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Guide Gets Readers Away From Windows Gotchas - page 4

Introduction

  • September 8, 2005
  • By Ibrahim Haddad

Where do you think Linux will go from here? Will 2006 be "the year of the Linux Desktop"?

Well, if it isn't, it will be the year of people asking "Is 2006 the year of the linux desktop"--you can go to Walmart.com website today and buy a linux laptop or desktop preinstalled--and that's the key. New users have a MUCH superior experience with Linux when they buy it preinstalled on a PC, rather than try to install it on some arbitrary combination of random hardware assembled by a tier 3 PC vendor 5 years ago. Pre-installed Linux is key to capturing hearts and minds among non-technical users. I almost wish that Linspire was not sold separately from the hardware.

What operating systems do you run at home?

I run Linux, the Mac, and Windows when I have to. I haven't turned on the windows PC in a couple of months. Good as Linux is, the Mac usually provides a superior desktop experience. After all, MacOS X is just another version of Unix with a fancy GUI. But not everyone wants to pay Apple prices. And Linux has a much larger infrastructure of free and open source software than any other platform.

What tools did you use to write the book?

I used vi for editing, and ksnapshot for screen snapshots. Production editors have to put in a lot of formatting effort when they work with me. But I always send them a big box of Belgian chocolates when we start to work together, so they're always keen to be assigned to my manuscripts!

Do you have any plans for new books?

You bet! I've got a number of ideas for books to help computer users and programmers. I'm currently evaluating which of them is most likely to sell well. I invested a year of my life in researching and writing "Peter van der Linden's Guide to Linux," and it's selling better than every other comparable Linux book except the one for dummies (and I think I'll overtake that one in the long run, because Linux users are no dummies).

Anyway, the point is that because the opportunity cost of working on a book is so high, I need to be really confident that the project will sell well enough to eventually support itself. And the final book is the better for that--any weak ideas have already been screened out.

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