Unix/Linux for System Administrator

Posted on 2008-06-19
Last Modified: 2013-12-16
I do windows system Administration (Active Directory, Exchange emai server 2003, WSUS, Folders NTFS permissions).
I have heard that Unix/Linux is a must to learn for the future. Now I have some questions:

1- Do I need to learn Unix or Lunix and which flavor should I pick in order to do  the same tasks I mentionned above under windows system administration?
2- which book would you recommend that will enable me to learn and administer Unix or Linux system?
  I would like to have a book that teaches how to achieve the same tasks I do under windows system administrator?


Question by:jskfan
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Expert Comment

ID: 21825465
Which flavor of linux? That really is a loaded question. Do you want a full package upon install? Or would you rather have a bare-bones type of distribution. You are talking system adminsitration, so I assume you are focusing on linux server software. Here's a great site:

I would pick a distribution that you like before getting any books. Most linux books focus on one distribution, and lot of commands/configuration are different for each distro.

Assisted Solution

JonMarkGo earned 125 total points
ID: 21825497
It really depends. Not all companies use Linux/Unix, but many certainly do and at least personally, I suggest it as something to at least be familiar with.

There are a lot of Linux alternatives to all of those tools you mentioned.
Try checking out OpenLDAP and Samba as an alternative to Active Directory.
Exchange...there's tons of alternatives. Postfix is a very commonly used free mail server for linux.
WSUS - Each distro generally has their own separate update utilities. Apt-get (debian, ubuntu) is certainly configurable for auto-update, though I can't say I've tried using it to push updates to clients, but I'm sure its possible.
NTFS permissions - Very easy to do with Linux group/user permissions.

There are so many books out there, I suggest getting a very basic one on Linux server administration. I, however, cannot suggest any specific one that's better than the rest from my personal experience.

Expert Comment

ID: 21825514
Also, I will add that Ubuntu is very easy to start with, and you could try it on a Virtual Machine or on a 2nd partition or hard drive on your machine. It is very stable, quick, and pretty easily configurable. And there's a TON of resources out there for it.
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Assisted Solution

omarfarid earned 125 total points
ID: 21825710
you need to cover areas like

- command and utilities that are generally available on unix / linux systems that deal with files, directories, users, processes, etc.
- shell scripting
- system administration tasks like managing users, disks, filesystems, backups, etc.
- networking and integration with other systems

Author Comment

ID: 21863964
If I get Ubuntu linux book.
  Does that mean it will teach me:
1-OpenLDAP and Samba as an alternative to Active Directory
2-Postfix as an alternative to Exchange email server
3-Linux group/user permissions as an alternative to NTFS permission

4-And if a company already has Microsoft domain implmented, can they migrate to Linux or they will have to build Linux from scratch?
5-Some companies already have Microsoft , and some servers have Linux as OS and running some applications, in this case Linux servers are managed individually or there is a way to apply a unique policy that will affect all Linux servers? such as we do In active directory group policy?


Author Comment

ID: 21932777
any updates??????
LVL 12

Accepted Solution

alikaz3 earned 250 total points
ID: 21945962
Ok so it looks to me that you want to learn linux to be used as a DC/email server box replacement. I have seen this done, but you really have to have a firm understanding of what is going on here. You are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole - Microsoft technologies are pretty different from linux. I'm sure a novice could slam-bang this sort of install onto a linux machine, and get AD working correctly, but what if you have problems? later down the road? I think you should take this in 2 steps at least:

Learn linux, learn file/print/email sharing in native linux modes. Learn some linux scripts, and try making a small network (the best part is that you don't have to pay for any licenses to tinker around!)  Then once you get that far, you can move up to the advanced subject of applying Microsoft technologies to linux systems.

I personally would not use a linux box to host an active directory, but getting them to integrate into a MS AD network as a file/print/email server should be your primary goals.

As for books:

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