Linux and Sysadmin News in the World

Ian! D. Allen –

Fall 2015 - September to December 2015 - Updated 2019-01-29 11:12 EST

This material is for interest only. It will not be tested.

Tux the Linux Penguin mascot

1 Want a tech job that pays $100K a year? Brush up on your Linux skillsIndexup to index

“Sysadmins skilled in managing Linux-based systems are earning six-figure salaries, according to an analysis of job postings by careers site Dice. The new figures show employers are typically willing to pay upwards of $100,000 for roles ranging from Linux systems engineer to DevOps engineer. Sourcing Linux-based skills has been a priority for employers for some time, with last year both The Linux Foundation and Dice’s 2018 Open Source Jobs Report highlighting that 87 percent of hiring managers were having trouble finding open-source talent, and securing these skills was a priority for 83 percent of employers.”

2 Is Linux Taking Over The World?Indexup to index

“2019 just might be the Year of Linux – the year in which Linux is fully recognized as the powerhouse it has become,” writes Network World’s “Unix dweeb.”

The fact is that most people today are using Linux without ever knowing it – whether on their phones, online when using Google, Facebook, Twitter, GPS devices, and maybe even in their cars, or when using cloud storage for personal or business use. While the presence of Linux on all of these systems may go largely unnoticed by consumers, the role that Linux plays in this market is a sign of how critical it has become. Most IoT and embedded devices – those small, limited functionality devices that require good security and a small footprint and fill so many niches in our technology-driven lives – run some variety of Linux, and this isn’t likely to change. Instead, we’ll just be seeing more devices and a continued reliance on open source to drive them.

According to the Cloud Industry Forum, for the first time, businesses are spending more on cloud than on internal infrastructure. The cloud is taking over the role that data centers used to play, and it’s largely Linux that’s making the transition so advantageous. Even on Microsoft’s Azure, the most popular operating system is Linux. In its first Voice of the Enterprise survey, 451 Research predicted that 60 percent of nearly 1,000 IT leaders surveyed plan to run the majority of their IT off premises by 2019. That equates to a lot of IT efforts relying on Linux. Gartner states that 80 percent of internally developed software is now either cloud-enabled or cloud-native.

The article also cites Linux’s use in AI, data lakes, and in the Sierra supercomputer that monitors America’s nuclear stockpile, concluding that “In its domination of IoT, cloud technology, supercomputing and AI, Linux is heading into 2019 with a lot of momentum.”

3 Linux Now Dominates Microsoft Azure CloudIndexup to index

Three years ago, Mark Russinovich, CTO of Azure, Microsoft’s cloud program, said, “One in four [Azure] instances are Linux.” Then, in 2017, it was 40 percent Azure virtual machines (VM) were Linux.

Today, Scott Guthrie, Microsoft’s executive vice president of the cloud and enterprise group, said in an interview, “Slightly over half of Azure VMs are Linux. That’s right. Microsoft’s prize cloud, Linux, not Windows Server, is now the most popular operating system. Windows Server isn’t going to be making a come back. Every month, Linux goes up,” Guthrie said.

And it’s not just Azure users who are turning to Linux.

“Native Azure services are often running on Linux,” Guthrie added. “Microsoft is building more of these services. For example, Azure’s Software Defined Network (SDN) is based on Linux.” It’s not just on Azure that Microsoft is embracing Linux. “Look at our simultaneous release of SQL Server on Linux. All of our projects now run on Linux,” Guthrie said.

“As a developer-focused company, it was only a matter of time before Microsoft learned to love Linux and open source. […] From Kubernetes to Kafka, the best infrastructure software today is open source. If you want to reach developers, then, you have to speak their language, and that language is open.”

4 Microsoft announces first-ever Linux-based O/SIndexup to index

“For the first time in its 43-year history, Microsoft has announced a Linux-based operating system. The company announced its new holistic Azure Sphere platform for end-to-end Internet of Things (IoT) security, which contains three levels: new custom microcontroller chips, the Azure Sphere Security Service for connecting and security IoT devices, and Azure Sphere OS, which runs on a custom Linux kernel.”

