installation options to customize the final result. The students will learn to use the command line interface (CLI) and many basic Linux commands along with the vi editor. More advanced commands such as sed and awk will be covered and combining all of these commands into short command line programs will be discussed and the student will have opportunity to use them in lab projects.

This course covers the Linux boot sequence and the traditional SystemV init scripts as well as the new systemd daemon for startup and daemon management. The student will learn to manage users and software packages. Networking, security, processes, filesystems and Logical Volume Management will be covered in detail.

The course outline (subject to change) is shown below:

  • Introduction To Linux
  • The Linux Way
  • Installation
  • Getting logged in
  • Using the Console
  • The Command Line Interface (CLI)
  • Basic Linux Commands
  • Boot Sequence
  • Startup
    • Upstart
    • SystemV init
    • systemd
  • The vi Editor
  • Managing Users
  • Advanced CLI Commands
  • Processes
  • Task Scheduling
  • Filesystems
  • Logical Volume Management (LVM)
  • Disk management
  • CLI Programming
  • Package Management with RPM and YUM
  • Network
  • Security
  • Problem Solving

Please contact dboth {at} millennium-technology {dot} com to register for this class or call 919-389-8678.


Frankly the best software on the planet is free.

Free Open Source Software, also known as FOSS, not only provides the basis for the majority of the Internet Servers in the world, it also provides home and office software that can reduce your software expenditures to zero, $0.00, nada, nothing.

Define “Free”

Free has multiple meanings when applied to FOSS. Here are three I think are important. FOSS is not only free as in beer but free as in speech and free from worry.

Free Beer

I have to believe that everyone understands “free as in beer.” But just in case — it means that there is never any charge of any kind for the software. There are no up front charges, no license charges, no upgrade fees, no subscription fees; you simply never have to pay anything, ever. How great is that!

Would you refuse a free beer if someone offered it to you? And if you don’t imbibe alcohol, would you refuse a free Starbucks? Why would you refuse free software?

Worry Free

Because you never have to pay for licenses, you never have to spend money to monitor and audit your licenses. This frees you from the worry that the “Software Police” will come and require an expensive audit. Audits can be doubly expensive because they not only take time and money to perform but they also can cost money in penalties if it is discovered that you are using licenses for which you did not pay.

Make no mistake about it; the software police do come around. Microsoft can be very aggressive about that as can some other proprietary software companies.

Worry free also means that you never have to worry about the security or quality of the software. There are hundreds and even thousands of contributors to Open Source Software around the world who verify the usability and safety of the software. many of these people actively contribute code to various projects while others simply do quality control by checking the code directly or using it and reporting bugs.

Although all software has bugs, Open Source Software gets fixed much more quickly than proprietary software and the fixes are distributed much more quickly. Let’s face it; I have worked at companies that depend on closed source, proprietary software and their first reaction when you report a bug — despite paying thousands or even millions of dollars — is to do an analysis of Return On Investment, or ROI, to determine whether it is profitable for them to fix the bug. Most of the time they came back to us saying that they had known for some time that there was a bug but that it did not affect many customers and so they were not going to fix it. Best case I ever got was that it would be fixed in some unspecified future release, probably multiple years from now.

And of course that never did us any good as we needed the software fixed now. So in at least one place I worked we actually paid over $250,000 to have the software company fix bugs that were their fault and that should have been corrected for free. At another place we paid over $500,000 to have the software vendor add features that should have been in the software in the first place.

With FOSS simply make a request and the feature gets added. Report a bug and it gets fixed and is usually available within days or weeks at most. Or you can do it yourself if you have the skills — most of us don’t so we depend upon the programmers to deal with adding features or fixing bugs.

And finally I never have to worry about viruses, Trojan horses, worms, spyware and other nasties. Linux and FOSS is not immune to those things, but it is far more resistant than Windows and in the very unlikely event that it does get infected, the damage will be very limited. In fact, if you are really paranoid — and you should be if you run a web site, email server or other Internet connected service — you can activate the SELinux feature which was developed by the NSA to make it impossible for a cracker to damage a Linux computer even if he does break in. SELinux is sort of like bolting down the furniture and storing your valuables in a tungsten steel vault just in case someone breaks into the concrete bunker through the quadruple-locked steel door. Way overkill for most of us, though.

Free Speech

Free speech means that I can give you my opinion; which is exactly what I do on this blog and specifically in this post. Whether you want it or not. ;-)

It also means that I, or you, can give away copies of FOSS to anyone and everyone; it means that the software is freely available and unencumbered by restrictions of any type. In fact, the primary Open Source licenses, Gnu Public License, or GPL, and its derivatives all encourage us to give away copies of the programs. And most FOSS can be downloaded quite easily from the Internet.

So if I like a certain program, or an entire operating system, I can give you a copy and you can install it on as many computers as you want. You can turn around and give it to other people if you want to.

Software For Every Task

There is Free Open Source Software available for nearly every task you might want to do at home or in a business. I don’t intend to list them all here, but I run my business and my household on FOSS. This includes OpenOffice which does things like spreadsheets, math formulae,  drawing, database, and just plain old word processing and which includes the ability to use Microsoft Office documents and spreadsheets. I use GNUCash for my home and business finances. I use Thunderbird for email and Firefox for browsing the Internet.

I use VirtualBox for virtualizing multiple computers on a single hardware system. I use Tellico to keep collections of things such as books and the Gramps Genealogy System to research and keep track of my family. There is GIMP for complex image manipulation, Skype for Internet telephony, and multiple image viewers, photo management programs and media players.

And of course I use Linux as my operating system. Always free, secure and stable.

The best part is that all of this software is both free of cost and free as in speech. You can even try Linux and many FOSS programs using “live” spins that allow you to boot from a DVD or CD and try it out without changing or doing anything to your hard drive.

Getting Started

If you are ready to get started, or you simply want to learn more about FOSS, please go to my Millennium Technology Consulting LLC web site to learn more.

Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin recently announced a five-year plan to completely transition Russia to Linux and Open Source. Starting this year and completing in 2015, all Russian institutions must convert from Windows to a Russian version of Linux.

There appear to be several possible reasons for this transition, but the primary impetus is likely to be simply the reduced costs associated with Linux, as it is with many other countries and many commercial institutions as well. Another might be the possibility Microsoft may have included, at the behest of the American government, spy software and back doors that would allow American espionage agencies free and easy access to Russian computers.

Nevertheless, transitioning an entire government, especially one as large as Russia, is a tremendous undertaking and one not to be undertaken lightly. The Russians have made noises about this before but this looks to be a major push by Putin to make sure that it happens.

See the complete article in Linux Journal: http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/russian-linux-push-continues