|By Kevin Bedell||
|April 19, 2004 12:00 AM EDT||
In this installment of the Book Rookery, Kevin Bedell speaks with LWM's own Dee-Ann LeBlanc about the latest edition of Linux for Dummies, which features expanded coverage of the Linux desktop, among other things.
Can people without a lot of computer experience really install and use Linux for everyday tasks?
Sure! I won't claim that it's "tie both hands behind your back" easy to learn Linux, but installation has never been simpler in most cases, and you point and click your way through things just like you do in Windows and Mac OS X - unless you're really into learning the ol' tried-and-true command line. Some people are.
Does the book cover just Linux, or does it cover other applications, such as OpenOffice?
There's a nice meaty chapter on OpenOffice.org and all of the programs in that suite. There's also a ton of material on multimedia stuff, and other fun tools that I thought folks might like to know more about. I'd say it's about half and half. The other half of the book contains things about using Linux in the GUI and command line, customizing the GUI, and other tasks that will help you feel more comfortable.
What has changed from previous editions of Linux for Dummies?
In the early editions, we tried to cover everything, from desktop to server. The 5th edition is the culmination of my decision last time around to bring this book more and more to a desktop focus. That lets me zoom in on enough interesting stuff that it's not just some quick survey that has no real details. There are lots of books that have information on how to set up servers. There's still not much that focuses on the desktop. Removing the more server-based content has let me expand the OpenOffice and multimedia coverage, in particular.
What are the biggest challenges that most beginning users have installing and using Linux?
Sometimes a particular version of Linux and a particular hardware setup just don't seem to get along. Without being there in person, I can't be sure what happens, but it's happened to me too. (Just as some computers don't seem to get along well with Windows.) I've talked to some Linux users who had to try more than one distribution before they found one they really liked.
As far as using Linux, it's important to remember that learning Linux is like learning a whole new language if you've never done anything in Unix. These are some of the things I try in particular to address, by helping readers to understand some of the terminology and how things are seen and done a bit differently in the Linux world.
Is Linux ready for the desktop for average users?
You'd kind of have to define an average user for me. A lot of average folks write me to thank me for the book, saying they're set up and happily playing with Linux. Other people write to me with problems, and I help them as best I can. The biggest problem is in the area of installation; if something goes wrong it can really go wrong. However, people forget that most users don't install their own Windows boxes. They just buy them pre-installed.
Once people get their Linux boxes set up, the average user really seems to have no trouble as long as no one talked them into trying a more advanced distribution. Debian is great for the server, but it's not something that I would hand to someone new to Linux who just wants to try something out on the desktop.
If I buy this book, do I get everything I need to install and run Linux?
You get Fedora Core 1 on DVD, so you get the entire Fedora distribution, and even the source code if you really want to play with it for some insane reason.
Can I call you if I have problems?
I do answer e-mail, though not always as quickly as I might like (sometimes I'm on the road or under heavy deadlines). I'm also part of the AnswerSquad (www.answersquad.com), which is a paid support team that can handle all kinds of questions, not just Linux ones. Since it's paid I make sure to answer questions faster there, and if I'm not around to do so immediately, there are other people who can. It's a nice way for me to pool my services with other folks so I have time to write and work as well.
Is Linux better than Windows? If so, why?
For some this is a religious question! My general response to this is, "Well, what are you trying to do?" I try to remember that computers are just tools, as are operating systems. Personally, I prefer Linux. I find it more stable, and better built in terms of security. I also prefer the philosophy behind the free software and open source communities to the "What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine" approach taken by many powerful closed source computer companies.
I know this is a very diplomatic answer, but I'm a very shades-of-gray kind of person. The world isn't black and white. Though I suppose Tux, the Linux mascot, is.
I've heard I can install and run Linux on older and less powerful computers. Will this book help me do this?
You sure can do this. You'll find the best use for older computers to be on the server front, where you don't need a GUI. I find that with any desktop system, no matter what OS you use, you generally want to have as powerful a computer as you can manage, just because it's got to run a GUI, hold five windows with different programs open at once, play games, and more. If you don't need a high-end desktop system though (say you just want to use it for word processing), then Linux on an older system can be perfect - especially if you take the time to customize your GUI to the point where it's using very small components.
I don't get into this level of GUI customization in the book since it's more advanced, but I do tell you how to turn the GUI off completely. Now there's a nice, light interface!
LINUX FOR DUMMIESCopyright ® 2003 by Wiley Publishing, Inc. Reproduced here by permission. All rights reserved. For Dummies is a registered trademark of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries.
About Dee-Ann Leblanc:
Dee-Ann LeBlanc, gaming industry editor of LinuxWorld Magazine, has been involved with Linux since 1994. Dee-Ann is the author of 12 books, 130 articles, and has more of both coming. She is a trainer, a course developer - including the official Red Hat online courseware at DigitalThink - a founding member of the AnswerSquad, and a consultant.
"LinearHub provides smart video conferencing, which is the Roundee service, and we archive all the video conferences and we also provide the transcript," stated Sunghyuk Kim, CEO of LinearHub, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 22, 2017 03:15 PM EST Reads: 1,686
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Jan. 22, 2017 02:30 PM EST Reads: 3,755
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Jan. 22, 2017 02:00 PM EST Reads: 5,285
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
Jan. 22, 2017 02:00 PM EST Reads: 5,816
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
Jan. 22, 2017 01:45 PM EST Reads: 3,226
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Jan. 22, 2017 01:00 PM EST Reads: 4,390
Discover top technologies and tools all under one roof at April 24–28, 2017, at the Westin San Diego in San Diego, CA. Explore the Mobile Dev + Test and IoT Dev + Test Expo and enjoy all of these unique opportunities: The latest solutions, technologies, and tools in mobile or IoT software development and testing. Meet one-on-one with representatives from some of today's most innovative organizations
Jan. 22, 2017 12:45 PM EST Reads: 1,684
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Jan. 22, 2017 11:45 AM EST Reads: 2,971
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Jan. 22, 2017 11:30 AM EST Reads: 3,736
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
Jan. 22, 2017 09:30 AM EST Reads: 3,022
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jan. 22, 2017 09:30 AM EST Reads: 4,767
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, John Jelinek IV, a web developer at Linux Academy, will discuss why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers...
Jan. 22, 2017 08:30 AM EST Reads: 984
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud enviro...
Jan. 22, 2017 08:30 AM EST Reads: 5,011
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex softw...
Jan. 22, 2017 07:15 AM EST Reads: 1,979
WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, looked at differ...
Jan. 22, 2017 03:45 AM EST Reads: 5,075
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Jan. 22, 2017 02:30 AM EST Reads: 2,918
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Ca...
Jan. 22, 2017 02:30 AM EST Reads: 7,925
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
Jan. 22, 2017 02:00 AM EST Reads: 11,768
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet and...
Jan. 22, 2017 01:45 AM EST Reads: 6,596
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, discussed the impact of technology on identity. Sho...
Jan. 22, 2017 01:15 AM EST Reads: 4,209