Interview with Linux Journal Virtual Editor Bill Childers
Carlie: Bill Childers is Linux Journal's Virtual Editor. How do you think your editor Jill Franklin came up with that one?
Bill: I think Jill came up with that because I don't actually do anything, but the simulation is really cool. Seriously, though -- I'm pretty sure the term Virtual Editor came about because I wrote a two-part series on Open Sourced Virtual Reality and Second Life.
Carlie: You and Kyle Rankin co-author the popular (and always funny) Point/Counterpoint column in Linux Journal. Are you and Kyle really as polar opposite as it seems?
Bill: At times, we are VERY much polar opposites. Sometimes, we're on the same wavelength. Kyle and I have worked together for a long time, both in "real life" as members of a technical team, as well as on various technical writing collaborations like Point/Counterpoint, or the O'Reilly book Ubuntu Hacks. Kyle's a talented engineer and writer, so it's always a blast working with him. He's also rather opinionated on some issues (like his rabid use of Mutt), so poking fun at that from time to time is an added bonus. I may be spoiling this for some of our Point/Counterpoint readers who tune in to see some conflict and name-calling, but Kyle's one of my closest friends, and while we don't agree 100% of the time, I do respect his opinion... particularly when I'm right.
Carlie: You're the author of Billix, dubbed a "system administrator's swiss army knife". Tell us a bit about it.
Bill: Billix actually came out of one of the hacking sessions Kyle started. We were working together and he was working on a PXE boot server for our server environment, and I had a need to have a version of that environment on a non-connected medium. I read the docs for SYSLINUX and PXELINUX, and realized that the stuff he'd done was directly connected to what I wanted to do. So I lifted his menu file (that's why I thank "greenfly" in the menu of Billix) and started modifying it to do what I wanted. So as a result, the world can thank Kyle Rankin for seeding the idea for Billix.
As far as Billix itself, it's a recovery and installation tool for system administrators. I wanted something... a universal tool that I could keep in my pocket. This tool would let me fix or install just about any system I might come across in my travels. Billix grew out of that need. It now can perform installs of several distros, including Ubuntu, CentOS, and Debian. It also includes Damn Small Linux as a recovery environment, and the DBAN and memtest tools.
Carlie: Taking the term "embedded Linux" to a whole new level, I heard a guy has embedded Billix in to this finger. Is that for real and are there any body parts you have Billix embedded in?
Bill: That's real! The fella's name is Jerry Jalava, and he lost part of his finger in a motorcycle accident. He has a 2GB USB key in his prosthetic finger, and he chose to install Billix on it.
Carlie: Ok, that's actually a really cool story. I just dug up the link to the article I had previously read to share with our readers (thanks Gizmodo). As for part two of my question, your silence has my interest peaked.
Carlie: Besides Billix, what open source project are you most interested in right now?
Bill:I've always got an interest in Ubuntu. Eucalyptus seems interesting right now, appears to be lots of movement in the cloud computing area.
Carlie: Any parting words for our readers?
Carlie Fairchild is the publisher of Linux Journal.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide