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LPIC 1 Exam Cram 2 162

rednuhter writes "LPIC 1 Exam Cram 2 is the authoritative tree-based text to aid and abet interested parties accomplishing a LPI LPIC level 1 certification, Which (roughly translated) is the first (not quite open source) Linux exam for junior (intermediate) sysadmins; more information is available at Linux Professional Institute. It is (currently) the only (up to date) printed guide for the Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC) Level 1 exam." Read on for the rest of rednuhter's review.
LPIC 1 Exam Cram 2
author Ross Brunson
pages 590
publisher QUE
rating 8
reviewer rednuhter
ISBN 0789731274
summary Exam cram for Linux LPIC level 1
The LPI is a non-profit organization bringing high-quality Linux certification to the masses, including multilingual exams across continents. LPIC Level 1 is designed to certify a junior sysadmin in Linux and is composed of two exams. This first level (101) has an optional (minor) 'branch' of either RPM or DEB package management, with RPM being used on predominately Red Hat-based systems and DEB being the preferred method for Debian based systems. The second level (102) is much more 'on the job' administration duties (see LPIC objectives).

I purchased the book last year after deciding I had no reason to try and keep my windows 95 MCP up to date and wishing to (formally) extend my Linux knowledge. I hit a wrong turn after spending quality time with Que's "General Linux 1" [ISBN]0-78972292-5] to find (as I went to book the exam) the format and topics had changed a fair amount in four years (LPI is constantly evolving...).

It was fine book with some good Lab sections, however it was not preparing me for the onslaught that is the seriously tough LPIC Level 1 exam. After a quick rant in the LPI mailing lists, a friendly poster [] noted that a book did exist (recently printed) that accumulated one of the premier LPI Linux trainers knowledge and experience, and by no coincidence he was the author.

My previous guide had been only 340 pages long so I was concerned to find this was closer to 600! Luckily the author wastes nothing, with a considerably helpful introduction, followed by details of the LPIC 101 (both flavors) and the 102 exam culminating in the full LPIC Level 1.

The first half of the book is dedicated to the 101 exam, which is the first part of the LPIC level 1 certifications. This included a lot of trouble-shooting steps for basic booting of Linux with hardware configuration and included vi usage (key strokes, buffers, regular expressions), XFree86 (config and understanding) to text processing with tee, tac, sed etc. The detail involved also dipped into modems, CHAP scripts, hardware identification, jobs, processes, chmod, grep, exit statuses and much much more. This also where the RPM/DEB specifics some in; although I have used Debian for many years I opted to take the RPM exam simply because I believe RPM is more widely commercially used, not that I think it is a better packaging system. These skills are an excellent grounding for basic Linux use and understanding, giving rounded knowledge of all the key areas a Linux user should be aware of.

Each chapter has an example exam and the author often makes use of these to introduce new ideas and concepts to encourage the user to research further. These answers are accompanied by explanations of not only why the right answers were correct, but why the wrong answers were incorrect.

The second half of the book (after a quick 66-question 101 test exam) is much more geared to a junior sysadmin and I found it quite hard going. Topics range from runlevels, daemons, users/groups, kernel compilation, modules, shells, scripting, networking, services, printing and security. As you may imagine, some of these topics are quite extensive and I personally found this half much more difficult to absorb. Note there is only one 102 LPIC exam, there is no RPM/DEB choice. This list does not really do the subject matter justice, as it goes into such things as custom subnet masks, network time utilities, Apache, sendmail, crontabs and even more.

This was followed by a set of 77 test 102 questions with both a quick answer key and a complete set of explanations.

The book includes a pull-out Cram Sheet which can help you memorize things such as the IRQ/IO address for serial ports, the different man page sections and common printer commands.

The author also notes how best to prepare for taking and even resitting the exam (the LPI has a concise retake policy).

The actual exam questions and areas are weighted, and you should ensure you review for the heavily weighted sections at least as much if not more that the lower-weighted ones.

