the SILENT ORDER series and Ubuntu Linux

My original plan for my SILENT ORDER science fiction series was to release the first four books over the space of four weeks (like one every week in October), but as I thought about my marketing plan, I realized that it would work a lot better if I released the first five books. So I’m going to write a fifth book!

It also gives me a chance to prove a point.

I recently read an article complaining about Windows 10 S, which is this new version of Windows that can only install new apps from the Windows Store. (The idea is that this makes the computer more secure and is good for schools, public kiosk computers and so forth, but in practice it limits the computer considerably since all the best Windows apps tend not to be in the Windows Store.) The article noted that this won’t actually work for most users, and then suggested a list of four alternatives, and claimed that it would be easier to do real work on an iPad Pro than on a Linux desktop computer.

I disagree strongly with this. The iPad’s great for consumption, but if you want to actually do something – like write & publish a book, or to build a website, or to develop an application, or to do a graphic design – you’re better of with a Linux desktop.

So to prove the point, I’m going to do the bulk of the work on the fifth science fiction book entirely on Ubuntu Linux and programs available on Ubuntu:

-I’ll write and edit it in LibreOffice.

-I will do the layout of the ebook in Sigil.

-I will convert it to the appropriate ebook format in Calibre.

-I will make the cover using the GIMP image editor.

Ubuntu Linux and all four of these programs are free, which is why I’m writing the book and preparing it with them. (Granted, I’ve also written a bestselling book on Ubuntu Linux.) I think it’s important that people have access to free software tools that can meet their needs.

A Surface Laptop or an iPad Pro are lovely tools, and I don’t have anything against them, but they’re expensive.

Like, really, really expensive. The base-level iPad Pro is $649 and the keyboard (not included) is another $159.

By contrast, a brand new $200 PC desktop will have more than enough juice to run Ubuntu and all the software I listed above. Even a used desktop computer from 2010 onward will have enough power to run all that software.

Perhaps this is romantic of me, but I really like the idea that someone using a low-cost desktop and free software running on free Ubuntu Linux can write, prepare, and publish a book. I like the idea that publishing has become democratized – in the old days, only governments and large companies had access to a publishing infrastructure, but now everyone does. Anyone with a low-cost computer, free software, and an Internet connection can publish a book.

And to prove it is possible, I’m going to do just that!

(And, for added Irony Points, while I was writing this post Microsoft screwed up my Surface Pro 4 with a bad update, so I finished writing this post on my Ubuntu computer.)


8 thoughts on “the SILENT ORDER series and Ubuntu Linux

  • September 6, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Hey Jonathan
    Does this imply a much later release date for all 5 books together??

    • September 6, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      Nah. I’m actually quite a bit ahead of schedule. Still planning to get them all out in October.

  • September 6, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree on your advocacy for Ubuntu Linux. While I have not made the jump on my primary PC (running Winblows 10) I do use Ubuntu for my Plex server and I find that any problems I have with it are resolved with a simple google search. The amount of help out there for Ubuntu is staggering and the Linux advocates out on the internet extremely helpful.

    • September 6, 2017 at 1:35 pm

      Yes indeed. I use Ubuntu for a ton of things. The LTS is rock-solid and reliable. It’s too bad Unity didn’t work out, but the Ubuntu version of GNOME shell looks promising.

  • September 6, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    I really think that if more people actually sat and used Linux for a month, we would see much less hating on Linux. There are a few things that I have to do in Windows (i.e. most of the games I play, although this is changing), but I really do prefer Ubuntu Linux over anything else.

    • September 6, 2017 at 1:37 pm

      Yeah. I’m about 90% through the rough draft of SILENT ORDER: ECLIPSE HAND, and LibreOffice has been rock-solid. I’m also going to do the covers for all five books in GIMP.

  • September 6, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    I use Linux for everything and have for years except my phone (which is Android). I didn’t switch because of cost though. I switched because I work in the realm of real-time machine vision for robotics and from time to time I’ve actually had to hack kernels and drivers and that’s really, really hard to do and expensive with other operating systems.

    • September 6, 2017 at 5:26 pm

      Linux is nicely modular! Like the whole Windows 10 S thing – it would be much easier to turn a Linux machine into a locked-down kiosk than a Windows 10 box.

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