Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

'Cookbook' author serves up recipe for Linux success

Filed under
Linux

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

Fedora and Red Hat Leftovers

today's howtos

Kubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver upgrades - Results!

A month later, two upgrades later, Kubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver is a nicer distribution than what I tested shortly after its official release. But then, it's not perfect. The older box with the Nvidia card returned better results overall, although there were some niggles. On the multi-boot laptop, I wasn't too happy with the slow-boot issue, although this is NOT a Kubuntu-specific problem, as you will learn in a few days. But it still does not give me the razor-sharp confidence I need and expect from an LTS. In general, Ubuntu-family upgrades are reasonably robust, but they can still be more streamlined, including package removal, third-party repos and odd glitches here and there. I wonder how I'd have felt if I tested Beaver fresh, right now. Alas, I cannot delete the memory of my first encounter. With Trusty, it was just right. Here, it might be right, and I may even end up using - and loving - Plasma Bionic in my prod setup, but it will never be the amazing chemistry I had with 14.04. But if you're wondering, by all means, worth testing and upgrading, and the post-release Kubuntu Beaver is a pretty slick and tight distro. If I had to judge in isolation, i.e. no early-May scars, then when I combine performance, looks, fonts, media, hardware support, and such, 'tis really neat. Something like 9/10. Now, just waiting for the Men In Black mind-zapping eraser thingie, so I can be blissfully happy. And we're done. Read more

Unixstickers

Unixstickers

Awesome products, will definitely get another bunch of some more stickers soon :-)