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Who Is "Doctor Bob" Rankin?

Bob Rankin, known as "Doctor Bob" in the online world, is a writer and computer programmer who enjoys exploring the Internet and sharing the fruit of his experience with others. Doctor Bob's work has appeared in Yahoo! Internet Life, Boardwatch Magazine, ComputerWorld, NetGuide, NY Newsday and other publications. Bob is co-driver of The Internet TOURBUS, author of several computer books, owner/operator of Flowers Fast, the popular online florist, and creator of the Lowfat Linux! website.

I'm a geek, a computer programmer, a writer, and an entrepreneur. I live in upstate New York, between NYC and Albany. My degree in Computer Science got me a job at IBM, but after spending 15 years there, the Internet literally sucked me out. Now I work at home, designing websites, writing books, and producing the Internet Tourbus newsletter. See my profile on Google+

The Internet Tourbus is a virtual tour of the best of the Internet, delivered twice weekly by e-mail to over 90,000 people in 130 countries. Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen (aka the "Click & Clack" of the online world) explain Internet technology in plain English, with a dash of humor. Since 1995, Tourbus riders have been getting the scoop on Search Engines, Spam, Viruses, Cookies, Urban Legends, and the most useful sites on the Net. TOURBUS has a very diverse audience, with people from all over the world, and every level of computer knowledge. Tourbus is read by doctors, lawyers, teachers, students and journalists. We try to present Internet tools and technology in a way that appeals to both gurus and grandmas. I think everybody with an email address should be getting Tourbus. :-)

Ahh, my first computer... it was a TI-58 programmable calculator, which I taught to bark, sit, and play yahtzee. My high school had a 300-baud dial-up line to a nearby university computer which helped me get into all sorts of mischief! So I guess it was only natural from that point that I would pursue computers as a career. I avoided getting a home computer for many years, because I spent all day working with them. I finally broke down and bought a used IBM "PC Junior" in 1990. It had 4.77 megahertz of raw processing power, no hard disk, and no modem. But I loved it, and now have a PC Jr collection in my basement.

My first contact with the Internet was in 1993 through a conferencing system internal to IBM, where I worked at the time. I was used to networking with people around the world, but it seemed that the Internet held much greater treasures in store. I became more and more fascinated with the Internet, both as an information resource and as a means of conducting business. In 1994 I wrote the "Accessing The Internet By E-Mail" guide which told how to access almost anything on the Net using simple e-mail commands, and gave it away for free. It was hugely popular, eventually being translated into 30 languages.

My book "The No BS Guide to Linux" was published by NoStarch Press, and served as the basis for this website. I hope you'll learn, enjoy and tell a friend about LowFat Linux!

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Comments - most recent first
(Please feel free to answer questions posted by others!)

Zippie25     (03 Feb 2011, 16:10)
thanks, that helped me a lot!
Ali Abdirahman     (29 Jan 2011, 19:31)

Your remarkable contribution on providing free training classes on Linux has helped so many people around the globe.
You're a special person Bob!
Exhirehoogizee     (18 Jan 2011, 02:59)
Hello. I love this forum,very greate.Do you love it ? I will come here again and again.
The interesting name of a site -, interesting this here is very good.
I spent 9 hours searching in the network, until find your forum!
Bob Rankin     (14 Jan 2011, 08:13)
@sukhpreetsingh - The Linux installer should walk you through all of the partitioning during the install process.
sukhpreetsingh     (14 Jan 2011, 04:54)
hi bob , my name is sukhpreet and i am new to linux,, i have pc at home where i have installed windows xp and now i want to make it a Dual pc (windows xp and Linux ), so could u please send me the procedure to do that,, i mean procedure to install linux with windows , and each and every step to installl linux,i.e the partitions i have to create, the space i should leave for that linux installation,,how many partitions i have to create in linux like /root and others,,, and space i need to provide in that partitions,,
Please send me all the details,, on my email address,,,
PauloDado     (11 Jan 2011, 00:40)
there are many repeated topics in the forum and I see many new topics being created that have been discussed previously that's diminishes the quality of the posts.

