Originally Published: Tuesday, 19 June 2001 Author: IRC Staff
Published to: interact_articles_irc_recap/IRC Recap Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Stewing up Linux with the Linux Cookbook

Michael Stutz talked with us on June 12 about his latest book from Nostarch, The Linux Cookbook. He discussed the reasons behind him righting this book and the recipe-style format he presented the subject matter in. If you missed the event, then we've got the log for you right here.

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<maninder> Wintersun: Hi :)
<Wintersun> hi maninder. :)
<maninder> I will be here in 2 1/2 hrs time... that is about 1/2 hour before the event... Is that cool ?
<Wintersun> That sounds great to me.
<maninder> Cool :) I'll see you then... I am sure I'll learn a lot and be of more help in the future.
<SporkMan> Is this the linux.com live channel?
<Wintersun> Yes, this is.
<SporkMan> ok thanks :)
<goodness> somebody give me operator please
<goodness> thanks :)
<maninder> Hi guys :)
<JALH> moo
<maninder> No moo right now!
<JALH> right out of moo's again? ;(
<JALH> hi O
<MysticOne> hey H
<MysticOne> :)
<Wintersun> afternoon Michael
<stutz> Hello...
<JALH> hi stutz
<JALH> just sorting a wallops
<JALH> o_O
<JALH> l33t chans3rv p0w3rz
<stutz> heh
* JALH watches the flooooood
<daemon_> lo @ll
<JALH> hi todin
<todin> hi JALH
<fraggle> heh
<freax> hi there :)
<JALH> hey freax, mids
<fraggle> that should get a few more people
<mids> hello
<Wintersun> Hi, we'll be starting this event in about 5 minutes
<kropulus> what is the linux cookbook
<kropulus> may i ask
<freax> I book about Linux kropulus :)
<Wintersun> kropulus: That's why you're here to find out. :)
<MysticOne> kropulus: great tasting penguin recipies :)
<wuehlmaus> i guess, zsh should be mentioned in the book :)
<kropulus> hehe
<kropulus> ;)
<fraggle> penguin recipes
<fraggle> heh
<jericho> this is worth a /gnotice maybe? instead of simple wallop
<JALH> jericho: more chance of you getting the book ;)
<freax> lol @ JAL :)
<JaL> :)
<jericho> heh no. i don't use linux :)
<JALH> o_O
* JALH looks at jal
<Rias> uh oh
<JALH> hi rias ;)
<freax> oeps :)
<Rias> JALH: you always win something!
<Rias> :)
<JALH> ;))
<Rias> go away!
<freax> [tab] stuff
<Rias> =)
<Rias> jalh!!!
<freax> * JALH nods
* JALH wonders why jal wants to look like him
<JALH> !!
<lang> Rias: wa fa'en.. :)
<JALH> eradan!
<Rias> lang!
<fraggle> hmm
<jericho> what is the L in JALH ?
<Rias> linux!
<JALH> leenooks
* JaL looks at JALh ( sorryi'm french :) )
<JALH> ;)
<freax> dict: No definitions found for "jalh", perhaps you mean:
<Rias> JALH: I always thought it was lisp!
<freax> :(
<wuehlmaus> i want one book about linux to mention one of the most important shells that is almost never mentioned! : zsh, the shell that completes options!
<JALH> wuehlmaus: and bash doesn't??!!?? ;)
<freax> No definitions found for "freax", perhaps you mean: , huh .. dict doesn't know what 'freax' is :( !
* MysticOne hugs his bash
<jericho> how about csh?
<wuehlmaus> it does, and that is not mentioned, too :(
* WildPikachu worships bash
<jericho> and moosh
<wuehlmaus> and csh, too
<fraggle> we're forced to use tcsh here
<b-> ash rulz :-)
<Rias> perlsh!
<WildPikachu> bash is my g0d
<fraggle> its the standard shell
<JALH> rias, psh you mean :)
<fraggle> you cant change it
<fraggle> heh
<jericho> (if anyone want to help build a stupid shell called moosh /msg me)
<jericho> and Moo
<wuehlmaus> but zsh can do more
<Rias> default shell: /usr/bin/perl
<MysticOne> jericho: cool name
<MysticOne> :)
<lang> heh
<Wintersun> Okay, welcome everyone to another Linux.com Live! event!
