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derFunkenstein
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Linux for College Students

Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:58 pm

So I'm taking some development courses part-time, and the cool thing about taking courses after you've already been exposed to that particular technology is that the course comes very naturally. Example: I have a decent amount of experience with Java, HTML/CSS, and MSSQL. So my second-semester Java, web design, and relational DBs/Structured Query Language courses should be cake (and based on the syllabus, I think they will be all semester). It worked very well for me last semester and this semester it is too (two weeks in).

I tell you all that so I can start to think about jumping into my planned Linux course for this summer. I already have a Kubuntu 16.04 LTS VM that I use for some very basic web browser testing (mostly so that I can verify an OS without a bunch of MS's commercial fonts isn't totally broken). My plan is to use it all the rest of this semester for at least NetBeans (required for my Java class) so I can get a head start on an upcoming class on Linux, which starts in June. The course description isn't helpful:

This course is an introduction to Linux. In this course, file handling, text editors and shell programming are discussed.

I'm not a total n00b to the command line, assuming the BSD underwear worn by macOS is similar from a syntax perspective.

Anybody take a Linux course recently? What should I expect? What should I start to get a handle on? I figure using the VM like a production environment (for coursework) will help get me acclimated, but I really want to know it before I have to know it so I can keep up a fairly aggressive course schedule (9 credit hours per semester while working full-time, plus one to two summer courses).
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Re: Linux for College Students

Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:15 pm

If your coding classes are relying heavily on Java then using Linux should be just as easy as Windows to give you some practical experience with Linux prior to your Linux course.

Based on the course description blurb I would spend a little time on these areas:
Practice using Bash & its associated utilities to do things like file management, copying/moving/deleting, and changing file permissions with "chmod" and optionally some of the more sophisticated ACL settings. [Edit: oh yeah, and using pipes (|) to chain commands together and shell input/output redirection (< >) to direct input & output data]  On top of that, make sure to gain at least a passing familiarity with a bunch of favorite command line utilities including (but not limited to) find, grep, xargs, rsync, ssh/scp, and maybe even awk/sed.  

If this course is targeting administration of Linux systems beyond just normal user-level activities, I'd recommend learning about lots of system administration commands including how to start/stop services (potentially using systemd in many modern Linux distros), the networking commands (see the "ip" command for the network and the 'ethtool' command for lower-level network hardware setup in particular), how to check disk space and disk usage from the command line with df/du, how to go from a newly connected and unformatted storage device to a formatted and mounted disk using partition utilities like gparted and writing the fstab entry with an understanding of the /dev filesystem, and to learn about how to use the /sys and /proc filesystems to gather information about the state and configuration of your system. Another administrator favorite is automating the execution of some of these tasks using cron and editing a crontab.

The blurb further mentions shell programming: That will be a natural extension of using the standard command line and the utilities, so if you get comfortable using the command line, the shell programming won't be much of a leap (and will in many ways be a step backwards from a fully-formed OO language like java). 

As for text editors... VIM UP HOMIE!

Here are a couple of googled hits that might give you more information:
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/top-3-site ... ne-master/
http://lifehacker.com/5633909/who-needs ... t-anything


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Re: Linux for College Students

Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:21 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
This course is an introduction to Linux. In this course, file handling, text editors and shell programming are discussed.

I'm not a total n00b to the command line, assuming the BSD underwear worn by macOS is similar from a syntax perspective.

If you're comfortable with the command line in macOS you're already (mostly) there in terms of Linux CLI. It'll all seem really familiar, as both use bash as their default shell. There are some differences in the CLI utilities, obviously; but things should be familiar enough that you won't feel lost.

Not sure whether they mean GUI text editors or terminal-mode text editors. GUI editors should not present any major surprises. Lowest common denominators for terminal-mode editors are nano and vi/vim; inflicting emacs on Linux n00bs would be pretty mean, I hope (and assume) they wouldn't do that. :lol:

Shell programming likely means bash scripting. Have you done any of that on macOS?

derFunkenstein wrote:
Anybody take a Linux course recently? What should I expect? What should I start to get a handle on? I figure using the VM like a production environment (for coursework) will help get me acclimated, but I really want to know it before I have to know it so I can keep up a fairly aggressive course schedule (9 credit hours per semester while working full-time, plus one to two summer courses).

I haven't taken a course so I can't comment on what they typically cover these days.

