DeFreeze's entry into the Linux world

Guess this will be a mix of an “Hello to you, this is me” and “blog” about what I’m currently trying to do. “Exciting” I know, but I hope updating this will motivate me more going forward. Hopefully get some advice and guidance along the way as well. I also wanted to get into this forum and say hi to the people here.

So what am I doing? I’m learning Linux, simple right?(I wish). Maybe hoping for a career change if I can keep this interest going, I’ll see what time brings.

I’ve been watching Level1Techs Youtube channel for years, I remember the previous branding, but I never really entered into the Linux side of things. A few weeks ago I saw the Linode 100$ credit promotion in one of the videos, I decided to sign up knowing nothing about VPSs, Linux, etc, quite green. Messed around with that a bit, following some guides on how to make an RMTP server, for what purpose? I really don’t know :stuck_out_tongue: . A week or so later I decided I needed a NAS, watching enough Level1Tech and others videos about ZFS, Linux and NAS, I knew had the resources to do it. I had some old hardware components laying around, I flashed a USB stick with TrueNAS and installed it. Done, right? Well, somewhere in my head there was this thing telling me “You can probably do this and lots more if you installed Ubuntu like you did on that Linode VPS”. So I installed Ubuntu, followed some guides again and got lost and confused time and time again with the command line, frustrating times indeed…

Youtube videos to the rescue again. YT autoplay played a video about Wendell talking about a Linux course he had made. I decided that would probably be ideal seeing how much I had struggled with my Ubuntu server. So I took it and it opened up a lot, lots of phrases and terminology used in those guides I had been reading suddenly made sense. VIM, grep, -options, etc etc etc. He kept mentioning another thing though, “certification”.

I do have a fair amount of Windows desktop experience like building computers, messing with windows in various ways, Unity, Blender, in short I wouldn’t say I’m new to the computer world :stuck_out_tongue: . But this Linux thing, green as green can be, making this server of mine quite the challenge.

So where am I now?
Well, Wendell in his course kept mentioning certification, so after some googling I found the edx Linux Foundation(LFS101) introduction to Linux course, and that is what I’m currently working my way through. There’s a fair amount of overlap from Wendell’s course, but it only reinforces something I’m very loosely familiar with.

So, if you made it this far, hello to you and hope you’ll say hello too!


Hello too!

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Welcome to the wonderful world of Linux. And whatever comes with it :wink:

A good source for learning is the ancient book (paper edition!). It also doubles as a readily available reference when the web just isn’t there :stuck_out_tongue: See if you can obtain a copy of the Unix and Linux system Administration Handbook from Prentice Hall publ. There are several editions, try to get the latest version. I have the 4th, and it’s really old now.

Thanks :slight_smile:

I’ll definitely look into it, some actual books might be good. I have seen that there’s a lot of books on just Linux alone, quite the jungle :stuck_out_tongue:

After seeing the overwhelmingly positive reviews on amazon I decided to just buy it, thanks for the advice :slight_smile:

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Hello again.

So today I received my drives for my NAS, setting up a RaidZ1 configuration with 3x 4TB drives.

Doing some research I should set it up by ID and not “sdb sdc sdd”, so I found the “by-id” folder in /dev/disk/by-id and used that for my “zpool create” command. Seemed to work.

Now to set up scrubbing and stuff… A little lost :sweat_smile:

Hello again!

So I’m chugging along with my own Linux server, doing some cool stuff I think.

I had an idea a few days ago, what if it was possible to stream from my main PC, but make the linux server do the actual stream encoding. I was advised to set up some RTMP setup, but I discovered something else: Newtek NDI.

There is an NDI plugin for OBS, letting you use this protocol(?) over your home network using OBS in either end with minimal to no CPU usage on the senders side, this had to be ideal. There’s a few videos on how to do this on youtube but none of them really did want I wanted, to have it as an automated headless solution through my server.(I didn’t achieve this, I’ll go into that)

There used to be a solution for this through ffmpeg, a completely headless server just doing the streaming, but because of a license dispute they pulled support for this. This slowed me down a good day trying to make this work… So, I had to install gnome and run a GUI OBS app on the server, but I didn’t want to run into my utility room to start and stop the stream so I wanted some kind of remote desktop. After lots of googling an “X session” solution kept popping up, I tried this with very little luck, the stream starts and the encoding is done entirely on the server, but the framrate was horrendous. Next try was an RDP session, this fixed everything, it runs smooth as day.

