Monthly Archives: June 2012

A Terminal Case: Catching the Linux Bug

Linux is kind of a big deal.

I have heard all sorts of opinions about it. I have heard everything from Linux being the savior of computing to one person that told me in an interview it was a novelty operating system (inside info-here at InMotion we don’t consider that to be a Novelty). It’s certainly not a novelty and while it being a savior to computing might be a little much, it is certainly ingrained in the very fabric of the computing society we interact with every day.

Doubt it’s importance? Aside from it running nine out of the ten most powerful supercomputers, being ported onto phones, running nearly two thirds of web hosting and having hundreds of distributions, Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux was the shared winner of Millennium Technology Prize.  He shares this prize with a guy who figured out how to make human skin cells act like stem cells. To share a prize with someone who created technology that is literally life saving means Linus’ work is, as I said, kind of a big deal.

Where am I going with this? Well here at InMotion Hosting we too use Linux. We want you to use Linux too. Especially if you want to work here.

Why Do We Use Linux?

Interested? Intrigued? Confused? Let’s try to make it clear why Linux is pretty awesome. It’s free for a start. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Free things are usually rubbish.” While I appreciate your skepticism, I assure you that while Linux can fit into a Volkswagen Golf it is far from rubbish. Linux is open source, allowing developers from all backgrounds to either take the Linux kernel and make their own package of it (called a distribution) or submit changes to the main Linux kernel. For more information about how the Linux kernel is put together, check out http://linuxfoundation.org.

Since it is free and open source, we can make modifications to the distribution as we see fit to make it work best for our configuration. Try to do that with Windows Server and you will probably get a nasty-gram from Redmond, Washington. On top of that, since we don’t pay the licensing fees that come with a Windows server distribution we can pass that saving down to the customer. This maks the hosting cheaper and able to spend that money elsewhere, like support, better servers and foosball accessories.

Want to Get Started?

If you are now excited to get started with Linux, that’s fantastic. That’s the sort of drive that InMotion loves to see. Where does one get started though? I’ll be honest, it can be like drinking through a fire hose powered by a hurricane but don’t fear, we’ll get you pointed in the right direction. First a bit of advice: Don’t get discouraged when you thoroughly break your first, second or twentieth install of Linux. No, there is no if. It’s a when. You will break Linux, because if you don’t, you are not pushing your abilities. Really explore the space and the code.

First order of business is what distribution to get. Some people call them flavors and that’s not a bad analogy in many respects. Like ice cream not everyone likes the same flavors but at the end of the day it’s the same basic ingredients and it’s all ice cream. All Linux distributions have the same basic ingredients however it’s all about what comes with it that makes all the difference. If this is your first foray into Linux I’d recommend one of the following:

  • Ubuntu (friendliest setup by far)
  • Debian (very stable, strong community, wide use)
  • Fedora (similar to what we use)

Those are just suggestions, you are free to select other ones, Arch, Gentoo, Slackware, Mandriva, Suse. The choice is yours, but I recommend Ubuntu, Debian or Fedora if you are just getting going. Each comes with an installer guide, so open that up in a new tab, get it installed and then come right back here.

Installed? Cool. Take a moment to savor the shiny desktop environment you have before you. Looks nice right? I will show you something that is even better: Terminal. Go on, open it up.

Don’t Point and Grunt, Speak the Language!

You are now presented with a prompt. While Windows and Mac may try to convince you that shiny buttons and clicking is the way forward, us Linux users know this isn’t the case. Pointing and clicking  is the human communication equivalent of pointing at something and grunting because you don’t know the language. Working in the terminal is speaking the computer’s language and anyone who has traveled abroad will tell you speaking the local lingo makes getting around much easier. Computing is no different. With a graphic interface you are limited to what you see to communicate action, with the command line you are only limited by your willingness to learn commands!

I can see you now, staring into that terminal ready to type something, anything. I will warn you now, once you start working in terminal you will not want to go back. Possibly one of the best turtorials to get you started working in the terminal can be found here:  http://linuxcommand.org/.

That site will guide you in gently into working with the command line and before you know it you will be managing jobs, redirecting output and killing commands that have run out of control after SIGTERM has failed to work (you’ll understand all that soon enough). Just think: that is only the beginning. Next step is writing shell scripts and you will be automating things you wouldn’t have dreamed of a mere few days ago.

