Developer/Tech Blogger

(Re)learning Linux with Lynda and VirtualBox

Last week I had my first phone interview for a job in software development. It was for a DevOps position that required comfort with git, continuous integration, CentOS and the yum package manager. I was 2 for 4. I can use git. I am familiar with continuous integration but my Linux knowledge was admittedly rusty. In 2003 I ordered my laptop with Ubuntu as the OS so I had used Linux before but it has been a long time. I eventually had to switch the OS to Windows so I could complete my college schoolwork.

This meant I could not be considered for the job because the job requires the candidate to be able to navigate CentOS easily. So what does a motivated, internet-enabled self-learner do? I go learn about CentOS!

Resource List

My main computer is my Windows 10 laptop so I needed a few things in order to re-learn Linux…

  • Oracle VM VirtualBox – “I hear you like computers, so I put a computer in your computer.” This allowed me to have a Linux computer to work in without needing a separate physical computer.
  • CentOS operating system – I was able to easily download an ISO of CentOS and install it on my virtual machine.
  • Git Bash – This allowed me to treat my CentOS VM as if it was another computer on a network and connect to it via SSH.
  • Up and Running with CentOS – Lynda.com – I found a great tutorial on Lynda.com, so I signed up for their free 10 day trial. This tutorial was easy to follow even with rusty Linux knowledge. It helped me get familiar with the basics of CentOS, Linux, SSH, yum and vi.
  • (Optional Resource) Amazon Web Services – Pretending that my VM was actually on a network made things even more unnecessarily complicated sometimes so I learned how to set up an AWS instance with CentOS to complete the CentOS tutorial.

After I completed the CentOS tutorial, I felt OK with my CentOS knowledge but not comfortable enough so I needed more practice. Since I still have time in my free 10 day Lynda.com trial I decided to check out the Become a Programmer learning path to get more familiar with CentOS, Linux in general and vi specifically. The learning path explores simple programming concepts and gave me an opportunity to use vi. I found this great vi cheat sheet (PDF) and got to work.

Unnecessarily Complicated JavaScripting

The Becoming a Programmer learning path only requires an HTML file and a JavaScript file but I’m not doing this to learn JavaScript or basic programming, I’m doing this to learn how to use Linux and vi so here’s my setup:

learningLinux

I have Lynda.com up in my browser on my laptop (left side of screen). I have a VM running CentOS after I used the yum package manager to install the GNOME desktop (lower right corner of my screen). Then to make it more complicated I am using GIt Bash to connect to my VM using SSH so I can use vi as my editor for the tutorial (upper right corner or screen). All this just to type some simple JavaScript. Crazy!

My plan is to use vi in my CentOS virtual machine as my code editor for a while to get comfortable with it, then in about a month I will check to see if that DevOps position, or a similar position, is available. Wish me luck!

If you have any issues or ideas with the resources I shared, let me know. I would love to talk about them. Sometimes being an online-learner can be lonely.

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