<Wintersun> Today, we have Michael Stutz, author of "The Linux Cookbook"
<Wintersun> I would like to please request that if you have a question, please /msg lcModerator and he will ask the question for you
<Wintersun> Also, after the event, we will be raffling away a free copy of this book, so please stay for the raffle!
<Wintersun> lcModerator, would you like to take it from here?
<lcModerator> Afternoon everyone thank you for joining us. I will now ask Michael to give us a bit of background about himself, and his new book " the Linux cookbook"
<stutz> Ok. Hello.. I'm a writer and I wrote this book because I want everyone to use free software.
<stutz> The idea was to have a book that newbies could grasp, and understand the "Linux" way of doing things; it's organized by "recipe," which explains how to do a particular task.
<stutz> I figured that the last thing the world needed was another rehash of man pages. But people don't know the answers to things like, "How do you print text in a font?" or "How do you play a CD?"
<lcModerator> Michael what background have you got as far as authoring in the past?
<stutz> I was a reporter for Wired News for years, and I've written about free software for the O'Reilly Network and Linux Journal.
<stutz> Fiction is actually what I spend my time writing; this book was to be written on a lark between novels, but it took a little longer than that... :)
<lcModerator> what inspired you to the recipes analogy for the book
<stutz> A lot of hacker books use the "cookbook" form -- in programming, like the Perl Cookbook or the PostScript Cookbook. It seemed to be a good form for a book about Linux.
<lcModerator> How long did you spend researching, and writing the book. Or was it more from just your experience using Linux and open-source software
<stutz> Well I've used Linux since 92-93 so all that went into it, but the book was actually in production for a few years -- which is pretty much unheard of in trade computer books today.
<stutz> I didn't want to write another book of the month, but I wanted to write something that would be a little more lasting. And that took a lot of time and effort to do.
<lcModerator> Will there be an online version of the book in .PDF format like some of the O'reilly titles are now.
<stutz> Actually the text of the book will be copylefted. It'll be online in several formats but even better, the source data will be available.
<lcModerator> do you subscribe to the free software movement more than the open source movement? or simply a combination of the two?
<stutz> Maybe neither. I think the overall trend would be more like a free _information_ movement, since its more than software. But as far as the noted schism between those two "movements," you could probably put me in with the free software group.
<lcModerator> you say you want everyone to use free software, are you against the idea of non-free software
<stutz> Yes; I don't want to live in a proprietary world, and I want to do something about it. Thousands of free software hackers have been doing something about it, and it looks like we have a chance. I don't think we as a species have a chance in a proprietary world.
<lcModerator> you describe it as a book that newbies can grasp but does it also provide the depth that a more experienced user would find usefull
* starlady is away: class
<stutz> Yes, I'd like to think it does. Originally, when I first thought of writing this book, I started coming up with all kinds of ideas to put into it -- how to play CDs backwards, how to make your own fonts, but then I realized that such a book would take 10 years to organize and be 1,000 pages long! And to have the most reach, you'd have to cover all the simple stuff, like how to log in and change your passwo
<stutz> rd...
<lcModerator> who is the publisher & where can copies be found.
<stutz> But it does have things that I think maybe not every wizard has down, like how to use a lot of the text formatting tools in combination, and how to use all of the image utilities and htings...
<stutz> The publisher is No Starch Press. You should be able to get it from any bookstore or from bn.com or amazon.com or anywhere else online ...
<lcModerator> What tools were used in the making of the book, and what formatting language was used?
<stutz> Only free software. I wrote it in Emacs. It's typeset with TeX; the book was written in Texinfo.
<lcModerator> Which license do you prefer (GPL, LGPL, BSD, Artistic)? And why?
<stutz> Well, for software, the GNU GPL. It's the only one to use for software imho. But there wasn't a good one for non-software data so with the help of Harvard's Berkman Center I had to make one. That also took a while. It's the Design Science License (DSL), and was designed to be used with any kind of work as recognized by copyright law.
