October 14th, 2003, 05:04 PM
Linux steep learning curve
Hey guys. I've been a microsoft goon for a long time. I've been doing system admin/troubleshooting stuff for about 10 years, and getting paid pretty well for it. I kind of pride myself on being a fairly clueful person, I've pulled of tricks that should not have worked, supported tons of production machines and kept uptime on critical boxes high, etc. I'm entirely self taught and have managed to learn SQL, Exchange, server, and a ton of apps.
My problem is, at my current client, they are uh, shall we say, cheap. They need a cache/proxy service to help 'speed up' web traffic. I know squid does a good job, and so I threw together some parts and did a network install of redhat 9. Easy enough.
My problem is, redhat installed squid, but it doesnt seem to be running. I tried to install webmin with an RPM and I double click on it, it hops from 1/3 to 1/2 done and then the window goes away. So I downloaded a new build, managed to do the make and whatevers and install the new build of squid. It still doesnt seem to be running.
The interface in redhat (I think Im using xwindows and gnome, not really sure) is not intuitive at all. The advantage of microsoft products is that you can depend on things being fairly similar, or at least make certain assumptions about how to manage services, settings, etc. I read that the squid process has to have rights to the cache directory, ok great, how do I do that? what is the squid process? Is there some shell I can load on redhat to give me links to things like this? Am I dead in the water? Do I need to go buy some "how to admin linux" books to do this? I've honestly never had to read a book on any piece of computer technology before? Checkpoint firewall? No problem, dorking around with the gui and phone-boys site was enough. Exchange 2000/Active directory migrations? No problem, read 2 paragraphs in a white paper and messed around on the home machines for a few days and had it down.
I was hoping for something similar with linux, but after having this machine running for a week, I can't even be sure squid is installed correctly, or running. If it isn't running, I have no idea why not. I have modified the config file and it makes pretty striaght forward sense.
What gives? Any "Windows 2000 Server" shell I can put on red hat to have it make sense?
October 14th, 2003, 05:21 PM
You sound like me when I started using Linux a year or so ago.
Try this tut out and see if it helps. Keep googling and finding tuts and go over the man pages until you get it working. If you give up, you'll never know how it works.
October 14th, 2003, 05:25 PM
Wow! Thats a good tutorial. I'll run thought it and see what happens. Thanks a bunch!
October 14th, 2003, 09:36 PM
A good place to start is in the squid.conf file(usually in /etc or etc/squid). I'm sure the tutorial link posted will explain in detail.
\"If computers are to become smart enough to design their own successors, initiating a process that will lead to God-like omniscience after a number of ever swifter passages from one generation of computers to the next, someone is going to have to write the software that gets the process going, and humans have given absolutely no evidence of being able to write such software.\" -Jaron Lanier
October 14th, 2003, 09:47 PM
Thats kind of true. The conf file is good at explaining the settings for squid, but doesn't do anything to explain how to make sure its running, etc. For some reason when I installed, QUICKSTART wasn't placed in the etc directory either, although the faq on squid-cache clearly said it would be there.
October 14th, 2003, 10:05 PM
I would recommend getting the Red Hat Linux 9 Bible. I've read it myself. It's not my first linux book, but I consider a great reference and how-to book. It really walks you though to doing everything you want to do.
Trust me, it's a great book, it comes with the distribution, and you'll learn to help your clients much better.
October 14th, 2003, 10:28 PM
to find out if a process is running, you can use the ps command.
ps -aux | grep squid
should tell you if it is running
you can use the man pages for any commands you are not familiar with.
will list the manual for that command
will list the manual for that command
a lot of times you can put a --help after a command too, to get a short list of the flags.
Oh, and I agree with PuRe. The Red Hat Linux Bible 9 is a great book. I have this and it is a very easy to understand book. Especially for beginners.
October 14th, 2003, 10:39 PM
So I'm really going to have to read? I know, I know, I sound like I'm whining. I was hoping this would be user friendly enough to pick up is all.
Ok, I'll check out the bible, thanks for the advice.
October 15th, 2003, 06:16 AM
Just a quick FYI:
If you didn't already know... you can find just about anything you want using googles linux search
Googles Linux Search Page
Some other useful links:
The linux documetation project
Single list of how-tos
Looking for a specific app to do the job but don't know what its called?
Looking for a specific RPM but can't find it? I know... you can alway compile... but RPM is much easier IMO.
Besides those... the bible is a great resource.
You can also join a LUG (linux users group)
Find one near you and join. Most of them hold regular meetings... where you can meet other geeks interested in linux just as much as you are. I'm a member of a LUG at a local college near me... those guys know it all. One email will return dozens of replies... all with several ways to accomplish something... or advise on how to fix a problem you are having.
October 15th, 2003, 06:35 AM
jeffs72, I think that your problem with linux is one of its greatest security advantages. Linux is not the sterotypical norm for script kiddies. Think about it. Just about everything in the microsoft world is accomplished through a simple Graphical Interface, it is simple for some 12 year old sitting at home to scan a network and find a system running a trojan wich lets them control the system as if they were sitting in front of the machine. How many computers out there do you think are running PC anywhere with out passwords enabled, way to many. With Linux on the other hand it takes some knoweledge to configure and destroy things. True linux gui controls are becoming more and more popular with the latest distros, but things are still not in the same place that normal Microsoft users would be accustomed to looking for them. I have had friends over who think they know so much about computers, I let them sit at my system and they are dumb founded. Not that it is difficult to use, but they are in shcok that there is something other than Microsoft.
With a little time, and effort, and yes even reading, Linux is more then easy to comprehend. I hope that you find as much excitement and facination in learning Linux as I did. Have fun.