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Chapter 4 - Insufficient attention paid to Ubuntu?

thebizthebiz Posts: 18
edited April 2015 in LFS201 Class Forum


I am using Ubuntu 14.04 Desktop and will be taking the LFSA and LFCE certification exams on Ubuntu. I recently completed LFS101.

I honestly could not decide whether Chapter 4 was really really good or really really bad. Since I am using Ubuntu 14.04 I have no access to chkconfig because its deprecated; so had to use update-rc.d for Exercise 4.1. Also, my experience with scripts (LFS101...) had not extended to the source command previously (. /etc/sysconfig/fake_service or source /etc/default/fake_service $VAR1 $VAR2). Consequently, had to figure out where $VAR1 and $VAR2 were 'magically' getting their values from (". /etc/sysconfig/fake_service" is not very descriptive). Use of "source /etc/default/fake_service $VAR1 $VAR2" might have made the script more accessible to the less experienced.

Then when I used the command "sudo update-rc.d fake_service defaults" I got error messages (warnings) because the script did not have a header like the following:


# Provides: fake_service

# Required-Start: $remote_fs $syslog

# Required-Stop: $remote_fs $syslog

# Default-Start: 2 3 4 5

# Default-Stop: 0 1 6

# Short-Description: Start daemon at boot time

# Description: Enable service provided by daemon.


I conclude that Chapter 4 was both really good and really bad at the same time. It was bad because it did not in of itself contain sufficient information to complete the exercises assigned. It was good in that it provided a task and sufficient information to go and research solutions because the fake_service would not install and start without errors therefore providing a rich learning experience. From the point of view of being here to gain certification as a System Admin / Engineer on Ubuntu then I think LSB Init Scripts should have merited a mention in Chapter 4.


  • adamherstadamherst Posts: 25
    I agree with you that the course is Red Hat centric. I had to do a lot of research to translate some of the material to an Ubuntu context with regard to start up utilities and scripts. I'm finding it more difficult translating the SELInux material (Red Hat) to AppArmor (Ubuntu) which is only mentioned and not explained at all in the course. Since I'm going to be taking the test on Ubuntu, I'm assuming I need to know it.


  • thebizthebiz Posts: 18
    edited April 2015
    Hi Adam,
    This course is hailed as being release agnostic but in comparison to LFS101 (edX version) it appears to fall short of that mark. Complaining about the shortcomings of the course without documentation is not going to get us very far. Whereas, identifying shortcomings and presenting solutions will be useful to all concerned since we are here to obtain LFCA / LFCE certification. I think starting a Ubuntu thread might be a good start. What do you think?
  • coopcoop Posts: 362
    Some comments.

    If you look at http://training.linuxfoundation.org/certification/lfcs
    and find "Overview of Domains and Competencies" you get the public list of what is required to know for the LFSA exam. In particular under Local Security it says:

    Local security

    Accessing the root account
    Using sudo to manage access to the root account

    Nothing about selinux, apparmor etc. Let me explain a little.

    The Linux Foundation keeps its certification testing and its training courses completely separate, different teams working on both. In particular, the "domains and competencies" are put together by an advisory board that is external to our staff and consists of people from various sectors of the different communities involved. Thus anyone who wants to design training for passing the exam is free to do so with the same information as the course designers at the Linux Foundation have.

    We do indeed include a lot of *extra* material because we think it should be part of general knowledge, there is no mandate to restrict content to what is on the exam and never will be. So don't expect everything to be on the exam :)

    There have been a number of points raised that involve ubuntu and "upstart" related questions. Please note that this technology is dead as upstart has been abandoned by every major Linux distribution; Ubuntu is phasing it out (maybe in the 15.04 release, I haven't looked) and systemd has taken over in all Red Hat and Suse derive distributions. I don't want to engage in a holy war about whether this is good or bad as we all have opinions, but anybody looking forward should not be worrying about either upstart-related matters (and in fact SysVinit is only being supported as a backwards emulation wrapper around systemd). Just the way it is. So while we will fix
    obvious errors, we will not invest much time in explaining such matters.

