Fourth Edition by Bill Ball, David Pitts, John Goerzen, et
al; ISBN: 0-672-31688-9
to the web site
US / $74.95 CAN
for the reference to end all references on Linux?
Linux Unleashed comes as close as any one book
can possibly come. Linux Unleashed is now in
it's fourth edition and that longevity has allowed
the book to acquire considerable polish. The
book covers a wide variety of topics, from installing
and booting Linux to configuring your desktop,
configuring services & servers for both intranet
and internet computers, system administration
and programming in Linux. A wide variety of topics
fall under the auspices of these broad categories
and Linux Unleashed manages to cover them all
at least briefly, which is why the book measures
in at 1468 pages. There is something here for
everyone - even a chapter on playing games!
in my previous review of Peter Norton's Complete Guide to
Linux that complete guides to anything tend to either forget
to target an audience or have too broad a focus. The authors
of Linux Unleashed have done their best to prove me wrong.
Linux Unleashed is definitely for intermediate to advanced
users, as the majority of topics will be well beyond the comprehension
of newer computer users. However, Linux Unleashed does have
chapters on installing and running Linux, and a number of
chapters on basic topics like configuring the desktop and
playing games. If you are new to Linux and trying to find
a book to get you started, I would recommend that you instead
get Sam's excellent Teach Yourself Linux in 24 Hours or O'Reilly's
Learning Red Hat Linux. Not that you wouldn't find Linux Unleashed
useful, and I do highly recommend it - but find a book that
goes more in depth on installing and running Linux first.
Then get Linux Unleashed.
is divided into six sections, each broken up into several
chapters. The theme and quality of writing between chapters
suggest that although the book was written "by committee"
(i.e., a large number of contributing authors as well as the
three listed above) they worked together to write the chapters
rather than divide them up and write them individually. This
helps the reader tremendously, as the style of writing, the
depth, and the examples presented remain consistent. It also
helps that these guys appear to know how to write to an audience
who probably knows some but not all of what they are describing.
section of the book covers installing and configuring Linux.
There is the obligatory but thankfully brief "Introduction
to Linux" that all Linux books have. Chapter 2 Installing
Linux covers installation of the three of the more popular
versions of Linux (Red Hat, Debian, and Caldera). The enclosed
CD that comes with the book includes the latest copies of
these three versions as well.
section Configuring Services covers system tools, TCP/IP,
DNS, SMTP (including configuring an Internet e-mail server),
FTP, and the Apache web server - just to name a few of the
chapters! Also included in the second section is a lengthy
chapter on Samba & how to configure Samba so your Linux
box can interact with desktops running Windows. Section three,
System Administration, covers the topics near and dear to
network administrators hearts like managing file systems,
security, archiving & restoring, printing, kernel management,
and how to automate tasks.
section covers programming in Linux and devotes separate chapters
to shell programming, programming in C/C++, Motif, Perl, gawk,
tcl/tk, & Python before wrapping up with chapters on network
programming and - of course - Java, that most ubiquitous of
programming languages these days. Section five, Advanced Topics,
covers a wide range of subjects including graphics applications,
multimedia, emulators, games and installing & configuring
Linux on a laptop. Finally, section six is the appendices
and includes the Linux Documentation Project & a list
of Linux commands.
Well written, broad coverage of Linux. Knows its target audience
but doesn't fail to include those new to Linux. Fourth edition
really is beginning to show some polish.
At 1468 pages, this sucker is heavy!
to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public.
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