The key 'trick' to passing the exams is to have tried the commands yourself and seen the results, I cannot emphasize this enough! The LPI 'seems' to favor (currently) 2.4.x kernels in the FHS File Hierarchy Standard RPM and DEB varieties, I did most of my investigation either with Knoppix via qemu(in windows) or Debian sid running the 2.6.x kernel. (However, most topics are vendor/distribution neutral and kernel and other obvious differences are noted.)

Although this book contains a lot of examples, it is not for beginners, unless you want to base your Linux learning on it. Sysadmins will find it too simple in places, but should not be complacent as they will find some knowledge nuggets buried that will ultimately help them pass the exams.

The book is easy to read, with some real-world examples that are ideal to reinforce the information presented. (It has been noted that practice lab sections could have been included; see author reply here)

Unfortunately, there are a fair number of misprints, technical inaccuracies and spelling mistakes current errata but a quick session with man will set you straight and very few directly spoil the otherwise accuracy of the book (the author notes that a second reprint is addressing these).

The CD comes with the obligatory PDF version of the book and a test program, this has caused some problems for some Linux users although fixes are now available. The test program tries to recreate the testing environment, with optional timer and instant result features. I personally found it very useful to identify areas I was weak in and required further investigation.

The book does a good job not to stray off into GPL licensing or any other non (LPIC Level 1) related topic, leaving further investigation up to the reader offering links where relevant.

It took me about 15-20 hours to revise for the 101 RPM exam and I passed with (apx) 96% where as the revision for the 102 exam was over a much longer period (and a more turbulent part of my life) taking about 40-50 hours which gave me a (apx) pass of 86% (remember the questions are weighted, my percentage scores are simply against the number of questions I got right and makes me feel good).

Preparing you for the LPI LPIC level 1 exams (part 1(RPM/DEB) and part 2)

Not only did I find the book easy to get on with and an indispensable asset for passing the exam but it has had pride of place on my desktop and makes an excellent reference tome.

The LPI website does now list Ross's book and there are various other resources available for a quick google, or just wait for the Slashdot crowd to fill up the comments below.

You can purchase LPIC 1 Exam Cram 2 from Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.
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LPIC 1 Exam Cram 2

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  • (parens) (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @03:39PM (#12570017)
    Someone needs (their) parentheses taken (away) from them.
  • by kevin_conaway ( 585204 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @03:43PM (#12570075) Homepage
    Is it (really) necessary to (nearly) parenthesize the (almost) entire summary? It (really) reads like that (ta ta today Junior!) kid from (the movie) Billy Madison.
    • I take it submitter is a lisp fanatic?
    • I figured the review was written in Lisp...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      English is a damn crappy language for subphrase grouping, unlike languages with latin roots for example.

      A lot of technical people use what might be considered "excessive" parenthesizing in English, purely to make the logical structure of sentences stand out more.

      If you can't handle it, tough. And don't bother attempting LISP then or your little brain will explode.
      • Parentheses indicate additional information that might be useful but is not necessary to the sentence. That's all. As a Germanic language, we're more inclined towards comas for our phrase grouping, but in actuality, English punctuation is really just a way of writing pauses of various lengths. Most importantly, (In English (we don't group (subclauses and (noun-, adjective- or verb-) phrases) inside parentheses) to aid stack-based parsing). They're not structural hiearachical elements like programmers and ma
  • (lisp) (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @03:43PM (#12570078)
    (It looks like (the review) was written (in lisp)).
  • by Mindwarp ( 15738 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @03:44PM (#12570095) Homepage Journal
    Lots of Parentheses In Commentary
  • Let's cut to the chase.
  • "The Trick" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by duffbeer703 ( 177751 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @03:48PM (#12570153)
    The key 'trick' to passing the exams is to have tried the commands yourself and seen the results

    The real trick is actually knowing wtf you are doing, instead of flailing around like a tipped turtle.