Maybe pull up a copy of the bash documentation and start hacking (bashing? :wink:) away at some scripts to get some practice?

You may also find it helpful to install the dwww package. This makes searchable, hyperlinked man pages for packages currently installed on your system available in your web browser at localhost/dwww.
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Re: Linux for College Students

Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:25 pm

You got me, JBI. I saw your post and went "What can possibly be worse than VI?!", and sure enough, EMACS is.
 
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Re: Linux for College Students

Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:29 pm

Vhalidictes wrote:
You got me, JBI. I saw your post and went "What can possibly be worse than VI?!", and sure enough, EMACS is.

There's a typo in your post. 
Let me use VIM to fix it:
<ESC>
:s/worse/MORE FREAKIN' AWESOME/
:s/EMACS is/EMACS sure isn't/
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Re: Linux for College Students

Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:34 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
I'm not a total n00b to the command line, assuming the BSD underwear worn by macOS is similar from a syntax perspective.


Yeah, it's pretty close, at least from the end user point of view.  Many of the command line utilities have different options, so copying over shell commands verbatim might not work 100% of the time, but it should still be a useful reference point.  Simple commands like less, ls, grep, and find are the most useful.  Knowing a few more sysadmin related utilities like free and top is useful also for troubleshooting.  Piping those commands from one to the other is a useful skill as well, like running an ls on a big directory and then greping the results to filter stuff out.  Once you get a handle on that you should be able to spend most of your time on your projects, and less time figuring out how the system will let you do them.

I've always thought emacs and vi were both equally weird, and I must admit I've used emacs much more than I've used vi. Lately though I've been using nano more than either of them. :P
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Re: Linux for College Students

Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:35 pm

Vhalidictes wrote:
You got me, JBI. I saw your post and went "What can possibly be worse than VI?!", and sure enough, EMACS is.

I have a co-worker who swears by it. Uses emacs for all of his editing.

I use KDE's Kate editor for general coding, and vi for simple edits from the CLI. I learned vi way back in the Dark Ages (AT&T System V), so in spite of its bizarre modal UI and cryptic commands, it still feels quite natural to me to use it if I'm already in a CLI window and need to make a quick change to a config file or create a "one off" 7-liner shell script.
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Re: Linux for College Students

Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:44 pm

chuckula wrote:
If your coding classes are relying heavily on Java then using Linux should be just as easy as Windows to give you some practical experience with Linux prior to your Linux course.

That's what I'm hoping for. I have to turn in zipped-up NetBeans projects for Java and use some sort of organized code editor for the web design course (right now I'm using Brackets and I'm open to suggestions on something better - VS Code is also available), and so I figure why not, right?

chuckula wrote:
Based on the course description blurb I would spend a little time on these areas:
Practice using Bash & its associated utilities to do things like file management, copying/moving/deleting, and changing file permissions with "chmod" and optionally some of the more sophisticated ACL settings. [Edit: oh yeah, and using pipes (|) to chain commands together and shell input/output redirection (< >) to direct input & output data] On top of that, make sure to gain at least a passing familiarity with a bunch of favorite command line utilities including (but not limited to) find, grep, xargs, rsync, ssh/scp, and maybe even awk/sed.

The blurb further mentions shell programming: That will be a natural extension of using the standard command line and the utilities, so if you get comfortable using the command line, the shell programming won't be much of a leap (and will in many ways be a step backwards from a fully-formed OO language like java).

just brew it! wrote:
f you're comfortable with the command line in macOS you're already (mostly) there in terms of Linux CLI. It'll all seem really familiar, as both use bash as their default shell. There are some differences in the CLI utilities, obviously; but things should be familiar enough that you won't feel lost.

Shell programming likely means bash scripting. Have you done any of that on macOS?

Just based on the description, you guys probably nailed it with what I need to figure out for class. I've got plenty of experience running Bash scripts, but they're just parts of command-line tools that go with building Genero packages. Not so much on the building side, though. I've also done a bit of fiddling with apt-get for installing/updating packages.

