The 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.
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.
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.
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.
I’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.
The 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.
"This guide is amazing, very on point with relevant and updated information for all ages." "Excellent! A+!" "Well done. This is what I like most in Raspberry Pi. The documentation." "The book and the hardware would be a great Christmas present for the clever kid (of any age) in your family." "10/10" - OpenLibra
"Not only should it be an essential purchase with the micro:bit, I would recommend getting the book before getting the micro:bit. Definitely recommended." "This is an amazing educational tool." "For a newcomer I would recommend this book and the BBC micro:bit. Together, they will make an excellent coder/DIY enthusiast out of you or your child." "This is definitely the book to get you started." "The best book on micro:bit I've found so far." "A wealth of information on micro:bit and it's easy to read." "Just started reading your book, and it's exactly what I was looking for."
"I'm constantly reading tech manuals. This book is above and beyond ANY tech manual I have ever read! It is readable, understandable and a fine companion for the Pi." "I have been using computer manuals for 40 years and this is one of the best I have ever read." "All I was looking for is combined in this fantastic book." "I bought this book on my Kindle and it has transformed my understanding." "A brilliant book to help you out." "This book is a must have and works very well on my Kindle - thank you so much for writing it."
Temperature's marching past 25°C in the office this afternoon, so I've dragged a tower fan across and switched it on. It appears to have developed a noise during oscillation which I can only describe as "quiet, mocking laughter." Lovely.
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