Tag Archives: CompTIA linux+ LX0-101

CompTIA Linux+ LX0-101 exam

My Lab Setup

This is just a quick post about the Linux Lab setup that I am using for this course.

I have a Cisco switch on my network and I have an old eeepc set up as my test machine that I can ssh into. In order to make that easy, it was set up with fixed ip address.

Lab DiagramMy working laptop runs Ubuntu 12.10 with xfce, and the test laptop, the one I ssh into for the course labs, is running a basic Debian install.


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101: System Architecture – Part 1

Linux Overview

I’ve spent the past couple of days looking at the Linux course on Udemy and one of the issues for me is that it dives right into commands with no background. However I am also working from an exam guide that starts with a basic introduction to Linux, so that is where I am choosing to start; lets understand what it is we are looking at before we start playing with it.

What is Linux?

Simply put, Linux is an operating system. Most of us are familiar with operating systems and if we use computers, or have a smart phone, then whether we know it or not, we are using an operating system. Most folks are going to be familiar with Windows (in its various versions) or perhaps Mac OS if you are an Apple user. Smart phone and tablet folks likely know either Android or iOS, and with the advent of the Chrome Book, some of you may be familiar with Chrome OS.

Linux is just like that, it is an operating system. However to say that Linux is just another operating system would be wrong as there are some major differences between Linux and other OS’s.

Before we dig too deep into that, lets look at what an operating system is. Operating systems provide a number of key functions:

  • Application platform – the framework required for our applications to run on.
  • Hardware Interface – it acts as a buffer between hardware and applications, because not all computers are the same or have the same components.
  • Data Storage – provides reliable and secure places to store user files.
  • Security – provides for rules and policies regarding the security of user data..
  • Connectivity – allows users to connect with peripherals or the web, and other networks.

So what makes Linux different?

History is what makes Linux different. Until Linux came along, almost all operating systems were controlled by corporations. Each one invested money in research and development and required a fee for the use of its operating system. At the time, the OS’s available were DOS, Mac and Unix, and Windows was just appearing on the horizon.

Linux broke this model by being offered to the world for free. So how did that come about?

It all goes back to Unix. At one time, the source code for Unix was offered free to universities for the purposes of education … and then it wasn’t. So a professor called Andrew Tanenbaum created a Unix kernel clone called Minix. Another chap by the name of Linus Torvalds in Finland liked the idea behind Minix, and created, as a part of his own studies, the first Linux kernel. Linux kernel v0.02 was released in October 1991, along with:

  • Bash – A shell program
  • Update – utility program
  • GCC – C compiler

Not only did Torvalds post the source code on the internet, but he invited others to modify and improve the code, and over time an army of coders has worked on Linux, making it what it is today.

Another person of note in the story is Richard Stallman from MIT. In 1983, Stallman started the GNU project, which was based on the idea that the corporate model of software development was too restrictive as it is did not allow for the copying and free distribution of source code. One of the main applications that is covered by GNU is GCC (the GNU C Compiler). This influenced Torvalds who made extensive use of GCC as a part of Linux.

So the Linux kernel is freely available to anyone who wants it, but the kernel is not the only part of the operating system, which brings us to:

Linux Distributions

Distributions are essentially flavors of Linux. They all have the same kernel but are packaged with different applications and for different purposes. There are versions of Linux for embedded coding in applications like set top boxes, there are desktop versions and there are server versions and so on. Often these distributions are provided by corporations who sometimes charge for support of their distributions (Red hat for instance) while still offering free versions.

My current distribution of choice for my work laptop is Ubuntu. Currently I am running version 12.10 with XFCE as my desktop, Chrome as my browser and so on. I have a second machine that runs Debian in command line only so there is no desktop software.

Other applications for Linux include:

  • file server
  • print server
  • web and email server
  • data base server
  • firewall

As we will see in the course ahead of us, Linux is incredibly versatile, configurable, and reliable which makes it ideal for many of the roles in networking, and other applications.




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Course First Impressions

Today I fired up the Learn to run Linux Servers by Anthony James, and I have a couple of observations about the course. But first; I did get my Linux machine up and running. I was having trouble yesterday getting Suse Linux on my Eeepc, and this morning I gave up altogether. Instead I did a network install of Debian and that worked out just fine.

It turns out that a number of images are used for the course, and Debian is one of them, so I should be able to follow the course closely.

And now the downside of the course; the videos. The sound is fine and I can follow them, but in some of the videos, the text is almost unreadable, even at 720. In a couple of cases, the command line and text is outside of the video area. This makes it hard to see the commands used. Type ‘password’ the man says, but the command is passwd. Hard to see it though, so if you don’t know, you’ll be typing password wondering why it doesn’t work.

Right now I don’t think this is too much of a problem as I know these basic commands but we’ll see how this works out when things get complicated. Also it does appear that the course is being updated with better quality videos, so over time I expect this to improve.

As for the lesson today, it was a basic introduction, using the commands

  • su
  • passwd
  • adduser

A couple of gotcha’s for me however – I do keep typing sudo rather than su as I am used to Ubuntu. I am also used to writing sudo <command> and having Ubuntu ask me for the password, where as Debian you type su and it asks for the password, then you type the <command(s)>. Turns out that this is because there were some holes in my knowledge of these commands and their difference.

This is why I am taking this course; being a Linux user and a Linux Admin are two very different things.

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Getting Started with the LPIC 1-101

I took a peek at the first lecture on this LPIC 1-101 course and it appears that I am expected to have a Linux install that I can telnet into.  Although it isn’t stated in the course when I purchased it, the first lecture launches into telnetting (or ssh) into a Linux server over a network. After some digging, it turns out that the folks that run this course, also run LinuxAcademy.com; and you’ve guessed it, they rent server instances for students to learn on.

So my first task is to set up a lab. I have a couple of machines that are not my primary PC that I can install some flavour of Linux on and hook into my network and that will allow me to follow the course with a real live server of my own.

This really isn’t a big deal. It would have been nice to know up front but setting my own server up is something I’ve wanted to do anyway, this just gives me the excuse to do it.

Course Objectives

The goal here to certify with an LPIC 1. The LPIC 1 is also the CompTIA Linux +, and comprises two exams:

  • LPIC 1-101 (CompTIA Linux + LX0-101)
  • LPIC 1-102 (CompTIA Linux + LX0-102)

I will cover the LX0-102 once this course is complete. The LX0-101 is split up into 4 sections:

101 System Architecture                                        14%
102 Linux Installation and Package Management                  18%
103 GNU and Unix Commands                                      43%
104 Devices, Linux Filesystems, Filesystem Hierarchy Standards 25%

… and where possible I am going to try and categorize my notes accordingly. The Linux Academy course on Udemy is not split up that way and that is the course I am following so some of the categories may appear to be a little woolly – my apologies for that.

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Linux Certifications

As a part of my transition into a network engineering role, I feel I should take a Linux certification. Why? Well, Linux is an essential part of network engineering; most employers want engineers with a working knowledge of Linux, and for me, I love to play with Linux. I’ve had Linux as my main operating system since 2007 and I’ve been playing with it since 1998, so it is time for formalize that knowledge and get it on my resume.

I did some searching around and it seems that the generally accepted first step in this process is the CompTIA Linux+ certification, which is also the LPIC 1-101 and LPIC 1-102 combined.

With that in mind, I have purchased the official LPIC1-101 course from Udemy.com, and I am hoping to take the first test in 4 weeks time. We’ll see how that works out.


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