5 Linux terminal in Windows File ExplorerIndexup to index

Upcoming Windows 10 ‘Redstone 5’ Insider Build will allow launching a Linux terminal directly from File Explorer

“Windows 10 users who depend on the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) for development work will soon have an easy access to the Linux terminal thanks to a popular User Voice request. Upcoming Windows 10 ‘Redstone 5’ builds will have the ability to directly open a Linux terminal from File Explorer similar to how one can invoke the Command Prompt.”

6 Microsoft chooses LinuxIndexup to index

Microsoft Calls On Linux for Its New IoT Security Platform

“Microsoft has opted to use its own version of a Linux operating system instead of Windows 10 to drive its new Azure Sphere solution for securely connecting Internet of Things devices.”

Microsoft Azure Service Fabric Welcomes Red Hat Linux Clusters

“Microsoft’s system for scalable cloud applications now includes support for clusters based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4. Red Hat Enterprise Linux users can now create clusters for their scalable cloud applications on Azure Service Fabric.”

7 Looking for Unix sysadmin in Ottawa (2017)Indexup to index Cached page

Are You The Unix SysAdmin We’re Looking For?

“Looking for your next challenge? Want to work for a SaaS company that has been voted Employer of the year for 3 years in a row? Of course you do! We are on the lookout for a Unix SysAdmin for Team Versature who will be directly responsible for providing reliable, secure and stable services to customers.”

8 Linux smartphoneIndexup to index

“Hundreds of millions are happy with Android smartphones and iPhones. But there are some users who want the maximum possible control over their smartphones. For those people, Purism now has the funding it needs for its free-software smartphone without a trace of proprietary code or firmware: The Purism Librem 5 smartphone.”

9 Open Source (Linux) Skills for MicrosoftIndexup to index

“So, if you’ve avoided Linux so far, the de facto open source OS with a storied background, now is the time to change your tune — Microsoft has.”

10 Microsoft skills for LinuxIndexup to index

“Linux is a logical strategy for Microsoft as enterprise computing continues to move into the cloud. This is because Linux is well-understood as a cloud environment. An increasing number of companies are moving their computing into public and private clouds. Linux keeps Microsoft in the game.”

“In addition, Microsoft is now focusing more on server admin with PowerShell instead of the GUI. This is good news for open source gurus.”

11 Microsoft Nano Server has no GUIIndexup to index

Learn to use the command line. The future has no GUI:

“Nano Server is a ‘headless’ operating system — a stripped down version of Windows Server that excludes everything required to support a GUI. Nano Servers are tiny—less than a 10th of what a full Windows Server image requires. This means ops managers can squeeze many more virtual Windows Servers into their physical server boxes. In addition, the smaller footprint should make Nano Server less susceptible to ‘bad guy’ attacks.”

12 Closed source unwanted featuresIndexup to index

Vendors can hide whatever software they want on your computer if you don’t have access to the source code that created it:

“The audio driver installed on some HP laptops includes a feature that could best be described as a keylogger, which records all the user’s keystrokes and saves the information to a local file, accessible to anyone or any third-party software or malware that knows where to look.”

13 Top skills in demandIndexup to index

“4 hot skills for Linux pros in 2017”
“Which in-demand skills are you brushing up on in the new year?”

  1. Security
    “we need to be security conscious in every decision we make”

  2. DevOps
    “learn about DevOps so they can succeed in the workforce”

  3. Development
    “we also need system administrators to have programming skills”

  4. Soft skills
    “they are probably skills most likely to determine your success”

14 Patching the Windows WannaCrypt attack uses command lineIndexup to index

In the spring of 2017, the WannaCrypt ransomware infected Windows machines everywhere. This is the Batch file a sysadmin used to patch a hundred vulnerable Windows machines:

FOR /F "tokens=1" %%i in (computers.txt) do xcopy patch.msu \\%%i\c$\logs /D
FOR /F "tokens=1" %%i in (computers.txt) do psexec -s -d \\%%i c:\windows\system32\wusa c:\logs\patch.msu /quiet

This is command line he used to confirm the patch:

C:\> wmic qfe | find "KB4012212"

Learn to use a command line; it’s how things get done, even in Windows.

