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Which scripting language to learn for Linux Administration

gold linux
Greenhorn

Joined: May 25, 2011
Posts: 2

Which scripting language to learn for Linux Administration? Python, Ruby, Perl, or PHP?

Thanks

chris webster
Bartender

Joined: Mar 01, 2009
Posts: 1871
    
  16

I'm no Linux admin, but I'd have thought the place to start would be with Linux shell scripting with "bash"?

Not sure how far you can use Ruby for operating system admin tasks, and PHP is only useful for web applications. Python is a nice (OO) scripting language with a lot of library support for operating system tasks, and I think Perl offers a lot of system functionality but is also a lot harder to learn.

But you should start with Linux shell scripting, firstly because that's what it's for, and secondly because you will probably be able to find lots of sample scripts on the web to do common administrative tasks.


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Paul Santa Maria
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 24, 2004
Posts: 236
Shell is an absolute "must know".

You should also be familiar with the differences between bash (which has all the bells and whistles, but is Linux specific) and the Korn shell (universal to just about all *nix OS's, a subset of bash).

Second scripting language? A toss-up between Perl and Python. "Python" is a toss-up between Python 2 (currently the most prevalent) and Python 3.

Ruby is a good language; it's popular with "Ruby-on-Rails" web applications. Similarly, PHP is most commonly used in PHP web apps.

IMHO .. PSM


Paul M. Santa Maria, SCJP
Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
Marshal Commander

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 11523
    
100

I agree with the comments above - learn shell scripting first.

chris webster wrote:... and PHP is only useful for web applications
PHP works quite well from the command line, and you can do admin work with it. However I don't know of any admins who grab it as their tool of choice.

Paul Santa Maria wrote:... bash (which has all the bells and whistles, but is Linux specific)
GNU Bash is the shell used by default in Linux systems, but it is GNU software, not Linux specific software. It is also the default shell on a number of other operating systems, including Macintosh OS. For what it is worth, I don't remember an OS that I have used in the last 10 years that I have not used Bash on (including Windows 95, NT, 2000, XP; AIX, HPUX, VOS, FTX, ...)

Personally I use awk for a lot of my scripting, simply because when I first started using Unix systems, awk was always installed, but Perl was not guaranteed. Plus it is very C like. However if I were to start over, I would learn shell scripting first, then learn Perl.


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