Welcome! You've arrived at award-winning author Marcel Gagné's personal Website. I am the author of the "Moving to Linux" series of books, a regular columnist for several tech magazines, a public speaker, radio and television personality, and a well known voice in the Linux and open source universe. I created the famous (perhaps infamous) Cooking With Linux which ran for ten years in the Linux Journal. I'm also a published science fiction author and editor, a onetime Editor in Chief, a pilot, a former Top 40 disc jockey, and I fold a mean origami T-Rex.  This site is home to my insights, opinions, gripes, brags, tech stuff, and whatever else comes to mind when I have the time or the inclination to publish it. 

What the Tech Industry Can Learn From Linus Torvalds

Mastering the Linux Shell : Killing Processes and Dire Warnings

Today's installment of Mastering the Linux Shell comes with a warning. Actually, it comes with a few warnings. .And a viewer advisory. Well, actually a reader advisory. 

Mastering The Linux Shell - Processes

So what constitutes a process on your Linux system?  The short answer is : Everything

In your long and illustrious career as Linux gurus, you are going to hear a lot about processes, process status, monitoring processes, or even killing processes. Gasp! Reducing the whole discussion to its simplest form, all you have to remember is that any command we run is a process.  Processes are also sometimes referred to as jobs. 

The session program which executes our typed commands (the shell, or terminal if you prefer) is a process.  The tools I am using to write this article such as my desktop, the browser, the server somewhere out on the internet . . . these are creating several processes and sub-processes.  Every terminal session you have open, every link to the Internet, every game you have running, the little clock in the corner; all these programs will generate one or more processes on your system.  In fact, there can be hundreds, even thousands of processes running on your system at any given time.   To see your own processes, try the following command.

Musings on Keeping More of Your eBook Sales

I've been giving a lot of thought to the subject of self-publishing and self-selling ebooks. More specifically, I'm musing about how authors can actually keep more of what they charge for their work.

One of the issues with selling inexpensive ebooks (e.g. $1.29) is that you're left with very little once Amazon has its way since they take 70% on the lower priced items. If you sell them via your own Website using a shopping cart, a chunk of that sale goes to PayPal (35 cents). It's less than Amazon, but it takes a while to make that back. I should also point out that not all eBook stores take as much as Amazon so those percentages vary.

Mastering The Linux Shell - Finding Anything

You know how you get those emails that suggest you can find out anything about anyone? They claim to be able to locate any person and tell you who they are, where they are from, the date they were born, and what their background is . . . You'll be happy to know this isn't the subject of this article. It's a lot more fun than that.

Mastering The Linux Shell - Advanced Permissions

In my last article, I introduced the idea of permissions in the Linux world. Some users can read or write a file, while others can only read the same. A user may also belong to a group and share the permissions of that group which might also involve the ability to execute, or run a file as a program.

Marcel the Shell

Someone suggested that I use Marcel the Shell to narrate my articles on the Linux shell. I suppose it's because my name is Marcel and I'm writing about shells. So, for your viewing pleasure, or something, here is "Marcel the Shell". 

No, he doesn't talk about Linux. 

Or command line shells. 

Nailed for Jesus

Over at Thailand's "The Nation", you will find coverage of a bizarre practice, made all the more strange by the fact that it happens each and every year. In this report, 24 penitents had themselves nailed to crosses in a recreation of Christ's crucifixion and death. They apparently leave out the death part, but they do go through the actual process of having themselves nailed to a cross, with large nails hammered into their palms by guys dressed up as Roman soldiers.

Now you've got to hand it to them (no pun intended), these are people who really truly believe. They're also not entirely sane, I'd wager. But I guess nothing says "I believe" like participating in a brutal display of torture and human sacrifice.

A lot of questions surround this practice, and I'm not even talking about the question of whether there was a Jesus who died for our collective sins. The questions are more along the lines of this:

Mastering The Linux Shell - Getting Permission

Under Linux, access to files and directories is controlled by a system of permissions. Those permissions define who can see a file, whether they can modify it in any way, and in the case of some files, whether the commands within that file (or the file itself) can be executed. By executed, we mean "can we run that program?".

Found on Wikicommons: Saint Michael parish church in Untergriesbach. Fresco at the ceiling: Last Judgment( 1780 ) by Johann Georg Unruhe - Good souls rising to heaven.Pfarrkirche St. Michael in Untergriesbach. Vierungsfresco: Jüngst

Jesus and the Resurrection. Been There. Done That.

Let me see if I get this straight . . . a long time ago, this guy was born of a virgin, performed miracles, collected disciples, then was eventually crucified, died, was buried, and rose again to redeem mankind? Does that sound about right?

I thought so, except I'm not talking about Jesus. In this case, the guy's name was Attis and he was a fairly popular Phrygian man-god some 400 years before Jesus Christ came on the scene (though the origins of the story go back as far as 1200 B.C.). Attis was born of the virgin, Nana, became the consort of the mother Goddess Cybele. Attis is sometimes depicted as a shepherd, his priests are celibate (they are in fact, castrated),  is crucified to a tree (accounts vary somewhat on this point), dies, is buried, and rises again to bring life to the world. The Attis myth reaches its peak sometime around 200 BC.

Attis isn't special though. In point of fact, guys who were born of virgins, performed miracles, died, then rose from the dead are common to many religions. Christianity adopted a lot of these old stories to make their new religion more palatable to the dominant religions of the day. As for all those miraculous things . . . well, your god wasn't much of a god if he couldn't perform miracles or had some kind of miraculous birth. Born of a virgin sounds pretty miraculous so it makes sense to start there. Water into wine? That's an old one too.

In 405 B.C., Euripedes' "The Bacchae" was released. It features Dyonisus who, among other things, is born of a virgin, turns water into wine, and has someone crucified to a tree. Dyonisus was called "King of Kings", "Redeemer", "Savior", and other familiar titles we associate with that Johnny come lately, Jesus.

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