<lcModerator> In your book do you cover other platforms like say Linux on a ALPHA system or SPARC. Or is it just about Linux on the x86 platform
<stutz> Well tools like enscript or telnet will work the same in any platform; it does assume x86 for a few specifics, but it's a pretty general text -- it should work on any Linux-based system.
<lcModerator> Do you deal with Hardware at all in your book. A lot of books on Linux ignore hardware issues, and that is a great stumbling block for a lot of new users
<stutz> It assumes you've got a running system, but there's an appendix for folks who are setting things up by themselves. I wanted people to just be able to jump in and begin using the system so that's why its organized that way -- we should see more and more vendors selling systems with Linux installed so hopefully it's not a worry for the long term, at all.
<lcModerator> are the recipes in your book Distribution independant, or does it have a slant towards say a Redhat based system
<stutz> It can work on any system, because it covers user tasks -- how you can make a poster or a sign, or how you can record sound. But it has material for Debian since that distribution consists of all free software and it is non-corporate.
<lcModerator> Do you deal with the different shells Linux has, other then just BASH
<stutz> No. Additional shells (like zsh) couldn't make the book; it was already hitting 400 pages...
<lcModerator> Do you get into any programming at all in the book. and do you code yourself at all.
<stutz> No programming in the book -- it's all user tasks that aren't necessarily technical. I've been an amateur coder for years, but I'm a writer primarily.
<lcModerator> Do you cover say Upgrading the Xwindowing system.
<stutz> X has a chapter of its own, and a lot of window managers are given...
<stutz> When it comes down to it, people spend most of their time in a shell (either in a console or in an xterm window) so the command-line is heavy in the book...
<lcModerator> d you mention the new completion system on bash 2.04? and some of the other refinements to BASH. or where they not released at the time you wrote the book
<stutz> Completion has a section of its own, and there's a lot of little bash tricks that are given. But since the text is free, anything new can be added to the text.
<lcModerator> You mentioned the book is heavy on using command-line as opposed to X. Do you cover specific applications comman to console, For instance Basics of BitchX, or was it just beyond the limits of the book?
<stutz> There are console-specific apps (like zgv, which is an awesome graphics viewer), and there's also X-specific apps. But I think a person ought to know first how to run commands on the shell input line and then the basics of X (both covered in the book); then, they can go on and use whatever interface they like best. Yes, BitchX is given in the IRC section..
<lcModerator> You mentioned you dont cover hardware much in the book. Do you cover things though like getting an ethernet adapter up and running and how to save the settings.
<stutz> No -- it's not a book for administrators. The idea behind the book was for how people could use Linux and free software to get their own work done, like how to take pages out of a PostScript file or how to sort and paginate text. There isn't much hardware config stuff (although with Linux some of it is unavoidable).
<lcModerator> does the book contain any kernel stuff or is it mostly apps?
<stutz> Absolutely all apps -- it's all about doing things with Linux, from going on IRC to archiving Web sites. Basically the gap that I saw existing was that people who were not hackers probably did not know how to use free software to do the things they needed to do. Like, my parents now have computers and they're online -- how can people like that easily use free software to do things?
<lcModerator> Do you cover the WWW at all, such as writing HTML or the tools you can use to create websites
<stutz> Yes, all that's covered. Tools like wget are really powerful and you can do things with them that people can't do on proprietary systems. And of course there's Mozilla, and other browsers like Emacs w3-mode ...
<lcModerator> how about coverage for vi(m) and other editors
<stutz> It shows how to run the tutorials that come with Vi and Emacs. A lot of other editors are described, but those two are pretty much the standards so the text gives them the coverage.
<lcModerator> do u disscuss StarOffice issue and usage of linux as a desktop system?
<stutz> The whole book is about using Linux on the desktop -- not as a thing that will emulate a Windows system, but how to use all the free software that comes with a Linux distro to do "desktop" type things. StarOffice is mentioned but in the Typesetting and Word Processing chapter, I argue that plain text and all the text utilities will get your work done faster than a single monlithic app...