Just search

gorywrefe     (08 Jan 2011, 16:54)
I personally advise Hostgator for hosting. They are really professional, support is perfect and uptime very good. Go to hostgator_dot_com and use "onecentcoupons" coupon code. You get first month just for free which is good deal.
Vickie Lynna Harold     (08 Jan 2011, 10:08)
I am new forum member. Hello everybody!
farzana     (05 Jan 2011, 03:29)
Hi sir,
i am very much interested to lern linux but i dont have that much money for that course.Now i got this site today,Can i lern complete linux through this site?
harsszeg     (12 Dec 2010, 06:07)
I am a linux user for 5 years.. please tell me about having SOLARIS as a desktop compare to linux?Whats the plus if there is any?Congratulations to ur site,BOB.
Charles     (08 Dec 2010, 04:07)
Real nice website. I've been using Linux (Ubuntu,SUSE, Mint and a few others) for a couple of years now and still don't know all there is to know. Thanks to your website I learned a couple of useful command switches I did not know about. Got here via Stumbleupon.
LorencoMem     (07 Dec 2010, 11:36)
How I can download documents from WikiLeaks?
vahit gümüş     (07 Dec 2010, 06:18)
Thanks a lot Doctor Bob for you tutorial they are very usefull
Caifo     (04 Nov 2010, 15:09)
Doctor Bob, I love you! Your guide is great as a fast reference about commands :D
Roger T. Imai     (22 Aug 2010, 21:21)
Bob, I was an Internet Tourbus subscriber when I was running Windows years ago. I've since switched to Ubuntu (Edgy... Lucid) and whaddaya know, you're a Linux guru too! I'm surprised that I don't see more messages from former Tourbus subscribers here. Your Linux Classes will be a mainstay for me. Thanks for your great work!
John     (18 Aug 2010, 06:07)
I picked up Linux for my 2nd attempt about 2 weeks ago and was struggling even after reading about every manual available on my install. I learned more in a few hrs here than I have learned ANYWHERE else on the web or in the stuffy overly complex manuals on the install. I don't know how to thank you enough! If you had a paypal donate button I would definately throw some cash your way. The hrs and frustration you saved me is beyond comprehension. Side question, did you live in Rochester, NY at all while workin at IBM?
rajesh     (13 Aug 2010, 10:30)
this website rocks thank you doctor bob.
i want to learn more about what actually is physical volume, logical volume , partition, lvm, initialized device please add few tutorial related to explaining these and related commands. every time i read about them i get more confused and sometimes i try them to hard disk everything gets messed up and i need to reformat computer :(
veer bhupender     (11 Aug 2010, 04:29)
how we install different packages from main computer which is connected to a LAN.
Jimmy puzzle     (10 Aug 2010, 08:39)
the firt time i see a straingth faword linux tips instruction. i am from Mozambique and foud this site from nowhere. i am a network guy who decided to master linux and cisco staff, and i gues i am at the rigth conner.

thanks BR.
kumardeep     (09 Aug 2010, 02:41)
Hello sir,
I am tyro in LINUX environment and commited to do good in the field of bioinfo. So, I just googled and found your site and found it relatively more comprehensive than others.
Thank you...
toseef bhutta     (04 Aug 2010, 05:23)
i am very impressed by your website ..
it is really a very good
Zubaidi Johar (Malaysian)     (14 Jul 2010, 19:03)
Doctor Bob,

Though , I am a new comer in LINUX environment,
by the way I'am sure that your learning website is so great
Thieu Tham     (11 Jul 2010, 20:01)
Doctor Bob how can i set a Linux NFS Server and NFS Client NFS ? and mount NFS directory from NFS Client ? Thank you.
paragsus     (20 Jun 2010, 04:50)
Now a days Linux is my favorite OS and I want to learn more about Linux.
Devendra singh chauhan     (05 Jun 2010, 07:02)
Hi Bob i just want to know about deeply knowladge of Linux from intial stage so can you help me.. so please do the needful for my knowladge.
Roshan Ekka     (18 May 2010, 01:54)
you are really having a great site, where i have not found such clear description anywere on internet till date.

