BT5 okay to learn linux?

CoolAsAFanCoolAsAFan Member Posts: 239
I will be starting at WGU soon and they have added Linux+ to my program. I plan on using BT5 and CentOS VMs as I study. Is this advisable or should I use Debian or Ubuntu in place of BT5 because I am a beginner?

Any opinions about best distro(s) to use for linux+ are welcome as well, thanks!
IvyTech - AS CINS (Completed: May, 2013)
WGU Indiana - BS IT Security
(Started: August 1st, 2013)
Transferred: AGC1 CDP1 BVC1 CLC1 CVV1 DHV1 DJV1 GAC1 CIC1 CDC1 UBT1 IWC1 IWT1 TCP1 TJP1 TJC1 EBV1 WFV1 EUP1 EUC1 CJC1 UBC1 TBP1
Completed: CUV1 BOV1 DRV1 DSV1 CTV1 CJV1 COV1 CQV1 CNV1 TPV1 MGC1 TXC1 TXP1 BNC1 TYP1 TYC1
Required: SBT1 RGT1 RIT1

Comments

  • JaneDoeJaneDoe Member Posts: 171
    This is fine. Backtrack is based on Ubuntu, so you will learn all of the same things you would learn with Ubuntu plus some. When you're learning the more complex the distro you work with the better because you learn more. Using backtrack won't make it harder for you master the exam objectives, since it still uses the Debian package manager. Since you want to try this you must be curious and interested in learning Linux for more than just the exam. Experimenting with Linux more than is required can only help you on the exam.
  • CoolAsAFanCoolAsAFan Member Posts: 239
    @ JaneDoe

    Thank you for your reply! I was hoping to hear pretty much exactly what you said. I will eventually need to learn how to use BT5 and the tools within so I figure why not get familiar with it first as I learn linux.

    As for the package managers (deb vs rpm), do you guys think they are equally covered in the newest Linux+ exams? Or should I concentrate on one more so than the other?

    Thanks in advance!
    IvyTech - AS CINS (Completed: May, 2013)
    WGU Indiana - BS IT Security
    (Started: August 1st, 2013)
    Transferred: AGC1 CDP1 BVC1 CLC1 CVV1 DHV1 DJV1 GAC1 CIC1 CDC1 UBT1 IWC1 IWT1 TCP1 TJP1 TJC1 EBV1 WFV1 EUP1 EUC1 CJC1 UBC1 TBP1
    Completed: CUV1 BOV1 DRV1 DSV1 CTV1 CJV1 COV1 CQV1 CNV1 TPV1 MGC1 TXC1 TXP1 BNC1 TYP1 TYC1
    Required: SBT1 RGT1 RIT1
  • hiddenknight821hiddenknight821 Member Posts: 1,209 ■■■■■■□□□□
    I'm sorry, but I'd have to go against JaneDoe's recommendation. Backtrack is a distro you should tread on lightly as a beginner, but it won't help you much with your study as Backtrack is customized with mostly networking and security tools that you may not use often, which can add confusions. Sure you can add/remove packages, but by default, it behaves unorthodoxly in a way you'll not comprehend until you understand Linux a little better.

    I'd always recommend someone with very little or no experience to go with a full-blown desktop mainstream distributions such as Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, and Fedora. You may find them more friendlier to use than Backtrack.

    I understand some people that are unfamiliar with Linux, like to use Backtrack, because it looks cool to use them or it enables them to feel like one of the hackers, but the reality is those are just superficial wishes. It's the knowledge that makes us cooler and being a script kiddie is lame. If you want a graphically good-looking distro, then you might want to use Mint distro which is also an acceptable alternative.

    This is just my 2 cents.
  • CoolAsAFanCoolAsAFan Member Posts: 239
    I understand some people that are unfamiliar with Linux, like to use Backtrack, because it looks cool to use them or it enables them to feel like one of the hackers, but the reality is those are just superficial wishes. It's the knowledge that makes us cooler and being a script kiddie is lame. If you want a graphically good-looking distro, then you might want to use Mint distro which is also an acceptable alternative.

    Thats kind of an unfair assumption, but I can see how you arrived at that given my screen name I guess. I will be using BT5 once I start the MS InfoSec at WGU, as well as many of the tools provided within for self study. The extra knowledge is the only reason why I am thinking about this, and prepping myself for the future, not for anything that you mentioned above, which I actually found quite offensive. I'm not sure why you are in IT ("It's the knowledge that makes us cooler..."), but being/looking cool is nothing that I have even considered on my quest for success.

