Early one recent morning my Linux workstation failed to boot. And just like that, all my work plans for the day ground to an immediate halt.

This was the Linux workstation that was host to thirty years-worth of data: The original working drafts of all my books. The master versions of my course videos. My tax records, banking information, password vault, and the access keys to my cloud infrastructure.

Was I surprised? Not particularly. …


As I’ve described in both my Linux in Action book and Linux in Motion course, Nextcloud is a powerful way to build a file sharing and collaboration service using only open source software running on your own secure infrastructure. It’s DropBox, Skype, and Google Docs all rolled into one, but without the vendor lock-in, security, and privacy fears.

While the platform is certainly well-designed and polished, the initial installation can be tricky. Looking for proof? Try manually installing Nextcloud on an Ubuntu 18.04 server using any one of the detailed instructions available around the internet. Sometimes everything goes smoothly, but…


The snapcraft.io site: where snap developers and users meet

Canonical’s Snaps are definitely the real deal. The secure and portable Linux package management system is more than a geeky tool for showing off your tech creds. Just consider the growing list of companies that have already bought in and are providing their desktop software through snaps, including Blender, Slack, Spotify, Android Studio, and Microsoft’s (Microsoft!) Visual Studio Code. And don’t forget that the real growth of the snap system is in the world of IoT devices and servers rather than desktops.

But as the popularity of snaps grows — some new Linux distros come with the snapd service installed…


I’m not keeping very close track, but it feels like months since Amazon Web Services (AWS) most recently turned a major tech industry upside down. But with all their resources and market power, I’m sure there’s always something interesting cooking in the kitchens of wherever Amazon’s headquarters happens to be right now.

So let me throw my purely speculative prediction into the silence. As I describe in my Learn AWS in a Month of Lunches book, AWS has happily replaced your server room with EC2, your SAN and NAS with S3, your data warehousing with Redshift, and your database with…


This article is adapted from my new Pluralsight course: Automating AWS Operations with the AWS CLI.

I’ll bet you’ve already got some stuff running on AWS and you made it happen using the browser console. But I’ll also bet that you already suspect that clicking your way through layers and layers of configuration pages isn’t always going to be the best approach. If fact, the AWS CLI is a better way that’ll get the exact same work done, but with a whole lot less effort.

Let me quickly demonstrate. Suppose you want to launch an Amazon Linux instance from EC2…


This article is adapted from the introduction to my newly published Linux in Action. Besides the book, you can work through Linux in Motion — a hybrid course made up of more than two hours of video and around 40% of the text of Linux in Action.

Looking to learn to administer Linux computers? Excellent choice. While it can hold its own in the consumer desktop space, where Linux absolutely dominates is the world of servers, especially virtual and cloud servers. Because most serious server administration these days takes place remotely, working through a GUI interface of one sort or…


This article was adapted from part of my new Pluralsight course, “Connecting On-prem Resources to your AWS Infrastructure.”

Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash

Do you sometimes need to connect to resources you’ve got running on Amazon Web Services? Accessing your public EC2 instances using SSH and encrypting your S3 data is, for all intents and purposes, secure enough. But what about getting into a back-end RDS database instance or working with AWS-based data that’s not public? There are all kinds of reasons why admins keep such resources out of reach of the general public. …


This article is based on my Linux Performance Monitoring and Tuning course on Pluralsight which, by coincidence, was released just before news of Spectre and Meltdown broke.

By now the critical stage of the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities is largely over. Patches for affected operating systems have been written and, assuming you keep your servers properly updated, you should be safe.

That’s the easy part. The real problem is that the patch might slow your system down — particularly if you’re running applications that interact often with the kernel. …


Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

Container virtualization — most visibly represented by Docker — is a
server paradigm that will likely drive enterprise computing for years
to come.

The Cloud is the most obvious and logical platform for container
deployment.

Amazon Web Services largely dominates the cloud computing world.
Add it up. If you’re interested in getting a piece of all this action, you’ll
definitely want to figure out how it all works.

First, though, let’s quickly define some key terms.

Virtualization

Virtualization is the division of physical computer and networking resources into smaller, more flexible units, presenting these smaller units to users as though each…


This article is based on a chapter from my free online book, Solving for Technology: how to quickly learn valuable new skills in a madly changing technology world. There’s lots more where that came from at my Bootstrap IT site, including links to my book, Linux in Action, and a hybrid course called Linux in Motion that’s made up of more than two hours of video and around 40% of the text of Linux in Action.

Have you ever completely hosed your workstation or main laptop while testing out a new technology? Or do you have so many packages and…

David Clinton

Linux system admin and tech training content provider. Known to hang out at https://bootstrap-it.com.

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