15 Career with Communications Security EstablishmentIndexup to index

Do you think you need Linux skills for this job?

sudo stop all hackers

16 VIM editor turns 25 years oldIndexup to index

Alas, I don’t expect things to change from their current course. If anything the future looks to be full of more abstractions, more pointless UI rewrites, more frameworks that break backwards compatibility, and more cancer-like growth. Which is why Vim is so important.

At least our text editors will still be there, stalwart unchanging places to reliably weather the storm. Thanks, Vim, I quite literally could not do what I do without you. Happy 25th birthday and here’s to another ten years before Vim 9 rolls around.

17 Asked to convert SAS to R, replies to install Unix toolsIndexup to index

On the local GOSLING (Getting Open Source Logic INto Governments) mailing list, a query came up about how to migrate from the expensive, proprietary SAS statistical package to the free, open source R package. The reply said “install Unix command line tools”:

The amount of work can be reduced by using some Unix command line tools. These are a part of Linux and can easily be added to Mac OS (Xcode from Apple) or Windows 10 (“Bash on Ubuntu on Windows” from Microsoft or “Cygwin Tools” from These tools extend the possibilities for automation. They can also be used to increase reproducability and auditability in manual work. And they can be used to analyze SAS code to learn more about the problems that will be encountered.

Learn the command line!

18 10 open source tools for your sysadmin toolboxIndexup to index

“Sysadmins, no matter what platforms they work on, are awash in great open source software tools. In this article, we highlight well-known—and not-so-well-known—tools that have released new versions in 2016.”

19 Microsoft adopts Linux command-line technologyIndexup to index

Microsoft tells devs: Whatever you’re doing in Linux, Windows 10 will soon do it too

The tech giant lays out its plans for the future of Ubuntu and Bash on Windows 10.

Microsoft has pledged that Windows 10 will eventually run the bulk of Linux software used by developers.

The firm recently updated Windows 10 to let users run a range of Linux tools from inside the OS.

In what appears to be an attempt by Microsoft to woo developers using Linux-based OSes and Mac OS X, the firm has said it will continue to improve Windows 10’s support for Linux command-line tools.

The other major new addition will be increased interoperability between the Bash and Windows environments. Effectively this will let developers call Windows applications from within Bash — allowing them to write a Bash script to automate a complex build that includes Windows applications […]

20 Darknet: BotNets and The Bad InternetIndexup to index

Safeguarding the Internet: Level 3 BotNet Research Report, June 2015

Botnets are a group of Internet connected programs resident on various devices communicating together to perform tasks. These devices can be Web servers, personal or work computers, mobile devices or cable modems. Botnet tasks include scanning new targets, exfiltrating data, distributing malicious software (malware such as viruses, worms and keyloggers), stealing personal information or intellectual property, or attacking other targets (e.g. DDoS attacks). Most of the machines that are a part of the botnet are also victim machines. They are infected through a number of methods, including phishing emails, visiting compromised sites or installing compromised software. Command and control servers (C2s) are the brains of the operations. C2s issue instructions to infected machines to perform a task like an attack.

“Every day, our security team monitors approximately 1.3 billion security events and mitigates roughly 22 distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. The team identifies, and removes, on average, one control and command server (C2) network per day. […] In the first quarter, significant C2 communications originating from points in countries including Ukraine, Russia and the Netherlands targeted potential victims in the United States. […] According to our research, the average number of infected hosts per C2 is 1,700. Over the course of the year, we track 600 to 1,000 C2s, which control millions of infected hosts. […] From a vertical perspective, the gaming industry, Internet service providers, Web hosting companies, research and education firms and the financial industry were the hardest hit in the first quarter of 2015.”