    I have obviously considered that BT5 might not be the right way to go as I am just learning linux, which is why I made this thread. Opinions on why it is not a good idea, other than I should stop trying to look cool, are most welcome. :D

    You did mention though that it behaves unorthodoxly in a way I cannot comprehend, could someone elaborate on this please?
    IvyTech - AS CINS (Completed: May, 2013)
    WGU Indiana - BS IT Security
    (Started: August 1st, 2013)
    Transferred: AGC1 CDP1 BVC1 CLC1 CVV1 DHV1 DJV1 GAC1 CIC1 CDC1 UBT1 IWC1 IWT1 TCP1 TJP1 TJC1 EBV1 WFV1 EUP1 EUC1 CJC1 UBC1 TBP1
    Completed: CUV1 BOV1 DRV1 DSV1 CTV1 CJV1 COV1 CQV1 CNV1 TPV1 MGC1 TXC1 TXP1 BNC1 TYP1 TYC1
    Required: SBT1 RGT1 RIT1
  • wes allenwes allen Member Posts: 540 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Rather then BT5, you might look into using Kali instead. It is the successor to backtrack, and based on Debian. Mint was pretty cool as well, if you want a more mainstream distro.
  • CoolAsAFanCoolAsAFan Member Posts: 239
    @ wes allen, Thank you sir, I was not aware of this.
    IvyTech - AS CINS (Completed: May, 2013)
    WGU Indiana - BS IT Security
    (Started: August 1st, 2013)
    Transferred: AGC1 CDP1 BVC1 CLC1 CVV1 DHV1 DJV1 GAC1 CIC1 CDC1 UBT1 IWC1 IWT1 TCP1 TJP1 TJC1 EBV1 WFV1 EUP1 EUC1 CJC1 UBC1 TBP1
    Completed: CUV1 BOV1 DRV1 DSV1 CTV1 CJV1 COV1 CQV1 CNV1 TPV1 MGC1 TXC1 TXP1 BNC1 TYP1 TYC1
    Required: SBT1 RGT1 RIT1
  • hiddenknight821hiddenknight821 Member Posts: 1,209 ■■■■■■□□□□
    CoolAsAFan wrote: »
    Thats kind of an unfair assumption, but I can see how you arrived at that given my screen name.
    That's why didn't say 'you' in particular, but I was speaking in general. Sorry if you felt that was directed toward you, but this's what I've seen among many Linux newbies including my friends and myself when I started out. The tools that come with BT are also compatible with most distros, but you'll just have to add the required packages to get the desirable tools you've used on BT.

    CoolAsAFan wrote: »
    You did mention though that it behave unorthodoxy in a way I cannot comprehend, could someone elaborate on this please?
    For example, the default user in BT is root. Yet, you'd not have learned from first-hand experience that you're suppose to have restricted access to other part of the OS until you learn how to create a normal user account. If you use Ubuntu, you'd be a normal user with a sudo privilege, which mean you can run programs/services with root's privileges using 'sudo' commands.

    Another example is that I believe the firewall may be off by default. Although, I'm not completely sure about this as I haven't used BT in a while, but it'd make much sense to me to have it disabled by default for a distro with a bunch of networking scanning tools such as ping, traceroute, and so forth. So you may not have a chance to see the default firewall configuration that's already in place and understand how it works.

    Essentially, you'd have missed out many first-hand experiences you'd have encountered with the other mainstream distros before diving further in your Linux+ study. Working in a restricted environment will serve you better than working in an unrestricted environment, where you'd not know how things are suppose to work first-hand until you have mastered your Linux knowledge.
  • ChooseLifeChooseLife Member Posts: 941 ■■■■■■■□□□
    I vote for using a standard mainstream Linux distro* for learning Linux and BackTrack/Kali for learning security tools. I cannot think of any reason to use BackTrack for studying Linux itself - that to me sounds much like learning to drive on a farm tractor - and unlike the latter which may be the only vehicle available, Linux distros are free and extremely easy to obtain these days.

