This Ain't Your Dad's Office
Working from home—it's not just the cool thing to do—it's the right thing to do.
by Richard Vernon
The idea of the small and/or home office is one that is receiving an increasing amount of attention. As technology and the multiple demands on our time make working from home a better option, the home office is something of which we are seeing more. And, as many once medium-sized businesses have shrunk with the current economy, the small office is becoming a more frequent element in the business landscape.
A principal attraction of the home office is avoiding a long commute. My own commute involves riding a bicycle seven and a half miles in the Seattle rain (though I must confess that it's only slightly uphill in one, not both, directions) and an hour ride on a ferryboat each way. I always thought in my narrow-minded way that the advantages of working from home were limited to the personal luxury of working in my socks and underwear and saving the commute time. But of course I was missing the big picture. Last month we ran an interview that our publisher, Phil Hughes, did with Costa Rica's Minister of Science and Technology Guy F. de Téramond. Téramond is a key figure in bringing universal internet connectivity to Costa Rica. He mentions that part of his motivation for this project was to allow more Costa Ricans the opportunity to telecommute, not only for improved quality of life, but because the increasing population in urban centers was placing too great a stress on the transportation infrastructure. An increase in telecommuters should lighten that load. Living in the Seattle area, which has one of the worst traffic problems in the world, I now work from home when I can, not for selfish reasons, but because hey—I'm just doin' my part to make the world a better place.
Our two feature articles this month should be appealing to anyone who uses Linux to work from home. If Don Marti's prediction that used laptop computers will be down to eight dollars by the time you read this, then maybe I can set up the wireless home network he describes in his article. Being as I share my current “home office” with the furnace and lovely asbestos wall hangings because any other room is too inconvenient a distance from my wife's computer for our collection of cat 5 cables, this would be a real benefit.
Rory Krause's article on printing documents located on a remote office system at home using ssh's port-forwarding feature eliminates yet another reason for not working from home. With the script included in Rory's article, you can print remote documents without having to use scp or print to a file.
Between the instructional content in both articles, you should be able make some substantial improvements to your small office and/or reap the benefits of working in your socks and underwear while saving the environment.
Richard Vernon is editor in chief of Linux Journal.