% fortune -ae paul murphy

An idea about teaching Linux to the MCSE community

Frequent contributor Roger Ramjet has a bit of a bee in his bonnet about path and naming standardization across a multi-vendor distributed Unix architecture. If I understand him correctly, he believes that it's both possible and sensible to build what amounts to a standardization harness - a set of scripts which, when run on the target environment, create a standardized working environment for users and sysadmins alike.

On a personal basis I do something similar: a script that writes a .cshrc file which then sets up aliases and pathing to let me use the same commands in the same way across Unix variants and customer set-ups. Thus "% o_logs" does a cd to the right place no matter which Unix variant the customer has or where some other guy decided to put them.

This approach would work, I think, for the narrow purpose of addressing a wide range of MCSE concerns about learning to use Linux because it could give them what they need: a completely standardized, if somewhat minimal, interface to many different Linux releases.

Mine is quite primitive - a collection of files requiring some manual intervention to verify when first used - but it's easy to see how the Configure/Make combination could be used to build everything from .bashrc files to gnome configurations. Equally, it wouldn't be a big deal for the people putting out new releases to provide customized versions of the files -thereby creating a kind of standardized high level interface layer aimed at helping MCSEs overcome their fear of Linux variability.

Paul Murphy wrote and published The Unix Guide to Defenestration. Murphy is a 25-year veteran of the I.T. consulting industry, specializing in Unix and Unix-related management issues.