The book of spells
A quarter of a century
It has been almost 25 years since the first time I met Linux – I’m having my first gray hair indeed. I’ve been enchanted by it and I wanted to become a professional.
When I started we could install it from scratch, although the first distros were beginning to pop up … Slackware, Suse, Red Hat – not Red Hat Enterprise Linux, only Red Hat.
Me, as many others, was bold enough to use file systems such as ext2: it was risky not to use a journaled filesystem, but it was what we had, and we were stubborn enough to keep on until ResierFS and ext3 popped up. Printing was a nightmare and the layered design to support hardware devices, especially audio, was a mess (Ok, audio is still a mess, but this does not really matter on servers).
And what about the X-Window system – keep in mind that security has been designed according to the sensitivity of the mid of the ’80, but the overall design was impressive – you launch an application and it is rendered on the connected graphical display, … wherever it is.
Me, as many others, hung on because we were sure that Linux would have become one of the most used operating systems for mission critical workloads.
An operating system fully open, that we can just use, or deeply explore if we wanted to. That was exactly what I wished.
For most of us Linux means freedom, the same way the Black Pearl sounds like freedom to Captain Jack Sparrow.
Sysinit, Upstart and now systemd, … what a long way we had together; we both were young, but now I consider both of us mature: that’s why I think that it has come the right moment to share some of my notes on what I did with Linux during all of these years.
Over the years I started considering them as spells – some of them are really powerful, and I put them into my own grimoire.
Of course I do not consider them the only way of doing things, but they are what let me gradually grow as a modern Linux professional.
Of course there are other grimoires out there with other spells: this is mine, and I hope you’ll love it.
A modern Linux professional
A modern Linux professional should not only be able to operate and troubleshoot Linux: he should also have all of the soft skills required to design and implement mission critical infrastructures applying commonly used frameworks in compliance with regulators.
He should know how to operate under environments subjected to change management, as well as be able to cooperate with other team members to fulfill a project, tracking the progress to ease the governance.
And of course, he should master legacy technologies, as well the most modern ones: a lot of modern technologies relies upon old concepts and tools under the hood: there's a huge difference from operating a technology and be conscious of everything about it, be aware of its limits and know the features that can be exploited to integrate with other technologies.
But most of all, he should be positive and humble so as to contribute to the creation of a nice working environment where everyone should be proud to belong to the team, eager to meet its colleagues to share experiences and ideas.
Is Linux the best operating system in the world and do the others not worth anything? Naaa, mate, flame wars are for newbies, and religions are for priests and sorceress. We are professionals: it's another matter.
These are the topics I want to talk about in these blog pages. I hope you will enjoy them, and why not, connect each other professionally on Linkedin
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This is the list of the more recent spells of the grimoire:
- SDN tutorial – OpenFlow with OpenVSwitch on Oracle Linux - OpenVSwitch (OVS) is the pillar used by several emblazoned software, such as OpenStack or Red Hat's OpenShift to set up their Software Defined Networks (SDN): it enables users to quickly and easily implement multiple bridges to which connect Virtual Machines or Containers. These bridges can be left standalone, creating isolated networks, or interconnected to the […]
- Free Range Routing (FRR) and OpenVSwitch on Oracle Linux - In an Infrastructure As Code (IaC) scenario, rather than provision a VM and install a networking dedicated appliance, it is best to provide something without a web-UI but that provides a good configuration API or that sources its settings from something that can be easily managed by automated configuration tools. In such as scenario it […]
- Indirect CRL generation, CRL validation and OCSP validation - In the "OpenSSL CA tutorial - a full-featured OpenSSL PKI" post we set-up a full featured Public Key Infrastructure with Root and Intermediate Certificate Authorities, Indirect CRL and OCSP Responders. To have a go with that PKI, we also generated an Extended Validation (EV) certificate ("/tmp/foo.crt"). In this post we are using the same PKI we […]
- OpenSSL CA tutorial – A full-featured openssl PKI - OpenSSL is a full featured tool capable not only to generate keys and certificates, but also to provide every facility a PKI must have, such as indirect CRL and OCSP responders: these features, along with certificate's best practices such as the Certification Practice Statement (CPS), publishing CRL Distribution Points URL, OCSP Responders URL, CA Issuers […]
- X509 Certificates Howto – A Public Key Infrastructure Tutorial - As we saw in our post on Symmetric And Asymmetric Cryptography, asymmetric key pairs can be used to encrypt and digitally sign documents, but have a huge shortcoming: since they are just keys, they don't provide the metadata necessary to enable people to securely identify their owner. As we saw in the post on GNU […]
SKILL SET EVERY PRO SHOULD HAVE
Well, ... a little bit of space to introduce myself: Marco Carcano, pleased to meet you. I cut my teeth working as a developer, but I quickly realized that I preferred working as a system engineer and so I gradually moved to this field. I worked on both Linux and Microsoft environments until 2012, then I decided to specialize on Linux only: anyway the high skill level gained on Microsoft platforms too during the years let me still easily design and implement cross-environment solutions.
I have a preference for Red Hat: this is the list of Red Hat certifications I succeeded into indeed
- Red Hat Certified Specialist in Advanced Automation: Ansible Best Practices
- Red Hat Certified Specialist in Ansible Automation
- Red Hat Certified Specialist in Configuration Management
- Red Hat Certified Specialist in OpenShift Administration
- Red Hat Certified Specialist in Gluster Storage Administration
- Red Hat Certified Specialist in High Availability Clustering
- Red Hat Certified Specialist in Server Security and Hardening
- Red Hat Certified Specialist in Deployment and Systems Management
- Red Hat Certified Specialist in Virtualization
- Red Hat Certified Engineer
- Red Hat Certified System Administrator
Besides Red Hat Certified Engineer, the specialization exams entitled me as:
- Red Hat Certified Virtualization Administrator,
- Red Hat Data-center Specialist
- Red Hat Certified Architect (Data-center concentration)
Besides this I also have been Cisco CCNA, and I'm ITILv3 certified too. Currently I'm working in the financial field as a senior professional, both providing support to less “seasoned” colleagues as well as designing and implementing mission critical solutions, often with the bleeding edge technologies.