This course isn't targeted at administration. There are separate courses for Linux administration targeted at the people on an IT administration path, so I'm hoping that doing what I need to do in a VM and without multiple machines will be sufficient.

chuckula wrote:
As for text editors... VIM UP HOMIE!

just brew it! wrote:
Not sure whether they mean GUI text editors or terminal-mode text editors. GUI editors should not present any major surprises. Lowest common denominators for terminal-mode editors are nano and vi/vim; inflicting emacs on Linux n00bs would be pretty mean, I hope (and assume) they wouldn't do that. :lol:

20-some years ago I built a really basic web page using nothing but a telnet app for Windows and pico. I've used nano quite a bit on macOS and it seems almost identical.

chuckula wrote:

just brew it! wrote:
You may also find it helpful to install the dwww package. This makes searchable, hyperlinked man pages for packages currently installed on your system available in your web browser at localhost/dwww.

This all looks very helpful, thank you both!

Addendum from SSK -->
ALWAYS PRONOUNCE IT LINE-UHCKS TO SHOW HOW l33T YOU ARE!

WAIT YOU MEAN IT'S NOT PRONOUNCED LIKE THAT????!!!

BTW, I don't know how Glorious does it when it comes to replying to threads with posts in this format. It took forever to format this thing just right.
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Re: Linux for College Students

Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:46 pm

Once I grokked that VI had modes and commands were mode-specific, it was just memorization and I've learned to use it relatively well. "When in doubt, :wq out!" 

That said I can't claim that it's a particularly fun or efficient editor, at least for me. But that MAN page for EMACS... "what is this i don't even" comes to mind.
 
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Re: Linux for College Students

Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:50 pm

I miss the days when programs required you to run Linux on your laptop. Step one: get it working with wifi.

You may laugh, but in the early 2000s that wasn't so easy much of the time. :lol: I remember using ndiswrapper to run Windows drivers for my crapass old Dell laptop that I inherited for college.


Anyway - sounds like a good course to learn BASH scripting and vi (hopefully vi, as all the other alternatives are rarely installed on systems you may manage). :)
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Re: Linux for College Students

Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:52 pm

Waco wrote:
I miss the days when programs required you to run Linux on your laptop.  Step one: get it working with wifi.

You may laugh, but in the early 2000s that wasn't so easy much of the time. :lol:  I remember using ndiswrapper to run Windows drivers for my crapass old Dell laptop that I inherited for college.


Anyway - sounds like a good course to learn BASH scripting and vi (hopefully vi, as all the other alternatives are rarely installed on systems you may manage).  :)

I went out of my way to get an Orinoco chipset PCMCIA Wifi card. At the time it was one of the few properly supported models under Linux and it was just well enough supported to get the job done.  
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Re: Linux for College Students

Tue Jan 24, 2017 4:01 pm

Waco wrote:
I miss the days when programs required you to run Linux on your laptop.  Step one: get it working with wifi.

You may laugh, but in the early 2000s that wasn't so easy much of the time. :lol:  I remember using ndiswrapper to run Windows drivers for my crapass old Dell laptop that I inherited for college.


Ugh, yeah I remember doing that also, then I decided I wanted to replace the Broadcom card with an Intel card, because it had drivers that worked in Linux.  A few days and much hackery later I had it working. Yay for PCI ID whitelists...   :roll:
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Re: Linux for College Students

Tue Jan 24, 2017 4:07 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
That's what I'm hoping for. I have to turn in zipped-up NetBeans projects for Java and use some sort of organized code editor for the web design course (right now I'm using Brackets and I'm open to suggestions on something better - VS Code is also available), and so I figure why not, right?


For coding in a GUI I've been using Atom. It's a pretty nifty text editor, especially if you use Git for version control.
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Re: Linux for College Students

Tue Jan 24, 2017 4:10 pm

Waco wrote:
I miss the days when programs required you to run Linux on your laptop.  Step one: get it working with wifi.

You may laugh, but in the early 2000s that wasn't so easy much of the time. :lol:  I remember using ndiswrapper to run Windows drivers for my crapass old Dell laptop that I inherited for college.


Anyway - sounds like a good course to learn BASH scripting and vi (hopefully vi, as all the other alternatives are rarely installed on systems you may manage).  :)

My first Linux experience was on my second job (hardware services consultant) in 1999. My new boss wanted me to create a standard build for a Thinkpad running... I think it was Slackware. Terminal-only, of course - there was no GUI that I could get working on the laptop screen, although I think there were four or five to choose from back then. Total nightmare. 

He couldn't understand that the WiFi drivers I needed essentially didn't exist in any form, although I did find nearly-correct drivers that disconnected constantly (after some customization). Eventually I gave up. It probably wasn't until the mid 2000's that I even looked at Linux again; It was a pretty bad memory.
 
