The newest edition of the Linux Mint distribution, “Olivia” will be available from May 2013. This edition is named after the Olive tree and will provide more of the quality Linux goodness that we have come to expect from a quality Linux distribution. This distro will maintain quality and will not stoop to adding Amazon ads like Canonical have with the Ubuntu 12.10 release. They were sending information about users searches back to Amazon. This is like the behaviour of the Google Chrome web browser that can send user information back to Google as you use the web browser. But I prefer to use Linux Mint as it is a quality Linux distribution and the out of the box experience is better than Ubuntu. With the flash and mp3 codec support enabled in the live ISO, this is great for installing on a box and browsing the Internet and using Youtube without having to install the Adobe flash plugin and mp3 codecs beforehand. On Ubuntu you need to type sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras before you can play mp3 codecs and watch flash content on the Internet. Linux Mint makes that effortless; meaning you have more time to work and watch content and you have less problems.
Fedora does not allow users to watch restricted codecs out of the box; you have to install codecs before you can watch anything like Xvid, MP3 or Flac codecs. And you can easily use Google Earth and Steam on Linux Mint to make the desktop experience even better. If you are seeking certification in Linux to gain employment in a Linux related industry; the LPIC or Linux Professional Institute Certification is what you are looking for. This begins with the LPIC-1 certification and then progresses onto the LPIC-2 and eventually the LPIC-3 certification that will prove that you have knowledge of the Linux distributions and the shell as well as grep, awk and sed. Since many systems around the world that have the role of servers use either Linux or UNIX, this is a very important certification to have if you are wanting to get into this industry. This is just as important a certification as the MCSE or Microsoft Certified Software Engineer is in the real world. Linux powers so many devices and servers around the world that not knowing the intricacies of the Linux shell and the associated programs will put anyone at a disadvantage in the workplace. The world of database administration includes the MySQL database engine and this runs on Linux as well as Windows. The LAMP framework uses Linux Apache MySQL and PHP, knowing this platform will enable you to administer a Linux hosted web server and maintain the database and the PHP scripting language that powers web blogging platforms like WordPress.
WordPress is the most popular blogging platform, knowing about WordPress is a good skill to have, another skill is learning the command-line. The Windows Server 2012 operating system uses the Powershell command-line by default; this means that you need to be proficient in the Powershell workings to master this operating system and how to install and configure each server role. Sure, at install time you can install the GUI and use the server configuration page to setup your machine with a server role; but the command-line will be taking a bigger and bigger role in the future of computing. It is funny since the Windows people used to dump on us Linux users for using the command-line for everything, and now the command-line Powershell tool is the most popular way to manipulate a Windows system and access other computers over a network. If you type Stop-Computer -Computername MYCOMPUTER-01 against another computer over a network you can shut it down, this is very useful for managing computers in a room without visiting each one. I have criticised the Powershell in the past and I have been put in my place, so I will not criticise the Powershell anymore. A useful command-line interface is very important when managing a whole forest of servers and this makes it easy. It still uses the same style of command prompt as the original IBM DOS command line from the 1980s. The old UNIX and Linux shell prompts like /bin/sh have evolved into the /bin/bash shell that we use today.
If the Windows Server and desktop machines have a command-line interface that can match the Linux equivalent then this is all for the good of systems administration. Windows is susceptible to the many viruses and malware that infest the Internet, but due to the massive popularity of PC gaming, the desktop Windows install will not be going anywhere. Sure, you can install a bash shell and Linux command-line utilities with Cygwin, but a true Linux distribution like Linux Mint 14 is the best idea for the desktop. Linux Mint 15 Olivia will be the next best thing that will rise to the top of the Distrowatch rankings once again. Ubuntu is up there due to the advertising on television and all around the world on the Internet, but good old Mint has better features if you just want a desktop that will deliver a quality experience without getting in your way with the Unity interface and Amazon ads. Hopefully the Mateu distribution will keep on with new releases, this is an Ubuntu respin that offers the MATE desktop on Ubuntu. This is a good idea if the idea of a Macintosh styled desktop is not the thing that you are really into and you require a classic Linux desktop to really get things done without having to deal with an ugly interface. And the person behind the Mateu distribution is a really nice guy to boot. So if you are a die hard Ubuntu fan; then this distribution is a good alternative on the desktop.
If you want to learn more about Linux for free then check out my documents in my e-books folder. I have a page that also has links to these documents. I have fixed the links on this page and they all work now. This page is here: http://www.securitronlinux.com/nix-pdfs/. Read the Mastering Linux series to get a handle on the various Linux utilities and the command-line shell. There is one very useful command that I have just discovered for Linux; powertop this command allows you to see statistics about your workstations power usage. Obviously more useful on a mobile machine like a laptop, this is a console application that will show interesting statistics about your machine. Type sudo apt-get install powertop to install this on Linux Mint 14. You need super user privileges to run this, the sudo command will come in handy here. But this command is very useful when you need to monitor your power usage on a laptop.