Who is the author of learn UNIX


I’ve purchased Learn Python3 The Hard Way. And at about “half” of the LPy3THW_Ex0_Linux video.

Narator seems not so experienced in Linux command line. And some sentences sound like I would not like to actually buy Learn UNIX the hard way if authors are same.

But then again putting this into a video maybe is on purpose just to relax the students and show that trying is actually learning.

What are your thought on it?

That’s a super good question and a really insightful observation. In a way, it’s a combination of two things:

I (Zed) will be the author of Learn Unix, but I may bring in another person. Linux is a strange beast where it’s difficult to be a grand master pro at every new distro, PLUS you have the problem that Python 3 isn’t easily installed on Linux with the latest 3.6 release of Python. Distro like Debian really like to make it hard to install, so I typically have to do it from source until they catch up. The additional problem is trying to explain it to someone who doesn’t really know Python well, or how to code, but maybe they know their distro inside and out while I don’t.

There’s also the problem that I don’t use Linux all day like I used to, so yes in a way I’m kind of doing it blind the way a beginner might do it so that they see even “top coders” like me make mistakes and have to learn things. I used to try to do the videos perfect but I found that it gave beginners this sense that they’re expected to work this way when nobody actually does something perfect all the time. I started making the videos more “behind the scenes” style and leaving in little mistakes because:

  1. It shows beginners that everyone makes mistakes and to not take it so seriously.
  2. It shows everyone how to recover from mistakes and how to figure out what’s going on. If I’m hitting an error then chances are other people will so I show how to get out of it.

In the JavaScript book I’m also taking this a bit farther and solving one additional problem that people started to think I code the way I did in the instructional videos for Python. They thought that I start at the top of the code and type it all in and it works. That’s what I did when copying the book’s code to learn it, but in real coding it’s a process of constantly making mistakes and going slow in small chunks. The new videos going forward I’m stressing the process of going in small chunks, that making mistakes and fixing them is normal, and that it doesn’t make you a “bad programmer” if you do make mistakes.

It seems to be helping, but, if you’re seeing really obvious errors in the Linux video or know that there’s an easier install method then let me know. The distros may have caught up with the Python 3.6 install and I just have to go back and fix them up with a new run through the installation. It’d help if you can tell me the distro you’re using, and maybe a list of things that you see as making it harder to do.

I’ll give you an example: I originally was going to include OpenBSD because it was a solid OS that was easy to install and had the ports collection. I went through a bunch of tests with students and the most recent OpenBSD has totally changed to not use ports. In fact about 1/2 of the ports I tried to build just failed miserably and I was told that I’m an idiot and doing it wrong. Apparently, OpenBSD has totally change over to installing everything with binary packages and you’re not guaranteed to build anything from ports anymore. One of the reasons I wanted to use OpenBSD is that you can build from source and confirm what you’re building, but looks like I can’t do that so I’m probably going to use NetBSD instead.

Anyway, feel free to drop your feedback here and I’ll look at updating the video if I can.

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Hi thanks for elaborate answer.

I see your point and it has sense.

Regarding begginer students and linux in general.
My thought is that there is no begginer that wants to learn to code Python or some other language with OpenBSD.

Well… yes there are for sure, but these students will manage to google “how to install python 3.6 on OpenBSD”.

Most of your users I guess will be using Ubuntu official download. Anyone with more “advanced” distro should be or will be comfortable with some basic setup.

Also, I advise you to checkout Laracasts videos, the guy does a pretty nice job with his videos.

All in all thanks for the books and fast communication.

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I think if someone wants to learn Unix, they would learn it all, in depth.
So it totally makes sense to learn the most robust distros.
Not everyone starts with Ubuntu.
Maybe someone needs to get skilled in RPM based distros first, maybe it’s an environment they need to work with at their job.
Others would rather learn Debian based distros.
Not everyone learns Unix for the same purpose.
Also some people might want to just learn Python, without Unix. Others would only choose Unix.
They don’t have to necessarily be linked.
Maybe some people , like myself, already know their way with Ubuntu and want to go deeper, learn Open BSD.
I don’t think someone will ever write a book that teaches ALL Unix distributions on earth.
Teaching the main distros though is a great idea!
Anyway, I didn’t write many Unix books in my life to be able to judge what’s the best way to cover them all.
In fact the only book I wrote was in the first grade, it was a story about a serpent :smiley: So you can imagine it wasn’t very useful.
Learning from experts is a huge thing for me.

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I checked out Laracasts and honestly they’re like exactly the same as mine but chunked into hundreds of tiny segments. His content looks great but I think his audio and video quality aren’t all that good. What do you think he does better @markotitel? Is it the content or something about his production?

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Hi, well he doesn’t jump from window to window.

He has consistent window switching style. So you get used to it in 5 minutes and you can watch complete series the same way.

You sometimes get poped up with screen recorder software. Sometimes you don’t know the window you are in etc. That kind of detail to begginer can be hard to follow and to concentrate.

I do not question your programming experience, but sometimes it is hard to follow because of these little nuances.


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Really? I see him switching windows constantly, and not in a consistent pattern at all. Pretty much exactly the way I do it in my python videos. Only difference would be he’s using a mac so you don’t see the full available windows when you switch like I do on Windows 10.

Anyway, in the newer videos I just record at 2160p so I don’t have to switch windows, but I think maybe it’s just you’re used to the OS and tools he’s using so you think his window switching is easier to follow. I watched 3-4 of his videos and apart from using a mac (I use windows, 'cause more people have windows and those computers are cheaper), he’s nearly the exact same.

I mean, honestly, there’s not too many ways to show people how to code. Most of the time you need 10 windows open just to do anything, so I changed all the new videos to use 2160p for that reason. Now I don’t really do window switching at all.

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I am satisfied and will use your books and tutorials. Thanks for the effort and knowledge/experience sharing.

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Not problem, always looking for new tricks to try. Let me know if you run into anything else you think of.

Also, I realized one thing someone else mentioned is they didn’t realize I was “switching” windows using some Unix skills. If you see me do something like this:


Suddenly my editor disappears and you see:

[1]+  Stopped                 vi test.txt

Then I do some stuff, and you see me type:

$ fg

And the editor comes back, then that’s not really window switching. That’s using Unix background processes and jobs to kind of pause my editor (with CTRL-z), then use the fg command (ForeGround) to bring it back. People thought I was switching windows when I was really just pausing a command and coming back.


I learned a lot from this thread… Thanks @zedshaw and @markotitel