Sidenote: after installing gnome, the pc would shut down randomly, initially I thought it was an overheating issue from the encoding but no, installing gnome had introduced some kind of “hibernation mode” on my server… Which could only be disabled in the CLI after lots of yet again, googling, not the greatest I must say.

Now I can run the OBS with the NDI plugin on my windows machine, do all video mixing, audio mixing there, easily available for streaming, and then set the stream settings, start and stop the stream over RDP on my server also running OBS with the NDI plugin, a little clunky but damn is it saving resources on my main rig.

The amount of head scratching and frustration I went through on this, geez.

Another little network update:
I was looking on upgrading to 2.5gig networking, and it initially seemed interesting until a frien of mine said “SFP+” was really cheap for 10gig networking. I was only vaguely aware of this standard, but after lots of research on SFP vs SFP+(That’s a trap for sure) QSFP, transceiver compatibility and ebay digging I found what I needed, mellanox connectx3 cards, a mikrotik switch and some DAC and fiber cabling. Soon 10gig in the house! It ended up costing about double of what a 2,5gig QNAP switch would cost, but 4 times faster! Will I need this on a 3x4TBB zfs raid? Probably not, but having a fiber cable directly into my PC? That’s cool! I also have one cat5e cable running through the house, I want to try and push the speeds on that with an rj45 tranceiver, because although not supported, it seems to do a lot more than 1gig if you try from reading on the internet.

Well, this post ended up long enough, quick things: SSL is hard, Apache2 is unforgiving, nextcloud breaks all the time and… I’m glad I put a Cooler Master 212 CPU cooler on my rig cause now that 4790k can and is being used to it’s full potential.

Peace out!


I’ve picked up some more online courses and the book recommended here has also arrived.

There’s of course some overlap on these courses, but some repetition has been good considering that on 18th of december last year I struggled with nano.
Because of Wendell’s course I’m now using vi for everything, although I probably haven’t touched the surface of what it can actually do.

Linux Foundation/EDX:
I’ve taken the first two courses in the path I’m currently on towards the IT Associate and SysAdmin certifications.

I get the feeling the instructors are well educated and know their stuff, but conveying it isn’t always their strong suit. These are dense and lack a bit in production quality, especially video/audio wise, fan noise, poor mic quality, weird structuring, sometimes really just throwing you on deep water and leaving you there. 2 basic slides about bash and then “Now make a calculator”, wait, what did I miss, where am I? Did I skip ahead?

They were hard to follow, and I felt very much lost at many points.

I’m not paying for the 169 USD “Certificate of completion”, although they apparently do some grading if you choose to do so, I feel a completion certificate is kinda pointless for a course training module towards an actual certification.

So, I’m looking elsewhere to deepen my understanding in he areas these courses failed me a bit.
(They made me watch a 7 minute video of the progress bar on the graphical installation of Ubuntu desktop…)

Udemy(Be careful with this one):
I’ve done another Linux course since last time, it’s the “Linux CLI Mastery in 11.5 hours”, and that one was really good. He’s very upbeat and happy, a bit much at times, but I’m not about to criticize for trying to make people stay positive through educational material.

I’m currently working on a Python Boot Camp by Colt Steele, I actually found this course when sifting through bad reviews of Udemy and someone said this course was great, and so far it has been.

There’s overlap, but either a bit different or repetition has been good for getting the skills to sit.

Udemy is a bit of a scam, a quick google search will really tell you that, doesn’t make me feel great about spending money there. Never pay full price, it’s always 95% off in incognito mode, but if you log in prices might spike to 200 USD. I’d call that a scam, and that’s pretty sad, cause the courses I’ve done there have been pretty good.

As for course quality, it’s like the Google Play store, you really need to know what you’re getting before getting it. Anyone can put up anything. I’d say if you want some of those courses, research them outside of the Udemy website, but still be careful cause there’s lots of affiliate links out there with “best course ever” descriptions…

You can add courses to your wishlist, and they send you emails saying “You wishlist is 95% off”. Check back the next day, it’s probably on sale again for some reason or another.

