Linux Setup And Tools

I like installing on Linux and know just enough about RHEL and SLES to get the work done that I need to do. I wouldn’t call myself an expert but I know what works for me to build Connections.  For instance there are several things I have on my checklist when deploying a Linux OS for Connections.

  1. I always deploy using supported distros.  That means for me specifically RHEL or SLES. I know people deploy using CentOS and others – I don’t.  Partly because it’s not supported so if it goes wrong I can’t expect IBM to help me and partly because I’m providing a Connections installation consultancy not Linux consultancy – when I quote work it’s to install Connections not to go down a rabbit hole of Linux workarounds.  I would feel bad charging people for Linux consultancy, there are far better Linux experts out there!
  2. I always take a subscription so I can update the OS and download any tools or libraries I need.  For this demo build which is only going to run for a few months I’m using a 30 day RHEL trial license so I can set it up properly.  Once more it’s about time. It costs a lot more in my time to manually find, download, place and install packages without subscription then a single license costs.  When you install RHEL the first thing you are going to want to do is update and add packages, with subscription you can do that in minutes rather than hours.
  3. I like to use gedit for editing XML files in place (yum install gedit) rather than vi or another text editor. The display of the structure and attributes is very clear which makes it easy for me to find content and spot typos. Connections is all about XML files
  4. I use WinSCP to copy files from a Windows machine over to a Linux one.  If I’m using my Mac I just use scp from within terminal but often I am on a remote server on a customer site and winscp is easier to deploy and use.  It’s also really easy to recursively copy entire directories like the log directories off the server to read.  Whenever I’m analysing logs, for all but the simplest reviews, I prefer to offload them from the server and review them on my workstation
  5. I use AQT (Advanced Query Tool) for opening and reviewing databases and install it on my Windows workstation.  It’s not expensive and supports all ODBC connections and a lot more. I have a blog piece on it here
  6. I install a graphical interface on Linux (usually GNOME) because I prefer working with that for things like Installation Manager and because X11 forwarding is too slow through most customer VPNs to make it workable for me.  If you’re not a seasoned Linux expert having a GUI will save you a lot of stress and make you better able to manage the environment.
  7. I use NoMachine as a remote desktop on Linux which ensures my session activity doesn’t timeout even if I go away, shut my laptop, get some sleep.  It also means other people can connect and takeover my session where I left it.
  8. I edit the /etc/hosts file and ensure that I have explicit entries for the local server, whatever hostnames it may use and all the other servers in my Connections environment with their hostnames.  I could rely on DNS to do this.  I choose to have more direct control over name resolution by using the hosts file.

So all of that is in place and now I’m ready to get started.

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