July 2014 Issue of Linux Journal: Mobile
Is That a Penguin in Your Pocket?
We're getting to the point in technological evolution that "mobile technology" no longer will be a term. It's becoming just "technology", as the stationary kind is less and less common. Perhaps I should trademark "Stationary Tech", in case the idea takes off! As Linux users, we've spent our lives expanding our install base to every device we can, so Linux on mobile devices is a pretty simple shift.
As a people group, developers have had a bigger learning curve when developing for low-power, tiny-sized mobile devices. It's forced devs to streamline their code and focus on UI more than ever before. Our resident developer, Reuven M. Lerner, starts this issue off by showing us the lean and powerful Flask framework that balances ease of use, a small core, oodles of features and a distinctly Python-like feeling when developing sites in it.
Dave Taylor walks us through creating the logic for a script that counts days gone by. Thanks to leap years, counting backward in days can be a confusing endeavor. Combining math and ingenuity, Dave shows how it's done. Kyle Rankin follows Dave and teaches us all how to use a mac—more specifically, a macRO for the vim editor. Kyle gets far more use out of vim than I do, even though it's the editor I use on the command line as well. We should all learn to be a little more effective on the console if we heed Kyle's wisdom. This month, as usual, he has wisdom aplenty.
I decided to take a shift this month and talk about health. Since I'm a nerd, when I talk about health, I talk about how technology can help promote that health. Specifically, I talk about how technology can aid you in living a healthy lifestyle. Whether you want to run a marathon or just make cool graphs of your weight loss/gain, my column should have something interesting for everyone.
If you ever hang out with Kyle Rankin, you should ask him about managing downtime in his data center from atop a ski lift—or maybe it was in a mountain café. I can't really remember. While he was years before his time, modern sysadmins are required to manage their server rooms at a moment's notice, and Federico Kereki gives us some great tools for doing real work on our Android mobile devices. I might not always have my laptop with me, but I don't even go to the bathroom without my phone. Federico helps make sure we get the most out of our mobile devices.
Bill Childers addresses a topic near and dear to my heart this month, when he talks about getting new use out of old mobile devices. A few months back, I shared my (continuing) adventures with BirdCam. Bill goes about 20 steps further and gives us tons of cool projects and ideas for our outdated phones, tablets and other devices. Some of them already might have occurred to you, but some will be new and interesting. Open up your bottom drawer and grab those old phones!
We also get an in-depth look at Tiny Core Linux from Wilfredo Crespo. Wilfredo takes us through the process of customizing the minimalist distribution to fit any particular set of requirements. In his case, the need is for a Web kiosk application to display call information in a fire department. I'm definitely in favor of Linux helping save lives, and this month, we get firsthand instructions on how it's happening. Finally, in this issue, we hear from Mitesh Soni about cloud computing. If a company decides not to trust public cloud vendors with its data, and so designs a private cloud infrastructure with their own hardware, is that still a cloud? Mitesh teaches us about the nuances of the private cloud, how the concept can coexist with public offerings, and what it means for the future of cloud computing. Anyone developing applications for the cloud won't want to miss it.
Does mobile computing mean the end of the desktop is near? As someone with multiple jumbo monitors on his desk, I can say I don't think that day is coming any time soon. I can say with certainty that the mobile technology market is only going to keep growing, however. Much like data centers and cloud computing, Linux is a huge piece of the push for mobile technology. This month's issue is proof. Plus, it's just a really fun issue to read. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed putting it together!
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