<lcModerator> You mentioned that VI and emacs are the two main editors covered. Do you mention that vim is much more than vi
<stutz> Yes, and give the URL and some of its features. There's actually several Vi clones listed (and several Emacs clones...)
<lcModerator> Earlier you mentioned the book is more geared to Debian. Do you show the differences in say where on Debian stores a certain file, a redhat user would find it in another Dir?
<stutz> It assumes Debian and some of its anomalies with files are given -- like for example the GNU miscfiles, which are a useful collection of reference files, are split in Debian, and Debian provides some additional files. Those are listed... Most of the book though is about running commands and combining commands to do things, and that's all the same for the different distros -- like for example a command line
<stutz> to take an image URL and make it the root background. That's the same no matter what distro you've got running. (Provided the software's installed...)
-lilo- [GlobalNotice] Hi all. Services will be coming back in a moment. You'll need to reidentify and there will be a brief split.
<lcModerator> I will wait for a few seconds to post more questions from everyone once they re-join
<lcModerator> okay back to all your ?'s
<lcModerator> is your book strictly linux centered or i can user use it as general *nix handbook?
<stutz> You probably could use it for a lot of unix flavors, especially if you've got all the GNU tools and utilities installed. But there's probably some anomalies ...
<stutz> (for example, virtual consoles as they work in Linux won't be the same in AIX)
<lcModerator> Do you plan a sequel to this book, for say more advanced users, covering kernel hacking, bash programing etc
<stutz> There *could* be a sequel-- there's 1,500 recipes in the book and I've got a file of hundreds more, all the advanced ones, but I don't intend to write any more sequels to this ... it's back to fiction once this is out. :)
<lcModerator> with all the versions of linux , does this book touch base with all of them or just the kernel in general. I.E would a redhat user find it just as helpfull as a slackware user?
<stutz> Yes; a distribution is mostly just the assemblage of software, and the way it is packaged. And there are differences for admins, but a regular user will find all the same software and it'll all work the same. The same goes for kernel versions...
<lcModerator> which recipe is your favorite Michael?
<stutz> Heh. I would say the one on making Burroughsian cut-ups to text.
<lcModerator> Do u have chapter on "Security": firewalls basics, ssh, apache/ssl, passwords policy, latest security bugfixes ..etc..?
<stutz> OpenSSH/kerberos are mentioned, as are good password policies. No admin stuff though. The idea of explaining to someone how to use free software do to their work is what the book basically covers. It turned out to be a much bigger task than originally expected. ;)
<lcModerator> anything on personal cryptology like pgp and mailclients?
<stutz> It would have been GPG but it didn't make the cut..
<lcModerator> Do you cover BIND, setting up DNS, pop servers, etc ?
<stutz> Initially there were all kinds of esoteric things but when the whole thing was mapped out as a general guide you'd see that there's a whole lot of ground to cover -- mail, the web, the shell, text editing, etc. And useful things like appointment reminders and file conversions ... pretty soon you've got a ton of material...
<lcModerator> the book does not come with a CD with linux distro included...thats a bit dissappoiting for a newbie to have a cookbook and no ability to test all tricks instantly after getting a book offshelf in the bookstore. Was this the publishers choice?
<stutz> It was actually *my* choice.. ;) I don't like CD-ROMs in books at all, because they tend to be outdated; it does tell you where to get the latest CD-ROMs cheap (cheapbytes.com).. For total newbies, I think the best answer is for them to have Linux preinstalled, either from a vendor or from a LUG or something. It's not that _Linux_ is hard to install, but an _OS in general_ can be hard to install for a com
<stutz> plete newbie. So that's something that I think should be done for someone, if they are totally new to computers.
<lcModerator> Do you in future plan on writing specific books to deal with single linux topics, for example apache?
<stutz> Not really -- I could write one on typesetting, I think, but life is finite. ;) I've planned a book or article series on copyleft and might do that sometime.
<lcModerator> Would it be fair to say that the Linux Cookbook, is an updated version of UNIX Power Tools aimed at the linux end user?
