How much time to 'master' OpenBSD

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How much time to 'master' OpenBSD

Pieter Verberne
Hi there OpenBSD users,

I wonder how much time it took for the average person to 'master'
OpenBSD or a similar OS. With 'master' I mean you have all skills
to configure and use the system. You know reguar expressions,
thorough cli skills like pipes/vi/mg/scripts etc.

Probably most would say that you also need to know programming
languages and networking knowledge to master an OS but in this
case I want to ignore them.

Pieter Verberne

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Re: How much time to 'master' OpenBSD

Jussi Peltola
4-5 years, but I'm still learning lots and lots every day.
It really depends a lot on the definition of "mastering", since using an
OS also requires understanding the real world situation where you use
the OS in. I felt at home on *nix after 2-3 years, which I think is
something easier to define.

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Re: How much time to 'master' OpenBSD

fuzzyping
In reply to this post by Pieter Verberne
On Fri, 8 Jun 2007 12:58:37 +0200, Pieter Verberne <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi there OpenBSD users,
>
> I wonder how much time it took for the average person to 'master'
> OpenBSD or a similar OS. With 'master' I mean you have all skills
> to configure and use the system. You know reguar expressions,
> thorough cli skills like pipes/vi/mg/scripts etc.
>
> Probably most would say that you also need to know programming
> languages and networking knowledge to master an OS but in this
> case I want to ignore them.

This is an impossible question to answer.  Everyone's capabilities to absorb and apply new information are different.  Not to mention that OpenBSD is a moving target (albeit a slower one than most) and quite dissimilar from "similar" OSes that share the common UNIX goals but vary greatly in implementation (e.g. BSD v SysV init).

--
Jason Dixon
DixonGroup Consulting
http://www.dixongroup.net

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Re: How much time to 'master' OpenBSD

Josh Grosse
In reply to this post by Pieter Verberne
On Fri, Jun 08, 2007 at 12:58:37PM +0200, Pieter Verberne wrote:
> I wonder how much time it took for the average person to 'master'
> OpenBSD or a similar OS....

30 seconds.  What's taking you so long? :)


----->  Seriously, this is an unanswerable question, since the definition
of "master" is individually derived.  I've been using Unix for decades, and
believe I have mastered some features of Unix and Unix-like systems.  And
some application environments.  But there's *plenty* I know nothing about.  
Just ask any developer who's dealt with me, and they'll agree. :)  I

At one time, there was a BSD certification program in development.  I'm not
sure where things stand, but they do have a website:

http://www.bsdcertification.org/

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Re: How much time to 'master' OpenBSD

Stuart VanZee
In reply to this post by Pieter Verberne
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]]On Behalf Of
> Pieter Verberne
> Sent: Friday, June 08, 2007 6:59 AM
> To: [hidden email]
> Subject: How much time to 'master' OpenBSD
>
>
> Hi there OpenBSD users,
>
> I wonder how much time it took for the average person to 'master'
> OpenBSD or a similar OS. With 'master' I mean you have all skills
> to configure and use the system. You know reguar expressions,
> thorough cli skills like pipes/vi/mg/scripts etc.
>
> Probably most would say that you also need to know programming
> languages and networking knowledge to master an OS but in this
> case I want to ignore them.
>
> Pieter Verberne
>

I don't think that i will EVER "master" OpenBSD, but then again,
as a personal rule, I never claim to be an expert at anything.  My
boss would probably say differant, he thinks I'm pretty smart
(lucky me... groan...).  What he doesn't know is every time I get
stuck I come crying to the OpenBSD Misc list for help.  You guys
are awsome!

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Re: How much time to 'master' OpenBSD

fuzzyping
In reply to this post by Josh Grosse
On Fri, 8 Jun 2007 08:36:35 -0400, Josh Grosse <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> At one time, there was a BSD certification program in development.  I'm
> not
> sure where things stand, but they do have a website:
>
> http://www.bsdcertification.org/

It's very much in full swing.  Beta exams were given at BSDCan and LinuxTAG.  There is some OpenBSD representation on the BSDCG (Certification Group), including wim@ and jdixon@.

