Linux 9 Unleashed, by Bill Ball and Hoyt Duff ISBN 0672325888
to the web site
PC, preferably more than one for networking
is currently the free UNIX operating system for
desktop computers. You only need to pay for a
distribution fee (if you purchase a boxed retail
version) or for download time over Internet.
Or you can buy this book, which comes with a
publisher's version of Red Hat Linux 9. The publisher's
version is a subset of the full package from
Red Hat. However, it still has everything you
need to get started and explore Linux. This book
is tailored for Red Hat Linux.
who are wondering about the differences between
Red Hat Linux and other Linux distribution can
find product comparison matrices on the Internet.
This book may mention Red Hat 8 occasionally, but
the information applies to version 9 as well. The
reason for this mixed discussion of versions is
that the authors run Red Hat Linux 9 on IBM 390X
laptop and Red Hat Linux 8 on a shoebox-sized computer,
networked through a wireless connection.
is a book designed for intermediate to advanced readers,
it adds more details than a beginner may expect.
It also assumes that readers know about the basic UNIX commands
such as navigating directory tree and viewing file content.
It discusses all kinds of options to install Linux, including
options that assume the presence of another Linux machine.
On the other hand, this book does provide detailed beginners
step-by-step instruction and screen shots for installing
Red Hat Linux. This book doesn't discuss upgrading from earlier
versions of Red Hat Linux. It assumes that the readers want
to do a clean, new installation. The entire chapter 3 "Installing
Red Hat Linux" is available free online here.
To derive the greatest benefit from this book, a good approach
is to pick up a subject, explore on your own using an installed
Red Hat Linux, then come back to the book. In this way, you'll
appreciate the detailed information provided.
of this book is very logical. Starting from introduction,
preparing to install, installing, post-install
configuration, first steps after installation to the X Windows
system, Part One provides detailed information about basic
Linux environments. Part Two is about system administration,
including managing services, software and resources, users,
file system, backup, restore and recover. Part Three goes
into more detail about system services, including printing,
networking, DNS, Internet connection, Apache Web Server,
databases, ftp, e-mail and news server & client. Part
Four discusses programming and productivity on Linux, including
C/C++, shell scripting, Perl, managing kernel and modules,
office application suites, multimedia applications and emulators
for other operating systems. The reference section includes
links for many resources on Internet.
It is obvious that the authors attempted to cover everything
a system administrator might need to install and maintain
a Red Hat Linux box, with occasional programming or scripting
to get jobs done. Most of the information is up-to-date,
including the current Perl version. Due to its size however,
some omissions are inevitable. For example, the Red Hat Bluecurve
is not mentioned at all. Although shell scripting is discussed
in its own chapter, the configuration files of shells are
not discussed. It's nice to see a whole chapter on C/C++
programming language, but the application of the language(s)
is missing. An obvious question is how to compile and replace
the existing Linux operating system from source codes?
The authors have included tremendous amounts of detail in
each chapter. This is a valuable contribution for people
who want to learn and maintain Red Hat Linux systems. For
those who want to learn generic Linux, however, there is
a concern abotu whether the information in this book can
be applied to other Linux distribution. It appears that many
commands are specific to the Red Hat distribution and probably
do not have counterparts in other Linux systems. Examples
include redhat-config-keyboard, redhat-config-mouse, redhat-config-soundcard,
redhat-config-nfs, redhat-config-printer-tui, etc.
The authors spent lots of time keeping the content up-to-date.
The companion CD comes with Red Hat Linux 9 Publisher's Edition
which saves readers the time needed to download it themselves.
With so much information as well as the CD, this book is
a bargain for any Red Hat Linux learner.
to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public.
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