“In our research, we pay specific attention to trends in botnet behavior, DDoS attacks and malware. Malicious actors use these tools to gain control of corporate assets and turn them into compromised endpoints. They use these infected machines to distribute malware, disrupt business, establish system penetration and steal company intellectual property (exfiltration). Out of the more than 1,000 C2s we tracked during the first quarter of 2015, we found over 600 being used for malicious communications targeting corporate environments. Left unchecked, these C2s have the potential to disrupt business and destroy critical information assets.”

21 Why do hackers prefer LinuxIndexup to index

“We have published many tutorials for hackers and security researchers. You may have noticed that most tutorials are based on Linux operating systems. Even the hacking tools out there are based on Linux barring a few which are written for Windows and Mac. […] Linux was designed around a strong and highly integrated command line interface. Windows and Mac don’t have that. This grants hackers and Linux far greater access and control over their system and awesome customization. This is the reason that most hacking and pentesting tools are built into Linux have greater functionality above and beyond their windows counterparts.”

22 Linux dominates the Internet after 25 yearsIndexup to index

“Venturing onto the Internet means entering a world dominated by Linux, especially with the biggest websites. Of the top million most visited web domains, nearly 97 percent run Linux web servers, compared with just 1.7 percent that run Windows.”

“Take smartphones: Google’s Android system is descended from the original Linux kernel, meaning every Android phone is fundamentally a Linux device. The precise numbers vary, but Android probably runs on about 80 percent of all the world’s smartphones and 60 percent of all the world’s tablets. Sure, Windows or the Mac OS might be the system waiting for people when they sit down at their desks, but odds are the operating system they carry around in their pocket, play around with when bored, and take to bed with them even when they really, really shouldn’t? That’s Linux.”

23 SpaceX runs LinuxIndexup to index

If you dream of having a job that actually is rocket science, learn Linux:

“SpaceX uses multiple redundant flight computers in a fault-tolerant design. Each Merlin rocket engine is controlled by three voting computers, each of which has two physical processors that constantly check each other. The software runs on Linux and is written in C++.”

24 Microsoft supports Linux programs on Windows 10Indexup to index

“Perhaps the biggest surprise to come from Microsoft’s Build developer conference last week was the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).”

“Many developers are very familiar with the bash shell, with building software using make and gcc, and editing text in vi or emacs. WSL will give these developers versions of these tools that are equal in just about every regard to the ones you get on Linux, because they’ll be the ones you get on Linux running unmodified on Windows.”

“WSL also doesn’t include X Windows or any other graphical subsystem; it’s strictly for command-line applications only.”

“The system will ship as part of this summer’s Anniversary Update for Windows 10. WSL has two parts; there’s the core subsystem, which is already included in Insider Preview builds of the operating system, and then a package of software that Canonical will provide. The core subsystem is what provides the Linux API on Windows, including the ability to natively load Linux executables and libraries. Canonical will provide bash and all the other command-line tools that are expected in a Linux environment.”

“Microsoft and Canonical have spent the last several months working in secrecy to bring Ubuntu to Windows—and not through virtualization or a containerized environment. No, the goal was to run Linux apps natively in Windows.”

“[…] the focus is very much on the command-line interface, particularly the Bash shell. As any seasoned Linux developer or administrator will tell you, the CLI offers unparalleled power. And even those who have learned to love the bells and whistles of modern integrated development environments still use the terminal heavily in their daily work.”

“If you using the Linux command line at all, odds are you consider yourself a pro. Consequently, the Linux subsystem in Windows is hidden behind a”for pros only” side entrance that you can only get into if you’re running Windows 10 from the Fast Ring developer builds numbered 14316 or greater, via the Windows Insider program.”