    *) RedHat flavour (RHEL/CentOS/Fedora) and/or Debian flavour (Debian/Ubuntu/one-of-the-zillion-of-Ubuntu-forks)

    P.S. FWIW, this opinion comes from someone who's been using Linux since 1998 and have had hands on just about every Linux distro (BT starting from version 1 in 2006)
    “You don’t become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard that you become great in the process.” (c) xkcd #896

    GetCertified4Less
    - discounted vouchers for certs
  • JLAW904JLAW904 Member Posts: 23 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Last semester I took an "Attack Prevention/Detection" class before my Linux class. We were using BT and I feel like the class would have been easier and I would have learned more had I taken the Linux class that I'm currently in before using BT. Now I'm wondering why the Linux class is not a prerequisite for the other class.
  • CoolAsAFanCoolAsAFan Member Posts: 239
    @hiddenknight821, I apologize for taking offense to your first comments. Your second post was absolutely great and makes a ton of sense as to why I should avoid these security distros until I have more experience. Thank you sir!

    @ChooseLife, Thank you for your reply! I will definately just be using CentOS and most likely Ubuntu or Mint.

    @JLAW904, Thank you for your reply! Your comment helps a ton as I am in a similar situation. Gotta learn to crawl before I walk right?

    Great help guys, thanks everyone!
    IvyTech - AS CINS (Completed: May, 2013)
    WGU Indiana - BS IT Security
    (Started: August 1st, 2013)
    Transferred: AGC1 CDP1 BVC1 CLC1 CVV1 DHV1 DJV1 GAC1 CIC1 CDC1 UBT1 IWC1 IWT1 TCP1 TJP1 TJC1 EBV1 WFV1 EUP1 EUC1 CJC1 UBC1 TBP1
    Completed: CUV1 BOV1 DRV1 DSV1 CTV1 CJV1 COV1 CQV1 CNV1 TPV1 MGC1 TXC1 TXP1 BNC1 TYP1 TYC1
    Required: SBT1 RGT1 RIT1
  • JaneDoeJaneDoe Member Posts: 171
    The best advice I can give you is to experiment with multiple Linux distros and figure out which one suits you best. In the process you will get to know the differences between Linux distros, which is tested on the exam.
    I understand some people that are unfamiliar with Linux, like to use Backtrack, because it looks cool to use them or it enables them to feel like one of the hackers, but the reality is those are just superficial wishes.
    When one is learning to use a technology, feeling like the technology is "cool" it is a good thing. If using your Linux distro makes you feel "like one of the hackers" you're more likely to experiment with new things, and this experimentation is a valuable learning process.
  • the_hutchthe_hutch Banned Posts: 827
    While I am a huge supporter of Kali and Backtrack, I agree with ChooseLife that they are not ideal for learning linux initially. An ordinary linux distro would have you work as a standard user and elevate your shell or certain commands using su or sudo, respectively. You start off with Kali or Backtrack, you will get way too comfortable hanging out in root.
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Mod Posts: 4,504 Mod
    anny first-hand experiences you'd have encountered with the other mainstream distros ....

    are you trying to say that BT is a hipster Linux distro ? icon_lol.gif

    to OP, I think it's better to start with CentOS or Ubuntu, you will see them in production environments while BT is used for Pentesting. Good luck and welcome the forums icon_thumright.gif
    Certs: GSTRT, GPEN, GCFA, CISM, CRISC, RHCE

    Check out my YouTube Channel!

  • MentholMooseMentholMoose Member Posts: 1,525 ■■■■■■■■□□
    To add to the many valid points above, when running Linux on your desktop or laptop for the first time, it's good to start with a normal desktop-oriented distribution because it will be easier to find a solution or assistance for the issues you run into. You likely won't get a good response (or any at all) when asking questions about general or basic Linux issues on a BackTrack forum/list/IRC, whereas the desktop-oriented distributions have a more newbie-friendly atmosphere on their forum/list/IRC, and many even have dedicated newbie resources.
    MentholMoose
    MCSA 2003, LFCS, LFCE (expired), VCP6-DCV
  • JaneDoeJaneDoe Member Posts: 171
    To add to the many valid points above, when running Linux on your desktop or laptop for the first time, it's good to start with a normal desktop-oriented distribution because it will be easier to find a solution or assistance for the issues you run into.
    All the more reason to use a rare distro. If you run into a problem you have to figure it out yourself, and you will learn a lot in the process. If anything the worst distro to learn Linux (after android) is probably Ubutnu because everything just works. You have break things and fix them to learn.