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Re: Linux for College Students

Tue Jan 24, 2017 4:18 pm

Vhalidictes wrote:
Once I grokked that VI had modes and commands were mode-specific, it was just memorization and I've learned to use it relatively well. "When in doubt, :wq out!" 

That said I can't claim that it's a particularly fun or efficient editor, at least for me. But that MAN page for EMACS... "what is this i don't even" comes to mind.

Interestingly enough, both were first released in 1976. I suppose there's a part of me that is quietly amused by the idea of using a piece of software whose UI was designed nearly a half century ago.

Taken in that context, some of the odd (compared to current UI design practices) choices aren't as "WTF?!??" strange. Hardcopy terminals were still common, and people were just starting to figure out how to best utilize the newfangled "glass TTY" CRT terminals. Vi and emacs were two early attempts that gained enough of a following that they are still around (and actively developed) today.
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Re: Linux for College Students

Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:02 pm

JBI, from my quick examination of EMACS , it looks less like a "UI" problem, and more like a "dessert topping and floor wax" problem. That editor is trying to do too many things, and none of them well.

You can make a good UI for a word proccessor.
You can make a good UI for a file manager.
You can make a good UI for a programming compiler.
You can make a good UI for a news reader.

Steve Jobs himself couldn't make a good UI for all those functions in a single console interface.
 
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Re: Linux for College Students

Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:07 pm

Hence the common jab that Emacs is a nice operating system, but it's too bad it still lacks a good editor.
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Re: Linux for College Students

Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:10 pm

Vhalidictes wrote:
JBI, from my quick examination of EMACS , it looks less like a "UI" problem, and more like a "dessert topping and floor wax" problem. That editor is trying to do too many things, and none of them well.

You can make a good UI for a word proccessor.
You can make a good UI for a file manager.
You can make a good UI for a programming compiler.
You can make a good UI for a news reader.

Steve Jobs himself couldn't make a good UI for all those functions in a single console interface.

Yeah, I suppose you could say that emacs is trying to be a complete text-mode DE. This made a certain amount of sense back in 1976. Maybe not so much any more. :wink:

bthylafh wrote:
Hence the common jab that Emacs is a nice operating system, but it's too bad it still lacks a good editor.

:lol:

More than a little truth to that, I suppose. Current versions even have a selection of embedded games (Tetris, Pong, etc.)
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Re: Linux for College Students

Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:22 pm

DUNNET and Eliza have been included since forever ago, I think.

edit: early '90s for the former as part of Emacs.
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Re: Linux for College Students

Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:40 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Vhalidictes wrote:
JBI, from my quick examination of EMACS , it looks less like a "UI" problem, and more like a "dessert topping and floor wax" problem. That editor is trying to do too many things, and none of them well.

You can make a good UI for a word proccessor.
You can make a good UI for a file manager.
You can make a good UI for a programming compiler.
You can make a good UI for a news reader.

Steve Jobs himself couldn't make a good UI for all those functions in a single console interface.

Yeah, I suppose you could say that emacs is trying to be a complete text-mode DE. This made a certain amount of sense back in 1976. Maybe not so much any more. :wink:

bthylafh wrote:
Hence the common jab that Emacs is a nice operating system, but it's too bad it still lacks a good editor.

:lol:

More than a little truth to that, I suppose. Current versions even have a selection of embedded games (Tetris, Pong, etc.)


Well, all Emacs needs to do is consume systemd (or would it be the other way around)....

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Re: Linux for College Students

Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:45 pm

Oddly enough, when I was in college (2004), we got zero introduction to Linux. Jump right in and get movin' is how they did it. Not that I'm complaining, as I feel if you're a CS major you probably know a bit already, or you should. Oh we also used only Emacs, gcc/g++, and compiled/ran everything from a terminal window. It's actually really weird because when you get to the real world, that isn't really how anything works.

Funk, you'll be fine. I suspect you'll be bored in this class tbh. You have a pretty thorough knowledge of macOS, Windows, and at least some programming experience. You will have zero issues.

I couldn't even come close to counting the number of times I typed/pasted...
g++ -o exe_filename yourfilename.cpp

...give or take a few flags. Oh memories.
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Re: Linux for College Students

Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:16 am

I recently did the Software Carpentry course on the Unix shell through my work. Found it to be a really good introduction, particularly to piping shell commands. I previously had experience with Linux VMs, but this filled in some blanks.

