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Linux Robotics: Programming Smarter Robots Paperback – Dec 21 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 287 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics; 1 edition (Dec 21 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691142963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071444842
  • ASIN: 007144484X
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 18.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 540 g
  • Average Customer Review: 1.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #845,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lyle M. Wood on July 27 2009
Format: Paperback
I actually purchased this book shortly after it was released. Today I found it on a search and thought I should comment. Fundamentally, the author's goal seems to have been abuse of people interested in robotics.

Personally, I love the study of robotics. The author, however, has contempt for those interested, or so it seems. While professing a love of robotics, he advises us to use outdated and useless communication methods which I was able to discover with a simple google search.

He is unable to provide a SINGLE example of a functional system or part thereof. This is doubly damning as he consistently states that he has produced same. He gave links in the book which, before I did my googling, I attempted to follow and see his code and efforts. He never ONCE in the code produced something more than prototyping.

Worse yet, all of his examples are worked in Java which, for those attempting to work with embedded Linux, is about as powerful as the proverbial coconut-carrying-sparrow. Perhaps it could grip it by the husk, but who cares, the bloody thing will never get off the ground!

I was so discouraged after reading this travesty of a book - which purports to "step by step" walk you through the construction of a functioning robot - that I ended up shelving my project and this book for several years. The one thing that this Author will ensure is that you never get off the ground. RUN. He's a black-hole waiting to suck up your wallet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jacob Van Der Kooy on Jan. 7 2009
Format: Paperback
This book should have consisted of more Linux based programming attributes and algorithums, although the book covers some programming and how to output simple commands it was easy to see the author had not been up to date with Linux robotics software. This book is of minimal use in my robotics library and simply turned the door nob (if I may) to the door of Linux robotics, all of the information in this book is linked and cited to web sites I already had booked in my web browser. Although the book is of some use it does not contain useful diagrams, or step by step guides as implied it is more of a Velcro shoe to begin your journey into learning to tie your dress shoes. I personally would not recommend this book for a robot building enthusiast if you know how to use an educated search engine.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Not a how-to book on "Linux Robotics". March 5 2006
By Vince Thompson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've been looking forward to Mr. Newman's book since his postings earlier last year on a robotics forum. I find the subject of incorporating a mini-itx computer with the Linux operating system into robots fascinating and I want to do the same. From this book, I understand he has working robots using this configuration. I'm sure I could learn a lot from Mr. Newman on this subject. I wish this book had provided insight into the pitfalls, tricks and details that a Microsoft Windows user could benefit from to accomplish his same results with Linux. I feel this book falls too short on the Linux content as implied by the book's current title. This would otherwise be a good book if it were renamed.

I found the mention of Linux related topics on approximately 25 out of 155 pages in this book. This is excluding the 119 pages of Java source code in Appendix A.

Chapter 1. Mentions Linux on 9 of 25 pages where the author describes in general terms that he is using Gentoo Linux and describes generalized reasons why you might want to use Linux.

Chapter 2. I didn't find any mention of Linux.

Chapter 3. Mentioned Linux on 3 of 15 pages. The author describes in general terms that a Linux motherboard can be a master node on the network. He discusses using USB devices with Linux.

Chapter 4. Mentioned Linux on 3 of 16 pages. He revealed that Linux is not a real-time operating system. Motherboards using the FTDI chipset seem to better support Linux. The author stated that he had to write a USB driver for Linux but gave no detailed information.

Chapter 5. I didn't find any mention of Linux.

Chapter 6. Mentioned Linux on 3 of 10 pages. In this chapter he describes where he found text to speech source code.

Chapter 7. Mentioned Linux on 1 of 15 pages. He mentions that some high-level open source vision systems are easier to work with under Linux than others. Another general comment was about video drivers for Linux.

Chapter 8. I didn't find any mention of Linux.