25 AT&T Adopts Canonical’s UbuntuIndexup to index

“AT&T Adopts Canonical’s Ubuntu in Push to Replace Proprietary Systems with Open-Source Tech: The deal means AT&T joins Wal-Mart,, Netflix and others using the open-source operating system in massive cloud computing infrastructures. Traditional companies”have to” adopt modern tech used by younger competitors, to keep up …”

26 Linux Is Everywhere – but is it Linux?Indexup to index

“Every time InfoWorld does a story that mentions Android’s market performance, like my recent article on how Android is displacing Windows in embedded devices, at least one Linux zealot posts a comment saying that Android is really Linux and that Linux is winning the platform war everywhere because of such adoption.”

“The fact is Linux makes it possible for developers to create OSes for all sorts of new things. That is cause enough for celebration by the Linux community, whether or not what the user sees is Linux itself.”

27 Linux Is Everywhere – Now There’s A Plan to Make It for EveryoneIndexup to index

“Linux is everywhere these days. It runs our phones, the web servers that underpin everything from Facebook to Google, even our cars. That means there’s a bigger demand for people who know how to work with the operating system than ever before, and those jobs often pay good money.”

28 Linux summer jobs at NRCanIndexup to index

“Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) has re-engineered its science computing platforms and has acquired two supercomputers, including a Cray Xe6M and a high performance Linux cluster. This infrastructure services the needs of high profile scientific computing projects, including earth sciences modeling, seismic profiling, genomics, energy efficiency simulations and material science.

NRCan is looking for enthusiastic students to work closely with our scientists to migrate or implement their computing projects into the new supercomputers and take our computing to the next level. True supercomputing will bring real scalability and enable scientific experiments that were previously unattainable.

Developing software application code in the appropriate language to be executed on NRCan’s High Performance computers (CPU and GPU) such as Fortran, Python, C, C++ and R on Linux (CentOS 6.x+, RHEL 6.x+, Unbuntu 14.x+) and Windows Operating Systems.”

29 Turning everyone into a lifelong teacherIndexup to index

“Whenever I get a chance to talk to kids, I go talk to kids. I don’t talk to them about,”Hey, what do you want to be when you grow up,” or about education in general. What I ask them is, “What problems do you want to solve?” Sometimes it’s like “I want to fix the drug problem in my neighborhood”. Then I say, “What do you need to learn to help you solve that problem? And then go back to your school and demand that education.”

30 It’s Time to Think Like a GamerIndexup to index

“When times are tough, doing what you’d do in a game—powering up, finding allies, and beating the bad guys – is a supremely powerful response. […] Hundreds of resilience studies show that there are at least seven ways of thinking and acting that make all the difference between buckling under extreme stress and flourishing despite it. And here’s where the science gets really exciting – at least for a game designer like me. It turns out that these powerful ways of thinking and acting are all ways that we commonly think and act when we play games”

31 Indian Government adopts open source for public officesIndexup to index

“In a historic decision, the Indian Government has adopted open source for its public offices. With acclaimed Indian organizations like C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing) and IIT Chennai working on Debian based distro BOSS Linux and states like Tamil Nadu already advocating open source for a while, this was inevitable. The policy has been published by the Ministry of Communication & Information Technology today.”

32 Linux TrainingIndexup to index

Linux Sysadmin Evolution

33 Linux Career NewsIndexup to index

“Linux Growth Results in High Demand for Linux Talent for Fourth Year in a Row”

34 Don’t blame Linux for the XOR botnetIndexup to index

“First, the fact that this botnet is built on compromised Linux systems is irrelevant. It says nothing at all about Linux or Linux system security – because those systems were compromised through brute-force attacks on open SSH ports. Those attacks were successful due in large part to simple passwords and poor security used by vendors pumping out cheap broadband routers.

Second, anyone who has run a Unix-based system on a public network for any length of time knows that brute-force login attempts occur constantly – and are easily thwarted. One such system I manage has drawn more than 27,000 unique brute-force attempts in the past few months. Another averages several hundred unique attempts a week. Of course, these attempts are heavily mitigated due to tools that detect and stop this kind of attack. Denyhosts and fail2ban monitor log files for persistent login attempts from unique IP addresses and block them at the network level so that they lose all access to whatever vector they were trying to compromise.”

