Exploring tools for publishing and privacy

Slashdot it! Delicious Share on Facebook Tweet! Digg!
Lead Image © JonHelgason, 123RF.com

Lead Image © JonHelgason, 123RF.com

Write On!

In this issue, we take a look at some helpful publishing tools and then get serious about online privacy.

In this issue of Ubuntu User , we'll be tackling not one, but two very interesting themes: We'll show you how to use your Ubuntu box to make headway into the publishing world, and then we'll show you how to efficiently handle your personal security and privacy online.

Continuing on from last issue's cover topic on how to get Ubuntu to help you develop your personal creativity, here we'll be looking at how to leverage writing and publishing tools to push forward your career as an author.

We'll look at what has been for years, nay decades, the golden standard for digital academic text formatting: LaTeX. And for good reason: LaTeX provides clean layouts, beautiful mathematical formulas, and now professional-looking tables! However, there's also a quite steep learning curve to the system. Never fear, though, in our cover feature, we'll teach you how to get the most out of it.

Once you've mastered writing your tools, it is time to sit down and actually put word on paper. As any professional author will tell you, research is a big part of hammering out a text. And if you research, you have to attribute.

Attributing your sources has always been important to give credit where credit is due, and also the only way of avoiding being accused of plagiarism. It is also a pain in the neck. Fortunately, several open source apps can help you keep track of who and what you quote. We'll cover the best of the resource management apps you can use with Ubuntu.

Then, there is the non-trivial matter of getting published. Although the topic of how to get an agent, a multimillion-dollar book deal, and your work on the New York Times bestseller list is beyond the scope of this magazine, we'll show how to generate professional-looking e-books for online bookstores. Sigil is the key.

Moving on to our Know-How section, we get serious with security. We'll look closely at how to keep your personal stuff private starting right at the login prompt. You'd be surprised and shocked at how easy it is to guess and brute force your username and password.

However, if you have a two-step authentication system – one that requires not only your password but also a one-time, throwaway verification code that changes every few seconds and gets sent to your phone – things get really complicated for the bad guys. The good news is that a system like this is a real doddle to implement on Ubuntu.

Additionally, there's the small matter of your email. One thing the bad guys treasure most is what you send through your email. Confidential agreements, passwords, bank account and credit card numbers, all get sent over the wire, mostly in plain text. It is amazing that data theft is not even more common. Fortunately, encrypting your messages is not hard at all. All you need is GPG and Thunderbird. Sure, the setup is a bit complex, but we'll help you through it. And, once it's done, exchanging messages that not even the most powerful supercomputers could decrypt is really simple.

The same goes for IM, IP phone calls, and videoconferencing. If you want to preserve your privacy, you cannot trust the likes of Skype. At last, there's an open source alternative that implements very strong encryption right out of the box. It's called Tox, and there's even a version that will work on your phone!

Finally, you may have heard that Linux is immune to viruses. That is not exactly true, but even though Linux viruses are few and far between, your Ubuntu box may become a vector for the spread of malware to your colleagues or to your family's Windows machines. Again, free software comes to the rescue in the shape of an open source antivirus system that scans all your files and your incoming and outgoing emails.

Read on and enjoy.

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF

Pages: 1

Price $0.99
(incl. VAT)

Buy Ubuntu User

Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • Making the most of Ubuntu's personal cloud service

    Ubuntu One is a service from Canonical that lets you access your documents, photos, music, and files everywhere, and it's in every version of Ubuntu. Instead of just "one weird trick" to get the most out of your Ubuntu One account, here's a bunch.

  • Welcome

    The title of this issue's Editorial section is a shameless rip-off of a section that used to run in Omni, the influential and very cool 80s magazine of "Science Fiction, Fact, and Fantasy." The section in Omni talked about advances in science and technology and where they would lead us. The title played on the actual verbal tense – the word "will" was used a lot in the articles, and the fact that, well, it was about the future.

  • 30 Issues of Ubuntu User

    This month we bring to you something special: an encyclopedic DVD with 3,000 pages of practical Ubuntu knowledge.

  • The Linux shell is your friend

    The shell may look like an old-fashioned bit of technology, only useful for the Linux hardcore programmers and system administrators, but knowing a few commands and how to link them together goes long way.

  • Protecting your private data from intruders

    You don't have to be a criminal to want to preserve your privacy. Fortunately, Ubuntu, and the Open Source community provide ways to keep snoopers at bay.