rhce.us is Always Under Construction...

Linux is a bear on a laptop sometimes, but here is my experience on a Dell i8100

And here is my experience on a Dell i9400

IPTables is the latest firewalling built into the Linux kernel build your own IPTables firewall

Here are all of the HOW-TOs for reference.

RHCE: How It Happened for Me.
The Red Hat Certified Engineer Rapid Track, RH300, is a rather involved course. One of the problems of this page is the non-disclosure that you sign at the exam. I'll send the link to Red Hat after I get most of the page put together so they have the opportunity to say something about it if it violates their idea of non-disclosure.

I got involved with computers early, went through the basic steps of my time, TI-99, Timex Sinclair, TRS-80 Color Computer (upgraded to FOUR WHOLE K of memory, stop my heart from exploding!), Apple IIe, and a CRAY. Learned minor programming in BASIC by getting some of the magazines that had programs in them and went to town.

I kept my hand in computers only enough to know that they had changed considerably and in 1991, I got my first actual PC, true blue IBM PC XT. WooHoo! What's an 'autoexec.bat'? That sent me back into the whole Operating System search and hunt for something that would stay up longer than the hardware. Boots taking five minutes were (and are) unacceptable when you have to have something done in ten minutes. DOS 3.1-6.2 were good and WIN 3.1 was an interesting plaything.

Looking around, I found that most of the people using computers didn't have any idea of how they worked or what to do when they went down. This is an alien concept to me but one that today pays the bills so I cannot argue that much.

Mid-90's, I ordered the party pack of Linux distributions and got all three available at the time. I installed, rather attempted to install, them onto a Presario 1210. Little did I know that the NeoMagic chipset was not supported and I had to figure out how to make it work anyway. If you want to learn Linux, I recommend this as about as thorough a method as is possible. Pulling hair out and not knowing XF86Config from rc.local makes for a vertical learning curve but one that, if you have the patience, you will learn most of where everything is and how it relates to one another. Warning on this, though. You will also not be able to have much of anything that you want to keep until you figure it out because you will reinstall about a bazillion times and mess around with partition tables enough to trash everything on the hard drive before too long.

I saw that the future of computing included *NIX type systems and wanted to know how to do all the neat things that server OSs can do. DNS, NIS, FTP, Web Server, etc, were this mystical space that I wanted to be part of. By the time I actually had the Presario up and running for over two hours at a time without a reinstall, I figured out that this was what was going to be in the computer world and went on to make Red Hat my desktop. About four weeks after I had the setup working, I looked back and realized I had not booted into Windows for close to a month and that everything I wanted to do I could with Linux. Repartition the entire hard drive and make it Linux Native.

Time for a career change. I had spent about two years using Linux as my primary OS and was looking to get into this computer stuff full time. Getting a job as a Solaris SysAdmin was right in line with what I had in mind anyway, so I went for it. There is a world of difference between messing around with computers at home and having a few thousand users depend on you to keep them up, running, and productive. The tech company I went to had the normal website, news server, mail server, NFS server, RAID home directories with automount and other basic things. Another vertical learning curve, this time from 'make it work' to 'make it work, fast, and right the first time with as little downtime as possible and none if possible.'

I was looking for something that would tell HR that I knew anything about computers. As with quite a few, possibly the majority, of the people I know in the tech field, I was self taught and my degree is in another field. I saw the RHCE when it first came out but did not think too much about it. I knew that I wanted a certification but did not want to use something I was not comfortable with recommending as a 24/7 OS (certain desktop OS series comes to mind here.) Work came up with some training money and asked us to pick a class. Mine was the RHCE Rapid Track. By now, I knew enough to know what was involved and knew that I needed someone to give guidance for the way Red Hat did things and how Red Hat suggested the Operating System be used.

Boy am I glad for the Rapid Track. It is exactly what I was looking for. The brief overview of how to set things up in Red Hat with enough meat to fill in the gaps of knowledge for those of us who do know how to set up and administer a *NIX OS. Yes, there is some Red Hat specific stuff in the class, but I would be hard pressed to come up with much taught in that class that a Solaris SysAdmin would not be able to take back to work and use without translation.

Coverage of Exam:
The RHCE exam I took was for Red Hat 7.2. The instructor said we were the last 7.2 class there was, now that 7.3 has come out. That shouldn't make a difference in the overview of the exam but may change some of the specific ways to fix or setup services and other items within the course.
Here is the good news. Red Hat has this part right. This is UNIX (yes, I know, it's actually a UNIX-type Operating System but it's close enough) and if you ask 100 UNIX SysAdmins how to do something, you will get 200+ ways to do it and each and every one of them will work. That is how the Red Hat exam works too. Make it work and be able to explain how you made it work.

If you are considering learning Linux, Red Hat specifically, but do not have a *NIX background, take the Red Hat Linux Essentials, Red Hat Linux System Administration, and/or Red Hat Linux Networking & Security Administration. If you have used Linux at home or another type of *NIX and are comfortable with it, you probably only need to figure out how Red Hat does it and that can be done in the house with a lower end machine. Just install it, blow it away, install it, play with it until you break it, repeat. After a while, instead of blowing it away, start figuring out what went wrong and fix it without having to reinstall. When you are comfortable with that, then it's time to start learning servers and security.
Legal Stuff
This site is in no way affiliated with Red Hat, this is my personal website.
Red Hat, the Red Hat "Shadow Man" logo, RHCE, and Red Hat Certified Engineer are registered trademarks of Red Hat, Inc.
Solaris is a registered trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.
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