Interview with Sven Vermeulen

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Sven Vermeulen is the author of SELinux System Administration, Third Edition, we got the chance to sit down with him and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.

Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey…

Sven: When I was SELinux lead in the Gentoo project and one of the active contributors to the reference policy, I was approached by Packt to share my knowledge in the form of a book. This later became two books – one oriented to system administrators, and one more tailored to the needs of SELinux policy administrators. With the SELinux ecosystem continuously improving, the SELinux System Administration book got its second and now third edition.

Q: How long did it take you to write the book?

Sven: Writing is just a small part of the book development. In general, I’d say that it takes around 7 months end-to-end, but most of this is done during the weekends.

Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?

Sven: My main research was in the Xen and hardware-specific support areas, as I do not use those myself. There, I’d say it is a few weeks of meddling around with those technologies and understanding how they work and how to approach the SELinux configuration. The majority of the book though is content that I practice on a regular basis so required less research to get it finalized.

Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?

Sven: The COVID-19 pandemic did have a significant impact on the process. Suddenly the regular day-to-day activities are put on hold, and as a single father there was a lot of personal things to tackle which did put a lot of strain on the process. Luckily, my daughter was appreciative on the development of the book and we found a good balance. And of course, this is nothing compared to the stress and impact that COVID-19 has on people and families themselves, the losses they might bear, and the impact on medical professions.

Q: What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?

Sven: Try stuff out. Use online material like videos, blogposts and tutorials to get you jumpstarted. Nowadays, there are hardly any topics that you cannot learn yourself individually.

Q. How do you keep up-to-date on your tech?

Sven: The usual: read up on tech-oriented social media and blogposts. Experiment with stuff: thanks to virtualization and container technologies it is a breeze to learn how things work on a functional level. And when I want to learn more in-depth, I try to apply it to an enterprise-alike environment (even if it is just for private measures) to see how it scales and interacts with other technologies.

Do you have a blog that readers can follow?

Sven: I do. My blog can be found on blog.siphos.be.

How would you describe you author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?

Sven: I would always recommend aspiring authors to take the leap and really get into it. It is much better to try than to postpone.

You can find Sven’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here

SElinux System Administration- Third edition – Available on Amazon.com