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You may have heard about the world-changing potential of blockchains — the technology behind cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. But what are they exactly? And why are companies clamoring to use and develop blockchain technologies?

“It’s not too outlandish to think that in five years time, every Fortune 500 company and perhaps even the top 1,000 will have deployed a blockchain somewhere,” said Hyperledger Executive Director Brian Behlendorf, in a recent article on Linux.com.

In a free webinar to be held Dec. 1 at 10 a.m. Pacific, guest speaker Dan O’Prey, CMO of Digital Asset Holdings, will provide an overview of blockchain technology and the Hyperledger Project at The Linux Foundation.

Hyperledger is an umbrella project for software developer communities building open source blockchain and related technologies. It is a neutral, foundational community for participating companies such as IBM, Intel, Cisco, JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, the London Stock Exchange, Red Hat, and Swift to work together to develop the technology and address issues of code provenance, patent rights, standards, and policy.

In this webinar, Dan will cover:

  • The foundations of distributed ledger technologies, smart contracts, and other components that comprise the modern blockchain technology stack.

  • Why a new blockchain project was needed for business and what the main use cases and requirements for the technology are for commercial applications, as well as extending the overview on the history and projects in the Hyperledger umbrella and how you can get involved.

Register now to attend the webinar, Hyperledger: Blockchain Technologies for Business! Can’t attend? Register anyways to make sure you get a link to the replay, delivered straight to your inbox.

This week in Linux and open source news, Facebook announces new networking hardware technology, The Linux Foundation’s board expands with three new additions, and more! Get up to speed on the latest headlines with this weekly digest:

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Facebook wants to change the data center hardware market and is one step closer after releasing its new voyager device. Learn more in Jonathan Vanian’s latest Fortune article.

1) Facebook announces creation of a new type of hardware to be used to send data “quickly across long distances and multiple data centers.”

Facebook Just Created Some Fancy New Networking Technology– Fortune

2) The Linux Foundation welcomes Erica Brescia (Bitnami,) Jeff Garzik (Bloq,) and Nithya A. Ruff (Western Digital) to board of directors

The Linux Foundation Adds Three New Members to Board of Directors– EconoTimes

3) Amazon Web Services “is becoming more open to private and hybrid cloud scenarios.”

 AWS Reveals On-Premises Linux Test Environment– Computer Business Review

4) Ubuntu Core 16 for IoT features Linux self-patching.

Ubuntu Core Snaps Door Shut on Linux’s New Dirty COWs– The Register

5) New Linux Foundation course on edX focuses on “three basic principles of DevOps.”

Linux Foundation Launches Online DevOps Course in Move to Increase Experience– RCR Wireless News

Let’s Encrypt was awarded a grant from The Ford Foundation as part of its efforts to financially support its growing operations. This is the first grant that has been awarded to the young nonprofit, a Linux Foundation project which provides free, automated and open SSL certificates to more than 13 million fully-qualified domain names (FQDNs). 

The grant will help Let’s Encrypt make several improvements, including increased capacity to issue and manage certificates. It also covers costs of work recently done to add support for Internationalized Domain Name certificates. 

“The people and organizations that Ford Foundation serves often find themselves on the short end of the stick when fighting for change using systems we take for granted, like the Internet,” Michael Brennan, Internet Freedom Program Officer at Ford Foundation, said. “Initiatives like Let’s Encrypt help ensure that all people have the opportunity to leverage the Internet as a force for change.”

We talked with Brennan and Josh Aas, Executive Director of Let’s Encrypt about what this grant means for the organization.

Linux.com: What is it about Let’s Encrypt that is attractive to The Ford Foundation? 

Michael Brennan: The Ford Foundation believes that all people, especially those who are most marginalized and excluded, should have equal access to an open Internet, and enjoy legal, technical, and regulatory protections that promote transparency, equality, privacy, free expression, and access to knowledge. A system for acquiring digital certificates to enable HTTPS for websites is a fundamental piece of infrastructure towards this goal. As a free, automated and open certificate authority, Let’s Encrypt is a model for how the Web can be more accessible and open to all.

Linux.com: What is the problem that Let’s Encrypt is trying to solve? 

Josh Aas: As the Web becomes more central to our everyday lives, more of our personal identities are revealed through unencrypted communications. The job of Let’s Encrypt is to help those who have not encrypted their communications, especially those who face a financial or technical barrier to doing so. Let’s Encrypt offers free domain validation (DV) certificates to people in every country in a highly automated way. Over 90% of the certificates we issue go to domains that were previously unencrypted or not otherwise not using publicly trusted certificates. 

Linux.com: How does Let’s Encrypt further the goals of The Ford Foundation? 

Michael Brennan: We think a lot about the digital infrastructure needs of the open Web. This is a massive area of exploration with numerous challenges, so how and where can the Ford Foundation make a meaningful impact? One of the ways we believe we can help is by supporting initiatives that broadly scale access to security and help introduce those efforts to civil society organizations fighting for social justice. Let’s Encrypt fits perfectly into this goal by both serving critical Web security needs of civil society organizations and doing so in a way that is massively scalable.