Chapter 9. Mentions Linux on 2 of 8 pages. He describes Joone as a nice Neural Network Interface that works under Windows and Linux. He admits that he runs his on a Windows laptop but it could run on Linux.

Chapter 10. Mentions Linux on 5 of 17 pages. The author's wireless Linksys network card is not part of the Linux kernel but is supported in Gentoo. This chapter makes other general comments regarding Linux, WiFi, and NFS.

I don't fault the author for this book; other materials in this book are of value to some readers. It makes a good introductory book for someone interested in learning about robotics topics. I respect Mr. Newman for his contributions to the robotics forums.

I do however fault Tab Books for the title and promotional material surrounding this book. I'll be wary of their books in the future. Perhaps a more appropriate title would be "My Robot Uses Linux" or "Java Robotics". This is not a how-to book on creating your own "Linux Robotics" projects.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Sadly the cover art is the best part! Jan. 2 2007
By A. Boehm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is fare to say Mr. Newman is very competent programming and using Linux. The one star rating has more to do with content and publishing rather than a knock on Mr. Newman. It was obvious he was under time constraints and that this was his first book. He spends more time talking about features that are not working yet or that he wants to implement, than the process to build the robot in his book. The majority of the book is short descriptions without depth. The title and the table of contents are very unreflective of the text contained in the book. The book has 155 pages of "content" and 120 pages of Appendix. The code in the 119 pages of Appendix A while well written could have been included on a CD and much more detail added to the book. It reads, looks and is a rush job. It is clear Mr. Newman has skills and a firm grasp of Robotics and Linux. It is also very clear that this TAB book is a bust. I returned the book. If you are looking for an in-depth Linux and Robotics book then you are much better off with Open-Source Robotics and Process Control Cookbook: Designing and Building Robust, Dependable Real-time Systems

By Lewin Edwards. I bought this at the same time I bought Mr. Newman's book. I also own Lewin Edwards first book.

Embedded System Design on a Shoestring

I consider both of Lewin Edwards works mentioned above as must have books.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Lots of Robotics, Not so much on Linux March 10 2006
By John Matlock - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Building Robots has become a fascination to a lot of people, including Mr. Newman, the author of this book. His robots are a long ways from C3PO. He basically build a robot mounted on wheels that has an awful lot of electronics. But then again he is including a lot of features in his design.

There are lot of ways to implement the controller. In this case he uses a small size but standard PC motherboard. On this board he runs a Linux operating system. In spite of the title, this is not really a book on how to use Linux to control robots. He just happens to use Linux for his robot because it is cheaper than Windows.

Most of the programming information he gives is the form of Java progrms that will handle the various devices (such as vision) that he wants built into his robots. In fact, much of the book, too much in fact, is given over to code. The code is available on line, reprinting it here in the book is pretty boring reading.

The book is a good introduction on how to design and build a robot using standard components. Here's how you can get started.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Caution On Missing Web Resources... Aug. 17 2013
By Let's Compare Options - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The promised McGraw-Hill "extensive web resources" (back cover) including downloadable software, circuits, classes, solderless breadboard designs, etc. are all GONE as of this 2013 writing. McGraw refers you to the author's website (enerd) which is now an ad for a domain company.

Not a bad book (most bot builders graduate from Arduino and Java to Linux and VHDL sooner or later for bigger projects), but much of the hype has been on the web available code and circuits, and that's simply, now, a lie. One could argue it's been a few years, but if you're still selling new books, I'd reply that buyers should at least get what's promised! Beware, as this is true of new and used copies. This is a shame, because the Java pieces were pretty sweet!

If you don't care about the code and web resources, book alone is well worth reading if you can get it at a good, used price (say, under $15 US including shipping), hence 2.5 stars.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Good beginner's book March 30 2007
By William J. Mania - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
There's not a lot of detailed technical information but the book does a good job of listing a range of ideas and sources for building Linux robots. As an expert-level Linux Administrator, a decent C and Python programmer who is familiar with Java and as a budding roboticist, I found the book very useful.

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