    Please keep in mind when contrasting this class to LFS101 at edX the audience is very different; the audience for LFS201 is more experienced, more comfortable to research things on their own with man etc, and we don't hold hands that much.

  • thebizthebiz Posts: 18
    Hi Jerry,

    Thanks for your replies to both of the threads I started.

    May I take this opportunity to tell you more about myself. I am British. I live in Madagascar where I own a hotel. I am nearly 50 and left the computer industry over 20 years ago when I was a tech support analyst on IBM AS/400. I am taking this course because I have unlimited free time, like researching stuff and if I ever had to return to the UK I am presently only qualified to flip burgers.

    I feel like I am learning an alien language and man pages still make my head swim! My first exposure to Linux was about three weeks ago starting with LFS101. I like it much more than my first exposure HP-UX and X-Windows in the early 90's because it was inaccessible unstructured chaos way back then.

    Linux Foundation invited me to enroll on LFS201 because I enrolled on LFS101 and even offered a substantial discount. Your comment surprises me about the audience for LFS101 & LFS201 not being one and the same since it appears contradictory to the Linux Foundation marketing effort. That however does not mean in hindsight that I cannot recognize a gap between the two courses.

    I received 100% in the exam for LFS101. I was under the impression that LFS201 would follow on from where LFS101 left off because Linux Foundation had invited me to enroll. I find myself feeling concerned because when I look at the lab assignments I am stumped and have to peek at the solution to finish the exercise. I am worried because this the beginning of the course and if I can't get a grasp on this material I won't get a grasp on what follows. And, lastly have the midnight worms of doubt keeping me awake because I suspect CentOS might be the superior operating system for the course and exam since it is a closer relative to RHEL than Ubuntu.

    Sincerely yours,

    John Bizeray
  • coopcoop Posts: 362

    You are taking the right approach, diligently working though the labs and absorbing the solutions, which is what you should be doing when you are stuck. Keep in mind it is totally self-paced and you have 12 months of access to develop your skills.

    Keep in mind, the LFS101 MOOC was really aimed to build foundational skills very gently and we were trying not to aim to high in expectations of prior experience. (and indeed there have been many complaints in the discussion threads it was too easy, mostly from folks who probably didn't need the class to begin with.) With LFS201 it is intended to be preparation for a the exam and a career and we have taken off the training wheels. If we make it too easy (or too long) it becomes inadequate preparation for the exam for example.

    If you do not succeed in passing the exam in Ubuntu you can always take it again in CentOS for example. (6 or 7) I'm pretty sure we are (or will be) permitting a re-test at little or no cost to calm people's nerves.

    If you are seriously considering a career in Linux I would advise you to get familiar with a Red Hat like system (CentOS) since the vast majority of Enterprise systems (and thus available jobs) are on that platform, with the second most being on SUSE variants. Ubuntu is less important in the Enterprise (please no flame wars, I'm not making a judgement, just reporting on numbers!) It is generally an easier desktop for new users.

    By the way, I just read today that Ubuntu 15.04 (due April 23 or so) will be completely systemd, not Upstart or SysVinit.

  • thebizthebiz Posts: 18
    Hi Jerry,
    Thanks for your comments and guidance. Since my objective is improved employability I should place more focus on CentOS.
  • adamherstadamherst Posts: 25
    Hi John,

    I just want to second Jerry's encouragement to keep working through the material. My situation is very similar to yours (55, background with ancient UNIX companies but not as a programmer or sysadmin, looking to get back into the job market in Toronto) and found some of the material difficult on my first pass through. I'm on my second pass now and understand much more. All in all I find this to be a very good course (I like self-paced learning) and encourage you stick with it. Please post any questions you have. I'm sure someone here will be able to help out.



