[lug] New to the group

Bear Giles bgiles at coyotesong.com
Sun Aug 18 16:32:19 MDT 2013

I would make a few different suggestions.

1. use virtual machines, e.g., with VirtualBox, instead of a second
physical system. With physical hardware you're going to be more cautious
and not really push your envelope. With a VM you can create a snapshot, try
something, and if it doesn't workout just restore the snapshot.

2. you can also easily check out different distributions. With physical
hardware you have to make a choice. That's not the case with VMs.

3. once you're comfortable with VMs you can play with some of the crippled
systems to hone your security skills. We developed our skills by writing
software and seeing things crash and burn. and burn. and burn some more.
The best way to learn how to write solid code is to write a lot of crappy
code and see for yourself why it doesn't work and what you can do about it.

Today anyone serious about security will have these practices images
running on a VM and they will practice hacking into them. Again it's not
because they want to be evel haaaackers, it's because the best way to learn
how to close holes is to learn how to exploit them.

4. Amazon et al have really cheap virtual machines. Learn to use them.

IMPORTANT - DO NOT HACK INTO YOUR AMAZON VM! Use them to practice other
skills but never practice attacks across the internet. The problem is that
monitoring software - at your ISP, at the virtual farm, etc., won't be able
to distinguish between practice and actual attacks and nobody will be fired
for not believing you when you claim it was for innocent reasons. If you
can even escalate the issue to a human. You'll probably just find yourself
knocked offline and nobody willing to tell you why.

5. finally, I have to ask it,... DeVry?! Figure out where you want to work,
ask them what background they're looking for in recent grads. See if
there's a match. A lot of places won't consider DeVry etc as legitimate
degrees, others will accept it for technician-track work but not for
professional-track work. I don't really have an answer here in case there's
a mismatch, just a warning that you need to keep those first jobs in mind
in an age when even 4-year college grads struggle to find work.


On Sun, Aug 18, 2013 at 1:27 PM, Glenn English <ghe at slsware.com> wrote:

> On Aug 18, 2013, at 12:21 PM, Jason Barnes wrote:
> > When it comes to the distro's of Linux I know Glenn suggested Debian as
> a good one but is it newbie friendly?
> I started on RedHat about 15 years ago, as a newbie who knew next to
> nothing about any flavor of *nix. Debian wasn't at all newbie friendly back
> then (as I recall, I couldn't manage to get X working). I'm not a newbie
> anymore (except every time I try something new) but Debian's installer is a
> lot easier now. It doesn't cost any $$, so give it a try; except for the
> packaging system, Linux is pretty much Linux once you get it installed.
> > Is there one that would be good for starting with, or is it one of those
> situations of preference?
> Here, Debian's definitely a preference. But it became a preference after
> several years of wandering...
> > Also when it comes to learning a language would C# even be a good choice
> or should I stick with C++?
> C# doesn't exist on Linux, AFAIK. I'd suggest shell, PERL, C, Objective-C
> (C++ has design flaws, I'm told). But I run servers, so I'm a tad
> conservative.
> More advice: get off Gnome/KDE as soon as you can. XFCE doesn't look/act
> like Windows, but it's much smaller/faster/simpler, once you get used to
> it. You can install Gnome/KDE programs on other desktops -- I'm using KDE's
> Kmymoney to balance my checkbook on my Mac and on XFCE.
> And I'm finding Geany/CVS to be a civilized IDE. Geany is small and easier
> (for me) to deal with than Eclipse and its buds. CVS keeps track of my
> code, is well documented, is known to work, and is enough for a single user
> or small group.
> --
> Glenn English
> Disclaimer: Any disclaimer attached to this message may be ignored.
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