Sunday, October 24, 2010

Learning Curve

I've started a new job. Interestingly enough, it seems to address a number of the things that I mentioned in my last post as categories of interest. This position has me knee-deep in Linux, databases, Java, and and virtualization (though not necessarily using VMWare; they're into doing things on the cheap). There are honestly a lot of things for me to catch up on and get straight. The Linux is proving to be challenging because it's not even a variant with which I am familiar. I've always used CentOS or RHEL, and these servers are running Ubuntu. The syntax differs in some very important ways. Something as simple as seeing what packages are installed had me heading for Google since "rpm -qa" doesn't work on these systems; you have to use variations of dpkg and apt-get, etc, etc. Hell, I installed Apache2 on a test server and was completely out of my league. CentOS uses the httpd.conf file for configuration, for example. Ubuntu uses apache2.conf, even though they're the same release. I tried to edit the startup options for the Apache daemon (which again is httpd on CentOS and apache2 on Ubuntu). Guess what? No chkconfig on Ubuntu. I had to either create a startup script and edit the startup directory, or download a utility that was like chkconfig. I downloaded the utility.

It's like learning another language really. It's worse than the jump from say, Windows to Mac, or Windows to Linux, because in those jumps everything is different. The whole file structure is different. That's like learning Spanish and then learning Thai; very little room for confusion or swapping there. However, RH variant vs. Debian allows for a lot of misfires.

I'm also getting a crash course in MySQL, Tomcat, and Java here. I haven't even started with the Java, but what we create is made in Java and in order to support it successfully I really should have a clue. Same with Tomcat and MySQL and the rest.

So, I have my work cut out for me. Luckily I also find it to be a lot of fun. I love learning; if I could make a living as a student, I would. :) How's that for escapism?