Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, AppDynamics Blog, PagerDuty Blog

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
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services 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. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
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 cloud...
Digital payments using wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and payment wristbands are an increasing area of focus for industry participants, and consumer acceptance from early trials and deployments has encouraged some of the biggest names in technology and banking to continue their push to drive growth in this nascent market. Wearable payment systems may utilize near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or quick response (QR) codes and barcodes...
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media 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. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
The IoT has the potential to create a renaissance of manufacturing in the US and elsewhere. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Florent Solt, CTO and chief architect of Netvibes, will discuss how the expected exponential increase in the amount of data that will be processed, transported, stored, and accessed means there will be a huge demand for smart technologies to deliver it. Florent Solt is the CTO and chief architect of Netvibes. Prior to joining Netvibes in 2007, he co-founded Rift Technol...
We’ve worked with dozens of early adopters across numerous industries and will debunk common misperceptions, which starts with understanding that many of the connected products we’ll use over the next 5 years are already products, they’re just not yet connected. With an IoT product, time-in-market provides much more essential feedback than ever before. Innovation comes from what you do with the data that the connected product provides in order to enhance the customer experience and optimize busi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Stratoscale, the software company developing the next generation data center operating system, 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. Stratoscale is revolutionizing the data center with a zero-to-cloud-in-minutes solution. With Stratoscale’s hardware-agnostic, Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) solution to store everything, run anything and scale everywhere...
Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified – now it's a component-based well-performing framework. This immersive one-day workshop at 18th Cloud Expo, led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay, will provide you with everything you wanted to know about Angular 2.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, 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. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...