What’s Next and Wrapping This Up

Well, I’m sure you are raring to get into the terminal and start playing with Linux so I’ll keep this brief. I’m asked frequently what one should do with Linux to learn it. “What should I install?” “What should I not do?” To tell the truth, I’m always really bad at answering that. Aside from learning the shell above I encourage people to go explore. Install Apache, MySQL and PHP if it so suits you (and is relevant for our work), install Rails if Ruby is your thing, manage your own DNS or just become an expert shell programmer. Know how to do that and you can break into programming.

I hope you see what I’m getting at, the possibilities are endless, so go forth and explore.

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Let’s Explain Web Hosting- Behind the Scenes [Video]

Ever get bored of the techie trying to explain to you what web-hosting is all about? Ever get lulled to sleep by the robotic voiceover?

Well, we understand how you feel! So our marketing team got together and decided to ‘“splain it” in low-tech everyday stuff, so that even YOU can explain it to your Mom, Dad, or dog.

Check out our video below:


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Hats Off to our 2012 Graduates

Congratulations to our team members that successfully completed educational programs this year. We are proud of your focus on your personal development.

 

 

 

 

John Bramble
Support
ECPI University
Bacheors, Computer Science with a focus in Simulation and Game Programming

David Altonaga
Support
University of  Phoenix
Bachelors, Program of Study: IT, Multimedia and Visual Communication

Erica Pugh
IMW Operations
ECPI University
Bachelors, Web Development

John-Paul Briones
Support
ECPI University
Bachelors, Electronic Engineering Technology (Specializing in Wireless Systems)

Elliott Peay
Development
Old Dominion University
Masters, Computer Science

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Behind the Scenes with the Customer Community Team

Here at InMotion Hosting we offer support to our customers in a variety of ways. One of the options is our Support Center, maintained by our Customer Community Team, and  increasing in popularity with our customers month over month. The Support Center is a platform that allows our “Do It Myself” customers and non-customers the ability to increase their technical knowledge and obtain answers to questions without having to dial a phone or enter into a chat.

Recently, two members of our Tier 1 Technical Support Team transitioned to roles in Customer Community. Let’s hear how their transition is going.

Scott Mitchell:

I have been with Inmotion for over 2 years now.I recently became a member
of our Customer Community team, which allows me to use all of my support
knowledge sprinkled with some occasional programming.

I’m learning new skills as a content writer and building tutorials
for a vareity of software and tools used both on the
web and on our servers. This is great as I get to learn more about the
programs and tools I already use and even jump into newer and different
software as they become available. Staying current is key.

SEO skills are a new development for me as well. The articles we write
will not be effective if people cannot find them. Learning how to get our content
written so it places in the best possible positions in the search
engines is important, challenging and fun.

My newest acquired skill is that of hosting webinars. It is neat to be
helping others by broadcasting to people around the web in a live
interactive environment. I get to educate on software such
as WordPress and in real time, answer any questions they have.
Now, if I can only find the right intro music…

Overall, the experience in Customer Community is great and a lot of fun.
It combines the skills and knowledge of a support technician, writer,
speaker, SEO specialist, and researcher. There is always something new
to learn and write about, which is one of the best things for me.

Arnel Custido:

I’ve been in Community Support for about a month now. Typically, my day is
spent between answering community support questions on the website and
writing technical how-to’s. Lately, my focus has been on two
different applications that are fully developed solutions for e-commerce.

It’s been interesting changing my focus from technical support to writing.
Providing and posting solutions in the Support Center that that others can
read and use at any time.

My time here has proven to be educational because I’m often reading and
learning about new softwares, thus increasing my own knowledge as well as
educating customers and non-customers.

In the process of researching applications that customers need assistance
with, we sometimes become involved in development cycles for softwares
that arecoming out. For example, I recently discovered a bug in a new
release of Prestashop and wrote in to their development team. To my
surprise, they reacted to it almost immediately and posted a fix in an
upcoming release. It’s satisfying seeing that kind of response, and
gives me more faith in recommending their solution to our customers.

Community Support is an evolving and changing team, but it’s been an
enjoyable experience thus far.

 

 

 

 

 

Arnel & Scott

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