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The Distro Dilemma - distro hopping, VPS, and exam requirements

I've signed up for the course, and doing a fast LFS101 refresh before I dive into the Bundle.

But I have a dilemma. I've been distro hopping a lot for the past 15 years since I've been using Linux. I have really used them all, sort of.
Right now I am playing with a non-specialist selection for Kali. I know, I know. It's a distro that will eat my breakfast and leave the toilet seat open.

I have none of the pentesting and other exotic metapackages installed, only KDE and co.

I was playing around with openSUSE Tumbleweed before that, also with KDE.

You see where I'm going with this one: binary only rolling release, because I'm tired of dist-upgrades, tbh.

Anyway, I chose Ubuntu for the exam, because that's more familiar. I like CentOS too, but still prefer something Debian-esque. I just can't wrap my head around the fragmented package selection for the kernel, and drivers, and some other stuff (like HWE and co) on Ubuntu.

So, my dilemma is: shall I install Ubuntu (or rather Kubuntu, maybe KDE neon, because KDE) for the course, or is it ok to do the lab exercises on Kali, and idk fire up an Ubuntu VPS on eg Scaleway for the exam?

Sorry if I can't be that active in the community, my schedule for the course is quite hectic, but will try my best.


  • coop
    coop Posts: 913

    To get authoritative answers on the exam environments, you really need to ask the certification people. I'm in training and I don't write the exams or configure the platform. However, because the exams are run in a cloud environment using a remote login, GUIs generally are irrelevant AFAIK (and my specific knowledge is mostly LFCS and LFCE) While the course material should work on any non-specialized distribution, it is generally tested only on GNOME-based distros just due to the market share, not an opinion. So I would recommend keeping it simple.

  • That was my assumption that I could probably go forwardwith Kali, most packages are available anyway, maybe merged into new packages and represented by transitional dummies, or other non distro-specific packages, like libvirt-bin (it's a dummy package on Ubuntu 18.04), btrfs-tools (it's merged into btrfs-progs), or linux-tools-generic (it's linux-tools on Debian and co).
    Diffuse and zenmap were also mentioned by the script, but that can be solved too, I guess.

  • coop
    coop Posts: 913

    you don't need diffuse. It's just a nice program to get a gui showing of file differences.

    I've had people have trouble with Kali so you will probably learn things :) Some problems can be subtle -- I've seen things that work on Ubuntu desktop (or workstation) and we test on that, and then someone comes in with Ubuntu server and things don't work, output is different, and all sorts of non-obvious things. So have fun :)

  • Well, there's Kompare on KDE do do diff stuff, so that should work.
    This is my first course on LF, so I am quite new to the whole thing, how it works, how it is done. But yeah, I guess GUI tools are often "good to have", but not a hard requirement.

    Regarding Kali: I guess it's safe to follow the Debian Testing approach: be patient before and after Stable release, because packages get a bit chaotic. But I also find that Kali (and Parrot, and PureOS Byzantium) track Testing with a bit of delay (bit of internal testing I suppose?), so I hope the Testing-Stable Freeze-Thaw period is more, khm, "graceful". :smiley:

    But anyway, it's good that I'll have a cloud instance at my disposal for lab exercises, and I don't have to waste my production rig. B)

  • heiko_s
    heiko_s Posts: 99

    I also had a dilemma, but Tim on Friday actually answered it indirectly: he uses kubernetes on Ubuntu.

    I myself chose CentOS simply because I'm less familiar with Red Hat based distros, and Red Hat is probably the market leader in enterprise Linux after all. This would force me to get familiar.

    I most likely will change it to Ubuntu because I feel more at home with the Debian/Ubuntu way of doing things, which will help in the exam. It's good we have this choice.


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