Special Edition Using Caldera OpenLinux by Allan Smart, Erik Ratcliffe, Tim Bird, David Bandel

Reviewed by: Doug Reed, send e-mail
Published by: Que, go to the web site
Requires: N/A
MSRP: US$39.95

For those who have heard about Linux, are thinking of using it, but don't know much about it, this is a good place to start. The book covers every topic conceivable about OpenLinux, especially topics that are of great importance to network administrators trying to incorporate OpenLinux on a server. The book's authors either work for Caldera or are associated with Caldera, so it follows that they know a great deal about the subject matter. Despite being comprehensive and including a wide variety of topics, the book does not sink under its own weight and well written; even Linux newbies should not get lost here.

The enclosed CDROM includes the latest version of OpenLinux as well as most (if not all) of the commercial and freeware packages included when you buy OpenLinux by itself. This is a full version of OpenLinux, not the watered down version that Caldera has passed out to book publishers in the past (Red Hat led the way in this regard - how could Caldera afford not to play along?). Given that the price for this book is lower than the price of OpenLinux alone, this is pretty much a no-brainer: buy the book! Everything you need to know is here, including a description of how to install OpenLinux.

The book is broken down into six parts and four additional appendices. In the first part, the authors introduce you to OpenLinux and describe how to install the operating system. The second part, "Using OpenLinux" explains the KDE desktop, how to customize the desktop to your needs, and how to install/uninstall the various packages that you can run on OpenLinux. This includes the basic applications and utilities that are included on the CDROM (although surprisingly, not the WordPerfect 8 included on the CDROM).

The conclusion of the second part essentially ends the portion of the book for the "average" PC user. Part 3 covers System Administration using OpenLinux, including descriptions of the Linux file system, security, printing, package management, and other system essentials. Essential reading to get the most out of Linux, but beyond either the capabilities or understanding of the average user. Part 4 covers Networking, including administration, setting up a TCP/IP connection, connecting to an ISP, and setting up a server (e-mail, web, and ftp are all covered). Part 4 also covers firewalls, wrappers, and interacting with Netware or Windows networks. Part 5 covers how to set up and run OpenLinux as an X server. Finally, part 6 covers two topics that don't fit into parts 1 through 5 -encryption and multimedia.

Special Edition: Using Caldera OpenLinux is a comprehensive book about version 2.2 of OpenLinux, providing the reader with a valuable reference and tutorial in getting started using Linux. Linux is still primarily an operating system for use as a network server, and the majority of the book covers these topics. Businesses and network administrators looking to 'make the switch' can easily find what they need in this book; the average personal user will get more out of the first part of the book. For average users your mileage will vary - the first two parts of the book will be very useful, the remainder will be useful only if you intend to use your Linux system as part of a network (or a web server). The enclosed CDROM with the full version of OpenLinux makes it a real bargain - tutorial and operating system, all rolled into one package. Books like this will go a long ways towards building Linux's user base. Watch out, Microsoft!

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