    • The real trick is actually knowing wtf you are doing

      Ya think? Out of the whole review this is the one sentence that jumped out of the parenthesis at me.

      It does not merely concern me, it scares the bejeezus out of me.

      And just what is a guy like this going to do when he brings his newly minted certification to me, looking for a job, with no relevant work experience, and my first response is. . .

      "Well, that's ok, it doesn't necessarily shut you out, just describe to me, in detail, how you set up and admin
    • I did my LPI 101 almost completely from memory - I found out about it that day, and I spent about 45 min looking at the study guide.

      Doing this stuff for 5 years helps.
  • by moz25 ( 262020 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @03:48PM (#12570158) Homepage
    What I'm not getting exactly is: is this book useful mainly to people trying to pass a particular exam or is it useful to those interested in actually learning something and getting knowledge? This is a sort of common problem in academics where students study for the exam, rather than for the actual knowledge. I'm not sure I like a book promoting that (if it does).
    • If you need to pass an exam and you already have a reasonably good grasp of the material, these books are great. They tend to be focused on the material covered by the exam and review that material pretty well.

      They're not ideal if you're learning the material for the first time.

    • I strongly recommend this certification and have acquired it myself after significant research into LPIC, Linux+ and RHCE. The former is too easy and the latter too expensive and vendor-specific.

      I can't speak to the book, but LPIC is an excellent gauge of Linux domain knowledge. This exam really can't be passed without having spent many hours at a Linux command prompt.
    • This book provides a plethora of knowledge beyond just what is necessary to pass the LPIC level 1 exams. The exams cover such a broad range of useful topics that is saying a lot. The inaccuracies are a little frustrating, but overall this book is an excellent resource.
    • I've done some studying for the LPIC (although I'm not going to take it - too expensive), and what I've found is that it's filled holes in my knowledge. A lot of the review tasks in IBM's material are things I know how to do, but the ways they suggest you do it may (or may not) be simpler, and may involve the use of commands you haven't been exposed to.
    • Way too verbose
    • Where were the bullet points?
    • Now I have to read the book, instead of the review teaching me everything I needed

    Just kidding. I'm a fan of the "Exam Cram" series, since I think that if the industry is going to judge me on my credentials, instead of my ability, then I should be allowed to get my credentials based on my test-taking savvy instead of relying on my actual (awesome) skill.

    But the real benefit of the Exam Cram format is that by asking me questions, they show me the are

  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @03:52PM (#12570198)
    Everyone knows that Linux certs (or almost all certs for that matter) are useless, so how is this News? My last job interview:

    Interviewer: tell me about your Unix experience
    Me: well, I've adminned about 50 Solaris boxes all over the country, and I've been running my own domain on 2 Linux machines since 1997, and never been hacked. [insert lengthy discussion of the coolness of nscd here]
    Interviewer: You're hired.

    Certs are an extension of the Microsoft mentality - if you keep repeating something, eventually people believe it (Developers! Developers! Developers!). The more people who buy into the cert racket, the more PHBs are going to (mistakenly) base critical decisions on what certified people say, often to their detriment.
    • I agree. At one time, at a large company I was working at, when we went looking for admins, if an applicant had an MCSE, well, that was weighted very heavily against them (none of the existing admins had one, and we were very skeptical of anyone who thought it was a good idea to get one).
    • Interviewer: Tell me about your Linux experience Me: Well I've got a couple node Mosix cluster in my room at my parents house. I use it as my primary OS, which a couple of small servers running personal stuff on it at my house. Interviewer: Right...see ya later. If you have worked with Unix/Linux for years at a real job, certications aren't going to benifit you very much. On the other hand if you've got no job experience, you're being interviewed by someone who has no technical knowledge of Linux, and yo
    • We don't start out with experience, so some of us get certifications to get a foot in the door. If you looked into this cert specifically I think you would find that it is not like MS certifications.

      I may be biased - I have passed the 101, and am taking the 102 in two weeks.

