Linux Blog

Ubuntu Unleashed 2010 Edition Review

Filed under: General Linux — at 11:36 am on Monday, January 25, 2010

Irritated with my Desktop after an upgrade gone bad and an incident with the nvidia noveau driver that left me x less, I decided it was time to re-install. I turned to my bookshelf to find Ubuntu Unleashed 2010 Edition. Normally by the time a book hits my shelf the material is outdated, not necessarily useless, just not the most up to date. This is an exception. The Ubuntu Unleashed 2010 Edition was updated with an Ubuntu 9.10 DVD and a “Free Upgrade to Ubuntu 10.04″ which I found out that if you buy the book before the end of 2010 you can get an upgrade kit in the mail.

So, I pop the DVD in the drive and start the installation. Nothing new here for anyone that has installed Linux or Ubuntu recently; for those that haven’t, it was a pleasant surprise to see that it actually detected my high resolution monitor and used it to its advantage. It really is strange to not have to squint at an installer. The first chapter covers the step by step installation in more detail which is relatively short and easy to follow. Most people should not need to read this if they are familiar with installing an operating system but it I think it is good to have it there. Just don’t let this first chapter prevent you from looking further into this book. After putting the DVD in and getting it started, I found myself reading the book through the entire installation; which for some reason got from 0-90% quickly, then took the majority of the time in the 90% range, but I’m not complaining.

The Authors really did a good job of writing in an understandable language and organizing the book in a logical format. I’ve found myself flipping through and finding many golden nuggets of information. I personally would not have picked this book up because of the title, since I’m not a big Ubuntu user. But Ubuntu Unleashed 2010 edition is packed full of information, 32 chapters and a hefty appendix to be exact. It is not all Ubuntu – specific either, meaning most of the content should work on just about distribution. This book would not be rendered useless if you don’t decide to go the Ubuntu route. I recommend taking a look at the contents and buying this book, as I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the topics it covers. I think it would be a great book for someone that is interested in Linux in general, it reads well but can also be used as a quick reference. I wish I had a book like this when I was getting started, it would have saved me a whole lot of time and effort. I have set aside some of the more advanced chapters and made a note to read later.

Other reviews I’ve read have said that it has too much terminal use in it, which is something Ubuntu is trying to eliminate. While this may be true, if you want the most out of your Linux distribution, the fact is you will at some point use a terminal. Commands are less likely to change as much as graphical interfaces. Although some things may be slightly outdated I don’t think that this book should be re-written, as it is in the nature of open source and technology to change. If you keep this in mind I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with it.

Shell Script Flow Control – my most refered to articles

Filed under: Shell Script Sundays — at 2:38 pm on Sunday, November 9, 2008

This week I do not have time to write a full fledged article on shell scripting, so I am going to some flow control and logic articles that I wrote that I read the most.

One script that I continuously refer to is one of the first shell scripting articles I wrote titled “When Photoshop Fails.” The reason I refer to this article is because it describes a couple of looping techniques and a loop that works with spaces in filenames. For those interested but do not want to read the whole thing here is the loop in short:

find * -iname “*” | while read i; do echo “$i”; done

The next article I’m linking to is the one I wrote on loops: it outlines some of the basic looping techniques. What I fail to mention in this article is that seq can be used to generate sequences of numbers for the [in list] section. The following is how you would create a loop to loop from 1 to 10 echoing out each number:

for i in `seq 1 10`; do echo $i; done;

Select Statements in Bash is exactly what the title implies. How to implement select statements in bash scripting. Also known as switch’s and case’s in other languages many will be familiar with this sort of logic. Even though I do not refer to it as often as some of the other articles I think it is worth of a mention in this list.

Decision making using if statements is something that every shell scripter is bound to come across. While not exactly the most in depth article on bash if then else statements it is a good start for any one wanting to learn more.

I love dialog’s and it just so happens that dialog and xdialog do a great job of making dialogs for your shell scripts. Creating Dialogs with Dialog has some basic uses of dialog. While it is not exactly logic or flow control, it can be used to prompt the user for input or just to pretty things up a little. It just so happens that it has an X front end called xdialog which does a good job too.

This is not all of the articles I refer to, but its the ones I wrote. If any one else has a list of articles they refer to that are bookmarked that I wrote or not I’d be interested to see them. Just paste them in a comment.

Linux Certifications

Filed under: General Linux — at 10:27 am on Saturday, July 12, 2008

I made a tweet yesterday about how once every so often I get obsessed with certifications. Even though I normally get around to studying let alone sitting the test. I was wondering if this is a problem for any one else. Certifications to me are so tempting, but finding the time to actually do it is another thing. If there is an multiple choice exam for a certification given time any one can take the test, so why isn’t every one qualified?

I can’t speak for every one but I know why I don’t hold as many certifications as I would like.

1) Money
Firstly money comes into play. Even if you self study, buy books or from reading free certification guides and objectives online you still have to pay for the exam. This is a big factor when coming to get certified. Even if sponsorship from an employer or other organization is available this can still be a problem.