    P.S. I'm going to stick with Ubuntu for now since that's what I run on my machines at home. It is also the distro I have had most luck introducing to some of my non-profit arts organization clients. If I fail the first time on Ubuntu, I will take the exam again on CentOS as Jerry suggests.
  • thebizthebiz Posts: 18
    Hi Adam,
    Thanks for your words of encouragement.
    Since I have only tried Ubuntu I am downloading CentOS and OpenSuse so I can make an informed opinion about which I prefer. Plus take the opportunity to apply the lessons I have covered so far to Chapter 10 by building a multi-boot system.
    Out of interest what are your clients using Ubuntu to do - Desktop, server?
  • adamherstadamherst Posts: 25
    Hi John,

    Exclusively desktop. They are very small organizations without large budgets. As one of my ways of supporting the local arts community I provide IT support (very simple stuff, mostly Windows and Mac) to them at reduced rates. When Microsoft sunset XP, most of them couldn't afford the bulk upgrade to Windows 7. I managed to convince some of them to give Linux a try for certain workflows. In general, they've been happy with the result.

    With regard to setting up CentOS/SUSE environments, I highly recommend setting them up in virtual machines. That way you can run all three environments side by side and find out what is specific to each distro in realtime. I've even done that with the Ubuntu environment I am using for the course so I can install all of the referenced software and not worry about trashing my production environment when I try "dangerous" stuff.


  • coopcoop Posts: 362
    I would also encourage learning how to set them up as VM's with either vmplayer or virtual box, both of which are free. Dual and/or triple boot systems can be difficult to set up, mostly because of having to redo the partitioning, plus you can't play with
    more than one OS at a time. You can install the hypervisor on Ubuntu and run CentOS or openSUSE or Fedora etc at the same time!
  • thebizthebiz Posts: 18
    edited April 2015
    Hi Jerry and Adam,

    I did not set out to be contrary but...

    I am probably one of the last people on the planet using a x86 machine with 2G Ram Max (Its a Lenovo S10-3). I tried using a Oracle VM running Ubuntu under Win7 and it was horridly slow and crashed. As I suggested in an earlier post I am learning to speak an alien (Linux) language and one of the best language learning methods is immersion. so I decided to pack Windows away and migrate.

    Here is what I've done so far:
    • Backed up my personal information.
    • Factory reset my Lenovo S10-3.
    • Shrunk sda2 (Win7) to 50GB.
    • Created sda3 (150 GB) and divided it into 3 x (48GB + 2GB Swap) = 6 LVMs.
    • Left sda4 untouched (proprietary Lenovo recovery partition)
    • Installed Ubuntu, Centos and OpenSUSE into their respective partitions.
    • Recovered a 2.5" 250GB HDD from a dead laptop and put it in a USB case.
    • Created sdb1 (10GB NTFS - Stop Win7 from prompting to format), sdb2 (100GB Ext4) & 122 GB unallocated.
    • I used blkid to give me the UUID of sdb2 and edited /etc/fstab to mount UUID=697d8f2a... to /var/lib/transmission-daemon/downloads on boot. Using UUID is better than using /dev/s* because there is no chance of mis-identification when inserting another usb drive (memmory stick..).

    The exercise was productive for me because I put into practice the lessons I covered in LFS201 to date. I found that Ubuntu is user friendly in comparison to CentOS because there was no GUI with CentOS so had to install Gnome manually. In order to install Gnome I had to activate ethernet because Centos comes with it deactivated. I decided to keep the Grub2 bootloader from OpenSUSE because my son (Max,6) liked the chameleon logo. My work around for a VM was to get access to two instances of Ubuntu from my hosting company (If anyone wants to swap access to an instance of Centos / OpenSUSE for one of Ubuntu let me know...).

    I still cannot conclude which release I prefer most nor do I feel I should. Each release has its advantages. I might recommend Ubuntu to someone looking for ease of use. Or recommend Centos (closed to communication upon install) or OpenSUSE (defaults to btrfs encrypted filesystem) to people like lawyers or doctors who need to secure their data.

    Since both Ubuntu and CentOS have Gnome GUI I decided to install KDE on OpenSUSE to try yet another take on the GUI.
  • adamherstadamherst Posts: 25
    Good show.



    P.S. The similarities continue: I have a son Max. Except he's 30 :-).
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