A Linux Learner and Teacher: Hamdy Abou El Anein

In Linux Professional Institute’s Share Your Voice series, individuals discuss how Linux and open source contribute to their personal and professional growth. Today we interview Hamdy Abou El Anein from Switzerland: Senior Linux System Engineer, writer, and fan and advocate for Linux and open source.

Hi, Hamdy, and thank you for sharing your voice. Let’s start from the beginning: How did you encounter Linux? How and why did that encounter lead to a long and pleasant relationship?

I started to use Linux a long time ago, in 1999. At that time I was using Windows and I was already passionate about computer science.

I saw an article in an online newspaper about Linux. In 1999, OpenSuse Linux (before it was called just SUSE Linux)  was the Linux operating system most easily installed in dual-boot mode.

During my first experiences with Linux, I immediately liked this operating system. Everything was modifiable and configurable, no black box.

I then enrolled in computer school and tested the main operating systems. It was Linux that I liked the most, both as a developer and as a system engineer. It is a very stable, professional operating system where anything is possible. You just have to have the knowledge to do everything.

I now use Linux on a daily basis, managing more than 200 servers. In my private life I also use Linux on my laptops.

On the servers, I prefer CentOS or Alma Linux, which are more stable, and in private I use Arch Linux or Manjaro to have the latest kernels and packages.

Can you tell us more about how you use Linux for tasks and activities unrelated to work, because often the general audience feels scared by Linux and doesn’t know it can be used “at home”? 

I do many programming projects at home in Python, Bash, etc.  For these tasks I use Manjaro Linux, which is based on Arch Linux similarly to how Ubuntu is based on Debian. The good points for private use is that you always have the latest version of software and the latest kernel.

For me, Linux is better than Windows or MacOS. I can speak from a deep knowledge of those operating systems, and I can say that Linux is the best.

In Linux you have a high stability; you can let run a server for years without issues. You can personalize Linux as you want. The limit is your knowledge, so Linux makes you want to learn more and improve yourself.

As you know, the LPI exam path accompanies an individual through a whole FOSS career, from learning the ropes with the Essentials series to the targeted and demanding areas of the LPIC-3 specializations. How did your career and LPI’s certifications cross paths? And what plans do you have for the future? Any other certifications on the way?

I am already certified at the LPIC-1 and 2 levels. I want in the future to achieve an LPIC-3 certification. The LPI certifications have allowed me to discover a lot of details and good practices that enable me to use Linux in a more professional manner.

Do you have any suggestions for someone who is just starting his LPI certification journey?

Yes. While you are learning for the certifications, it’s better if you practice using Linux at the same time. Even in a virtual machine. The more practice you have, the easier the exam will be.

As a learner on one side and teacher on the other, you write training materials. What have you worked on so far, and what areas do you plan to work on when it comes to further training materials?

I wrote a book on Linux Debian 10 Buster and I just finished one on the Julia programming language, which is as simple as Python but as fast as C or C ++. I have a project idea for the future (for the moment it is only a project, nothing concrete): a book on monitoring tests in Bash and Python for Linux servers in a professional framework.

Here is the link for my new book about the Julia programming language (in French): https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B0BM3MFLNG. You can bookmark my author page on Amazon to discover my existing and future books.

Would you give us three reasons people should use Linux, and three reasons an IT professional should get an LPI certification?

I think people should use Linux to have total control over the system. While using Linux you improve your knowledge of the computer system and programming, so you can personalize your own system or operate a server.

For the beginner Linux is also good, because you can use it as it is or learn more about Linux and improve your skills.

The LPI certification will give you more knowledge about Linux if you are a beginner. If you already use Linux on servers or in a professional manner, certification will give you the best chance to practice and many details that are useful.

As an IT professional, effects are the same, but certification recognizes your knowledge, and this is helpful to find a job as a Linux system engineer.

About Max Roveri:

Massimiliano "Max" Roveri is a writer, blogger, editor and social media manager. He started writing on the internet in the late '90s and he went back to the digital media in 2009. Since 2014 he lives in Ireland and, since 2015, he has been part of the LPI Italy team. He is professionally involved in cultural mediation projects, with an event management side, and in education projects as a professional and as a volunteer as well.  With a background in humanities and philosophy, he loves to address the ethical and social aspects of Open Source, with an approach that nods to Gregory Bateson and Robert M. Pirsig. Photo: uphostudio

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