As for the certificates you get at the end, nice carrot, but you can totally just skip through everything and still get it. They hold no academic/professional value except for a little carrot if you’re honest to yourself.

With that said, these specific courses are great, just a bit dissapointed in the website itself.

Another far too long post, but I kinda wanted to try and explain my experiences with this, so it would hopefully have some value for anyone else trying this.


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only buy from udemy when they’re on sale

never pay full price, they’re always on sale

Yeah, I first noticed when doing Wendel’s course. I clicked something and the price shot up, incognito mode fixed it, it revealed itself early on for sure.

Well, would you look at that.

I caught it by luck, noticed some weird read/write speeds and decided to check the pool status on a whim.

First thing I tried was to replace the sata cable, still bad, then I swapped 2 drives around(probably not the smartest but no fear of data loss) and the problem moved to another drive. So it’s a slot issue and not a drive issue. Moved sata port and now everythings fine again.

Unsure what the exact problem is except a wonky sata port on the mobo… But sure did give me a scare.

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Hello again!

Been busy with some other stuff, but still working on this thing.

Python is hard… Haven’t gotten back to that yet.

Network update!
I now have SFP+ networking in the house. 10gbe link between my server and my main PC. These speeds are so much fun. Bought a 4 port SFP+ switch from Mikrotik, some tranceivers off ebay, running an LC-LC fiber cable between the mikrotik switch and my main rig. Server is running 16gigs of DDR3 ram, so transferring a gig or two is sometimes instant! But, it does fill up at one point… So what to do with all this speed…

Time for a server server update!
I have bought a Asus Hyper M.2 PCIe card! I’m planning to have a read and write cache on two NVMEs on this. The Asus Z97-A motherboard I’m using have 2 PCIe Gen 3 x16 slots connected directly to the CPU. I think they will both be x8 when using both slots, hopefully this will not hinder performance too much. Time to use that 10gig much more! Will I get this working? Maybe? Let’s hope.


Hello again, boy, a lot has happened.

Mentioned in the last post I bought a Asus Hyper M.2 PCIe expansion card, and it turns out the Z97-a motehrboard I was using doesn’t support it, bummer. It requires PCIe Bifurcation to work aaaand… I got a X299 motherboard and a Intel 7820x to upgrade my server to support this… This mobo does support PCIe bifurcation… I totally did not spend a lot of money on something I would barely use! I promise!

Well, I hit a few snags, I bought the CPU and mobo second hand, and I could not get it to boot… After days of troubleshooting and borrowing parts I discovered the motherboard was dead sadly. So now I’m waiting for a new motherboard… Money go poof.

So, am I going to use the PCIe bifurcation and M.2 expansion card when the new motherboard arrives? The almost sole reason for this upgrade? Probably not… Because the motherboard has 2x M.2 slots that uses the chipset PCIe lanes, and that means I can fit a GPU(One day) for Plex encoding! I have decided to make the two M.2 drives a vdev/raid mirror for ZFS metadata instead of read/write cache, cause I/O in some edge cases on this raidz1 setup goes through the roof, aaaand a Level1tech video said it was a good idea.

Next up: pfSense and networking, yup, another rabbit hole.

My old Z97 and 4790k server that was being replaced, I decided would make an excellent pfSense router! I had heard IDS/IPS required some horsepower and my 250/250mbit line would probably be fine with that CPU. I found out later it wasn’t the CPU I should have worried about, it was the Snort/Suricata IPS tuning I would have to do, oh god… Still working on that.

But the X299 mobo being dead on arrival and all, I had to put that on hold. I did have though, an LGA775 motherboard and a Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600! If anyone remembers that thing, it was a beast back in the day that would OC like crazy. I also bought a Intel i350 4-port gigabit NIC that everyone recommends for pfSense.

Related to this, I also bought a Ubiquiti US-48 switch. This has 2 SFP+ uplinks and 48 gigabit RJ45 ports. I was using a MikroTik CRS305 4-port SFP+ switch that I only bought a month or two ago that this now replaced :sweat_smile:.

