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Running Linux, 3rd Edition

Hemos posted more than 14 years ago | from the explaining-it-all dept.

Linux 76

O'Reilly's Running Linux is something of an established textbook on learning Linux from the beginning to getting deeper in the innards. The latest version is written by Lar Kaufman, Matt Welsh and Kalle Dalheimer. Click below to read the review of the newest edition of the book.Note: this review is based on a Draft copy of Running Linux.

Overview

You've decided to take the Linux plunge. You have a computer all set up and you have your shiny new CD in hand. You're excited and nervous all at the same time. You've put in some time on your shell account at work, but you're not a power user. This dual-booting thing might be for you. But the CD just sits there next to the black screen... where do you go from here?

"Running Linux" seeks to take you from that first icy shock of installation to the deep end of recompiling kernels, upgrading system libraries, and tweaking your X configuration.

The intended audience is people with some previous Unix experience who are willing to get their hands dirty under the hood of their installations. There are frequent references to man pages and HOWTOs for gory details.

What's good?

The authors take an early distribution-neutral stance, glossing over some of the slick configuration utilities in favor of editing text files. While that may dissuade some users, it has the benefits of being universally applicable as well as more educational.

The section on installation is particularly good, discussing common pitfalls, partitioning techniques (and preferences), and various configurations, including dual booting. The Samba information is also quite good.

"Running Linux" covers a wide scope of other utilities, from Apache to gdb, Tcl/Tk to the GIMP.

What Might Bite Back?

There's a lot of material covering a lot of subjects. This means that there's not much fat here -- just the bare essentials. Consider this your roadmap and be ready check the references provided when you need to know more.

Some of the applications covered appear only by personal preference. For example, fvwn, elm, and smail are discussed, while WindowMaker, pine, and sendmail are not. That's not a big issue, however.

Feel free to jump around between the chapters -- the arrangement is more encyclopedic than progressive. Common tools such as vi or Emacs appear in chapter 9, while kernel upgrades and modules show up in chapter 7.

One of the larger limitations in the draft copy was the conspicuous absence of GNOME-related material. Thankfully, the final version includes an appendix written by members of the GNOME team. (One of the authors, Matthias Dalheimer, develops KDE.)

The Bottom Line

If you're the curious type, looking to play around with Linux, and you need a little friendly advice and some suggestions on where to look for further information, this is the place to start. If you've used Linux for a while, and want to start understanding your system, this is also the book for you.

Pick this book up at Amazon.

Table of Contents (abbreviated)

Preface
Chapter 1. Introduction to Linux
Chapter 2. Preparing to Install Linux
Chapter 3. Installation and Initial Configuration
Chapter 4. Basic Unix Commands and Concepts
Chapter 5. Essential System Management
Chapter 6. Managing Filesystems, Swap, and Devices
Chapter 7. Upgrading Software and the Kernel
Chapter 8. Other Administrative Tasks
Chapter 9. Editors, Text Tools, Graphics, and Printing
Chapter 10. Installing the X Window System
Chapter 11. Customizing Your X Environment
Chapter 12. Windows Compatibility and Samba
Chapter 13. Programming Languages
Chapter 14. Tools for Programmers
Chapter 15. TCP/IP and PPP
Chapter 16. The World Wide Web and Electronic Mail
Appendix A. Sources of Linux Information
Appendix B. The GNOME Project
Appendix C. Installing Linux on Digital/Compaq Alpha Systems
Appendix D. LinuxPPC: Installing Linux on PowerPC Computers
Appendix E. Installing Linux/m68k on Motorola 68000-Series Systems
Appendix F. Installing Linux on Sun SPARC Systems
Appendix G. LILO Boot Options
Appendix H. Zmodem File Transfer

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76 comments

More people use KDE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637704)

So it should be represented more...

Re:Best Advanced Book-WC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637705)

"Linux, the complete reference" by walnut creek is another. Covered 1.0 and there is I believe a recent edition as thick as a phone book. Yggdrasil also had put out a video tape as well.

Not you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637706)

"KDE has more users" Two words. Prove it. If you can't I think you know what that makes you.

Re:Matt Welsh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637707)

Yes, I wrote most of the new stuff in the third edition, and I also updated the chapters that appear unchanged at a cursory glance. However, Matt was involved a lot in the decision what to put in, what not to put in and what of the old stuff to throw out and also wrote the preface and the first chapter himself. Regarding the GNOME appendix: We asked them for a contribution, and that's what we got. Not more and not less.