I have started to learn about linux when i brought my first dedicated server with following configuration:

Intel Core2Quad (a bit old processor)

i searched over internet to manage my server.

and i learnt a lots of thing.

but still i have not found good tutorial for following stuffs:

1. Installing a Red5 Flash server
2. Working with make files.

so i have a request for you, please post this kind of tutorial on your site. i like the way you describe everything.

You know this is my first Visit on your site and i found everything here. i had lots of bookmarks from different different sites for all these tutorials that you have on your site.

Now i am going to delete those bookmarks because i just need yours.

Also please please please i request you to add your contact mail on this site.

Roshan Ekka
santosh     (11 May 2010, 06:39)
I want to implement a pgrep command how should i proceed....
Bob Rankin     (07 May 2010, 05:26)
@IyyappanV - Try the "top" command for that.
Iyyappan V     (06 May 2010, 06:26)
can u give the list of commands starting with ps to monitor mem and cpu...i googled n found many commands starting with ps...but i want u to give more commands check the cpu and ram ..i want to see only the amount of memory consumed by the application and other things....kindly guide me
Bob Rankin     (30 Apr 2010, 13:02)
Georgia, Linux is a replacement for Windows. See // for more info.
Georgia Maples     (30 Apr 2010, 12:29)
Just exactly what is Linux? Is it a computer program? I have an HP running Windows XP, SP3,; can I use the Linux on my computer. What benefit would it be to me?

Thank you.

Georgia Maples
Bob Rankin     (30 Apr 2010, 05:40)
@vishalb - Just keep reading!
vishalb     (29 Apr 2010, 15:20)
I'm new to the linux and want to learn more about linux.... which is the best way to get in to the linux.
dodolryan     (26 Apr 2010, 23:46)
hi there,im 27, phillipines, im new to linux, and no any single background about it, but i have dualboot my drive with BT3 and windows, and have ubuntu installed in virtual bow, maybe out of curiosity...

thanks for this tutorial
it really helps me a lot to understand some about linux, although some are difficult for me to comprehend, i guess maybe for now...
anyway thanks a lot
Bob Rankin     (20 Apr 2010, 18:03)
@Tejas - Linux is just an implementation of unix. There are others, such as BSD.
Tejas     (10 Apr 2010, 00:34)
Between Linux and Unix which one would you choose at the end of the day, and why?
Bob Rankin     (25 Mar 2010, 14:42)
@madhu - I think I know the problem. You're looking at the keyboard instead of the screen?
madhu     (25 Mar 2010, 01:55)
i want Linux lerning tutorial plsssssssssss
Rod Gustafson     (09 Mar 2010, 09:53)
I remember my TI-58. I mowed lawns all summer to get the $300 I needed to buy it. I also clearly recall typing in formulas so I could "cheat" in school with it. How I wish it didn't lose its memory when the battery died! Funny (and ironic) -- that memory loss thing helped me learn those formulas forever! P.S. Your Linux tutorial is the missing guide I have been searching for. Thanks!
Bob Rankin     (25 Feb 2010, 08:36)
Nothing! I learned programming in high school, and then went to college for a Computer Science degree.
Dennis     (25 Feb 2010, 08:03)
Hi, Bob
WHat did you studied before the computing career?
Bob Rankin     (17 Feb 2010, 22:55)
I do have fond memories, but I no longer own stock. :-)
JP     (17 Feb 2010, 10:50)
Still am IBMer at heart?
Bob Rankin     (02 Feb 2010, 07:00)
The Linux guide is right here! You're looking at it...
Kumar     (02 Feb 2010, 02:09)
I need your guide regarding linux, Where i can get you online at what time ?
ABDUL GANI     (30 Jan 2010, 01:31)
i want linux tutorial

I welcome your comments. However... I am puzzled by many people who say "Please send me the Linux tutorial." This website *is* your Linux Tutorial! Read everything here, learn all you can, ask questions if you like. But don't ask me to send what you already have. :-)

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