Chapter 1 - Where to Start

Interesting things I learned while reading this chapter.

Suggested background

Mastering vim is perhaps the single best productivity enhancement available to administrators.

For scripting it's suggested bash, python and ruby.

There's also a mention to a tool called expect. I googled about it and became surprised how I didn't know such an old tool. Yeah, maybe I need to invest some time learning it.

Linux distributions

There continue to be hundreds of independent Linux distributions, but our sense is that distributions derived from Debian and Red Hat lineages will predominate in production environments in the years ahead.

(...) minimalist distributions has been gaining traction. CoreOS is leading the charge against the status quo and prefers to run all software in containers [NOTE: CoreOS seems to be dead. NixOS looks promising]. Alpine Linux is a lightweight distribution that is used as the basis of many public Docker images. Given this reductionist trend, we expect the footprint of Linux to shrink over the coming years.

Important questions to ask when adopting a distribution:

UNIX distribution (FreeBSD)

The open source desendants of BSD (...) continue to enjoy a cult following, particularly among operating system experts, free software evangelist, and security-minded administrators.


Metric prefixes such as kilo-, mega-, and giga- are defined as powers of 10. (...)

In an attempt to restore clarity, the International Electrotechnical Commission has defined a set of numeric prefixes (kibi-, mebi-, gibi-, and so on, abbreviated Ki, Mi and Gi) based explicitly on powers of 2.

Ubuntu maintains a helpful units policy: <