More Fun with Linux

Album Cover: Eyes Open

"It's hard to argue when you won't stop making sense."
Snow Patrol / Hands Open

Posted on April 05, 2004 1:27 AM in Computers
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

I remember first getting my feet wet with Linux while doing some work for a local company called Nextvend. I bought a pretty ghetto PC on eBay and immediately replaced Windows ME with Mandrake Linux. Before long I was learning the ins and outs of a command-line driven operating system the hard way (picture me going into directories individually to delete files before deleting the parent folder, rather than using rm -rf dirname).

Nevertheless, I've continued dabbling in Linux ever since, and by now I'd say I fit somewhere in between the intermediate and expert user levels. One of the things I remember struggling with early on was getting PHP, Apache and MySQL installed. I knew that if I wanted to be lazy I could have the Linux install process load those for me, but it always seemed like by the time you had the Linux discs burned (usually 2 or 3) there were new versions out that you were missing out on.

Zoom ahead a few years, and I've become much wiser. I now know about APT, and therefore know that I can, more often than not, type apt-get install php to either install PHP or upgrade it if it already exists on my system. I also know that it isn't too difficult to follow a few directions and get things set up and running pretty efficiently.

Needless to say, at this point I have gotten MySQL, PHP and Apache all running on my Linux box running Red Hat 9, and it wasn't very difficult. The only hiccups along the way were due to APT not knowing about the latest version of libxml and PHP 5 requiring the version it didn't know about. The workaround was to just stick with PHP 4.3.5, which requires a version of libxml that seems to be accepted as stable. Eventually, maybe after an official version of PHP 5 is released, I will upgrade to version 5 so I can play around with some of the features I've blogged about in the past.

If you've never had the chance to play around in Linux, I'd recommend either finding an old computer to install it on, or partitioning your current system so you can do so. It's definitely a whole new experience compared to using Windows or any of the Mac operating systems, if for nothing more than the way the GUI flows. There are so many little things, though, that make it interesting beyond just the user interface. Whenever I use Linux I feel like I really know what I am doing, wheras when I use Windows I'm sometimes made to feel like what I'm really doing is none of my business.


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