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Books Debian Ubuntu Linux

Interviews: Ask 'Ubuntu Unleashed' Author Matthew Helmke 59

Matthew Helmke (personal blog) is the author of the newly published 11th edition of Ubuntu Unleashed (published by Pearson); this updated edition of the book will cover the OS through Ubuntu's 15.10 and (forthcoming) 16.04 releases. Helmke is also a former Ubuntu Forum administrator, a musician, an entrepreneur, and a long-time Slashdot reader who now leads a "nice quiet life in Iowa." Ask Matthew about what it's like to be a Linux book author and community leader, and his thoughts on Canonical, the goods and bads of modern Linux distributions, and the future of Ubuntu -- especially relevant with the upcoming release of the first Ubuntu-based tablet. (Remember, Matthew isn't responsible for gripes you may have with either Ubuntu or Canonical, but he might have some good solutions to particular problems.) Ask as many questions as you'd like; we just ask that you keep them on-topic, and please stick to one question per post.


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Interviews: Ask 'Ubuntu Unleashed' Author Matthew Helmke

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  • by edittard ( 805475 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @02:30PM (#51440381)

    The Unleashed books are still going?

    Correction: Books are still going?

    • Re:frosty (Score:5, Funny)

      by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @02:57PM (#51440543)

      The Unleashed books are still going?

      Correction: Books are still going?

      When the Apocalypse comes and you're frantically looking for something to charge your Kindle so you can read your digital copy of "Surviving the Apocalypse" I'll be sitting by the campfire, thumbing through my hard copy - which can *also* be used to start the campfire.

      • by sinij ( 911942 )
        Yes, because reading about Ubuntu is exactly kind of information one would need to survive when the apocalypse comes.
        • Yes, because reading about Ubuntu is exactly kind of information one would need to survive when the apocalypse comes.

          My comment was (obviously) in response to the general "Books are still going?" comment, not the Ubuntu book specifically.

  • >> long-time Slashdot reader who now leads a "nice quiet life in Iowa."

    Are you saying that if you live in the American midwest, you have to give up reading SlashDot?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm curious as to your thoughts on the future of Linux on the desktop. With SecureBoot and UEFI, the formerly simple process of trying out distros like Ubuntu has become something of a PITA. Do you think we have a future for Linux on the desktop, or are PC's going the way of locked-down bootloaders like many cell phones?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Since I'm not upgrading Windows beyond 7, due exclusively to Microsoft's new explicit policy of tracking every little thing I do on my computer, what distribution would you recommend? I am a long-time Linux user and enthusiast admin, but the problems I have encountered using Ubuntu Desktop have been simply silly, including my AMD Radeon HD 4XXX card completely losing driver support (believe me when I say the card is completely unsupported by all projects), a Linksys Wi-Fi card completely losing driver suppo

    • Since I'm not upgrading Windows beyond 7, due exclusively to Microsoft's new explicit policy of tracking every little thing I do on my computer

      I don't have that problem with Windows 8.

      It makes it impossible to do anything.

  • segmentation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blackomegax ( 807080 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @03:06PM (#51440595) Journal
    Ubuntu as is, is basically forking itself into the mobile version (and IMO making it all kinds of 'crap' in the process). This process has caused Ubuntu Desktop to stagnate like a mofo since 2013. 16.04 isn't looking much better in this regard. Is anything going on to ~innovate~ the user-facing side of Desktop Ubuntu? Mir feels like vaporware, Unity hasn't changed at all. 8 might be good but is also vaporware. Canonical has a wonderful opportunity to steal vast shares of the windows market with MS spying going on, but is letting the OS stagnate to chase some pipe dream of mobile they'll never gain a real foot-hold in....
    • by myrdos2 ( 989497 )

      So you want them to change the GUI for the sake of not letting it stagnate? Reminds me of the old quote: "They call it UX now. It used to be called UI, but after a while everyone knew what that word was and how to use it."

      I, for one, would be pretty damned happy if my skills in any given desktop weren't obsolete after 3-5 years. Keeping it the same, now that would be innovation.

      • Why do OS designers (or, more accurately, the suits who manage them) feel moved to swap around the main controls for known tasks with each new release? It is so silly to have such a steep learning curve for new versions. Windows 8 was too stupidly different (not hard, but different) from its predecessors. And it was obvious to anyone with the common sense that God gave a parakeet that people would hate doing familiar tasks in novel ways. People want to do stuff they are used to doing, Don't they? But boy

  • by rgbe ( 310525 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @03:11PM (#51440639)

    I have been using Linux since the good old days of the late 90's. I was using Debian until Ubuntu came around in 2004 and switched. Ubuntu was amazing in terms of how it made Linux more usable. However, as time went along Ubuntu was no longer so cutting edge and no longer resonated with me, so I have switched back to Debian. Anyway, all this time as a Linux user it's been a rough ride, every laptop I have purchased (I haven't had a desktop for 15 years) has had issues with Linux. Most common issues for me are that wi-fi drivers don't work and graphics card drivers are unstable. I choose Laptops that are going to give me the least problems by researching them thoroughly beforehand. The most recent laptop (HP ProBook) came with the option of having SUSE Linux installed by default, I thought this would be perfect, but the wi-fi did not work unless you had the correct version of SUSE installed. I am experienced at debugging and resolving issues, a new user would require a lot of patience, technical no-how just to get Linux functioning before they can use their PC. Although you can use Linux without the console, it is difficult to never have to go to the console. The console requires a paradigm shift for many users. In a nutshell the first hurdle for Linux is a massive jump, and only few are brave/curious enough to take it.

    So my question is: What support channels would you recommend for new Linux users?

  • Why Ubuntu (Score:4, Interesting)

    by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @03:13PM (#51440661)
    I'm a life long computer user and have been considered very knowledgeable in some operating systems, but so far I can't claim to be knowledgeable or even comfortable with Linux, although I would like to gain that knowledge. I'm leaning towards Debian. Is there any reason that I should try to learn and use Ubuntu over Debian? If something has been dumbed down at the loss of flexibility or usefulness I would not consider that a "feature".
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Go for Debian. The only downside from ubuntu is the lack of PPA which some pre built binaries offer so conveniently only for Ubuntu. Obviously you are prepared to read debian wiki, come to IRC ( OFTC ) and ask questions if you face real trouble some issues. The dpkg bot in #debian channel will give most of the basic answers. Some silly stuff which debian would create problems are drivers like broadcom,nvidia and ATI. Following the debian wiki should fix all your issues. Its only a bit hard to start with whe

    • by basile ( 927551 )
      I think it is useful when you have commercial intentions.. many IT managers would appreciate to have support subscription. Why I choose Debian for myself? basically because its FREE with whole word sense... on this economical dominated world its nice to see a community still motivated by gnu philosophy... and feels even better when you are using "The Universal Operative System". =)
  • by koan ( 80826 )

    Good read

  • Do you foresee that one day Canonical will be up there with Google, Apple, and Microsoft in terms of being perceived as a software tech giant?

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. - Voltaire

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