Linux Containers Authors: Pat Romanski, Lori MacVittie, Elizabeth White, Flint Brenton, Jim Kaskade

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

Interview with Mark G. Sobell

Author of A Practical Guide to Red Hat Linux, Second Edition

For this issue, I'm going to talk with long-time Linux author Mark Sobell. Mark's first Linux book came out in 1996, when Linux was in its infancy. In this interview Mark discusses Red Hat's Fedora Core 2 version of Linux and his experiences writing Linux books.

LWM: I know you've written a lot of books. When did you write your first one?
My first book, A Practical Guide to the UNIX System, was published in 1982. At that time it was one of three or four books on UNIX. Since then, I've written a number of books on System V and BSD UNIX, databases, Solaris, and three books on Linux.

LWM: How does A Practical Guide to Red Hat Linux, Second Edition differ from the previous edition?
Good question. We've come a long way since 1982. Today, technical bookstores have whole sections dedicated to UNIX and Linux. The audience has matured and I've tried to keep up. The most significant change is that today many readers want to set up servers on Linux. For those readers, I spent last winter writing chapters covering Apache, Samba, DNS/BIND, OpenSSH, NIS, sendmail, FTP (vsftpd), OpenSSH (ssh, scp, and sftp), and NFS. Because security is such a big issue, I also added a chapter on iptables so that readers would be able to set up firewalls to protect their servers.

Another important difference is that the first edition had two CDs, and they were Publisher's Edition CDs. I don't know if your readers are aware, but Red Hat sells publishers CD masters for inclusion in books and these CDs don't have everything that is available when you download Red Hat's ISO image files. With Fedora Core 2, Red Hat has gone to four CDs, so if you go to fedora.com and download the ISO image files, you end up with four files that you can burn four CDs from. My publisher, Prentice Hall, has been good enough to allow me to include these four CDs, straight from fedora.com, in the book. I think my book is the only one with these CDs.

Also, this is the first time I've covered two operating systems in one book. Although they are very similar, my book points out the differences between Fedora Core 2 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. In addition, I've added two chapters that cover the installation of both operating systems.

LWM: Can you please explain to our readers what differentiates Fedora Core from Red Hat Enterprise Linux?
Fedora is free, as in free beer, and you have to pay for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a stable release that's intended for corporate customers who are willing to trade bleeding-edge technology for stability and longevity. Fedora is Red Hat's test bed. A new version is released about every six months with all the latest software and features. For example, Fedora includes the Linux 2.6 kernel, while Red Hat Enterprise Linux uses a 2.4 kernel. Similarly, Fedora includes Samba 3, while Red Hat Enterprise Linux uses Samba 2. I imagine that the next release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux will include the 2.6 kernel and Samba 3.

LWM: What about the battle between the command-line interface and the graphical interface? Which one is better?
That's really a matter of preference. Someone using Linux in an office will probably want to use the KDE or GNOME graphical interface because that is what they are used to and it's easier to use in most cases. The real question is what does a system administrator use? Red Hat has been improving its GUI system administrator tools. By the way, in Fedora Core 2, the names of the tools have all been changed from redhat-config-* to system-config-*; same tools, different names. As I said, these tools are getting pretty good. Personally, I prefer to use vi and edit the various files by hand. Although I cover the graphical system administration tools in the book, I do go into quite a bit of detail about the files and how to configure the system and servers using the configuration files.

LWM: What is one of the most interesting things you learned while writing this book?
That's hard; I learned a lot. I like writing books for the same reasons I like teaching. Both force you to dig into the material and understand it to a depth not required if you are just using it. The two things that stand out in my mind are DNS/BIND and OpenSSH. I never realized how distributed the DNS database is, nor how the in-addr.arpa domain for reverse-name resolution actually works. Although I have used ssh for quite a while, I didn't realize how simply elegant it is and how it uses the various keys to authenticate systems and ensure the privacy of data transmitted over the Internet.

LWM: Is there anything else you'd like to say to our readers?
It has been said a million times before, but "Have fun!" There is so much going on in Linux today, so many new tools and features, that you cannot help but find something you would like to use, create, or improve. I've just started using gphoto2, which comes with Red Hat Linux, to download and store my digital photographs. Just browse through the Main menu to find all sorts of graphical, audio, and Internet tools. And don't forget about the Linux games. You can search on "Linux games" or just go to www.happypenguin.org for a pretty complete collection.

Mark G. Sobell is president of Sobell Associates Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in UNIX/Linux training, support, and custom software development. He is the author of many best-selling UNIX and Linux books and has more than 25 years of experience working with UNIX and Linux. His most recent book is A Practical Guide to Red Hat Linux, Second Edition: Fedora Core and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, published by Prentice Hall. Go to www.sobell.com for more information on Mark Sobell's books.

More Stories By Ibrahim Haddad

Ibrahim Haddad is a member of the management team at The Linux Foundation responsible for technical, legal and compliance projects and initiatives. Prior to that, he ran the Open Source Office at Palm, the Open Source Technology Group at Motorola, and Global Telecommunications Initiatives at The Open Source Development Labs. Ibrahim started his career as a member of the research team at Ericsson Research focusing on advanced research for system architecture of 3G wireless IP networks and on the adoption of open source software in telecom. Ibrahim graduated from Concordia University (Montréal, Canada) with a Ph.D. in Computer Science. He is a Contributing Editor to the Linux Journal. Ibrahim is fluent in Arabic, English and French. He can be reached via http://www.IbrahimHaddad.com.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Transparent Cloud Computing (T-Cloud) Consortium 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. The Transparent Cloud Computing Consortium (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 proces...
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu 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. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their online busine...
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...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Coalfire 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. Coalfire is the trusted leader in cybersecurity risk management and compliance services. Coalfire integrates advisory and technical assessments and recommendations to the corporate directors, executives, boards, and IT organizations for global brands and organizations in the technology, cloud, health...
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Penta Security is a leading vendor for data security solutions, including its encryption solution, D’Amo. By using FPE technology, D’Amo allows for the implementation of encryption technology to sensitive data fields without modification to schema in the database environment. With businesses having their data become increasingly more complicated in their mission-critical applications (such as ERP, CRM, HRM), continued ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudbric, a leading website security provider, 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. Cloudbric is an elite full service website protection solution specifically designed for IT novices, entrepreneurs, and small and medium businesses. First launched in 2015, Cloudbric is based on the enterprise level Web Application Firewall by Penta Security Sys...
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
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.
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 @...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions 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. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Embotics, the cloud automation company, 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. Embotics is the cloud automation company for IT organizations and service providers that need to improve provisioning or enable self-service capabilities. With a relentless focus on delivering a premier user experience and unmatched customer support, Embotics is the fas...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MathFreeOn 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. MathFreeOn is Software as a Service (SaaS) used in Engineering and Math education. Write scripts and solve math problems online. MathFreeOn provides online courses for beginners or amateurs who have difficulties in writing scripts. In accordance with various mathematical topics, there are more tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Niagara Networks 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. Niagara Networks offers the highest port-density systems, and the most complete Next-Generation Network Visibility systems including Network Packet Brokers, Bypass Switches, and Network TAPs.
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, will discuss how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team a...
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service.