Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

'Cookbook' author serves up recipe for Linux success

Filed under

Author Michael Stutz said he has never been satisfied with existing resources for learning about Linux, which is why he wrote The Linux Cookbook. Stutz aims his book at beginners and more experienced users by presenting lessons in a format modeled after a culinary cookbook. In this interview, Stutz discusses shells and graphical versus command-line interfaces -- and why sometimes, in computers, a word is worth a thousand pictures.

For a newcomer to Linux, or someone who is mainly familiar with Windows, could you explain what the shell is and what it does?

Michael Stutz: The shell is a program that provides an interface between the user and the operating system -- it handles your input, controls the execution of other programs and coordinates their output. Those are the generic requirements. In practice, shells can be very robust environments. Most Linux distributions come with several different shells preinstalled that you can pick from. And you can run all kinds of interfaces -- graphical and otherwise -- on top of a shell, but the shell is always there at the base, mediating between you and the operating system. The shell is one of the fundamental components of the Unix operating system, of which Linux is a popular modern-day variety.

There's a good analogy for users of Windows, because I've never thought of Microsoft Windows as anything but an incompatible clone of Unix. It started out as DOS, which was a grossly stunted clone of the shell, made to run on the single-user microcomputers of the time. Then the Windows program was written as an interface to run on top of DOS, much like the X Window System in Unix.

Is one shell better than another for those starting out with Linux?

Aren't most distributions now built to be run from a graphical user interface (GUI)?

The concept of using reserved characters seems tricky to me. What are they and how do they work in the command line?

Full Interview.

More in Tux Machines

TheSSS 20.0 Server-Oriented Linux Distro Ships with Linux Kernel 4.4.17, PHP 5.6

4MLinux developer Zbigniew Konojacki informs Softpedia today, October 26, 2016, about the release and immediate availability of version 20.0 of his server-oriented TheSSS (The Smallest Server Suite) GNU/Linux distribution. Read more

Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus) Daily Build ISO Images Are Now Available for Download

Now that the upcoming Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus) operating system is officially open for development, the first daily build ISO images have published in the usual places for early adopters and public testers. Read more

Today in Techrights

OSS Leftovers

  • Chain Releases Open Source Blockchain Solution for Banks
    Chain, a San Francisco-based Blockchain startup, launched the Chain Core Developer Edition, which is a distributed ledger infrastructure built for banks and financial institutions to utilize the Blockchain technology in mainstream finance. Similar to most cryptocurrency networks like Bitcoin, developers and users are allowed to run their applications and platforms on the Chain Core testnet, a test network sustained and supported by leading institutions including Microsoft and the Initiative for Cryptocurrency and Contracts (IC3), which is operated by Cornell University, UC Berkeley and University of Illinois.
  • Netflix Upgrades its Powerful "Chaos Monkey" Open Cloud Utility
    Few organizations have the cloud expertise that Netflix has, and it may come as a surprise to some people to learn that Netflix regularly open sources key, tested and hardened cloud tools that it has used for years. We've reported on Netflix open sourcing a series of interesting "Monkey" cloud tools as part of its "simian army," which it has deployed as a series satellite utilities orbiting its central cloud platform. Netflix previously released Chaos Monkey, a utility that improves the resiliency of Software as a Service by randomly choosing to turn off servers and containers at optimized tims. Now, Netflix has announced the upgrade of Chaos Monkey, and it's worth checking in on this tool.
  • Coreboot Lands More RISC-V / lowRISC Code
    As some early post-Coreboot 4.5 changes are some work to benefit fans of the RISC-V ISA.
  • Nextcloud Advances with Mobile Moves
    The extremely popular ownCloud open source file-sharing and storage platform for building private clouds has been much in the news lately. CTO and founder of ownCloud Frank Karlitschek resigned from the company a few months ago. His open letter announcing the move pointed to possible friction created as ownCloud moved forward as a commercial entity as opposed to a solely community focused, open source project. Karlitschek had a plan, though. He is now out with a fork of ownCloud called Nextcloud, and we've reported on strong signs that this cloud platform has a bright future. In recent months, the company has continued to advance Nextcloud. Along with Canonical and Western Digital, the partners have launched an Ubuntu Core Linux-based cloud storage and Internet of Things device called Nextcloud Box, which we covered here. Now, Nextcloud has moved forward with some updates to its mobile strategy. Here are details.
  • Using Open Source for Data
    Bryan Liles, from DigitalOcean, explains about many useful open source big data tools in this eight minute video. I learned about Apache Mesos, Apache Presto, Google Kubernetes and more.