This brought another issue, being a Unifi switch it wants a controller, I initially set it up only using a desktop app on my windows machine to initially set it up and closed the controller, worked perfect. But I wanted a dedicated controller. I though of buying a cloud key, using a raspberry pi, but what I really wanted was for the pfSense box to host a controller. How hard can it be… Well, really hard, googling this meets you with a lot of “no not possible” and “just buy a cloud key”. But I persisted in my googling and I did find a solution! Someone has posted an install script for this exact solution on github!
Link to that:

It’s not without it’s flaws, it’s a bit fiddly, but it works. All I had to do was admin SSH into the pfSense box, go to the FreeBSD console and fetch the script, easy. Took a few tries, but I got it working. I was actually really happy with this solution as the pfSense being a dedicated router, that thing will mostly be up, and I saved myself a hundred or so dollars on a cloud key. Nice.

So, we put the Q6600 system up and running with pfSense. If anyone tells you that pfSense has a bit of a learning curve, that’s an understatement… It’s hard. I spent about a day and a half getting it somewhere where I wanted it, a lot of that spent on IPS/IDS stuff and just learning as I go along in general.

So some people online, while researching this, said the 4790k would be too power hungry for a pfSense router. So I bought a wattmeter to do some checking, and oh man am I glad I did.

The 4790k server I was running draw a surprisingly low 45 watts on idle, this system has 3 HDDs in a raidz1 that are always spinning, 1 SSD, 4 fans, a connectx3 10gig NIC and I’m probably forgetting something. I just expected more. The CPU is runnign completely stock so it has all of it’s power saving features enabled, which I think is a good thing for a mostly idle server.

Now, wattage on the LGA775 Q6600 pfSense router… With a PCI display adapater(Not PCIe) and an Intel NIC, ON IDLE… drum roll… 160 WATTS! With spikes to 200w on load! I have a 200 watt router… Yeah, I’m not gonna keep that hardware running for long. :sweat_smile: I’m expecting the 4790k to draw around 30 watts on the pfSense, so that is much, much better.

Talking about watts, UPS Time!

So I decided I wanted a UPS. New ones are expensive, so I decided to look up the used market. Most of these UPSs use standard form factor batteries, so replacing them is no issue if the price is right.

I found one… an Emerson Liebert GXT3-6000VA… This thing is a monster! WAAAY more than I need. It was sold as “broken”, me knowing what deceiving bitches lead acid batteries can be I decided to buy it, ehem… I bought two of them…

So, I get both of the 6000VA UPSs home. I try to boot them and there is error codes all around, but they do turn on. A LOT of manual reading later I find emergency switches I need to check and a laundry list of other things.

But, it still won’t function, but the only error code now is “battery missing”

There is 2 banks of 10 batteries in each UPS. So I have 4 battery banks in total, 40 batteries… I check the voltages, they should read 120 volts each, 2 of the banks are dead as can be, but two of them are reading 120 volts! Success! Or so I though, as soon as I put a load on one of the two 120 volt banks it tanks…

So, I take apart the failing bank that still has 120volt, I check all the voltages, all batteries are reading 12 volts, except one reading 9 volts, aha! I grab a car light bulb 55 watts, to do some load testing, and the battery reading 9 volts tanks to 3 volts when hit with a load. No light in the lightbulb, I have found my culprit.

I buy a new battery, series them all up again, assemble the UPS again and voila… I now have a 6000VA UPS… for a 45 watt server! :rofl:

I haven’t been doing much course studying later, but I feel justified in having been busy troubleshooting motherboards, fixing dead UPSs, learning pfSense.

This post is LONG! Sorry about that :sweat_smile:

But it is coming together and it is exciting times!


Hello again! It’s been quite a while since I last posted, sorry about that. This was meant to be a bit of a diary thing, but time just didn’t allow for it.

The news: I did it, I work in IT now! I’m a Linux sysadmin and getting ceritfied as an Azure admin!

After an interview with a company, and getting grilled about Linux things, I was asked to complete the AZ-900 certification. I went home, passed the exam and sent it to them the same day. Felt like a proper flex, story was I had started studying for it the previous week, so I was already a little prepared.

On the home front, not much has changed.

Little tip: If you use Nextcloud, I would recommend upgrading to php8.0, it fixes so many little issues like streaming video in the browser, 512mb download limit bug etc etc.

There’s a repo for Ubuntu called “Ondrej PHP” or something. Some quick googling should get you there.

Until next time!