Making the switch (to Linux)

Over the past year, I have become more and more entangled in the Linux world, becoming a Linux System Administrator as my primary job duty.  Though I have had plenty of Linux experience and exposure, and attend (when I get time) meetings of the Boston Linux Users’ Group (, I generally approach Linux from a Server angle and only play with it as a desktop, while maintaining a Mac or Windows PC for my primary ‘working’ OS.  This has changed a bit over time and I find myself using Fedora 25 on both my Thinkpad T460s (a post for a different time) and now on my office Dell Precision 3620.  Going to see how long I can keep it up in this windows-centric office.  Desktops and laptops here have been primarily Windows, but we do run some CentOS 6.x and 5.x desktops on the ‘important computers’ side.  Side-note – the Precision 3620 runs CentOS7 and all the apps listed above just fine as well.

Articles and posts such as this one, where people are switching from Mac to Linux OS, are encouraging and the more people use this ecosystem, the more things will be developed for the desktop OS.  It was nice, also, to have someone as famous as Cory Doctrow talk about his switch over to a Linux OS back in January 2016.

Exclude particular packages from updating in Yum on CentOS 6/7

We had an issue here recently where only an older version of OpenConnect would work for a CentOS 6.8 machine.  Installation went fine, but the user was getting yum update messages for this package.  In order to exclude, just make an entry in to your /etc/yum.conf directory.  Instructions can be found right on Redhat’s website:


How to mount NTFS local drive on CentOS7

This is a quick one but very useful.  I have a two-drive system (Dell Precision 3620 – nice!) in my office.  It dual-boots CentOS7 and Windows 10.  CentOS7 is on a 500gb m.2 SSD and Win10 is on a 1TB spinny-drive.  Sometimes while in CentOS, I need to access a file I left on the Windows system.  The solution to this one, found here, is very simple.  Just install the ntfs-3g package.  Simple as this:

sudo -y yum install ntfs-3g



We live on a spaceship, dear.

If you think the future isn’t here (except jetpacks, of course), check out this article talking about how police are asking Amazon for data alleging that it may have information pertinent to a murder investigation.  I guess “Alexa, where can I buy heavy duty mylar plastic, duct tape, and an alibi?” isn’t just a party question anymore.  Reddit already has a good discussion going on this.

Linux Certification (Linux+, RHCSA, RHCE) with Linux Academy

In my current full-time role, I am a Linux System Administrator at a nonprofit institution.  I came to this position from a mainly Windows environment, and wanted to refresh and solidify my Linux SysAdmin skillset.  In order to do this, I chose the certification track so that I could re-cover all the basics before learning specialized skills for this particular organization.

I started out with the basic Linux+ certification by reading the Sybex CompTIA Linux+ book as well as starting a subscription to Linux Academy.  This online site includes a ton of video instruction as well as VMs so that you can practice all your skills and tasks without having to have your own local Virtualbox or other server environment.  This VM addition really removes a lot of the pain and overhead while learning and studying for your certs.  I think the cost is ~$20 / month and I highly recommend this service.

Next, I obtained Redhat’s RHCSA certification.  Though my office sent me to the ‘official’ 1-week training, and that was useful, I feel that both practice IRL as well as the Linux Academy stuff would have been enough to pass the exam.

Currently working on RHCE.  Hopefully will get this done over the next couple of months.  Though no certification an substitute for practical experience, and no training takes the place of years of troubleshooting and break / fix experience, I still feel that certification is useful.