The course material is available online (google "software-carpentry") - simple stuff, no charge, no registration, etc. Worth a look, even if you just pick out a couple of the sections of the course.

Sorry, can't post links yet.
 
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Re: Linux for College Students

Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:52 am

DancinJack wrote:
Oddly enough, when I was in college (2004), we got zero introduction to Linux. Jump right in and get movin' is how they did it. Not that I'm complaining, as I feel if you're a CS major you probably know a bit already, or you should. Oh we also used only Emacs, gcc/g++, and compiled/ran everything from a terminal window. It's actually really weird because when you get to the real world, that isn't really how anything works.

Sounds like the course was taught by a disciple of Stallman. Were you at least allowed to have multiple terminal windows open? :lol:

As an aside, Stallman "browses" the web by sending e-mail to a server that downloads the desired page with wget and e-mails the copy back to him; he then views the local copy in lynx, a text-mode web browser. (Reference: https://stallman.org/stallman-computing.html)
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Re: Linux for College Students

Wed Jan 25, 2017 8:59 am

I used to do that! But it was in about 94-95 when we didn't have a full internet feed at work but had UUCP email to a machine that did.

I wonder how many people here remember using a bang path email address?
 
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Re: Linux for College Students

Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:13 am

DancinJack wrote:
Funk, you'll be fine. I suspect you'll be bored in this class tbh. You have a pretty thorough knowledge of macOS, Windows, and at least some programming experience. You will have zero issues.

The courses last semester would have felt thoroughly remedial to anybody who has done any self-directed study for the first 12 or 13 weeks, and just about the time they got interesting, week 16 was here and the semester was over. Even now, there are two distinct types of people: those who are interested and therefore have some experience and will do well, and those who are not super-interested and will flounder.

It seems like there's no middle ground of "interested but not experienced, and will still do fine" thanks to the advent of YouTube and Udemy. If someone is interested, they've probably been online looking at stuff.

just brew it! wrote:
As an aside, Stallman "browses" the web by sending e-mail to a server that downloads the desired page with wget and e-mails the copy back to him; he then views the local copy in lynx, a text-mode web browser. (Reference: https://stallman.org/stallman-computing.html)

That is just Crazytown USA right there.

notfred wrote:
I wonder how many people here remember using a bang path email address?

I didn't have internet access until 1996, so I guess that was done by then. The @ was exotic enough for me.
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Re: Linux for College Students

Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:54 am

notfred wrote:
I wonder how many people here remember using a bang path email address?


I don't, at all, but I like to pretend I do!
 
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Re: Linux for College Students

Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:10 am

derFunkenstein wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
As an aside, Stallman "browses" the web by sending e-mail to a server that downloads the desired page with wget and e-mails the copy back to him; he then views the local copy in lynx, a text-mode web browser. (Reference: https://stallman.org/stallman-computing.html)

That is just Crazytown USA right there.

I'd expect nothing less from RMS.
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Chuckaluphagus
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Re: Linux for College Students

Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:31 am

notfred wrote:
I wonder how many people here remember using a bang path email address?

I first had an Internet connection (real one, not AOL or Prodigy or the like) back in 1994, and I have never heard of !-path addresses before today. After reading its description, all I can say is, "Sweet merciful crap!" :o
 
just brew it!
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Re: Linux for College Students

Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:33 am

Captain Ned wrote:
derFunkenstein wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
As an aside, Stallman "browses" the web by sending e-mail to a server that downloads the desired page with wget and e-mails the copy back to him; he then views the local copy in lynx, a text-mode web browser. (Reference: https://stallman.org/stallman-computing.html)

That is just Crazytown USA right there.

I'd expect nothing less from RMS.

Yup. Definite tinfoil hat territory.
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Re: Linux for College Students

Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:23 am

DancinJack wrote:
Oddly enough, when I was in college (2004), we got zero introduction to Linux.  Jump right in and get movin' is how they did it.  Not that I'm complaining, as I feel if you're a CS major you probably know a bit already, or you should.  Oh we also used only Emacs, gcc/g++, and compiled/ran everything from a terminal window.  It's actually really weird because when you get to the real world, that isn't really how anything works.

DJ, I just "jumped right in" myself since there wasn't exactly a course for this back in the day. As a result, I never learned about stuff like this, which has me at probably an expert-level *user*, but when I try to sysadmin anything I'm completely lost, and not in a fun way.

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