This is the book I wanted when I started learning about Unix. OK, Linux didn't exist then, but if it had existed, and if I were sticking my toes in it, this would have been THE book.
If there's anything Mark forgot to cover, it can't be important. It's all here, from installation to writing programs and shell scripts. Everything, and I do mean everything you could possibly need to know about Linux is packed into just over 1,000 pages.
It's simply mind boggling. If I were tasked to write such a book, you would have found me crouched in a corner muttering to myself after only a few hundred pages. How Mark stayed focused while moving step by step through such a broad range of subjects and idea is hard to imagine. It's like setting out to walk across a continent: sure, you just have to keep walking, but.. wow!
The book is written so that it could be used in a course, with suggested questions and exercises at the end of each chapter. Subjects are often introduced and then covered more deeply later: for example, the Bash shell actually has three widely separated chapters covering it at different levels. There are plenty of tips and examples in every section.
The only gripe I'd have is with some of the reviews.
That was from the cover. I wouldn't recommend this to an experienced person - there's just too much here that they'd already know even if they knew nothing about Linux or Unix. I wouldn't NOT recommend it either, but I'd warn them that there's a lot here they wouldn't need.
However, don't take that as a big negative. If you are a Windows admin who has been perusing job listings and feeling a little sick because everybody seems to want you to know a bit of Linux, take heart: this will teach you Linux.
If you are an old Unix hand, well, you are going to skim a lot. But don't skim too quickly, because you will miss important information.
And what about if you've been doing Linux for the past decade or so? Well.. I'm pretty sure you don't need this book. You might want it just the same, because it is a handy place where you can look up just about anything Linuxish, but you certainly don't need it.
Oh, FC5 DVD is included, saving you more than a little download time.
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2011-04-28 Anthony Lawrence