Re:Matt Welsh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637708)

I justed noticed that I at least should have signed my previous posting. So here: Kalle Dalheimer (not used to posting on /.; and, no, I won't create an account :-))

Re:Not so great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637709)

Wow! I thought I was the only one that noticed. I read about a dozen Linux books but in general, there is NO BOOK that can really teach you Linux. I feel sorry for people who have to depend on any book. I do own this book and sad to say.... I can not send mail (eccept when I use Netscape) and the detail I was hoping to find are missing. Please don't missunderstand me. This is one of the better books there are. I bought "Mastering Linux" That was the biggest mistake I have ever made so far.Canadian $79.99 out the window :( In closing... Find a "friend" and treat him well. Forget about books. They where written to make money and not to educate you. Linux is a good thing and in time we newbies will contribute what Linus and the gurus can't. "The Real Manual" Until that day, M$ has the lough.

Re:Not you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637710)

KDE publishes their download activity. Join the mailing lists. Also it is the default desktop on more dists and on far more CD's than RH ships. Just mailing list activity is far greater than Gnome's. Deal with it.

Re:More people use KDE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637711)

KDE and GNOME are not window managers. They are complete desktop environmants. They have support for things like Drag and Drop, launching items from the desktop, serious taskbars, simple browsing of file systems, and so much more than X and a window manager can do. KDE and GNOME are window manager independent products that both support multiple window managers.

What's a good intermediate linux book? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637712)

Can someone please recommend a good intermediate linux book? I'm not a beginner, I've been using Linux about 2 years. But I wouldn't consider myself an expert by any means, either. What would be a good reference/explanation/command book, rather than a configuration/installation book? It seems like Running Linux is more of a beginner's book than anything else, from the comments made about it.

Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637713)

I still have my Running Linux original book that shipped with Redhat 2.1...I wonder if I really need the newest version...

Ah yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637714)

Edition 2 and my CheapBytes Debian 1.3.1 r6 CD is what got me started on Linux. Ordered them both for about $25.00.
From this review, it looks like the quality of the book hasn't suffered in this (needed?) update.

looking for a good security and admin book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637715)

i got this new running linux 3rd edition, and i think it's good covering bits of everything, but i also need a book that covers security and adminstration more. anybody know what's the best one(for linux, unix, whatever)?

Re:Matt Welsh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637716)

this article [linuxcare.com] would be a good place to start.

Re:ppp in v3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637717)

This is both interesting and odd at the same time. Why didn't reading the HOW-TO help you? I'm kinda peeved that there aren't more "free" information and more "free" books out there for the Linux crowd. The need for all these costly books just makes the hidden costs of Linux even more!

Not so great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637718)

I picked this up a few days ago. Since I'm not a total newbie (9 months and 2 working linux systems) I quickly read the first 3 install chapters from a semi-experienced point of view. I found comments like this one about disk partitioning: "This section is meant to be a general overview of the process. There are many subtleties we do not cover here. You can lose all the software on your system if you do not repartition your drive correctly." (p.54) Yikes! Perhaps the authors could have fleshed this out a little. Another quote from this "getting started" book on editing /etc/fstab: "After editing the file, you'll need to issue the command # /bin/mount -a or reboot for the changes to take effect. If you're stuck at this point, don't be alarmed. We suggest that Unix novices do some reading on basic Unix usage and system admimistration. most of the remainder of this book is going to assume familiarity with these basics so don't say we didn't warn you." (p.76) Yikes again. While it's true that there is a lot to learn about Unix, it will be a lot more relevant and interesting to do further studies AFTER you have a minimally functioning system at least. I think some more detail in an installation chapter would be appropriate. Anyway, since my boxes are up already, I continued on. I read earlier in the book that I could use vi commands to edit the Bash command line. On p. 102 this is described. It suggested: $ export VISUAL=vi. I tried this and it didn't work. A little time on the newsgroups and I found out it should be: $ set -o vi. If you want the change to persist, there is more to be done. After all the fawning over the excellent authors and editors O'Reilly supposedly gets, I really expected better. Maybe it will get better. I hope so since there is a big coffee stain on it now and I can't take it back :-(.

Last Word: Read the How-to's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637719)

The least expensive and most rewarding time you'll ever have with Linux must include reading the How-to's. They are the only Linux Bible I use.