35 Automating Repetitive TasksIndexup to index

“Doing repetitive tasks is rarely fun. Because of this, you’re probably building frustration while working on them. In the long run this can be a problem. Once I’ve done the task a few dozens of times, it starts getting annoying. After hundreds of times, it seems like a complete waste of time and I might even get mad at the very idea of having to do it.”

36 China’s Linux-based replacement for WindowsIndexup to index

NeoKylin – the name comes from “qilin,” a fictional chimera-like creature – is developed by China Standard Software, a subsidiary of China National Software & Service Co., Ltd., and is built on Linux. It already made its own Linux variant called NeoShine, but NeoKylin appears to be different. Quartz believes the OS is based on Fedora due to its use of Yellowdog Updater Modified (yum) package management.

37 You are being huntedIndexup to index

Across the world, people who work as system administrators keep computer networks in order – and this has turned them into unwitting targets of the National Security Agency for simply doing their jobs. According to a secret document provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the agency tracks down the private email and Facebook accounts of system administrators (or sys admins, as they are often called), before hacking their computers to gain access to the networks they control.

In its quest to take down suspected terrorists and criminals abroad, the United States National Security Agency has adopted the practice of hacking the system administrators that oversee private computer networks, new documents reveal.

38 Microsoft uses Linux to run its CloudIndexup to index

“Microsoft has admitted to something that used to be unthinkable: using Linux to run some of its own operations. […] Microsoft had to build its own switch software – and it turned to Linux to do just that.”

Microsoft Linux

39 Intel Active Management Technology considered harmfulIndexup to index

Intel’s Active Management Technology (AMT) is a proprietary remote management and control system for personal computers with Intel CPUs. It is dangerous because it has full access to personal computer hardware at a very low level, and its code is secret and proprietary.

40 GNU Radio free software talks to ISEE-3Indexup to index

To do this, the group turned to GNU Radio, a free software toolkit for implementing software-defined radios and signal processing systems. Modifying the software to communicate in the 1970s satellite protocol, members of the reboot project were able to gain access to the spacecraft and fire its thrusters in early July

41 Someone deletes Toy Story 2 at PixarIndexup to index

The backups were bad! Luck: An employee happened to have taken a copy home.

42 Data Centre technician unplugs running disksIndexup to index

DSL Reports pays $28,000 in data recovery fees after the technician unplugs the disks while they are still running:

43 ISS Windows contaminated by virusIndexup to index

Most International Space Station [ISS] computers already run GNU/Linux:

GNU/Linux chosen as operating system of the International Space Station: Gnus now join astronauts of many countries in humanity’s biggest space station. This is a wise choice for the space station, and a high-profile victory for software freedom. It brings good publicity for free software, demonstrating its respected position in the world of science and technology.

They finally had to fix the laptops on the ISS:

Although Windows 8 offers built-in anti-virus software called Windows Defender, the ISS really needs an operating system that is less targeted for cyber-attacks than Windows, according to ExtremeTech. The ISS has already experienced the headache of having infected computers onboard after a Russian cosmonaut accidentally brought a laptop infected with the W32.Gammima.AG worm to the station, which ended up contaminating all the other laptops on the station.

The solution was to dump Windows in favour of Linux:

The United Space Alliance, which manages all of the space station’s computers in association with NASA, made the decision to migrate key functions from Windows to Linux, “because we needed an operating system that [is] stable and reliable,” Keith Chuvala of United Space Alliance said in a Linux Foundation press release.

See Also: ISS Robonaut 2 runs Linux

Most systems on the space station already use some form of Linux, including the Robonaut 2, which is expected to take over some of the “tasks too dangerous or mundane for astronauts in microgravity.” The R2 is already a Linux-bot, so both the on-board astronauts and the ground crew are trying to learn to use the platform to better communicate with the first humanoid robot in space.

| Ian! D. Allen, BA, MMath  -  -  Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
| Home Page:   Contact Improv:
| College professor (Free/Libre GNU+Linux) at:
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