    While I would never advocate running Backtrack in a production environment (except for pen testing), it's a great learning tool. If you get stuck on basic Linux stuff with Backtrack, you can just use the normal Ubuntu forum for your answer, because Backtrack is based on Ubuntu. Everything you learn on Backtrack applies to a Ubuntu/Debian production environment. It's easy to install the pen testing packages on Ubuntu or Debian if you prefer. Backtrack is just Ubuntu with a few tweaks and for pen testing.
  • fiftyofiftyo Member Posts: 71 ■■□□□□□□□□
    JaneDoe wrote: »
    All the more reason to use a rare distro. If you run into a problem you have to figure it out yourself, and you will learn a lot in the process. If anything the worst distro to learn Linux (after android) is probably Ubutnu because everything just works. You have break things and fix them to learn.
    The purpose of ubuntu is more pointed towards the direction of learning bash/vim/sed etc. Generally to familarize yourself with the system. To be honest most distros these days work out of the box, take arch for example who some might consider 'hardcore'. After the installation process, updating your mirrors, installing X etc. it's pretty much like any other distro, with it's own twists. As for running into problems, you will sooner or later, regardless of what distro you are using. While I agree to some extent the documentation on for example again arch is better than ubuntu.
    And to be extremely honest, you win about 0.1% with todays hardware running 'semi obscure' distros.

    As others stated, backtrack is a tool for pentesting, use it for it's purpose. Learn linux with debian/ubuntu and some RHEL distro. Explore the system, find out a little about what are in certain config files and what differs from the different distros. Then when and if you wish to take an extra step in learning cli partitioning and setting up a system from a terminal use gentoo/arch/LFS. FreeBSD is another great learning curve for this.
    Just my 2 cents!
  • wes allenwes allen Member Posts: 540 ■■■■■□□□□□
    So just a couple thoughts from someone who has been sorta using Linux/Irix/Solaris/AIX off and on for a while, but never really dug to deep into it - I am not a fan of learning an OS just in and of itself. I need a context to work within. Kinda like learning "hammer", as opposed to learning to build a house. So, use BT/Kali if you want or RedHat or Ubuntu or whatever, but after going through the very basics, give your self a context to work with - pen testing, building http/ftp/dns/firewall, learning python, MythTV, etc. That way you learn more then just what 'less' does.
  • cowillcowill Member Posts: 93 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Hello all, I read this post earlier today and thought I'd chime in.

    I'm an on/again off/again Linux user for going on 3 years now. I have mixed feelings about this topic......I used to use BT5 as my main OS at a few points.....like others have said, it limits your learning as your always in root. Also, its a huge security issue. Your running root as a newbite on an OS that's already filled with programs and commands that exploit/can be exploited......and the nature in which you are using BT, learning, maybe harmful to you as you'll be surfing, downloading......etc...

    On the other hand........My advice to learn linux for any complete noob is to find a purpose for it...If you just download Ubunutu or mint and run it, it might be boring and....BLAH.......But if you want to learn pentesting and security peaks your interest, then this maybe the OS to get you into it. Security is actually why I got into linux (along with being a poor college student with no money for windows).....Once I realized what was going on, I backed off of BT some and went with more mainstream distros such as Ubuntu and Fedora. I also found ways to add some security tools into those other distros. That in itself can be fun!

    My two cents.........BTW I plan on sitting for my L+ later this month. Wish me luck!
  • CoolAsAFanCoolAsAFan Member Posts: 239
    There has been a ton of great and valid points from everyone, they are all extremely helpful!

    I was looking at this like a few of the people in this thread, where I wanted a tougher challenge and a more complex distro because I thought I would learn more and learn better. Plus everything I am doing is leading up to me getting into infosec and hopefully pen testing in the future. I have always just kind of been self taught by tinkering with things, so I thought this would be perfect for me. That being said, I certainly can see how starting off in root limits some learning and presents some security issues. I plan on just using Mint and CentOS to learn L+, but still will probably "tinker" with Kali when I get bored haha. icon_cool.gif

    One last question if I may. How important is it using both a debian based and a red hat distro in learning L+? Are the package managers the only big difference?

