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Linux Pocket Guide

May 7th, 2004

This book is an upfront, no bull, book. It´s all about the essentials, it doesn´t bore you with commands you will never use, or about history you could care less about, it´s a short reference guide for the essential commands used in Linux. The book provides loads of examples and tips on how to use the commands, or different uses for them. This is a must have book for anyone who uses Linux.

Author: Daniel J. Barrett

Pages: 200

Publisher: O´Reilly & Associates

ISBN: 0596006284

Available for download sample chapter – “File Properties” and available for download sample chapter – “Programming with Shell Scripts”

About the author

Dan Barrett has been immersed in Internet technology since 1985. Currently working as a software engineer, Dan has also been a heavy metal singer, Unix system administrator, university lecturer, web designer, and humorist. He is the co-author of Linux Security Cookbook, SSH, The Secure Shell: The Definitive Guide, as well as monthly columns for Compute! and Keyboard Magazine, and articles for The O´Reilly Network.

The Book

This book consists of 41 short sections covering various topics such as shell usage, web browsing, software installation, the filesystem, and many other things. The book is set up so that you get the basics first, and then the more advanced commands. The topics are organized and named according to the subject they pertain to. So if you just want to flip open the book, you are able to find the subject you are looking for.

Sections one through 7 are about the very basic commands used in Linux. For example, it tells you how to login and logoff of an account using the ´login´ command. Section one also tells you how to shutdown your computer using the shutdown command with the syntax ´shutdown [options] time [message]´, with the options provided below it. The next section pertains to the filesystem and how it is set up.

Sections 8 through 19 are about file operations, editing, printing, etc. In these sections you are able to familiarize yourself with the basic editing and manipulation commands for files and directories. You are provided a list of the options available first and then their various uses, which makes it useful if you know what you are looking for, but you don´t know where it is under the section.

The section I found most interesting was section 29, which is about network connections. It talks about the use of SSH(SecureShell), telnet, sftp, ftp, and a couple others. Now this can be helpful to people who are trying to connect to an outside host, but don´t know the commands for it. The cover it gives to each of the commands is relatively short, but what it does tell you about them is just the things you NEED to know, so you don´t have to weed out the things that are irrelevant.

The rest of the sections excluding the last, concern web browsing, email, graphics, music, and instant messaging. This can be useful if you are new and don´t know how to set these up, but if you aren´t new to Linux, then it isn´t really necessary. It covers the most common used programs relating the subject at hand, ie., Gaim, Mozilla, XMMS, and others.

The last section cover shell scripting. Now personally, I´m not very good at shell scripting, so I have to consult this part often, and I find it extremely useful. It shows you the basic syntax of shellscripting and the basic commands.

My Opinion

I found this book to be very useful in furthering my knowledge of Linux. It is upfront and kept me on the computer for a while testing the new commands I found. A beginner will find it useful as will an advanced user. I have to admit, I keep this on me whenever I go to work incase I need to consult it for a certain command or shell script syntax. I would definitely recommend any Linux user buy this, trust me, you will not regret it.

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