Close to the hardware and touched by all are the file systems. You might have been around when Windows® moved from a FAT32 file system to the NTFS file system. Likewise, the most popular file system for Linux®—and likely the one you'll work with initially—is the Extended File System (ext). It has made huge improvements through its evolution from ext to ext2, ext3, and now ext4. Note that Linux doesn't have a registry: It's all about files. Files are used to configure practically everything about the operating system, including user accounts, applications, booting, and kernel parameters. Even the network sockets are files. Understanding the architecture and permissions of Linux files will go a long way as you intertwine your Windows knowledge with that of Linux.
Like Windows, Linux has a default administrative account, user accounts, system accounts, and groups. Learn the proper way to access the Linux administrative, or root account, and then create and manage various users and groups.
Using Linux doesn't mean you'll have to abandon what you are already comfortable doing: working from the desktop. Whether you work with users, monitor logs, secure the system, or manage a server service, the desktop can provide a nice point-and-click alternative to the console or terminal.
Many user and server applications work with both Windows and Linux—IBM® DB2®, for example. Users of these applications might not have to do anything different, but you'll need to understand a few things, such as what it takes to start and keep the application running. Some of your favorite Windows applications might even run on Linux. If not, there's a good chance you'll find a suitable alternative. Either way, a key first step is to learn how Linux applications are executed and run.
The concept of backups, restores, log reading, upgrades—you get the point—the day-to-day chores that ensure the system is available and responding to the users: You do the same tasks in Linux as in Windows. You just need to know what tools are available and how to use them.
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