|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.
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, will compare the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, e...
Sep. 27, 2016 04:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,886
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
Sep. 27, 2016 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,970
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Sep. 27, 2016 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,550
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
Sep. 27, 2016 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,751
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
Sep. 27, 2016 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,795
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
Sep. 27, 2016 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,931
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...
Sep. 27, 2016 02:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,598
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
Sep. 27, 2016 02:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,037
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...
Sep. 27, 2016 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,725
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
Sep. 27, 2016 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,729
I'm a lonely sensor. I spend all day telling the world how I'm feeling, but none of the other sensors seem to care. I want to be connected. I want to build relationships with other sensors to be more useful for my human. I want my human to understand that when my friends next door are too hot for a while, I'll soon be flaming. And when all my friends go outside without me, I may be left behind. Don't just log my data; use the relationship graph. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Boyd, Engi...
Sep. 27, 2016 01:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,292
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Pulzze Systems, Inc. provides infrastructure products for the Internet of Things to enable any connected device and system to carry out matched operations without programming. For more information, visit http://www.pulzzesystems.com.
Sep. 27, 2016 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,849
SYS-CON Events announced today that Numerex Corp, a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT), will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Numerex Corp. (NASDAQ:NMRX) is a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The Company's solutions produce new revenue streams or create operating...
Sep. 27, 2016 01:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,000
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
Sep. 27, 2016 12:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,634
WebRTC adoption has generated a wave of creative uses of communications and collaboration through websites, sales apps, customer care and business applications. As WebRTC has become more mainstream it has evolved to use cases beyond the original peer-to-peer case, which has led to a repeating requirement for interoperability with existing infrastructures. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Graham Holt, Executive Vice President of Daitan Group, will cover implementation examples that have enabled ea...
Sep. 27, 2016 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,542
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
Sep. 27, 2016 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,050
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
Sep. 26, 2016 10:45 PM EDT Reads: 489
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
Sep. 26, 2016 08:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,171
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Sep. 26, 2016 08:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,421
Vidyo, Inc., has joined the Alliance for Open Media. The Alliance for Open Media is a non-profit organization working to define and develop media technologies that address the need for an open standard for video compression and delivery over the web. As a member of the Alliance, Vidyo will collaborate with industry leaders in pursuit of an open and royalty-free AOMedia Video codec, AV1. Vidyo’s contributions to the organization will bring to bear its long history of expertise in codec technolo...
Sep. 26, 2016 05:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,626