Windows-to-Linux roadmap: Overview

A roadmap for developers making the transition to Linux

IBM e-business architect Chris Walden is your guide through a nine-part developerWorks series on moving your operational skills from a Windows® to a Linux® environment. He covers everything from logging to networking, and from the command-line to help systems -- even compiling packages from available source code.

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Chris Walden, e-business Architect, IBM

Chris Walden is an e-business Architect for IBM Developer Relations Technical Consulting in Austin, Texas, providing education, enablement, and consulting to IBM Business Partners. He is the official Linux fanatic on his hallway and does his best to spread the good news to all who will hear it. In addition to his architect duties, he manages the area's all-Linux infrastructure servers, which include file, print, and other application services in a mixed-platform user environment. Chris has ten years of experience in the computer industry ranging from field support to Web application development and consulting.



11 November 2003

Also available in Russian Japanese

You're moving from Windows to Linux. You've decided you want the stability, flexibility, and cost savings of Linux, but you have many questions in your head. Isn't Linux like UNIX? Isn't UNIX hard? Where do you begin to make sense of all of this? Is there a map you can follow?

This roadmap is designed to help you take the experience and knowledge that you already have in computing and redirect it to working in Linux. It's not the only reference you'll ever need, but it will help you get past some of your first obstacles and adjust to a new and, I think, exciting approach to computing. As you follow this roadmap, you'll discover many new resources to help you learn, troubleshoot, and manage Linux.

We're assuming you already have Linux installed. If you don't, go to Linux.org and learn which distributions would fit your needs. You'll also find links to downloads there when you're ready to install.

Your roadmap to Linux
Step 1.
Thinking in Linux
The first step to success in Linux is learning to think in Linux. Take what you already know and redirect it to doing things the Linux way.
Step 2.
Console crash course
Linux provides great power and flexibility through the console. If it has been a while since you've spent much time at the command prompt, take a little time to reacquaint yourself with this environment by reviewing common commands you'll use all the time.
Step 3.
Introduction to Webmin
While it is important to know the nuts and bolts of administration, it is often more convenient to have a tool. Also, a higher-level application makes complex configurations easier to handle. Webmin provides point-and-click configuration for beginning and experienced administrators.
Step 4.
User administration
If a system has no users, is it really a system? Learn about the Linux approach to users.
Step 5.
Linux logging
Linux makes extensive use of logging. Nothing is hidden from you. Becoming comfortable and familiar with logs will allow you to monitor the health of your system and track activities.
Step 6.
Working with file systems
File systems are at the heart of every server. Linux provides a lot of flexibility in its file systems.
Step 7.
Networking
Working unconnected is unthinkable in today's world. Linux on the network unleashes its full potential. However, Linux networking looks very different on its face. You'll need to learn some new terminologies and new tools.
Step 8.
Backup and recovery
The first line of defense against disaster is a backup of the data. Linux provides different options, some of which are very simple to work with.
Step 9.
Installing software
Linux can use prepackaged binary files, or you can compile programs directly from source code. The tools for installing Linux programs are very useful and provide functionality you might not expect.

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