Linux.com: From your perspective at The Ford Foundation, what population of people is Let’s Encrypt serving? 

Michael Brennan: The Internet Freedom team recently took on a trip to visit the Ford Foundation office in Johannesburg, South Africa. While we were there we met with a number of organizations leveraging the Internet to promote social justice. One of the organizations we met was building a tool to serve the needs of local communities. They were thrilled to hear we were supporting Let’s Encrypt because prior to its existence they could only afford to secure their production server, not their development or testing servers.

Let’s Encrypt is changing security on the Web on a massive scale so it can be easy to overlook small victories like this. The people and organizations that Ford Foundation serves often find themselves on the short end of the stick when fighting for change using systems we take for granted, like the Internet. Initiatives like Let’s Encrypt help ensure that all people have the opportunity to leverage the Internet as a force for change.

Linux.com: What can Let’s Encrypt users expect as a result of this grant? 

Josh Aas: We will make several improvements through this grant, including our recently added support for Internationalized Domain Name certificates. We will also use these funds to increase capacity to keep up with the growing number of certificates we issue and manage. 

Linux.com: What other fundraising initiatives are you pursuing? 

Josh Aas: We run a pretty financially lean operation — next year, we expect to be managing certificates covering well over 20 million domains an operating cost of $2.9M. We have funding agreements in place with a number of sponsors, including Cisco, Akamai, OVH, Mozilla, Google Chrome, and Facebook. Some of those agreements are multi-year. These agreements provide a strong financial foundation but we will continue to seek new corporate sponsors and grant partners in order to meet our goals. We will also be running a crowdfunding campaign in November so individuals can contribute. 

Linux.com: How can people financially support Let’s Encrypt today? 

Josh Aas: We accept donations through PayPal. Any companies interested in sponsoring us can email us at sponsor@letsencrypt.org. Financial support is critical to our ability to operate, so we appreciate contributions of any size.

Linux.com: How can developers and website admins get started with Let’s Encrypt?

Josh Aas: It’s designed to be pretty easy. In order to get a certificate, users need to demonstrate control over their domain. With Let’s Encrypt, you do this using software that uses the ACME protocol, which typically runs on your web host.

We have a Getting Started page with easy-to-follow instructions that should work for most people.

We have an active community forum that is very responsive in answering questions that come up during the install process.

1) British Government Digital Service (GDS) posted a job advertisement looking for a new ‘open source lead’. “How times have changed,” writes Adrian Bridgwater.

UK Government Recruits Chief Open Source Penguin– Forbes

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The British Digital Service (BDS) seeks an open source lead; a metaphor for the changing times.

2) Vendors are changing their business models to incorporate OSS.
Open Source Reshaping Vendor Business Models – Wikibon– Silicon Angle

3) Scott Gilbertson anticipates two great years ahead with Mint 18.x.

Mint 18 Review: “Just Works” Linux Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This– Ars Technica

4) This edition of Jim Lynch’s weekly digest focuses on how many gamers are actually using Linux.

Do You Use Linux as Your Main Gaming OS?– InfoWorld

5) The new CORD project will enable telcos to use SDN, NFV and cloud-based tech.

CORD Project Will Help Service Providers Build Cloud-Like Networks– eWeek

Open source is the new normal for startups and large enterprises looking to stay competitive in the digital economy. That means that open source is now also a viable long-term career path.

“It is important to start thinking about the career road map, and the pathway that you can take and how Linux and open source in general can help you meet your career goals,” said Clyde Seepersad, general manager of training at The Linux Foundation, in a recent webinar.

Certification is one clear path with real career benefits. Forty-four percent of hiring managers in our recent 2016 Open Source Jobs Report said they’re more likely to hire certified candidates. And 76 percent of open source pros surveyed believe certifications lead to a career boost.

The Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) and Certified Engineer (LFCE) exams are great opportunities for sysadmins to polish and prove their skills. The exams are available online to anyone in the world at any time. They’re also performance based, working within a Linux server terminal and overseen by a proctor. Because the format is not multiple choice, even seasoned pros will need some preparation in order to avoid common mistakes and complete the exam within the time limit.

To help you prepare for the certification exam, and a long and successful sysadmin career, we’ve gathered some tips, below, from Linux Foundation certified sysadmins who have completed the LFCS or LFCE exams.

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Chris van Horn

Chris van Horn, LFCS

1. Practice

“Experience is key. Spin up a VM, take a fresh snapshot of it and go to work applying all the requirements of the exam in practice. When you feel you have satisfied all the exam topics thoroughly, apply that fresh snapshot to revert changes and begin again until it is second nature. Also, feel comfortable with man pages; they are your best friend when Google is not an option.”

Chris Van Horn, Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) and a “Debian guy.”

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Dashamir Hoxha

Dashamir Hoxha, LFCS

2. Give it time

“The best preparation is your experience. If you feel that you have enough experience with the topics required by the exam, you can give it a try. Otherwise, you have to work hard to get those skills.

Don’t think that in a short time you can learn everything.”

