Linux Challenge 2019 by FPS Finance — Robin Wils's website

Last modified: Sat, Jan 23, 2021

Table of Contents

What is this “challenge”?

The Linux Challenge was a challenge in which questions about the common commands on GNU and/or Linux systems must be answered within the time.

It was mostly about knowing the standard coreutils of the GNU project, so more a GNU challenge as a Linux one. There weren’t any question about the Linux kernel.

I don’t think that anyone has the possibility to know everything about the Linux kernel or all the GNU utils.

The finals were in Belgium, so it was mainly meant for people from Belgium, but other people could participate as well.

I wanted to give this a try, since I use GNU+Linux system. I use it daily, but this does not necessarily mean that I really know GNU or Linux.

The student winners of the Linux Challenge 2019 standing next to each other.

The student winners of the Linux Challenge 2019 standing next to each other - I couldn’t find the license, but I am pretty sure that I can use this.

I am the person on the right, with the beard. I finished second of all the students.

The questions

The questions were pretty doable in my opinion, but I am not going to say that luck isn’t a factor. They mentioned that the scores were pretty high in general, so the ones who did not win should be proud as well.

Most questions went pretty smoothly, but not all did. I found the way in which the challenge was done, pretty good and comfortable.

Some feelings

I felt a bit out of my comfort zone when they mentioned my name, since I did not expect it. I am an introvert and was not very social or talkative during the event. My dad drove me to the event and was also watching, which did not really help either. I appreciate the support though.

I can only blame me for not talking much. It is something that I want to work on. I am probably not the most asocial introvert, but being asocial happens from time to time.

Red Hat talk about containers

There also was a talk from Red Hat about containers. That talk was pretty interesting. It was a good experience overall. It made me think that containers could be a solution. I changed my mind after some research.

There are other ways, which are even better. Some people think that containers provide more security from hackers, but this is simply not true and managing containers takes time.

The approach of the Guix package manager looks very great. This wasn’t mentioned in the talk. The Guix package manager fixes many of the current container problems. Containers are usually not reproducible, which is not great for people who care about privacy and security. Guix packs are reproducible.

GuixSD can even reproduce itself (the current whole system) as a live USB, in a VM or other things. In other words it is very cool.

Isn’t this event closed source?

It probably is in some way, but you have to make some decisions. I support free software, but some privacy sacrifices might be worth it.

Different opinions

I am not someone who complains about words which I don’t agree with. I try to see why others have a different opinion, so that I can learn from that.

I completely understand why people use the word “Linux” instead of “GNU+Linux” or other words. Linux is just an easier word to market and people know the word. This does not mean that I agree with the word. The GNU project deserves credit in my opinion.

My opinion about the naming problem: The GNU Linux system naming problem

Is everyone a hypocrite?

Everyone probably depends on some closed source stuff (even if it are just some protocols or bank card stuff). Everyone probably also depends on free software. Everyone is probably a hypocrite.

" All solutions are hacks. Every opposite is an equal (and if it attracts, look out or you’ll make a sequel). Freedom’s a right but having any means you’re privileged. And our religion of consumerism might have hit a glitch. Clowns are unhappy. Jugglers drop stuff. I display cowardice whenever you talk tough. My least favorite thing is a hypocrite, but I’ll be one. "

– MC Frontalot (Front The Least)

Thanks to…

I would like to thank a friend who told me about this event. I wouldn’t have heard about this event if it wasn’t for her. That said, I felt like I owned her a drink, so I bought her one.

I obviously also should thank the college, which I go to and the organisators of the event. The college that I go to is called Hogeschool PXL and the organisators of this event were EDITx and FPS Finance.