[nSLUG] Linux Certifications

Daniel Morrison draker at gmail.com
Wed Apr 14 17:27:53 ADT 2010

On 14 April 2010 16:01, Dop Ganger <nslug at fop.ns.ca> wrote:
> In a mission critical environment I would expect the interview process
> would pick out incompetents, with interviews done by someone with clue.
> One of my favourites for my environment is "what does killall do on Unix
> systems?"; that is one that people who have the battle scars know the
> answer to all too well, but filters out people who have only run a Linux
> box in their basement.

I don't know about that. I've been a paid sysadmin for 15+ years, but
I haven't a clue what killall does. Why not? I never use it, because I
don't trust it. And a quick look at the man pages shows why:

killall  sends  a signal to all processes running any of the specified
(how is this different from pkill?)

killall is used by shutdown(1M) to kill all active processes not
directly related to the shutdown procedure.

Completely different!

At least the CentOS page includes a warning (way at the end in the
'known bugs' section):

       Be warned that typing killall name may not have the desired effect on
       non-Linux systems, especially when done by a privileged user.

Be safe. Use standard commands.

In my opinion, sysadmin certification is useful, for example, in an
enterprise that uses RHEL in particular, and wants RedHat
certification to ensure a MINIMUM standard of competency from their
employees. But what's the use of learning chkconfig,
/etc/sysconfig/network/*, or yum for an environment that has
Debian/Ubuntu, Solaris, etc.? Basically none. Real competency is not
memorization; testing the ability to read documentation and absorb new
concepts is a key factor in making a competent sysadmin.


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