--
Jason Dixon
DixonGroup Consulting
http://www.dixongroup.net

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Re: How much time to 'master' OpenBSD

Antoine Jacoutot
On Friday 08 June 2007 14:59:16 you wrote:
> It's very much in full swing.  Beta exams were given at BSDCan and
> LinuxTAG.  There is some OpenBSD representation on the BSDCG (Certification
> Group), including wim@ and jdixon@.

lol... do you speak about yourself in the third person?
;-)

--
Antoine

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Re: How much time to 'master' OpenBSD

fuzzyping
On Fri, 8 Jun 2007 15:08:50 +0200, Antoine Jacoutot <[hidden email]> wrote:

> lol... do you speak about yourself in the third person?

jdixon@ has been known to, yes.

--
Jason Dixon
DixonGroup Consulting
http://www.dixongroup.net

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Re: How much time to 'master' OpenBSD

Antoine Jacoutot
On Friday 08 June 2007 15:49:22 Jason Dixon wrote:
> jdixon@ has been known to, yes.

Excellent!
He should be called Julius then, not Jason.

;)

--
Antoine

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Re: How much time to 'master' OpenBSD

fuzzyping
On Fri, 8 Jun 2007 15:53:12 +0200, Antoine Jacoutot <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Friday 08 June 2007 15:49:22 Jason Dixon wrote:
>> jdixon@ has been known to, yes.
>
> Excellent!
> He should be called Julius then, not Jason.

Et tu, Antoine?

--
Jason Dixon
DixonGroup Consulting
http://www.dixongroup.net

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Re: How much time to 'master' OpenBSD

Christian Weisgerber
In reply to this post by Pieter Verberne
Pieter Verberne <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I wonder how much time it took for the average person to 'master'
> OpenBSD or a similar OS.

Back when I started out with Unix, in the early 1990s, people told
me it would take ten years to master sysadmin skills.  You can
quibble about that figure, but systems sure haven't become simpler
in the meantime.

(At this point the cocksure PC "power users" who want to run some
flavor of Unix because it's kewl and who ask me that question usually
start to deflate a bit.)

--
Christian "naddy" Weisgerber                          [hidden email]

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Re: How much time to 'master' OpenBSD

Steven Shockley
In reply to this post by Pieter Verberne
Pieter Verberne wrote:
> I wonder how much time it took for the average person to 'master'
> OpenBSD or a similar OS.

Twelve years.

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Re: How much time to 'master' OpenBSD

Daniel Ouellet
In reply to this post by Pieter Verberne
Pieter Verberne wrote:

> Hi there OpenBSD users,
>
> I wonder how much time it took for the average person to 'master'
> OpenBSD or a similar OS. With 'master' I mean you have all skills
> to configure and use the system. You know reguar expressions,
> thorough cli skills like pipes/vi/mg/scripts etc.
>
> Probably most would say that you also need to know programming
> languages and networking knowledge to master an OS but in this
> case I want to ignore them.
>
> Pieter Verberne

All depend on how seriously you read the FAQ and the man page really.

Even after years of using it, I still learn new things regularly and I
make it a must do, to read the FAQ all over again time to time.

So, to answer your question, it's more like how seriously are you ready
man page and FAQ and absorb what's there as all you need to know is there.

That's assuming you have basic understanding of Unix and network stuff, etc.

So, your answer is really you that can provide it based on your
willingness to read the great documentations available to you. After you
answer that question, you will have your answer.

Best,

Daniel

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Re: How much time to 'master' OpenBSD

John Rodenbiker
In reply to this post by Pieter Verberne
On Jun 8, 2007, at 5:58 AM, Pieter Verberne wrote:

> Hi there OpenBSD users,
>
> I wonder how much time it took for the average person to 'master'
> OpenBSD or a similar OS.

About 10 years through deliberate practice, just like any other complex  
area of study.

See "The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert  
Performance" by Ericsson, et al.
http://projects.ict.usc.edu/itw/gel/EricssonDeliberatePracticePR93.pdf

Choice quote:
"Our review has also shown that the maximal level of performance for  
individuals in a given domain is not attained automatically as function  
of extended experience, but the level of performance can be increased  
even by highly experienced individuals as a result ofdeliberate efforts  
to improve. Hence, stable levels of performance after extended  
experience are not rigidly limited by unmodifiable, possibly innate,  
factors, but can be further increased by deliberate efforts. We have  
shown that expert performance is acquired slowly over a very long time  
as a result of practice and that the highest levels of performance and  
achievement appear to require at least around 10 years of intense prior  
preparation."