Re:Best Advanced Book - depends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637721)

Depends on what information you're looking for. Want info on unix command "foo"? `man foo` is still you're best friend, most *nix books are aimed at teaching you the basics. Want to learn C++? "The C++ Programming Language" is THE C++ reference book, though not much in the way of a tutorial. Perl? I've found "Perl In A Nutshell" to be the best, although any of the ORA books in this category are excellent. TCL? Don't bother, TCL's an evil language (j/k.. ;). Advanced security/administration? The best sources for these are probably online. Sh/Csh/Ksh? Either man pages (sh manpage is basically all you need, IMO), or any of the ORA books. VI? ORA again..
And so on.. There's no one place/book for all this information, the best way to get information is through several sources.
-dilinger

Since when do authors have to justify themselves? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637722)

You had a KDE developer on board, KDE has more users, KDE got more coverage. No need to justify yourself just because Gnome zealots whine.

Re:Cheaper than Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637723)

Actually, I just ordered the book from Amazon a week ago for $19.99 + S&H...not a bad price I'd say...

There is no spoon

First installation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637724)

I was in college, and pretty broke. I installed slackware with the 1.0.xx kernels. I remember leaving my machine dialed up to the campus modem pool for 8 hours while I downloaded the a,ad and n disks for slackware. Installed those then installed x,xap,d and others. It was a great time. All we had were the faqs net2-howto showed us how to get a dip CSLip session going =)

Amen Brother! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637725)

Stay away from those "written by a bunch of well meaning ditwads" UNLEASHED books.

One or two of them MAY approach usefullness in a certain topic, but why bother digging?

I point everybody I know towards Sobell's Unix/Linux books. They don't teach anything about installation, but that sort of material is the responsibility of the vendor or the local guru.

Cheaper than Amazon (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637727)

I found the book at www.shopping.com for under $24 INCLUDING S&H www.bookpool.com said it was the cheapest price.

Re:Another recommendation in the same vein (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1637728)

I purchased S.u.S.E Linux based on recommendations as to the quality of the manual. It was very comprehensive and well written, and covers most of the topics in the Running Linux book.

Re:More people use KDE (1)

whoop (194) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637729)

Then well, write a real GNOME book. Or offer a draft to be included in the next edition of this book or any of the billions of Linux books. If you say you don't know enough about it to write a book/section, then I'd say you're perfect for the job. Learn and write as you go. It'll give a better view for other unknowledgeable users. It'll give a better view for other unknowledgeable users. There's that big gnome manual around. If it's not enough to fill a reasonably sized book, add to that and then talk with O'Reilly. There is much one could do to improve this situation. If you're just too lazy too do it, then well, there's not much that can be done.

GNOME -- lead times? (1)

KMSelf (361) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637730)

I suspect a reason there isn't more GNOME coverage is the lead time involved in bringing a book to press. Final drafts would have just been being completed at about the time the 1.0 release of GNOME appeared. Too little time to develop material on a product that was too unstable to recommend to the newbie.

GNOME has progressed significanlty though.

Remember, despite internet time, publishers still operate on a schedule.

GNOME -- lead times? (1)

KMSelf (361) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637731)

I suspect a reason there isn't more GNOME coverage is the lead time involved in bringing a book to press. Final drafts would have just been being completed at about the time the <cough> 1.0 release of GNOME appeared. Too little time to develop material on a product that was too unstable to recommend to the newbie.

GNOME has progressed significanlty though.

Remember, despite internet time, publishers still operate on a schedule.

startx -- :<display> (1)

KMSelf (361) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637732)

...will run X on a specified display.

If it's the same as for an existing X server, you'll get an error. If it's different, and the gods smile on you, you'll get a second X session in a different virtual console.

Title to long to fit in subject line (1)

KMSelf (361) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637733)


The Only Ultimate Idiot's Guide to Running Linux for Complete Klutz Dummies Unleashed in 21 Days * 24 Hours in a Nutshell You'll Ever Need

Shutdown -- ctrl-alt-del (1)

KMSelf (361) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637734)

The three-fingered salute can be made to work under Linux as it does for Windows, and it's enabled by default in many distributions. It requires a line 'ctrlaltdel' in /etc/init.

This allows any user sitting at the console to shut down the system safely.

"Running..." Technical, but beginner's reference (1)

KMSelf (361) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637735)

...in a Nutshell books are quick references for the experienced user, administrator, or developer.

Essential System Administration is a (reasonably) comprehensive guide to administering Unix (and Unix-like) systems -- from single-user workstations to large commercial installations. The emphasis is more on topics which might be encountered in a commercial (or academic) setting than for single-user issues, though it's helpful for both. Emphasis is on maintaining and administering an existing site, not on setting up a new one. x86-specific hardware issues are not covered in much detail.

Running Linux is principally aimed at the new user. Much of the book is aimed at identifying hardware issues, getting Linux installed, setting up subsystems, brief tutorials to editors and other tools, a short introduction to system administration, networking a standalone dialup system, etc. There's also a bit of background for the user transitioning from DOS or (shudder) Windows.