<stutz> That's a very good way to describe it. There's just no book (that I know) that you can hand to someone and say, "Here, this is how you can use free software to get your stuff done." It isn't hard -- the shell isn't hard, the command line isn't hard, but if you've never seen it before, it can be weird. So I hoped that this book could make end users know how to use Linux, and use it well, and do it easily...
<lcModerator> Do you discuss/mention other "Free" OS'es than Linux? or is that out of the scope?
<stutz> Yes, they're mentioned in the beginning. Linux and free software is a cultural -- a _counter_-cultural -- phenomenon. It's not just another choice, another program. And people absolutely have to understand that. So there's a concise history of the movement right away in the beginning of the book. The awesome thing about bringing more people to free software is, what happens when people demand it? What woul
<stutz> d happen if tons of people learned how to use free software, and stopped using proprietary systems? I think it would be a very good thing.
<lcModerator> do you plan to write any more linux/opensource related books in the future and if so, on what subjects?
<lcModerator> and that will be the last ?
<stutz> A book about copyleft, new interfaces, and possibilities for electronic books and etext.
<stutz> Not a user guide like this one...
<Wintersun> Well, I would really like to thank Michael Stutz for coming out and talking to us today.
<lcModerator> Thank you Michael
<Wintersun> Thank you everyone, as well, for your great questions.
<Wintersun> Now, it's time to raffle off one of Michael's books.
<Wintersun> I've got a collection of everybody's names and my illustrious roommate (who's standing beside me) is going to draw a name for me.
<Wintersun> And the winner is... <Wintersun> BB2!
<Wintersun> BB2: if you could please /msg me with your name and address, as soon as the book is released, NoStarch will send you a copy of the book
<jericho> i think the book should go to lilo to help him with the servers :)
<Wintersun> :)
* Wintersun waits for BB2 to /msg her
<WildPikachu> lol
<r0b0> ;)
<Bully_Crist> gah!
<Bully_Crist> I wanted that book!
<WildPikachu> jericho: maybe then we won't get sooo many netsplits... lol
<Bully_Crist> :P
<Wintersun> Ahh, there we go. :)
<Rias> Ircd cookbook maybe?
<wuehlmaus> amazing book, i am happy, that you wrote that one!
<WildPikachu> lol!!!!
<WildPikachu> yea
<lazarus> nah Jobhunt Cookbook
<Rias> even better
<WildPikachu> "How not to netsplit"
<r0b0> Michael? Most ppl think of linux as a "Proffessional OS" geard for Server and mostly for web-servers. Do u disscuss excellent free tools for building .com and e-commerce presence on the web like perl / php / mysql? How avg. user could unleash the powerul Linux networking features with the help of your book? How your book can help small companies to establish web-presence with minimal costs and max benefit for a smalll bisuness ?
<jamal--> do not irc ;p
<WildPikachu> lol jamal--
<Wintersun> Thank you again, Michael, for coming and talking to us again.
<stutz> no prob
<WildPikachu> thanks stutz
<stutz> r0b0 -- by doing all the daily tasks ppl do with machines..
<stutz> later all
<wuehlmaus> i am very happy that you have some new completion details of bash 2.04! great! important and very usable for newbies
<lcModerator> Just so you all know if Michael can stay he will answer as many ?'s as he can. DO NOT /msg him with your questions
<Rias> lcModerator: to late =)
<lcModerator> I noticed :)
<Dazman> hehehe.
<jamal--> hehe
<goodness> buy the book - I think I'm gonna :)
<goodness> looks perfect for me
<BB2> I think my gf will have a good read :)
<r0b0> lcModerator any more live author will come? do u have shedule for the future....?
<lcModerator> thanks everyone for a great LIVE! event your ?'s where excellent
<Wintersun> I'm definitely going to be getting this book
<lcModerator> r0b0: we host the author series usually about every 2nd week or so
<maninder> Wintersun: BRAVO
<r0b0> lcModerator thank u 4 passing out q? ..
<maninder> lcModerator: ^5 to you ;)
<lcModerator> but we also have other series we do
<lcModerator> not just author ones
<r0b0> like?
<lcModerator> check www.linux.com for a full listing of events
<r0b0> lcModerator can u get Linus in here? or he was here?