The areas of study particular to mastering systems administration  
haven't changed much over the decades, just the particulars. I think  
the table of contents and bibliography of _Essential System  
Administration_ by Frisch is a good introduction to the topics.
http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/esa3/toc.html

Others mentioned BSDCertification.org which also has a pretty  
comprehensive list areas of study.
http://www.bsdcertification.org/downloads/ 
pr_20051005_certreq_bsda_en_en.pdf
--
Freedom, truth, love, beauty.
John Rodenbiker
[hidden email]

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Re: How much time to 'master' OpenBSD

Ted Unangst-2
In reply to this post by Pieter Verberne
On 6/8/07, Pieter Verberne <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I wonder how much time it took for the average person to 'master'
> OpenBSD or a similar OS. With 'master' I mean you have all skills
> to configure and use the system. You know reguar expressions,
> thorough cli skills like pipes/vi/mg/scripts etc.
>
> Probably most would say that you also need to know programming
> languages and networking knowledge to master an OS but in this
> case I want to ignore them.

[using 'you' below in the abstract sense.]

i'm going to be different and say 3 months, but probably much less than that.

i switched to using openbsd with no previous unix experience.  i
installed it myself (into a triple boot windows/linux setup.  linux
was installed the day before.  i actually used linux maybe 2 times.).
i was pretty much using it without issues within a month.  i was a
student at the time, so of course i had infinite time and no
deadlines, but still, not that bad.

if you've never installed any OS before, the installer may be
confusing.  pushing enter a lot helps.  i had previously screwed
around with dos extended partitions, ramdisks, norton disk encryption,
whatever, so disklabel was nothing new.

you can learn enough vi (or mg) to do basic tasks like editing config
files within a day.

you can learn enough about starting apache, named, or whatever to use
the shipped default configs in about a day for each service.

a basic pf setup that just does nat takes maybe a day.

so even assuming notepad is the only text editor you've ever used, i'd
expect you could setup a personal web server that also nats your home
network in a weekend.

learning stuff like regex or scripting can take however long you want
to spend on it, but you learn these things as you go.

i used openbsd for several years before ever going beyond the most
basic shell tasks, or perl at all.  it was maybe 2 years before i
needed to learn regex back expressions.  yes, to master openbsd takes
a long time, but you don't need to be a master to use it successfully.
 you only need to master the parts you use.

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Re: How much time to 'master' OpenBSD

Greg Thomas-3
On 6/8/07, Ted Unangst <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 6/8/07, Pieter Verberne <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > I wonder how much time it took for the average person to 'master'
> > OpenBSD or a similar OS. With 'master' I mean you have all skills
> > to configure and use the system. You know reguar expressions,
> > thorough cli skills like pipes/vi/mg/scripts etc.
> >
> > Probably most would say that you also need to know programming
> > languages and networking knowledge to master an OS but in this
> > case I want to ignore them.
>
> [using 'you' below in the abstract sense.]
>
> i'm going to be different and say 3 months, but probably much less than that.
>
> i switched to using openbsd with no previous unix experience.  i
> installed it myself (into a triple boot windows/linux setup.  linux
> was installed the day before.  i actually used linux maybe 2 times.).
> i was pretty much using it without issues within a month.  i was a
> student at the time, so of course i had infinite time and no
> deadlines, but still, not that bad.
>
> if you've never installed any OS before, the installer may be
> confusing.  pushing enter a lot helps.  i had previously screwed
> around with dos extended partitions, ramdisks, norton disk encryption,
> whatever, so disklabel was nothing new.
>
> you can learn enough vi (or mg) to do basic tasks like editing config
> files within a day.
>
> you can learn enough about starting apache, named, or whatever to use
> the shipped default configs in about a day for each service.
>
> a basic pf setup that just does nat takes maybe a day.
>
> so even assuming notepad is the only text editor you've ever used, i'd
> expect you could setup a personal web server that also nats your home
> network in a weekend.
>
> learning stuff like regex or scripting can take however long you want
> to spend on it, but you learn these things as you go.
>
> i used openbsd for several years before ever going beyond the most
> basic shell tasks, or perl at all.  it was maybe 2 years before i
> needed to learn regex back expressions.  yes, to master openbsd takes
> a long time, but you don't need to be a master to use it successfully.
>  you only need to master the parts you use.
>

It's awesome hearing Ted's experience.  I'd paraphrase the saying of a
popular board game, it's easy to get started with, and one can
continue mastering OpenBSD as long as they want to.

