Hi Glenys, Mary, Richard and all
Rather a technical topic for the "Lounge", on the New Year's Eve!
Anyway here's my two cents' worth on one of the pet topics.
- Ideology: Moodle and Linux have a big peace of ideology in common, the GNU GPL, Version 2. By doing Moodle you are in the same camp as Linux. Because of its strong message, sometimes Linux stands out as the epitome of Free Software, which is not the case. "Free" licences are the bigger issue, and open standards have become equally important. (Here is the connection to the original topic, Adobe has turned its back to open standards, after PostScript!)
- Coding and command line: As Richard mentioned in his post, to use Linux you don't have to code. But I disagree on the second part: In my openion the command line is the part which gives you the freedom - in a technical sense. It frees you from the dictatorship of the GUI and, ironically, it stands even the GUI fails!
- Where to start Linux: In the old days, dual boot was the only way out short of throwing Windows overboard. Dual boot installation was a scary experience, if you botched the partition table you lose all the data in the disk. (I know, that is not correct, but that is the impression one gets. And reinstalling the MS operating system wiped out the boot loader anyway.)
As hardware became abundant, one could "sacrifice" an old machine for Linux - and compare its performane with the turbo gaming machine one really sacrificed for M$.
Today, where even laptops have 2 GB upwards RAM, there is a cleaner solution: virtualization. VMware and VirtualBox are the leading contendors for desktops. In terms of handling they are almost identcal, VirtualBox is Open Source.
- Which Linux Distribution: A moot topic! If we stay with your motivation of _learning_ Linux, then forget all the so called "desktop" distributions. By blindly following a "tutoral" (in the worst case, a long list of screen shots) you can get a Linux up and running. What have you learned from that exercise?
At least in the context
of Moodle, we are in clear client-server
setup. Keep your present client (Desktop) and start working on a Linux server. They have to be lean. Smaller the system becomes easier to maintain, easier to defend. Keep the functionality to a minimum, you have a high chance of understanding that functionaliy. In the case of LAMP
it comes down to manual installation, configuration and no GUI!
Well, after writing all this, I yet again wonder, why these message get longer! Are they radical, or simply old fashioned?
Whatever. Not to compete against Richards offer, I'm tempted to try an introduction to "Linux for Servers" remotely. I have a history of such courses, but as workshops, in the computer lab, on identically setup computers. If enough (5 - 8) "Moodle activists" are interested, I could translate/adapt my course material. Say,
- about 8 units, each unit is about 2 h of home work, to be finished within two weeks.
- Prerequisites: Desktop OS: Windows XP, Windows 7, any Linux dekstop distribution, Mac OS X, VirtualBox or VMware (Server) installed, 512 MB RAM to spare for the Virtual Machine.
- Open to discuss within the group. Ready to install the Thunderbird mail client and participate in a particular Newsgroup.
Send me a direkt message if you would participate.