Dashamir Hoxha, LFCS, an Ubuntu user and open source contributor.

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William Brawner

William Brawner, LFCS

3. Learn how to use man pages

“If you haven’t already, get familiar with the man pages. Know what they are and how to use them efficiently.

No matter how much you study, you can’t learn everything, and if you could, you wouldn’t retain it all anyway. The man pages will fill in the gaps.”

William Brawner, LFCS, and Arch Linux user who plans to take the LFCE exam next.

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Francisco Tsao

Francisco Tsao, LFCE

4. Understand the material, don’t just memorize it

“Forget recipes, it’s not about memorization. Understand what are you doing by reading some books and documentation that give you a deep background of the tasks you’ll perform at the exam and in real life.

Imagine real problems and try to solve them.”

Francisco Tsao, LFCE, self-professed Debian fanboy and Fedora contributor.

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George Doumas

George Doumas, LFCS

5. The boring stuff is still important

“Do not rely on one book only! Study and practice…even the stuff that you find mundane.

A portion of the tasks are boring, but you cannot avoid them.”

George Doumas, LFCS, and a fan of Scientific Linux, openSUSE, and Linux Mint.

6. Follow the instructions

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Jorge Tudela Gonzalez de Riancho

Jorge Tudela Gonzalez de Riancho, LFCS

“For experienced professionals, I recommend that they prepare the environment for the exam, and follow the instructions. It’s not a difficult exam if you work daily with Linux.

On the other hand, for newcomers, apart from having a look to open/free resources, I just encourage them to set up a Linux environment at home and get their hands dirty!!”

Jorge Tudela Gonzalez de Riancho, LFCS, Debian user and Raspberry Pi enthusiast.

7. Have fun!

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Gabriel Canepa

Gabriel Canepa, LFCS

“Make sure you love what you are doing, and do not forget to have fun, to experiment, and then to do it all over again and again, and make sure you learn something new each time.”

Gabriel Canepa, LFCS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux admin and technical writer.

Sign up to receive one free Linux tutorial each week for 22 weeks from Linux Foundation Training. Sign Up Now »

Dice and The Linux Foundation recently released an updated Open Source Jobs Report that examines trends in open source recruiting and job seeking. The report clearly shows that open source professionals are in demand and that those with open source experience have a strong advantage when seeking jobs in the tech industry. Additionally, 87 percent of hiring managers say it’s hard to find open source talent.

The Linux Foundation offers many training courses to help you take advantage of these growing job opportunities. The courses range from basic to advanced and offer essential open source knowledge that you can learn at your own pace or through instructor-led classes.

This article looks at some of the available training courses and other resources that can provide the skills needed to stay competitive in this hot open source job market.  

Networking Courses            

The Open Source Jobs Report highlighted networking as a leading emergent technology — with 21 percent of hiring managers saying that networking has the biggest impact on open source hiring. To build these required networking skills, here are some courses to consider.

Essentials of System Administration

This introductory course will teach you how to administer, configure, and upgrade Linux systems. You’ll learn all the tools and concepts necessary to efficiently build and manage a production Linux infrastructure including networking, file system management, system monitoring, and performance tuning. This comprehensive, online, self-paced course also forms the basis for the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator skillset.

Advanced Linux System Administration and Networking

The need for sys admins with advanced administration and networking skills has never been greater. This course is designed for system administrators and IT professionals who need to gain a hands-on knowledge of Linux network configuration and services as well as related topics such as basic security and performance.

Software Defined Networking with OpenDaylight

Software Defined Networking (SDN) is a rapidly emerging technology that abstracts networking infrastructure away from the actual physical equipment. This course is designed for experienced network administrators who are either migrating to or already using SDN and/or OpenDaylight, and it provides an overview of the principles and methods upon which this technology is built.

Cloud Courses

Cloud technology experience is even more sought after than networking skills — with 51 percent of hiring managers stating that knowledge of OpenStack and CloudStack has a big impact on open source hiring decisions.

Introduction to Cloud Infrastructure Technologies

As companies increasingly rely on cloud products and services, it can be overwhelming to keep up with all the technologies that are available. This free, self-paced course will give you a fundamental understanding of today’s top open source cloud technology options.

Essentials of OpenStack Administration

OpenStack adoption is expanding rapidly, and there is high demand for individuals with experience managing this cloud platform. This instructor-led course will teach you everything you need to know to create and manage private and public clouds with OpenStack.

OpenStack Administration Fundamentals

This online, self-paced course will teach you what you need to know to administer private and public clouds with OpenStack. This course is also excellent preparation for the Certified OpenStack Administrator exam from the OpenStack Foundation.

Open Source Licensing and Compliance

A good working knowledge of open source licensing and compliance is critical when contributing to open source projects or integrating open source software into other projects. The Compliance Basics for Developers course teaches software developers why copyrights and licenses are important and explains how to add this information appropriately. This course also provides an overview of the various types of licenses to consider.    

Along with these — and many other — training courses, the Linux Foundation also offers free webinars and ebooks on various topics. The free resources listed below can help you get started building your career in open source:

 

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