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Linux networking

Why network engineers need to know Linux

Unix is something that I learned long long time ago while Slackware was ruling the world of Linux. At that time I had no idea how much I did not know about it and since then the things went crazy and the Unix Universe enlarged to an unimaginable size.

Becuse today more and more devices are based on Linux I guess it would be bad taste to say you do not know Unix and that goes especially for  Linux. From phones and tablets to robots and routers many many  other things are powered by Linux these days.

This article came out of my frustration with not knowing what exactly I am doing and who I am dealing with when working with various network appliances, especially when it comes to hacking these appliances. Here are just a couple of then that I have been dealing with for the last couple of months:

  • Cisco ASA appliances
  • Alteon Load balancers
  • F5 load balancers
  • OpenVswitch
  • Checkpoint Firewall
  • OpenFlow and Openvswitch
  • Linkys routers usig dd-wrt

The list is quite long and all the above have one thing in common: The Linux Kernel and its network related features. Today’s kernel capabilities have evolved to the point where the Linux kernel is not only a money and time saving solution but it also opens a full range of options when it comes to building network appliances around it

Long story short, my target for these articles is to clarify and put in good order the following:

  • differences between various flavours of Unix/Linux and how they evolved
  • next I will focus on the Linux kernel
  • a list of network appliances that I deal with on a daily basis and what kernel they are based on
  • the kernel networking concepts
  • network emulators and how to use them
  • virtualisation with Linux

I do not intend explore the above to their full extent but just enough to give me the confidence that I know exactly what can be done and what can not be done specific situation.


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