MikeD writes "I just got my copy of the latest release in the O'Reilly's 'Hacks' series, "Linux Multimedia Hacks" by Kyle Rankin. If you are familiar with the other books in the 'Hack' series, this one will seem familiar." Read the rest of Mike's review.
There are 5 'Chapters', each focusing on a specific multimedia topic starting from the most basic/common and moving up the multimedia food chain. The chapters cover (in order) Images, Audio, Video, Broadcast media, and the Web. The hacks in each section are similarly arranged, usually starting with the simplest and moving to more complex issues. They helpfully put a little rating symbol by each hack indicating if it is for beginners, intermediate or advanced users. While that is a little simplistic, it does give you some hint at the complexity of that particular 'hack'.
Because this is a 'hack' book, it is really designed so you can look up the topic you want. For example in Chapter 3: Video, there is a "hack" explaining how to convert from one video format to another. If that is what you need to do, turn to hack 63 and follow along and you are done.
But they put a little extra effort into the layout and topics covered here and you *could* use this as a great introduction to a particular multimedia area as well.
Lets look at Chapter2: Audio for example. The first 'hack', number 13, is titled "Mix Your Audio for Perfect Sound. This hack begins by exploring the audio systems in your system, the hardware, the sources and such then finishes by introducing a couple of common tools for controlling your audio, aumix and alsamixer. The next 'hack', "Surround Yourself with Sound" goes into details on how to get sound out of your system. It discusses speakers, 5.1 surround sound and how to use the tools alsmixer, aplay and others to set up, test and ultimately enjoy the cool audio available while watching movies.
Together those two 'hacks' make a pretty basic introduction to PC audio under Linux. From there the audio hacks include format changing, ripping, burning CDs music management and much more. You really could start at the 13 and work your way through to hack 46 and have a very good understanding of audio, PC audio and how to get the most out of it on your Linux PC.
So it really is more than just a collection of hacks. It can lead you from the basics of screen capture ('hack' number 1), to image manipulation, animation, then move on to audio and video. In Chapter 4 they get into TV tuner cards, Myth TV, streaming audio and video, ripping to broadcasting.
Chapter 5, Web hacks is sort of the odd man out in this book. In some ways it is separate from the other four in that it is directed more towards the web, which is something that would require several whole books in itself to cover well. But they included a few ideas, like "Star in Your Own Reality TV Show (hack #97), that do relate to some of the prior material.
Over all this will be a very useful book to anyone who is new to multimedia, but even some more advanced users will find some interesting and useful ideas, I think. Well worth checking out."
You can purchase Linux Multimedia Hacks from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.