2) Time
I for one do not like to fail exams, therefore I like to study to make sure I’ll pass. Making the time needed to study for an exam is often a challenge. Things come up which distract me from studying, or scheduling an exam.

3) Return
This is one of the major reasons for obtaining a certification. Whats in it for me? After all why am I going to get a certification if it is no benefit to me. The return on some certifications is not measurable. Its hard to look into the future and say,
“Wow, it was a good job I got Linux+ certified”
When or if the time comes for a job change certification’s are a great tool, even if they are not well respected in the industry. For example take MCSA and LPIC, if a systems administrator holds just one of these certifications and is applying for a position that requires Linux and Microsoft experience, their chances of getting assessed for the position by human resources would be less than the chances of one who has both. I also think that the return is a major reason I don’t hold more certifications. If everyone knew that taking an exam would be of great benefit who wouldn’t study and sit an exam?

Some people say that most certifications are a waste of time, but I don’t think that they are if all of the above factors are reasonable. Any one else have thoughts?

Phones meet Linux.

Filed under: General Linux — at 11:45 pm on Saturday, July 28, 2007

It’s been a while since I have last posted. In this time probably the most anticipated piece of hardware for this year has been released. You know what it is already. Yes, thats right the iPhone. I must say its a very nice consumer level phone. Will I buy one? Probably not.

I hear you ask.

Well the answer is simple. I believe there are phones that can better suit my purposes than the iPhone. Sure its cool and it maybe great for the average Joe who wants everything all of the trend setters have. But I can’t settle for that. Ever since the release fan boys have been drooling over it. I took a sneak peak into the Apple store after it was released to avoid the mayhem of the release and got to play with it. I thought wow, Apple has actually done a pretty good job here. I was quite happy and saddened at the same time.
In retaliation I had to get at least some ammo before I gave in against the fan boys, so I have been looking at all types of phones recently. Using, looking for and reviewing new gadgets is always fun. I found that most of the more advanced phones that are on the shelves at the major cell phone network stores (with a few exceptions), are Windows Mobile phones and I have some major problems with Windows Mobile Edition but thats another post in its self.

So what choices do I have if I am to upgrade to a new phone to crush the competitors?

I think for a couple of minutes about the potential uses for mobiles. Then I decide that it will have to be a phone that is stylish, flexible in what I can do with and it must also be free to develop for. I want this because I like and believe in the open source software community. I know that developers will create great source code and bleeding edge applications will be released. Free to develop for platforms will be more customizable for a specific purpose then any closed source software will ever be.

There are two phones that I have been recently been looking at in detail which would be good mobile phone candidates for my desired applications.

The Nokia E70 (
I have not had a chance to use or review a E70 but from what I have read about it it seems like a nice little mobile communications device. The sad part is that the E70 doesn’t run Linux it actually runs Symbian OS v9.1. What I like about it is that its not too flashy which means it wont draw too much attention (unlike the iPhone). If I were to be in a dodgy area, I could probably still whip it out to make a quick call without getting shanked over a smart phone. It flips over and has a full split QWERTY keyboard and the screen sits in the middle. One of the more useful things to me is that it has a terminal so that I could in theory do practically anything I need to from it. The Symbian OS, has a development kit available and has some applications which have spawned from open applications (such as a SQL database which is based on an implementation of SQLite). This phone is packed with features.

One feature that stands out to me is bearer mobility. This will allow applications to seamlessly move from one carrier to another (for example, from 3G to WLAN), without having to re-initiate network connections. Since this little device requires little to no initial hacking to work I may consider it since it will basically allow me to show off Linux based applications with a terminal and for a modest 18 Euro’s for graphical applications a VNC Viewer can be used.

The OpenMoko (
All I have to say about this one is wow. I just found out about this yesterday and I don’t know how I went so long without hearing about it from some of my fellow Linux users. Especially with all the iPhone hype going on at the moment. I guess I got tied up in it. To me it looks better than the iPhone. It comes in two colors standard which I point out because you know Apple is going to release a pink, yellow, silver, blue, red and charge a premium for it They may over the years release som other ugly colors such as brown with green lights. Oh wait thats Microsoft (sorry to get off track of the important Linux Phone topic at hand).
The OpenMoko team make it a quite clear that they want people to hack it. They have made it easy for all types of developers and hackers. Open Source code, USB, bluetooth a JTAG port, serial console support, an I2C bus and easy solder contact pads make this device expandable in so many different ways. They even sell a kit which includes equipment needed to modify it.

I don’t think I can explain what potential the OpenMoko Linux based phone has. The many ways it could be used and the never ending possibilities of it blows my mind. In my eyes it can achieve virtually anything.

There you have it, the non Linux based E70 and the Linux based OpenMoko phones. Two cool and more capable out of the box alternatives to that one fashion accessory phone that everybody is raving about. What was the name of it again? I seem to have forgotten already.