Archive for Books

Linux & Open Source Genius Guide, Volume 4

Linux & Open Source Genius Guide, Volume 4The latest Linux & Open Source Genius Guide, a ‘bookazine’ from Imagine Publishing comprised of reprints from Linux User & Developer Magazine, is out now and includes my regular look at the top ten Linux distributions.

An annual feature in the magazine, Top Ten Distros is a look at the movers and shakers in the Linux world. Biased towards desktop Linux distributions, the feature requires me to make a shortlist of popular distributions – based on download figures, page traffic rankings, comments to the magazine and other metrics – and then download and test each one.

The write-up of each distro, while around half the size of a normal review, takes some time to complete: it includes facts about each distribution, comments from its developers and/or users, and snippets regarding the distribution’s history.

It’s the screenshots that take the time, however. Rather than using stock images provided by the distribution team, as some magazines might, I install each distribution into a virtual machine and set up the desktop according to a pre-set layout: the menu open on the Internet category, a video playing from Archive.org in the default player, and a calculator app open in the bottom-right.

Yes, it’s fiddly – but it provides an at-a-glance comparison between distributions that the use of stock screenshots simply can’t match.

This latest Top Ten Distros feature first appeared in Linux User & Developer Issue 122, and is now reprinted in the Linux & Open Source Genius Guide Volume 4.

Raspberry Pi User Guide, Dutch Translation

Raspberry Pi StartersgidsA parcel from Wiley & Sons dropped through my door this morning, containing a pair of author copies of yet another translation of my book the Raspberry Pi User Guide – this time into Dutch, as the Raspberry Pi Startersgids.

Not exactly a direct translation, the Raspberry Pi Startersgids is published by Pearson in distinctly abridged form: while the first half of the book has made the transition intact, much of the second half has been removed entirely: there’s no sign of the chapters on programming in Python or Scratch, for example, nor on how to build your own hardware. There is a chapter dedicated to the GPIO port, but it makes no reference of available add-on boards.

Pearson appears to be positioning the Rasbperry Pi Startersgids as the first in a series of books – and, at present, I have absolutely no idea whether the second book will contain the material missing from the Startersgids. When I have more information from Wiley, I’ll update this post.

For now, however, the Raspberry Pi Startersgids is a great way to dive into the world of Raspberry Pi – even if you may have to look elsewhere for Dutch-language Python, Scratch and hardware-hacking materials.

Raspberry Pi User Guide, Japanese Translation

Raspberry Pi User Guide (Japanese Cover)I got wind of another translation of my book, the Raspberry Pi User Guide, today – this time, into Japanese. It’s the latest in a series of translations that will see the title published in English (obviously,) Dutch, French, Portuguese, Chinese – Traditional and Simplified – and German, and there appears to be no end to translation requests coming in to the publisher.

The Japanese translation has come as something of a surprise: my publisher emailed me late last year, saying that Wiley was in the process of negotiating translation rights for a Japanese edition of the book. Apparently, in Japan, it’s common to have the author’s photograph on the rear cover, so he asked myself and my co-author Eben for mugshots – but, once provided, that was the last I heard about the deal.

The deal, however, appears to have gone through – and it’s now possible to buy the Japanese edition, published and translated by Impress Japan, directly from Amazon.jp. It’s also available in bricks and mortar stores throughout Japan, and numerous other outlets. If your local bookshop doesn’t have a copy, you can ask them to order it in: it’s available under ISBN 978-4844333746.

So far, I haven’t received a complimentary copy as I did with the German translation, but hopefully that’s something my publisher can arrange – because, let’s face it, that’s an awesome cover.

Raspberry Pi: Einstieg und User Guide

Raspberry Pi Einstieg und User GuideI was greeted by a surprise parcel this morning: a copy of the German translation of my Raspberry Pi User Guide, Raspberry Pi Einstieg und User Guide.

