I'm a techie, not a librarian, so what works for me may not be ideal for
you. But I think it's fair to say for practically anyone under any
circumstances that mastery of your operating system is never a wasted
investment. Your OS is fundamental, underlying everything else you do
and determining how you do it. Whether you're going to be doing
application programming, web programming, web design, managing a web
server, miscellaneous scripting, automating routine tasks, managing an
ILS, database management or design, solving interoperability problems,
or whatever, you're going to have to do it on an operating system,
probably either Windows or some variation of Unix. The more you know
about that OS and the better you can leverage its capabilities, the
better off you'll be.=20
If you undertake the study of Linux, my personal recommendation is not
to worry to much about finding the perfect Linux-specific book, because
all Unix-like OSes are similar in the fundamentals and therefore any
good book on using Unix book will help you get started, plus have the
added benefit of being generally applicable to other Unixes that you may
encounter. After you have competence as a mere user, get a good book on
Unix administration. (O'Reilly's Essential System Administration by
AEleen Frisch is one good one.) Then spend *plenty* of time
familiarizing yourself with the Linux HOWTO collection at
http://www.tldp.org, and *plenty* of time just exploring your Linux
system hands-on. Learn the layout of the filesystem, learn how the
sequence of bootup scripts work, how to compile and install the kernel
and additional programs, etc. Skim the man pages of the commands you use
to discover their additional capabilities.
Once you've mastered your OS, you're in a better position to learn, use,
and make the most of any programming languages, servers, or other
technologies you choose to learn: Apache, Samba, Perl, MySQL....
One other thing: I use virtualization software called VMware to run
"virtual machines" on my main computer. Each virtual machine is
essentially a software emulation of a complete PC, on which you can
install and run your choice of operating system. So I run Linux on my
real hardware, and VMware as an application in Linux. Each VMware window
contains, in effect, another whole PC running Windows, Linux, or
practically any other PC OS, all running simultaneously and all able to
communicate with each other over the network. This makes it very
convenient to experiment with alternate operating systems without making
a big commitment or messing up your real machine or having a basement
full of computers. VMware also has the great feature whereby you can
take a "snapshot" of your virtual machine's disk and then later choose
to discard everything that happened since the snapshot -- rolling back
all changes and reverting to the earlier state. This is great for
experimenting -- you set up your virtual machine the way you like it,
take a snapshot, and then you can screw it up as bad as you want and
always get back to your known good state instantly.
From: Heather Yager [mailto:heather.yager@...
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2004 9:12 PM
Subject: [oss4lib-discuss] Hello List!
I am new to the list, and considering graduate schools for study in
Library Science. I have a few questions for those more experienced
than I :)
1. What are some good open source tools to begin learning? What
is frequently used/good to know?
2. Good books to read?
3. What kind of work do you do? What are the currrent
projects/problems to be solved in info tech/library science?
Basically I'm very new to it all, but I want to learn more. My
undergrad degree is in English Lit, and I've spent the past few years
learning HTML, XML, Python and more along the way. Any advice or
wisdom would be greatly appreciated, I'd love to hear from people in
This SF.Net email is sponsored by: YOU BE THE JUDGE. Be one of 170
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see also http://oss4lib.org/