Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Mehdi Daoudi, Ian Khan, Carmen Gonzalez, Gordon Haff, Liz McMillan

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?
MGS:
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?
MGS:
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?
MGS:
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?
MGS:
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?
MGS:
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?
MGS:
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 delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
The security needs of IoT environments require a strong, proven approach to maintain security, 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, vic...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
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
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
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 ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IoT Now has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.
SYS-CON Events announced today that WineSOFT will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Based in Seoul and Irvine, WineSOFT is an innovative software house focusing on internet infrastructure solutions. The venture started as a bootstrap start-up in 2010 by focusing on making the internet faster and more powerful. WineSOFT’s knowledge is based on the expertise of TCP/IP, VPN, SSL, peer-to-peer, mob...
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, discussed 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.
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it m...
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dataloop.IO, an innovator in cloud IT-monitoring whose products help organizations save time and money, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Dataloop.IO is an emerging software company on the cutting edge of major IT-infrastructure trends including cloud computing and microservices. The company, founded in the UK but now based in San Fran...
Things are changing so quickly in IoT that it would take a wizard to predict which ecosystem will gain the most traction. In order for IoT to reach its potential, smart devices must be able to work together. Today, there are a slew of interoperability standards being promoted by big names to make this happen: HomeKit, Brillo and Alljoyn. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Adam Justice, vice president and general manager of Grid Connect, will review what happens when smart devices don’t work togethe...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sudarshan Krishnamurthi, a Senior Manager, Business Strategy, at Cisco Systems, will discuss how IT and operational technology (OT) work together, as opposed to being in separate siloes as once was traditional. Attendees will learn how to fully leverage the power of IoT in their organization by bringing the two sides together and bridging the communication gap. He will also look at what good leadership must entail in order to accomplish this, and how IT managers ca...
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 settle...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on 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. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
TechTarget storage websites are the best online information resource for news, tips and expert advice for the storage, backup and disaster recovery markets. By creating abundant, high-quality editorial content across more than 140 highly targeted technology-specific websites, TechTarget attracts and nurtures communities of technology buyers researching their companies' information technology needs. By understanding these buyers' content consumption behaviors, TechTarget creates the purchase inte...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Ge...