To get a SOHO OpenBSD server set up it doesn't take long to get that
level mastered.

Greg

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Re: How much time to 'master' OpenBSD

a666
In reply to this post by Pieter Verberne
Like the other guy said 4-5 years.  And that I would say I'm above
intermediate level but not an advanced level.  I don't look at it
so much as how long to master OpenBSD but how long to master Unix!  
I read somewhere when I first started learning Unix, that no knows
everything there is to know about Unix.  So I'd say I'll be
spending the rest of my life learning Unix.  I found that OpenBSD
is better to learn Unix than Linux.  Linux I find to be to
overwhelming to learn Unix because of all the bloat it has (i.e. 5
text editors on one distro).  I've also found that OpenBSD is hard
to learn to easy to use.  It may be hard to learn what
configuration you need to change in a text file to make something
work the way you want, but once you learn, the task is as easy as
"making a change in a text file".  I'd say subjectively that 80% of
"learning OpenBSD" is not learning OpenBSD, but learning bind,
sendmail, ftp, vi, etc.  There are whole books on those individual
programs.

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Re: How much time to 'master' OpenBSD

bofh-6
In reply to this post by Ted Unangst-2
On 6/8/07, Ted Unangst <[hidden email]> wrote:
> i'm going to be different and say 3 months, but probably much less than that.

Not to be an expert, or even a competent sysadmin, in my case.  It was
1992, and I was working the VMS hell desk for the school as a student
worker.  Heard about this new "unix" system they have, so I asked for
an acount.  Got one, logged in, and couldn't do anything.  Went back
to the person who gave me an account, and asked for help.  She told me
to type "learn".  And that's how I got started.  Do a lot of reading
and learning on my own, read RFCs even, when people pointed them to
me.  Hung out around comp.sys, alt.hackers, alt.unix.wizards.

I learn quite a bit, then reached a level of competence as a user.
Then, another growth spurt, and I learn about system administration.
After a while, I could install/configure a basic system, but didn't
have large system/big installation experience.  Read a lot more, test
things out a lot more, picked up some good books that filled in the
holes in my knowledge (on certain things, I still suck, printing, for
example).  Being employed to do system admin type stuff was helpful,
because I now have to learn how to do certain things, and also
document them for others - yes, even writing good documentation is a
good sysadmin skill [the guy who took over after I left was reading my
docs one day, and asked around about me - then said that just from
what I wrote, it would have been cool to meet me, heh :)]

> you can learn enough vi (or mg) to do basic tasks like editing config
> files within a day.

And then, practice, practice, practice!!!!

> you can learn enough about starting apache, named, or whatever to use
> the shipped default configs in about a day for each service.

Probably will need a bit more time, if he wants to understand what he
is doing, if he didn't have a network/service background. Obviously
learning a second service is easier, and then easier for a third.
Don't try to play with sendmail, just go postfix or exim :)

> needed to learn regex back expressions.  yes, to master openbsd takes
> a long time, but you don't need to be a master to use it successfully.
>  you only need to master the parts you use.

By the time I got to openbsd (around 2.4 or so), I've already been
playing with ultrix, osf/1, sunos, solaris and the slackware (never
did like rhell, _ever_), so picking openbsd up wasn't an issue.  Read
the install file, read the manpages, done.  One thing openbsd does
very well is the, everything has a manpage mantra.  And I was so
impressed/surprised when Theo took committed code *OUT* because the
manpage hasn't been written yet.

OpenBSD is a good operating system to start on.  It doesn't have some
of the things that you may, or may not need, but you can definitely
learn a lot from it, and if you go to other OSes from OpenBSD, you'll
be coming in strong.

Also take a look at usenix/sage's system administration levels, that
should give you a good roadmap on the kinds of skills needed.

A couple of good books to get you started:  UNIX System Administration
(purple book, I had the 2nd edition which was red) and any of the
books by the guy who wrote Advanced Unix programming.  Also go over to
Matt Bishop's website, and read the articles/classes he has up.

The most important thing is this - it's not how well you can tune
sendmail or whatever, but the mindset.  If you have the correct
mindset, when you encounter a new problem, you'll be able to figure
out how to fix it.

--
"This officer's men seem to follow him merely out of idle curiosity."
-- Sandhurst officer cadet evaluation.