<WildPikachu> lol
<wuehlmaus> yes, get us linus :))
<Wintersun> We'll also be starting some events on a daily basis next week, so keep an eye out for more info on those.
<lcModerator> and those of you would like to read a sample chapter of Michaels book it is also on Linux.com right now
<WildPikachu> that would be nice!
<lcModerator> wuehlmaus: where working on that :)
<jericho> heh :)
<r0b0> lcModerator Wintersun great work! pallzz! #live is perfect.
<jonasbn> thanks for tonight :)
<r0b0> LinuxWolf sad i cant get access to linux.com with my Netscape 3.01 ...it just gave me jscript src back! why?
<goodness> actually on thursday we'll have David Dimond, one of Linus friends and the guy who helped him write his autobiography.
<goodness> we emailed Linus to see if he wanted to show up. No reply, but who knows?? :-)
<r0b0> LinuxWolf - rollover.php
<goodness> David Diamon that is.
<goodness> Diamond - argh!
<LinuxWolf> r0b0: should load fine, even loads in LYNX fine
<r0b0> LinuxWolf nope...seems lynx ignore js
<LinuxWolf> well yes but the text will be there
<r0b0> LinuxWolf would u be so kind to gimme full url to events section? i still cant get to linux.com mainpage...I think i should contact the WebMaster...
<LinuxWolf> http://www.linux.com/interact/
<r0b0> LinuxWolf seems http://www.linux.com/js/rollover.php badly coded...sad
<LinuxWolf> http://www.linux.com/learn/ is a nother good one the smaple chapter of Micaels book is there
<r0b0> thx LinuxWolf
<LinuxWolf> welcome
<LinuxWolf> r0b0: your netscape is also very old i think is the problem more then anything. Not the website
<jericho> well, it's netscape
<LinuxWolf> I use netscape
<jericho> s
<jericho> too bad
<LinuxWolf> l.c displays fine but I dont use 3.01 either
<jericho> i prefered the old linux.com though
<r0b0> LinuxWolf is a big problem i guess...after entering your url i get back to rollover.php
<r0b0> !
<jericho> this one looks even more commercial
<r0b0> LinuxWolf cant get acesss...!
<LinuxWolf> r0b0: not sure why i have it in my browsers np even lynx
<r0b0> LinuxWolf what those php is used 4?
<jericho> displaying the right js code depending on the user agent?
<jericho> maybe they forgot ns3
<wuehlmaus> i have one burdon for a long time: write a document which does explain the many abbreviations, and show programs with a graphical UI which does explain the commandline way of doing things in a window
<LinuxWolf> r0b0: I am not the webmaster for l.c so I cant really answer your ?'s sorry
<r0b0> all url u gave me put fw me 2 that php! is here webmaster on irc?
<LinuxWolf> r0b0: its your netscape not the site
<LinuxWolf> http://www.linux.com/learn/ is a valid URL
<jericho> LinuxWolf: you cant know
<jericho> i guess that rollover.php outputs some js code
<jericho> depending on the browser
<jericho> that js may be b0rken under ns3
<r0b0> LinuxWolf the problem is in fw mechanism! look!
<r0b0> Server: Apache/1.3.19 (Unix) PHP/4.0.4pl1 mod_ssl/2.8.1 OpenSSL/0.9.6
<r0b0> X-Powered-By: PHP/4.0.4pl1
<r0b0> Location: http://sourceforge.net/learn/
<LinuxWolf> try this url http://www.linux.com/learn/newsitem.phtml?sid=124&aid=12429
<r0b0> ok
<LinuxWolf> the rollover is just the banners rotating
<r0b0> semms buggy....php
<LinuxWolf> anyways I need lunch, thanks everyone for joining us
<LinuxWolf> I hope it was both informative, and enjoyable for all of you
<jericho> i'm off
<JALH> hiya
<Wintersun> hey. :)
<JALH> zzz time methinks..
<JALH> o/~ Space may be the final frontear but it's made in a hollywood basement o/~
<Wintersun> yeah, it's a bit late for you
<JALH> 11:13..
<JALH> pm




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