Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS)



Don Crawley Acclaimed Author, Speaker, International Authority in Linux, Cisco

This week, Stephen Ibaraki has an exclusive interview with Don Crawley.

Don CrawleyDon R. Crawley is president/chief technologist at, the Seattle-based I.T. training company. He holds certifications in Linux, Windows, and Cisco products. Don is also the author of five books on information systems and technology including the popular Accidental Administrator series of books for I.T. professionals (

A geek and nerdy kind of guy since sometime back in the 60's, he brings more than 35 years workplace technology experience to his books and training. Don has spoken before audiences in all 50 U.S. states, Canada, the U.K. and Australia. His focus today is on improving the intersection of people and technology.

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.


Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:00:31: Can you profile your background?
"....I guess if I were to discuss being a geek, I would go back to when I was twelve years old and I decided to rewire a tape recorder....Ever since then I've been tinkering with different systems ranging from audio systems, automation systems, computer systems and most recently various aspects of networking...."

:01:26: What five usable lessons can you share from your career history?
"....It's not about technology, it's about creating solutions for workplace problems....Don't be afraid to experiment....None of us know nearly as much as we think we know....There are usually multiple ways to get something done....What really matters is the right tool for the job...."

:04:02: What are your best practices for using Cisco technology?
"....Best practice for dealing not only with Cisco, but with Linux is to get trained and to always have a backup...."

:05:14: Can you profile your latest book?
"....My latest book is called 'Tweeting Linux'....140 Linux commands explained in 140 characters or less...."

:08:25: Was there one command you discovered while researching the book that you find especially helpful?
"....The one that kept coming back to my mind was the MTR command...."

:09:23: What's a common mistake admins make when working in the Linux command line environment?
"....Not making a backup of a configuration before starting to edit it...."

:10:11: Why work in the command line when graphical interfaces have gotten so much better and they're so much easier?
"....Mainly on a server you don't work with a GUI....It's a lot less overhead....It's one less thing to break....It's a lot easier to script in the command line...."

:12:45: Although your book includes some material for desktop and laptop users, it seems more oriented toward server admins. Is Linux still relevant as a desktop/laptop operating system?
"....I think it's relevant if it is something you want to do...."

:14:42: Why is there a need for another Linux command reference?
"....In my experience, a lot of Linux command references although technically competent, they don't do a good job of summarizing the commands...."

:17:41: Describe three areas of controversy or much discussion in the areas that you work.
"....Linux versus Windows versus Mac debate....Cloud computing (concerns about who owns the data, security and the availability of the data)....Privacy...."

:20:58: What innovations should we be watching for in the next five years?
"....Mobile computing...."

:21:50: What specific challenges and opportunities should IT practitioners and businesses embrace today and in five years?
"....Remembering this is not about technology. This is about helping end users work more productively, creatively and efficiently so what we have to be thinking about is not creating cool gadgets but creating cool solutions...."

:23:30: What are your thoughts on computing as a recognized profession with demonstrated professional development, adherence to a code of ethics, and recognized credentials?
[See and the Global Industry Council,]
"....The computing industry and the profession are here to stay in one form or another....I think what we are doing as an industry with computer certifications and degrees are solidifying that, and working towards technologists' understanding the human aspects of it...."

:26:16: From your extensive speaking, travels and work, please share some stories (amusing, surprising, unexpected, amazing).
"....We are a global community of human beings helping other human beings and when you take the labels away (the religious, political or geo-political labels), we're just a bunch of really decent, nice people who want to be nice and decent people to each other...."

:33:09: If you were conducting this interview, what 3 questions would you ask, and then what would be your answers?
"....What piece of advice would you give to somebody who is thinking about getting into computing technology?....How do you maintain your skills in this exponentially increasing body of knowledge world that we live in?....How do you deal with people who want free advice or free support?...."