The Linux Utility Knife

The Linux Utility Knife

I have used Linux operating systems for about 15 years in various distributions, for various purposes. Somewhere around 2011 I started using Linux as my primary desktop OS, and I haven’t looked back since. Today however, I primarily use MacOS (which Darwin is very “Linux-Like” and draws itself from BSD and others). That isn’t my tacit disapproval of Windows either, Windows is most certainly necessary and useful. I retain a copy of Windows as a virtual machine and host it with Oracle VirtualBox on whatever my primary computer happens to be.

Of all the flavors and distributions of Linux, I have found Ubuntu and Mint to be the best all-around experience both in UI and the reliability of the UI, which in the Linux world, isn’t always the case (many Desktop UIs based on Debian tend to be very usable and robust).

Over the next few weeks I’ll describe how I have used Linux as a networking, “utility knife” to accomplish all sorts of temporary and permanent network and Unified Collaboration tasks and how to implement Linux in a network for these tasks.

In the coming weeks I will cover how to use Linux as a DNS server, an NTP server, a SFTP server, a network monitoring server and a default gateway*.

*This will be covered in greater detail later; however, it is worth noting that due to the complexities and ambiguities of iptables and the lack of overall flexibility, using a base Linux distribution not specifically designed as a security appliance shouldn’t be considered as a production solution for network routing and only used in very specific situations and only for very temporary purposes.

As a professional Unified Collaboration consultant, Linux has helped me in a variety of ways to facilitate network challenges that are sometimes faced when working with client Collaboration environments.

As a matter of practice, I keep an ISO image of my favorite Linux distribution and a pre-built Linux virtual machine (VMDK) handy, so I can quickly deploy as, if and when needed, to assist with client engagements (I keep them on a 2TB external USB 3.0 SSD); it has saved me immeasurable amounts of time, which has also saved my clients time and money.

Well, that is enough for now; I look forward to sharing my love and passion for Linux with you over the next few weeks.

– Be well friends!