I've picked out a rather beat-up machine to use for server practice. I've tried hacking it through by myself, but I get stuck trying to network it. I'm going to follow this book, and learn as much as I can this way.
Why Ubuntu Server? Why not Red Hat, SuSE, or at least CentOS?
I'm somewhat good at short term trend predictions, especially in technology. I think Ubuntu's mastery of desktop adoption will carry over to enterprise level server adoption. As Ubuntu desktop grows, the server will follow. While I don't think too many are going to abandon their Red Hat installations, I think many new servers will be set up with Ubuntu. So, this is a skill I need to learn. While I could do it in a virtual machine - VMware or Virtual Box- I'd rather set it up on dedicated hardware. I want to make it work in a real setting. While virtual machines are important for more things than I'm aware of right now, they still seem more like computers in Second Life.
By the time I learn what I'll need in Ubuntu Server, it will be a necessary skill for most IT people, especially ones that claim to know and use Linux. That, and I want to show Nancy that The Command Line isn't Cranium Command - a no-longer-used audio animatronic show at Epcot in the Wonders Of Life pavilion.