LJ Archive


The Wacky World of Linux

Shawn Powers

Issue #280, August 2017

One of the nifty things about being a Linux user is how bizarre life can get. One moment you can be writing cutting-edge code, and the next you can get stuck in a nostalgia rabbit hole installing Afterstep because you used NeXTStep machines in college (guilty). This month my life got a little crazy because I had to install Microsoft Office for my daughter. The computer I had to install it on? Linux. Yet, in this wacky world we live in, it ended up working perfectly—sort of. There seems to be something new every day in the Linux world, and this month, there are lots of new things to talk about.

Reuven M. Lerner starts off this issue with some tips on disaster planning—not “evil genius” sort of planning, but rather planning for what to do when disaster inevitably happens. Yes, the obvious answer is “have a backup”, but it's a bit more complicated than that, and Reuven provides sound advice.

Dave Taylor decides you deserve a bit of a break, and although you still will learn some awesome coding skills, you do it while creating a dice game. The name of the game is Bunco, which sounds like something he made up, but nonetheless, it's interesting. Be sure to check it out.

Kyle Rankin teaches how to take a vacation properly this month. If you've known Kyle for a while, you know that he's been in the awkward situation of fixing remote servers from atop a ski lift before, so his preparatory skills are worth reading.

I start a new series this issue on Ansible. I'm a big fan of DevOps tools, but so many of them have such a steep learning curve, it makes them difficult to integrate into your system. Ansible is one of my favorite configuration management platforms because it uses standard SSH for connecting to client computers. This makes it easy to start small and add more clients as you learn to take advantage of how powerful it can be.

Streaming music is the method most people use for listening nowadays, whether it's from Pandora, Spotify or any of dozens of other services. Bill Dengler shows how to create your own streaming radio station using open-source tools. If you've ever wanted to stream a live event without going through the hassle of video, it's an article you won't want to miss.

Charles Fisher finishes off the issue with instructions on using inotify to fire off events on a Linux system. I'm guilty of resorting to timed cron jobs for most things relating to filesystem changes, but with inotify, it's possible to have a filesystem change launch a process. It's a proactive way of accomplishing a task, and far, far more efficient. Charles walks through the process and helps you avoid some pitfalls along the way.

As with every issue of Linux Journal, this one is full of tech tips, product announcements, useful applications and reviews. Whether you need to install Microsoft Office on your Linux laptop or want to prep your data center for your trip to Hawaii, this issue has you covered. The world of Linux can be a crazy one, and we're happy to be a part of the crazy!

Shawn Powers is the Associate Editor for Linux Journal. He's also the Gadget Guy for LinuxJournal.com, and he has an interesting collection of vintage Garfield coffee mugs. Don't let his silly hairdo fool you, he's a pretty ordinary guy and can be reached via email at info@linuxjournal.com. Or, swing by the #linuxjournal IRC channel on Freenode.net.

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