Click here to close now.



Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Martin Etmajer, Gary Kaiser, Liz McMillan, Flint Brenton, Talend Inc.

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

WatchIT Releases Linux Education Series

Learning about Linux

WatchIT, a rich media company that produces education on demand, recently released a six-part series of interactive programs titled "Linux Education Series," targeted at executives and others who would like to learn about the Linux platform and the world of open source. The series consists of six programs ranging from high-level overviews of Linux to some fairly specific steps for Linux security.

I recently had the opportunity to review this series. When taken as a whole, the series provides helpful information for viewers who want to learn about the Linux environment. However, some programs appear to be somewhat out of touch with the reality of the Linux and open source landscape. These programs hurt what otherwise is a valuable series of educational programs.

As reviewed, the series consists of six CD-ROMs (which require Windows in order to play) bundled into a CD folder. The titles are:

  • Linux at Work: Case Studies and Perspectives
  • Understanding Linux
  • Linux and Database Management Systems
  • IBM's Linux Development Environment
  • Linux in the IBM Production Environment
  • Linux Security for Mission-Critical Applications
In general, I was pleasantly surprised with the value of the information in the series, with one notable exception. Each part stands on its own and some were better than others, therefore I'll review each one separately.

The Bottom Line: Linux at Work: Case Studies and Perspectives

This program examines three organizations that rely on Linux for some aspect of their business: Boeing, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Mindbridge Software. It provides a very helpful look at how Linux has been deployed at these organizations as well as some of the hurdles that these organizations overcame in deployment.

Technical Briefings: Linux Security for Mission-Critical Applications

I'm naturally skeptical of any program on computer security and even more so with a program on Linux and open source security. However, this program provides thorough coverage that's quite refreshing to see in this format. The basics of Linux security are covered but the program also goes much deeper than I had hoped. Briefly mentioned were things like LIDS, chroot, and kernel patches such as GrSecurity.

Any viewer who knows some of the basics of operating system security but wants to learn or at least get a grasp on some of the more advanced topics would be well served by this program. Since the programs in this series are around 45 minutes, you won't get the level of detail that tells you how to patch a kernel, but you can certainly gain insight into the subject and learn what your next steps should be if you're interested in learning more.

Technical Briefings: Linux and Database Management Systems

Like the program on security, the Database Management Systems program provides insight into areas of importance for the platform. Some of the popular database systems on Linux are examined, including MySQL and Oracle, and their strengths and weaknesses are discussed. Important distinctions are made for the viewer as well, including what to consider when choosing a database platform.

Technical Briefing: Linux in the IBM Production Environment and Technical Briefing: IBM's Linux Development Environment

Reviewing these programs together seems acceptable because they're both geared toward IBM shops. IBM's Linux Dev Environment program included some good information on development in Linux, but its strong IBM focus makes it seem as if IBM is one of the central players in the development of Linux. While IBM is certainly a player, you can't help but think of all the development in the Linux and open source world that has absolutely nothing to do with IBM. I feel that the Linux Education Series would have been better served if it had included a more generic program, such as Development on the Linux Platform.

The Linux in the IBM Production Environment program was entirely IBM-centric, which should come as no surprise based on the title. Like other programs in the series, you can't help but question how this fits within the landscape of Linux and open source as they're deployed in the real world. For an organization that relies on IBM, this program would be a great benefit, but it may be of lesser value for those who don't.

WatchIT is a very responsive company and the two IBM programs were produced at the request of their customers. To that end, these are both helpful programs if you're working in an IBM-centric environment.

Straight Talk: Understanding Linux

The final program that I'll review is Understanding Linux. The goal of this program is to educate viewers on what Linux is as well as what role it plays in the computing world. Unfortunately, this program seems to be more of an opinion statement than a statement of fact. For example, with quotes like, "I think it's fair to say that the open source community hasn't produced a great deal of technical innovation," the credibility of the information throughout the program comes into question. Many other opinionated statements are included, making the program less valuable and far from helpful in understanding Linux.

The program also offers to educate viewers on the security of Windows and Linux but fails because it provides misleading comparisons. The viewer is led to believe that he or she has been given an apples-to-apples comparison when in fact the comparison is only Microsoft-produced software against all open source software, regardless of whether the software runs on Windows and Linux alike; it excludes all other closed source software that runs on Windows. While the goal may have been to show that no operating system is secure, comparing all open source software to one manufacturer's products is misleading and says nothing about the security of either operating system.

If misleading information is given about security, the program also seems out of touch with the open source community in other key areas. For example, the viewer is walked through the reasons that organizations deploy Linux and open source technology. Included among these reasons are philosophy, availability of source code, security (which was discounted for Linux based on the misleading information given about security), IBM's influence, and, the most important reason cited, that Linux costs less than its competitors. Absent from these reasons is what many consider to be the most important reason for deploying Linux: Linux is simply better. Granted, for every reason that you could produce for deploying Linux, another person could produce a reason against. However, it's important to realize that the list of reasons given in this program is presented as factual, not as opinion, and is therefore incomplete.

Since the quality of the material in the series as a whole is good, it's unfortunate that the Understanding Linux program was included. I should think that anyone wishing to learn about Linux or the open source world would be better served by looking at Web pages such as NewsForge or Slashdot rather than viewing this program.

Summing up the Series

When taken as a whole, the Linux Education Series offers some value to organizations considering Linux and open source. The majority of the programs in the series are quite valuable. However, the viewer needs to be aware that some programs may be of less value and that one program, Understanding Linux, is more of an opinion statement than a factual examination of Linux. I would like to see the second version of this series include a better program to help people understand Linux and open source, along with more generic versions of development in Linux.

More Stories By Steve Suehring

Steve Suehring is a technology architect and engineer with a solid background in many areas of computing encompassing both open and closed source systems, he has worked with a variety of companies from small to large, including new and old economy, to help them integrate systems and provide the best use of available technologies. He has also taken a hands-on approach with many projects and frequently leads teams of engineers and developers, and has written magazine articles as well as a book on the MySQL database server. He has also performed technical editing on a number of other titles.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including clou...
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless...
The IoT's basic concept of collecting data from as many sources possible to drive better decision making, create process innovation and realize additional revenue has been in use at large enterprises with deep pockets for decades. So what has changed? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Prasanna Sivaramakrishnan, Solutions Architect at Red Hat, discussed the impact commodity hardware, ubiquitous connectivity, and innovations in open source software are having on the connected universe of people, thi...
WebRTC: together these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Cary Bran, VP of Innovation and New Ventures at Plantronics and PLT Labs, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it may enable, complement or entirely transform.
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, showed how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants received the download information, scripts, and complete end-t...
For manufacturers, the Internet of Things (IoT) represents a jumping-off point for innovation, jobs, and revenue creation. But to adequately seize the opportunity, manufacturers must design devices that are interconnected, can continually sense their environment and process huge amounts of data. As a first step, manufacturers must embrace a new product development ecosystem in order to support these products.
Manufacturing connected IoT versions of traditional products requires more than multiple deep technology skills. It also requires a shift in mindset, to realize that connected, sensor-enabled “things” act more like services than what we usually think of as products. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks, discussed how when sensors start generating detailed real-world data about products and how they’re being used, smart manufacturers can use the dat...
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT’s direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Buildi...