    • A certification is, theoretically, a proof and a guarantee that a certain individual possesses a certain level of knowledge and competence on a certain field. Therefore, certifications, whether it be highscool diplomas, college degrees, MSCEs or LPICs are a good way to provide the PHBs everywhere information of what a candidate can/cannot do.

      Of course there isn't a good substitute to good old hands-on experience but having experience and having a certification isn't mutually exclusive. Still, a PHB is bett
    • I will differ with you here..

      I agree that the chief value of an MSCE is that you can use it to quickly round-file the people you don't want to bother with, many certs really are useful.

      The certs that are available for Apple hardware repair, Mac OS X sysadmin, Cisco router operations and so forth do require some study, and do give you a certain level of confidence in the cert holder's ability to learn something.

      The key here, is that you need to be aware of which certs hold water, and which ones are a jok
  • Since it was already (very) slow... 1: PC Architecture (8-Feb-1999) The LPI program will attempt to be architecture-neutral when possible. When architecture-specific knowledge is deemed important for the purposes of the program, Intel "PC" architectures will be used for reference. Other architectures may be optionally included for testing as demand warrants. 2: Start with exam 1 (8-Feb-1999) We require the candidates to pass all exams from #1 up to the required level. Motivation: At the higher levels,
  • Yes, you can get help (from others). You don't have to face this by yourself (alone). You can learn to use your favorite language (lisp) without feeling the desire (that burning need) to litter your entire conversation (or posts) with an amazing (literally amazing) amount of parenthetical notes (or notations, if you prefer).

    You may want to start with using footnotes instead of parenthetical asides. This will allow you to gradually wean yourself off of your dependence on parenthesis. Note that some expe

  • by prakslash ( 681585 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @03:54PM (#12570223)
    Before the inevitable torrent of posts on this subject, here is how it works:

    Assume there are 2 people up for a job:

    (1) If neither has the experience and one has the certification, the one with the certification wins.
    (2) If one has the experience and no certification and other has no experience but a certification, the person with experience wins.
    (3) If both have the same experience and only one has the extra certification, the one with the certification wins.
    (4) If both have the same certifications and the same experience, the one who is cheaper wins.
    (5) If both have certifications and neither has any experience, the one who talks better wins.
    (5) If neither has any certifications or experience, the one who looks better wins.

    • Re: Your second (5). Better looks (with certain female exceptions) are not a guarantuer of succes (partially) because (it is human nature for) the boss to not want to feel ugly, bald (or stupid. This also largely rules out the hiring of people obviously smarter (than than the boss)). It is more use to work on your parenthetical references, as they will almost certainly be contacted.
    • What about the candidate that can count to six without repeating a number even once? Does he get the job?
    • I would say that the person who smells better wins since IT people are often quite stinky!
    • Agreed, but the real question is, which certs should I pursue? I'm pursuing Linux certifications and I'm wondering whether it is better to get a vendor neutral cert (CompTIA Linux+ and LPIC) or vendor specific certs from RedHat and Novell.

      • Its all about bang for the buck. You will *NOT* pass the RHCE without extensive on the job experience or the redhat training. The Linux+ cert is a joke. The LPIC certs seem to be the middle ground, not to expensive or insanely difficult yet they do represent a basic (and intermediate) level of knowledge.

        As far as novell ... I have not heard a peep from any recruiters about it. Haven't seen any listings mentioning it either. Of course that might just be me ... dunno.
  • ... on a Windows box. Their site is already getting slow. Makes me pretty uninterested in getting a certification from them.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Stop typing (like this). Motherfucker. It (is very) annoying and (hard to) read.
    • interesting, I find it more easy to read (though I do admit maybe I went a bit overboard this time).

      I also enjoy putting brackets around unnecessary conditional statements (various languages), ignoring the rules of precidents.

      for instance the above sentence makes sense with out the additional information the brackets.
      I also enjoy putting brackets around unnecessary conditional statements.
      but the additional information helps a reader understand further, that I was talking about langauges.

