How long have you been working with Linux, and how did you get interested in it?
I first started using Linux in 1994, because I was curious about Linux and wanted to learn more about UNIX-like systems generally. I spent several hours downloading an early Slackware via a 28.8Kbps modem (or maybe even 14.4Kbps), then later bought an InfoMagic CD set.
You've written several books - out of all of your writing ideas how do you decide which ones to develop further?
Part of it's a matter of finding a publisher; some books just don't fly with the publishers. The rest of it's a matter of what I find interesting -- what sort of book would enable me to stretch a bit in learning, to consolidate what I know and extend my knowledge and skills, while doing the same for the reader. Usually, I learn more about a subject in the process of writing about it than I can put in the book. That helps me evaluate what's most important to include in the book.
What was it like writing Advanced Linux Networking? Any major difficulties?
I moved about mid-way through writing, which of course was disruptive, and then a month and a half later was 9/11/01. I didn't know anybody who was killed or directly affected by the attacks, but it was still quite disturbing. Thus, the book was a difficult one to write because of what was happening in my life and to the world as I was writing it.
In terms of content, the trickiest part of this book was its multi-distribution coverage. Linux isn't really a single OS; it's a group of related OSs, so explicitly covering seven Linux distributions was tricky. I had to have them all installed on various systems, and check details like file locations from one to another. Half the distributions had been updated between the time I wrote the early chapters and the time I submitted revisions, so I had to re-check everything. That's really a lot of work, but I think it's worthwhile. Certainly I've been frustrated many times by reading documentation that makes assumptions that aren't correct in whatever distribution I'm using, and I hope that _Advanced Linux Networking_ can contribute to reducing such frustrations.
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