Chad Perrin: SOB

14 August 2006

Doing What I Love

Filed under: Cognition,Geek,Profession — apotheon @ 04:32

Sterling has recommended that I write something about my recent article publication(s) at TechRepublic. Here ’tis:

As of today, there’s now a Linux 101 article about installing Debian GNU/Linux, appropriately titled Linux 101: Installing Debian GNU/Linux, at TechRepublic, written by yours truly. The thing got written in the first place because my experience is that Debian is by far the smoothest Linux distribution to maintain as a sysadmin these days, has the most comprehensive and stable software archives for its software management system (called APT), provides the best overall manpage documentation coverage and generic utility and configuration defaults, and is at least as easy to install “properly” as any other major distribution with a little guidance (when it’s not actually easier). Of course, my definition of “properly” might be up for some debate, depending on your preferences — if you like the full-GUI kitchen sink installation with 1,000 applications at your fingertips on your highly cluttered desktop and window manager menus, all within a bloated, featuritis-ridden Desktop Environment, you’re going to disagree with my philosophy of a “proper” install.

Later this week, there’s supposedly going to be another of my articles published that relates to installing Linux: an article about using Knoppix to rearrange the partition structure on your Windows system hard drive in preparation for installing Linux for a dual-boot system. In general, of course, I tend to think that a single-OS Linux system is a better option, but there are cases where a dual-boot configuration makes sense, particularly with laptops. Looking at that, and some articles I’m in the process of planning and writing about subjects such as document management with Subversion, as well as the string of articles I’ve already written, I see a nontrivial body of Linux documentation taking shape at TechRepublic with my name on it. By the end of the week, TR should have 16 of my articles published, the vast majority of which are about Linux administration and similar subjects. I’m dominating the Linux 101 category of articles at TR, and things don’t show any sign of slowing down in that regard — in fact, if anything, I expect that trend will only be accelerating for the foreseeable future.

I feel pretty good about this. I feel like I’m accomplishing something worthwhile, and doing a good job of it as well (with the possible exception of a particular article I still cringe to read: my first-ever TR article has some good information in it, but my attention to detail lacked something and my writing “tone” was less than well-applied for the article). It’s awfully nice to be able to make money at it, too.

Paul Graham, in his essay How to Do What You Love, gives some excellent advice. The last paragraph of the essay says:

Finding work you love is very difficult. Most people fail. Even if you succeed, it’s rare to be free to work on what you want till your thirties or forties. But if you have the destination in sight you’ll be more likely to arrive at it. If you know you can love work, you’re in the home stretch, and if you know what work you love, you’re practically there.

Well, here I am, entering my thirties, and I’m pretty much home free to judge by that. I love what I’m doing. If I can make the writing a regular enough process, arrange my publication opportunities so that I’m reasonably safe from disasters, and in general make this stable and profitable enough, I’ve pretty much fallen entirely by accident into a career path that I’ve known I wanted (in one form or another) since I was a wee little lad. I’m doing what I love, and I think I’m pretty damned good at it. Hopefully, it’ll stick, and serve me well financially. I don’t ever want to go back to having to focus most of my attention on paying bills via a job I find odious and troublesome.

If I can just keep the magic flowing, I think things can really only get better from here.

(knock on wood)

note: In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a page on this site where you can keep up with the list of my published works. I call it Online Publication Credits, and as of this writing it has a permanent link in the right-hand column of the main pages of SOB.


  1. Very cool, and thanks for the linkage, apotheon. As long as you keep your IT skills up to date, I don’t see any reason why you can’t continue to write well about them.

    Comment by SterlingCamden — 14 August 2006 @ 04:47

  2. You’re welcome, and thanks.

    I think all I really need to do to secure my place in this new career path is get to a point where I’m being published in more than one place for real money — and maybe get a book or two with at least a chapter under my name out there from a respected publisher like O’Reilly, The Pragmatic Programmers, or No Starch Press.

    Comment by apotheon — 14 August 2006 @ 04:55

  3. […] SOB: Scion Of Backronymics » Doing What I Love apotheon links to me and to his Linux 101 installation guide for Debian (tags: linklove linux debian howto installation) Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

    Pingback by links for 2006-08-15 -- Chip’s Quips — 14 August 2006 @ 07:19

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