      I tried ta
      • The reaction you're responding to may seem over the top, but as a former editor, I'm not surprised your parenthesizing causes some people to react violently against your writing. Let me try and explain why...

        Your parenthetical obsession shows that you clearly know, and have identified, the parts of your writing which add no value to what you have to say. Why not do your reader a favour and remove them? It is a standard editing technique to go through text deleting all the words that add no real meaning, an
  • Just FYI, LPI is rather SuSE orientated, as seen in the 2-years-due Level 3 for which you have to know Yast inside out. Apart from that - the real problem with LPI is no their hardware but acceptance. Usually the answers to the current set of questions start filing into to the net after a while and the test comes down to "find and learn answers by heart" - and companies know that, at least those aware of LPI. Those who are not don't care anyway.
    • Don't all remotely popular certification exams wind up on the net eventually? That has more to do with how often they change exam questions than anything else.
      • Well, take the RH cert for example. You get a fscked up system and 60 minutes and after that the machine's gotta be running. There's *lots* of possibilities to make this interesting other than "you marked the right answer" / "you marked the wrong answer (and we won't even tell you what we think is right (which it sometimes even isn't because the exhausted troglodyte who created the test oopsed))"
        • Yeah and thats all fine and dandy for a top of the line cert which costs in excess of double the LPIC exam. The training prices are even more ungodly.

          Every single cert has answers and they are all on the net. The key is knowing how to implement and answer the questions in the proper manner. That includes fixing a box thats broken within a certain time frame.

          Also FWIW the LPI is most certainly *NOT* a SuSe oriented exam. The only section of the exams that contain any sort of vendor specific material
          • *I* don't have the slightest idea where the much needed volume knob is to turn your yelling down. I got my info from an IBM LPI trainer. Trustworthy to me. Obviously you didn't take any LPI exams or you would have come across some questions where the answers only work on SuSE like place of certain files only SuSE places there.
            • SuSe is not the only distro that conforms to the LSB requirements, which are what the "specific file location" junk you are talking about is refering to. Matter of fact these days the vast majority of distros keep the core stuff in the same locations.

              There is nothing on those tests that is anymore SuSe specific than Debian specific. The only stuff that is distro specific is in the earliest test (101) and wont be in the 30x series of tests. There is nothing about YaST in ANY LPIC test.

              IBM consultant
            • I have done a lot of LPI training, probably more than anyone else I am aware of, and I can state categorically that if your IBM trainer is talking about the 101 and 102 exams, they are mistaken.

              I have seen probably every question in the LPI pools at one time or another and to my knowledge there aren't any places where what you alledge occurs. This is a *vendor/distro neutral* certification and much work has been done to make it free of such situations.

              There were a SLCP and SLCE set of SUSE-specific exa
  • How the LPIC compares against the RHCE ?

    What is the best ? (yea i know experience is the best, i know, but just compare this 2 certs).

    But, what proves to be better for the companies and individuals ?

    • RHCE is not very useful outside a non-Red Hat shop. It also costs a fortune. LPI is dirt-cheap (unless you plan on failing several times) and less recognized.
      • Re:LPIC vs RHCE ... (Score:4, Informative)

        by nietsch ( 112711 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @06:19PM (#12571572) Homepage Journal
        LPI(c) is indeed more versatile because it is vendor neutral. I don't agree tho your assertion that it is less recognized: The numbers are about equal, for people holdin LPIC or RHC. Unfortunately the distribution for basic and advanced levels is different. Because RedHat does not demand a proir exam for taking the advanced exam more people hold the advanced variety then the basic one (sorry forgot their terms for it). LPI demands level 1 for level 2, so the majority only has level 1 (which equals to 'poweruser' by their definition.