    Thanks for all the great input guys, I love this forum!
    IvyTech - AS CINS (Completed: May, 2013)
    WGU Indiana - BS IT Security
    (Started: August 1st, 2013)
    Transferred: AGC1 CDP1 BVC1 CLC1 CVV1 DHV1 DJV1 GAC1 CIC1 CDC1 UBT1 IWC1 IWT1 TCP1 TJP1 TJC1 EBV1 WFV1 EUP1 EUC1 CJC1 UBC1 TBP1
    Completed: CUV1 BOV1 DRV1 DSV1 CTV1 CJV1 COV1 CQV1 CNV1 TPV1 MGC1 TXC1 TXP1 BNC1 TYP1 TYC1
    Required: SBT1 RGT1 RIT1
  • dt3kdt3k Member Posts: 64 ■■□□□□□□□□
    If you really want to learn linux I'd skip distro's like ubuntu and mint and get Gentoo or Arch and dive right in. I personally love Arch as it has a great wiki and community.
  • ccnxjrccnxjr Member Posts: 304 ■■■□□□□□□□
    You'll want a distro to get a "warm and fuzzy" feeling, Ubuntu definitely is easy to get started using and fairly reliable.
    Your two major branches that will probably come up will be Red-Hat and Debian based ones.
    I'd say , for learning purposes stick to major veins , get Debian and CentOS or Fedora (Fedora is a "free" home version of Red-Hat).
    Once you've learned the major distros, the learning curve for the forks will be minimal, not to mention you'll be able to navigate the forks with greater ease if you know the parent distro inside and out.

    By all means learn other distros.
    Why stick one just one or two VM s?
    I have about 5 of them at any given time.

    This is not like a "mac or pc" competition , once you start working in linux you'd develop a favorite distro or optionally fork your own.
    (yes, it is possible and you don't need a masters in Comp Sci to do so)
    So, as far as coursework is concerned I'd stick to the purest form of the distro to avoid resolving any inconsistencies between your assignments, textbooks and lectures (and the certification exam!).

    That being said, don't restrict yourself to two distros.
    Feel free to explore as many as you like! (BT, Suse, Arch , etc)
  • datgirldatgirl Member Posts: 62 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Kali and Backtrack and may be fun and exciting to get learn Linux on, however as many others have stated I would start with Ubuntu or another Debian distribution. Kali and Backtrack are customized and tweaked for security and pen-testing, and don't quite perform as some of the other pure Debian distributions. Then too, an error in Kali or Backtrack can render you susceptible to exploits and vulnerabilities. All of this is by no means not meant to imply that you stay away from Kali and Backtrack forever, rather it is to suggest that you may not want to start your Linux studies there, nor use it as your daily workstation. And on that note, I have found one of the best ways to learn Linux / UNIX is to use it exclusively or as much as possible, and Kali and Backtrack are definitely not meant to be utilized as workstations.
  • datgirldatgirl Member Posts: 62 ■■□□□□□□□□
    wes allen wrote: »
    So just a couple thoughts from someone who has been sorta using Linux/Irix/Solaris/AIX off and on for a while, but never really dug to deep into it - I am not a fan of learning an OS just in and of itself. I need a context to work within. Kinda like learning "hammer", as opposed to learning to build a house. So, use BT/Kali if you want or RedHat or Ubuntu or whatever, but after going through the very basics, give your self a context to work with - pen testing, building http/ftp/dns/firewall, learning python, MythTV, etc. That way you learn more then just what 'less' does.
    I hadn't read your post when I first responded, but I must say that I emphatically agree. When I am teaching a class on Linux I try to shy away from having the class merely run through the commands just for the sake of it, for as you point out that can be as boring as taking a typing class and typing letters to or for some fictitious CEO. The class is much more interesting and I feel informative if it is project or task-driven.
  • antielvisantielvis Member Posts: 285 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Hi OP

    Could you use BT or Kali as a way to learn? Yes, you could but why would you? You will not run into a corporate entity using Kali or BT as a production system. These distro's are most likely to be in the hands of Certified Ethical Hackers (or the other type with black hats). Generally most people run Kali/BT in a VM anyway. The idea of being in a professional pen-tester is to use the same methods black hats would use

    I've recently did the Linux+ exam & I used CentOS (RHEL without the trademark) and I used actual Debian Linux as my other learning machine. If you want to get a UNIX feel, use Free BSD. The desktop you use is meaningless as you will not be administrating corporate Linux stuff with any desktop.

    For my own laptop, I use Linux Mint 15. I'm a fan of Cinnamon as a desktop though it's new so it occasionally has a hiccup. Unity (Ubuntu's native desktop) is smooth & Ubuntu is moving into tablets & phones.

    There are differences between the RH & Debian world, specific to how to install software & other configuration files are not the same. You'll also need to understand all things init, even if init is mostly depracated. Remember it might not be in the actual working world. Lots of older Linux systems keep plugging away.
  • jornjorn Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Download and try all the distros!
Sign In or Register to comment.