Running Linux, Matt Welsh and Lar Kaufman
Order (or just read more about) Running Linux-Second Edition
"Running Linux (Second Edition) " was published in 1996, and Linux has changed a lot since then. You don't (or shouldn't) need a lot of the excellent technical advice offered within, simply because Linux has evolved beyond the problems that made such advice necessary. Also, much of the advice that is still valid is old hat to folks familiar with other Unix versions such as SCO or Solaris. A person only familiar with Windows will get much more out of this than people already running a Unix OS.
A third edition has been announced. I'd recommend waiting for that before buying this book.
Yet, despite all this, I'll still recommend this to those starting to investigate Linux, even those with a good background in Unix.
In the first place, understanding the heritage of what Linux was just a few years ago can be very helpful if you do run into problems that the modern releases still can't quite handle. Beyond that, if you've been sheltered in one Unix version, such as SCO, a lot of the book truly will open your eyes. There is an excellent chapter on Linux printing, good coverage of what's necessary to compile new kernels and other software, and complete explanations of such concepts as loadable device driver modules that are often completely foreign to SCO users. There's a good section of configuring X86 (still often a weak area in Linux installs), including discussions at the hardware level. There's even a chapter on using the gdb debugger and coverage of Tex and Latex; whatever it is you will be doing with Linux, it is probably at least touched on here.
Of course, there are also lengthy sections devoted to subjects like file permissions and using vi or emacs; Unix savvy folk will have to skip by those sections, but still should find enough here to make the purchase worthwhile.
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