        As for the testing method: As far as I know RH test the execturion of actual skills instead of asking multiple choice questions. with Redhat you get several broken systems that you have to fix, whit LPI you get a lot of questions (~90 for each level 1 exam) that you can guess prettty well without knowing the actual answer. This is clearly a less advanced method. On the other hand, you will have to study for both exams, and while studying you will pick up the rest of the skills you need, no matter what the testing method is.

        If you feel like taking some LPI-like tests: you can have a go at my site [](sorry mostly in dutch but the exam questions are english). There is also a lot of free LPI related content there, no need for expensive books IMHO.

        As for me, I hold LPI level 2 certification. If you would like to help developing a training method a-la redhat (here's a broken system, fix it) based on UML, drop me a line. It would probably look a loot like this [].
    • I've done LPIC 1 and 2, and the RHCE. I actually enjoyed the RHCE, which is entirely a practical exam.

      How do they compare? Well, they're very different animals. I'd probably give more respect to the RHCE, but LPIC 2 isn't a pushover...

      I'd say that a multiple choice test just can't simulate real life. When am I going to need to know an obscure command line switch when I don't have access to a man page or --help?

      Has it helped me get a job? Well, I'm unemployed and have been hunting for as long as I ca

  • The Exam Cram books are good for studying a week before you take the exam, but you still need a good study book. I'd previously passed the A+, Network+ and Microsoft Certified Professional (Windows 2000 Professional) exams by using the study book with my home lab for a few months, and than the Exam Cram book for a week before the exam. I haven't look at the Linux certification yet since I'm still completing my Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) certification.
  • Isn't LPI changing their requirements in a few months? This book will be out of date then. Maybe it will be cheaper then, and I'm sure it will cover a good portion of the "new" stuff as well.
  • LPIC 1 Exam Cram 2 is the authoritative tree-based text to aid and abet interested parties accomplishing a LPI LPIC level 1 certification...

    Is that b-tree, balanced n-ary tree, red-black tree, or ....? And and can't imagine that a tree make a very good study guide.....

    (slaps head)

    Oh, a book! Wow, I've been coding for too long today!

  • Join the IEEE Computer Society instead. []

    Brits: The British Computer Society []

    Aussies: The Australian Computer Society []

    etc etc.

  • by Anonymous Coward []

    yep, those people sure look like linux sysadmins to me. Its like they put a camera in the server room!

  • Writing (with) this (many) parentheses (is) incredibly (annoying).

  • Okay, I've had to hire a few admins, and here's my point of view with regard to certifications:

    If you seek out people with certifications, you're going to get boatloads of resumes from people who have certs and no experience. If you're looking for cheap bodies and like to train greenhorns, this can be an effective way to build a decent staff in a hurry. But you can be sure that, unless you pay competitively, these people will leave you within two years, three at the max.

    Experienced people who are informed
  • I started reading Jeffrey Dean's "LPI Linux Certification in a Nutshell" by O`Reilly and it was quite nice, maybe bit boring. But it was not at hand later when I needed it, and I prepared for the exam with IBM DeveloperWorks tutorials (Google for "lpi exam prep"). They are written by the Gentoo founder Daniel Robbins! I additionally skimped through some of the links he mentions, like PPP HOWTO, stuff which he does not cover and which I have never touched.

    I passed with best scores in my company (630/640 out
    • Jeff Dean's book is very long out of date, if you study for the exams based on the books order of topics, you'll fail the exam most likely. The exam topics have changed a lot since that book was published.

      Dan Robbins did a great job with his DW tutorials, but there are some out of order and wrong topic on the wrong exam items there too.

      The Exam Cram is up to date and while it's got a few little irritating editing goofs in it, a lot of people seem to like it.

  • I also have my LPI Cert. And this bood did help me quite a bit. My only problem with the book is some of the editing. Twards the end of the book it seems like they got someone who has no idea what linux is to edit. Server commands are listed with the same switches and stated that they do different things. For example ls -l this gives a long listing of files in the current dir ls -h this gives a long listing of files in the current dir (and just for ya'll the h is human terms when used with an l) Howe

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.