Interview with Linux Journal Hack Editor Kyle Rankin
Justin: So, Kyle, you're LJ's Hack Editor. We know you're not a hack, so what exactly does that entail?
Kyle: Maybe it's referring to the fact that I use vim for all of my writing whether it's an article for Linux Journal or a book. After all, vim is the true editor for hackers. Beyond that I just try to use my column to reclaim the word "hack" as a quick, interesting, possibly even clever way to do something. This may be a bit controversial, but to be honest I've never liked the term "cracker" — it always makes me think of `70s slang for Caucasians. I think most people are smart enough to realize one word can have different meanings based on context, so I just say "hack" and "hacker" whether I'm referring to someone who works on the kernel or someone who exploits the kernel.
Justin: I hear you have a new book coming out — can you tell us a little bit about it?
Kyle: This summer The Official Ubuntu Server Book 2nd Edition is coming out. I'm really excited about it because even though it's only been a short time since the previous edition, this time I was able to focus strictly on 10.04 LTS (the First edition had to cover the previous LTS along with what was the current release at the time). Also I was surprised at just how much had changed on Ubuntu Server since the previous edition. For one, all the base services use Upstart instead of SysV init, plus GRUB2 is the default boot manager now. If you haven't looked into either Upstart or GRUB2, believe me, you are in for a surprise. Plus this edition of the book has a redesigned purple cover to subconsciously attract Sun administrators.
Justin: What Open Source projects have caught your attention recently, outside of Linux?
Kyle: I think this might still count as Linux but I've spent a lot of time recently following the Maemo and Meego saga. I think it's interesting not only from a software standpoint but also a community standpoint. Here you have two separate communities that have to figure out how to cooperate on a new platform that is a compromise between the platforms both groups know and love. I'm looking forward to seeing Meego once it is finally released on tablets and portable computers (hopefully including my N900).
Justin: You and fellow editor "WildBill" Childers do Point/Counterpoint for Linux Journal. We've seen you go toe-to-toe in print on everything from Twitter to /opt/, but what we really want to know is, who would win nose-to-nose?
Kyle: Well I think my nose is larger but I don't have any plans to get it close enough to his nose to compare. I have to say that I've really enjoyed doing Point/Counterpoint with Bill. It's always a lot of fun. Back when we worked together we would have conversations like this all the time so it's great to be able to do it again and share our strange opinions with everyone else.
Justin: Any parting words for our readers?
Kyle: The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese. Keep your hands on home row. Never stop learning. Stay in school. Drink your milk. When in doubt, hit Esc a few times.
Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.