Patrick Rhone is thinking of publishing/promoting a series of 'Minimal Guides', and I thought I could probably do a decent job of writing one on... making old or underpowered computers useful, setting up a home server, &c.. Snappy title suggestions welcome!
Here's a vague, rambling outline:
Who's the book for?
- Anyone who has an old computer gathering dust.
- Folk with a wee bit of experience.
- Not unfamiliar with command line.
- OS X/Windows 'power users' (ugh!) tempted by Linux.
What's in the book?
- Breathing new life into old hardware.
- Making the best of underpowered hardware (e.g. Raspberry Pi).
Choosing the best operating system for you & your hardware
- Debian/Ubuntu for server stuff.
- Slitaz and similar for netbooks/laptops.
- Arch for netbooks/laptops owned by
masochistsfolk who really want to learn about Linux.
- OS X if you have a reasonably recent Mac.
- Maintaining/updating said OS.
Home server stuff
- Media storage and sharing on the network.
- (But not a full-blown media centre.)
- CLI utilities and scripts.
- Time Machine.
- Whatever the Windows equiv. of time machine is.
- Searchable mail backup with offlineimap, notmuch/mairix, &c.
- Easy and automated
- A 'master' Dropbox machine.
- Remote control/access
- iOS/Android apps for, e.g., mpd
- Basic security
- All the lovely things an always-on computer can do for you!
- Serving small websites?
- Probably a book of its own?!
- Old laptop/netbook as a second/travel computer
- Apps that run well on crappy computers.
- Webkit wrapper browsers
- mutt, pine for mail
- CLI/ncurses equivalents of popular GUI apps
- Window Manager & lots of little apps vs. Desktop Environments
Kiosk/second screen type stuff?
- If your home server has a screen, you might as well use it.
- Display tweets, quotes, &c..
- Make a statusboard type thing with Conky
- 'Do' the book while writing it * Install Ubuntu Server on Eee PC * Set up 'desktop' stuff as writing environment
- Pure netbook * .xinitrc launches chromium
- Hard to hit the right point/tone re: readers' experience level.
- Don't want to patronise experienced folk or bewilder inexperienced folk
- Probably best to give examples/solve specific problems?
- Bite size chunks, self-contained chapters
- So, e.g., you'd only need to read the chapter on serving files, not the whole book up to and including that chapter. Hard to get right without repetition.
- Keeping it up to date would be a total nightmare.
- Target Debian stable/Ubuntu LTS?
- My chronic overuse of the word 'folk' would drive readers away.