|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.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
May. 4, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,409
The demand for organizations to expand their infrastructure to multiple IT environments like the cloud, on-premise, mobile, bring your own device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow. As this hybrid infrastructure increases, the challenge to monitor the security of these systems increases in volume and complexity. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty, Chief Security Evangelist at Alert Logic, will show how properly configured and managed security architecture can...
May. 4, 2016 12:47 PM EDT Reads: 136
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
May. 4, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,242
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
May. 4, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 883
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
May. 4, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 533
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
May. 4, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,309
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
May. 4, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,327
A critical component of any IoT project is the back-end systems that capture data from remote IoT devices and structure it in a way to answer useful questions. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle large data sets, but they are not well suited to many IoT-scale products and the need for real-time insights. At Fuze, we have developed a backend platform as part of our mobility-oriented cloud service that uses Big Data-based approache...
May. 4, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 552
trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vice president of product management, IoT solutions at GlobalSign, will teach IoT developers how t...
May. 4, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 509
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
May. 4, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,135
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
May. 4, 2016 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,218
We’ve worked with dozens of early adopters across numerous industries and will debunk common misperceptions, which starts with understanding that many of the connected products we’ll use over the next 5 years are already products, they’re just not yet connected. With an IoT product, time-in-market provides much more essential feedback than ever before. Innovation comes from what you do with the data that the connected product provides in order to enhance the customer experience and optimize busi...
May. 4, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,289
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
May. 4, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,374
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
May. 4, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,500
Digital payments using wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and payment wristbands are an increasing area of focus for industry participants, and consumer acceptance from early trials and deployments has encouraged some of the biggest names in technology and banking to continue their push to drive growth in this nascent market. Wearable payment systems may utilize near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or quick response (QR) codes and barcodes...
May. 4, 2016 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 993
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
May. 4, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,184
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, will explain how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
May. 4, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,261
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, will discuss how leveraging the Industrial Interne...
May. 4, 2016 04:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,351
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
May. 3, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,224
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
May. 3, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,609