A direct translation of the Raspberry Pi User Guide first edition, Raspberry Pi Einstieg und User Guide includes everything from its English counterpart in a somewhat more compact package published by Verlagsgruppe Hüthig-Jehle-Rehm GmbH under its mitp label and translated by Maren Feilen.

This is the first of a series of translations that will hopefully bring the book to a wider audience. While certainly popular – topping best-seller lists in several countries – there’s no denying that it has sold better in the UK than anywhere else.

If you’re still waiting on a translation into your native language, let me know: agreements have been made for several other languages, and still more are in the negotiation stage, so with luck I’ll have some good news for you.

Raspberry Pi Einstieg und User Guide is available now on Amazon.de and Amazon.co.uk, and in bookstores throughout Germany. If your local doesn’t have a copy, ask them to order it in: it’s ISBN 978-3-8266-9522-3.

Meet the Raspberry Pi

Meet the Raspberry Pi CoverI’m pleased to be able to announce the publication of my first book, Meet the Raspberry Pi. Co-written with Eben Upton, co-founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the book is a cut-down version of the Raspberry Pi User Guide – 114 pages to ~240 pages. It leaves out the sections on learning to program in Scratch and Python, along with some other nice-to-have specificities, but retains the most important sections for a newcomer to the Pi.

Topics covered in the book include setting up the Pi for the first time, including physical connections, network configuration and flashing the SD card, an introduction to using Linux – both at the command line and in the GUI – and a section on using the Pi’s general-purpose input/output (GPIO) port in Python.

Unlike the Raspberry Pi User Guide, Meet the Raspberry Pi is only being released as an eBook – but if you’re interested, and have a spare £3.29, it’s available to purchase in the Amazon Kindle Store now. The Raspberry Pi User Guide is expected to follow as soon as possible – the publisher is just finishing up getting that ready for publication too.

Make sure to let me know what you think of the book, either here or by posting a review on Amazon!

UPDATE:

Links for other sites and services:
iTunes UK, iTunes US, iTunes Ireland, iTunes France, iTunes Germany.
Google Play (International).
Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.es.
Bokus (Sweden).
Tesco eBooks (no, really. That’s totally a thing. Apparently.)

The Raspberry Pi User Guide

Raspberry Pi User Guide, Preliminary CoverThe magazine work has been, you may have noticed, slow of late. There’s a very good reason for this: I’ve been working on a semi-secret project which can now be officially unveiled. That project is the Raspberry Pi User Guide. (That’s a rough draft cover, by the way.)

Written in collaboration with Eben Upton, co-founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation and inventor of the device itself, it’s a 240-page manual which aims to gently introduce the user into the world of the Raspberry Pi. No real technical knowledge is assumed – although by the time you get to to the sections on the GPIO port, it probably helps – and it aims to allow those without Linux experience to get up and running quickly on the remarkably sub-$35 single-board computer.

Subjects covered in the book include a quick introduction to Linux including system administration and maintenance, flashing the SD card, programming the Pi in Scratch and Python, making use of the 26-pin GPIO port, using the Pi as a home theatre system or general-purpose PC, and even a beginner’s guide to soldering.

The book is being published by Wiley & Sons in the UK and US in dead-tree and eBook formats, alongside an eBook-only introductory guide called Meet the Raspberry Pi. This slimmed-down version includes the first six chapters of the full-size book – which cover getting started and practical uses for the Pi – along with an extract from the ‘Hardware Hacking’ chapter. For those who just want to get started, it’s a cut-price alternative to the dead-tree release.

The book is undergoing final review and production now, with a view to getting Meet the Raspberry Pi out in the coming weeks and the Raspberry Pi User Guide whenever the printing presses can churn copies out fast enough. The electronic versions will be available in ePub, Kindle and PDF formats.

The dead-tree release can be pre-ordered on Amazon now, if you feel so inclined. Alternatively, the ePub can be pre-ordered from Wiley.

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