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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
We loved the projects Chris Negus brought us in 2003’s Linux Toys: everything from music jukeboxes to answering machines. Well, he’s back. In Linux Toys II, Negus offers nine all-new projects that’ll entertain you, protect you, even support your small business.
Before you spend hundreds of dollars on a personal video recorder, consider whether it makes sense to build one from a spare computer, using open source MythTV software. Negus walks you through the process, from choosing tuner cards to configuring the impressive (albeit complex) software. Or how about creating “bootable movies”? Combine your video files with eMoviX, a tiny Linux distro that can be embedded on a CD-ROM. Put your disk in a PC, reboot, and voila: movies.
Need to provide networked office workstations on the cheap? Set up an LTSP thin client server (think Windows Terminal Services with no licensing fees). Want to take your Linux system anywhere? Add a fully customized, bootable version of Linux to a cheap USB pen drive: plug it into a PC, reboot, and within minutes you’re working at your comfy, familiar Linux desktop.
With electricity costs rising, maybe now’s the time to invest in X10 home automation to control your lights and appliances? The hardware’s cheap. The controller? Linux, of course. Firecracker hardware and BottleRocket software offer a simple, relatively low-tech approach. ActiveHome hardware and Heyu project software support more X10 features. Negus covers both.
As we said last time, Negus’s projects offer a great way to pick up Linux skills you’ll never learn by puttering around GNOME or KDE. Even better, you’ll also imbibe the Linux community’s spirit of exploration. You might even find new ways to extend these projects: ideas you’ll want to share, for everyone’s benefit. Bill Camarda, from the December 2005 Read Only