While these are still works in progress, I’m excited to report that both of my current book projects are now available for pre-ordering at Amazon.com

Creating Your Author Platform: The New Rules (BenBella) is a complete guide for every writer to build their authority online before, during and after writing a book. Written with the best literary agent anyone could have, Carole Jelen, we’ll help you find an audience that’s just dying for your wisdom. The book is coming out on May 13, 2014. Reserve your copy by clicking the link below:

Ubuntu Touch: Using the Ubuntu OS on Your Smartphone or Tablet will be the first book on the market to help users of the Ubuntu Touch convergence devices when they come out next spring. Watch this space for more information as the book takes shape. Reserve your copy at Amazon clicking this link:

More news to come!

Watch for a redesign of this site and more information on these titles as we count down to the new releases.

Feel free to post questions about and ideas for these books in the Comments section. I look forward to hearing from you!

 

Screenshots of the Ubuntu Edge

We are now roughly three days into the Great Ubuntu Edge Crowdfunding Campaign, and it has been most exciting, for a number of reasons.

In case you haven’t heard yet, Canonical is asking the Ubuntu community and its friends to raise $32 million on Indiegogo to produce a small run of the Ubuntu Edge “super-smartphone.” This device, if the campaign succeeds, should come out in May 2014. The phone is envisioned as a “Formula One” style testbed for advanced mobile technologies. What excites most people is that the phone will have a nearly scratch proof screen, dual-boot the Google Android and Ubuntu operating systems, have 4GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. The latter specs allow you to plug the Edge into a monitor with a HDMI cable and run the full-blown Ubuntu OS. See Introducing the Hardware for details.

Ubuntu Edge: Introducing the Hardware

Why Support Ubuntu Edge?

Now it is fair to ask: Canonical is a for-profit company, with billionaire Mark Shuttleworth at the helm. Why should we fund its gadget research? David Jordan at Novacut has a pretty good answer here. But I want to discuss one specific reason. If you’ve been around Linux for long, you’ve probably heard some variation of this comment (from a Verge reader):

So they’re expecting people who pay $0 for Ubuntu to shell out $600+ for a phone? Seems unlikely to me.

You see, no matter how often we differentiate “free as in freedom” software from “free as in beer,” we’re still going to hear that Linux users are just freeloaders and pirates who don’t want to pay for anything. To my mind, raising this kind of cash may finally put a dent in that particular argument.

Update: In yesterday’s Ask Me Anything at Reddit, I asked Mark Shuttleworth:

Mark, Some people are suggesting that the Edge Indiegogo campaign was launched because the Carrier Advisory Group wouldn’t fund the project. Please comment on the reasons for choosing the crowdfunding model.

His response:

We certainly didn’t ask the CAG to fund it.

The POINT of crowdsourcing is to shift processes away from industry into the hands of enthusiasts and independent decision makers. We are able to propose a device which would never make it through the risk-averse selection process at a carrier or manufacturer – not because they are dumb, but because the consequences of failure are bad for them personally and institutionally. Crowdsourcing is a new way to approach hard choices, innovation, and risk capital, and I thought it would be a good way to accelerate tech.

We’re doing it because we are setup to host a community, which is what the Edge backers become, that can help finalise the Edge spec and then work on next-gen specs too. We’re already doing that every day, while the major carriers / manufacturers are not setup to do that.

So, if you have a few bucks (or a few hundred) to give to a free software project, I think you should give to the Ubuntu Edge–whether you want this phone or not. Feel free to click the widget over there on the right. If you’ve got some extra, Larry the Free Software Guy has a great list of alternatives in his post. I’ll address some of his arguments in a future post.

I definitely want to hear what you think about Ubuntu Edge and the Indiegogo campaign. In the meantime, here are some of the more interesting pieces of news and commentary in these early days. I’m also collecting stories at Scoop.it.

Ubuntu Linux Mobile
Ubuntu Linux Mobile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Perhaps you’ve noticed, there’s been a bit of activity in the Ubuntu part of the universe, especially when it comes to mobile devices. I am pleased to announce that I’ve just started writing a book for QUE that we are currently calling Ubuntu Touch: Using the Ubuntu OS on your Smartphone or Tablet.

 

This book will not be a guide to the proposed advanced Ubuntu Edge phone, but will instead be a guide for using Ubuntu on any supported mobile device. I will have more to say about the book as time goes on.

 

Between the new book project and all the news surrounding Ubuntu these days, I’ll be bringing the first of a few changes here at MichaelMcCallister.com. This week marks the birth of “Notes from the Ubuntuverse,” a blog with news and commentary on various Ubuntu-related topics. The blog will probably be mostly about mobile Ubuntu, but I’m sure other things (like Kubuntu) will come up from time to time. I have a lot to say about the Edge project too–watch this space!

 

Finally, I’ve been redesigning the site to bring it into the Twenty Teens, and it’s coming real soon.

 

Longtime followers of my career (yes, all 15 of you) are probably wondering about a couple of things: I still spend most of my computing time running openSUSE Linux, and I don’t expect that to change substantially while I write this book. While I expect to get quite familiar with the (in)famous Unity desktop in the coming months, I’m still a KDE guy at heart. And you can count on this site running WordPress nigh on to forever.

 

I am excited to start a new Linux book, and hope you’ll join me on this journey through the Ubuntuverse. Is there something about Ubuntu that perplexes you? I want to help. I am also interested in your thoughts, and ideas for the next iteration of the site. That’s what the Comments area is for, you know.