Another excellent book, IMO, is Nemeth, et al, "the red book" -- The Unix Administrator's Handbook. Slightly rustier even than the Frisch book, it's got a solid grounding in experience and philosophy of Unix administration that can't be beat.

Yes, the books serve different audiences. I own all three.

Re:Where does this fit into the O'Reilly Library? (1)

linuxci (3530) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637736)

Running Linux is more of a beginners guide to Linux and tries to cover all the areas that they'd be interested in to get a successful running system.
It doesn't do into much depth but tries to cover the basics of what you'll need to know. If you're already experienced with Linux then you probably don't need the book and you can probably cover all this more in depth wit h the other books.
As it's name suggests essential system administration covers sysadmin while the scope of running Linux is greater although not as in depth.

It's definitely worth a read for the inexperienced user or someone that needs to know a good overall knowledge of the OS.

BTW I'm posting this with Mozilla so if it doesn't display properly that's why. There seems to be a problem with text boxes on the build I'm using. However it's definitely approaching usability stage so go on and try it.

--

great book (1)

DavidShields (4396) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637737)

FWIW, I think this is the single best introduction to Linux. 2nd edition was also good, but this is much more up-to-date and comprehensive.

And amazon.co.uk is cheaper than amazon.com! (1)

cah1 (5152) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637738)

£14.10 + P&P [amazon.co.uk]. Just about the first time I've seen things cheaper on this side of the pond!

Re:Cheaper than Amazon (1)

GeorgeH (5469) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637739)

I bought my Palm III from shopping.com and I'm not buying anything else from them ever again. It took them 4 weeks to send it to me instead of the 7-10 days promised, and I was completly unable to find out anything about my order once they had my money. It was impossible to speak to a human being on the phone, and all of my e-mails went unanswered.

This was about a year ago, but unless they're a completly different company, spend the extra $5 to buy from Amazon.

--

Re:Where does this fit into the O'Reilly Library? (1)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637740)

AFAIK UNIX in a nutshell is generic unix book, this covers the basic commands and thing like awk, sed, and grep. It is more of a reference manual (IMHO). IT is always good to have a copy of that in the office to look up the commands.

Essential System Administration I'd hope talks more about the configuration of services like sendmail, inetd, and other common unix utilities. Basically how to setup and configure a system.

Running Linux probably goes into specific details about using a Linux specific system linux has utilities that are include in most distributions that are not included with most other UNIX flavors by default. While most of them are available for other , they must be downloaded seperately. rgrep is an example of this. I'd hope the book went over things that were more specific to linux. Even things such as recompiling a kernel.

Re:Matt Welsh (1)

lordsutch (14777) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637741)

I believe Kalle wrote most of the new material; Matt may have reviewed it at some point but I don't think he was actively involved. Same deal with the 2nd Ed. (Lar did most of the new stuff in that edition, IIRC). All of the appendices are new and by different authors too (except maybe the bibliography).

The colophon says that Matt is working on some sort of clustering project at UC-Berkeley, so I guess that's what he's still doing. I think he said so in a recent interview that was linked to from /.

What's different from the previous version? (1)

Gerv (15179) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637742)

Is this worth buying if you have V2 at all?

Gerv

Re:Opinions please, no fighting (1)

F.O.Dobbs (17317) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637743)

I picked up A Practical Guide to Linux by Mark Sobell based on the very positive review in /. a few months back. I highly recommend it as a general Unix/Linux reference. It's very distro-independent which is both good and bad (I use it as a reference for my work- Solaris/NetBSD/Debian).

ppp in v3 (1)

juan valdez (23411) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637744)

Version 2 of Running Linux does not cover PPP connections, only SLIP. Version 3 dropped the SLIP stuff and shows you how to set up a PPP connection. I bought version 3 as soon as I could find it just for this section.

Opinions please, no fighting (1)

Jimhotep (29230) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637745)

Lets say I want to learn Linux:
which books and in what order should I buy them



I'm not trolling here, I'm sure I'm not the
only person that would be helped by this.


thanks

Re:Another recommendation in the same vein (1)

yorkie (30130) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637746)

I hope the books improved from the first edition - it was crap (see my other post).

I did install a lot from the CD, but at the time my PC was both underesourced, and hampered by poorly supported hardware.

Later I purchased a Walnut Creek CD set, containing Slakware and some source code. It was at this stage I began to learn things, and even got to the stage of upgrading to the 1.3.x kernel series, but only had a 14.4 internet connection via a bizzare plug and play modem, which was a pain to get working. I also got round to getting a new PC, but XFree86 would not support my new card properly, until I downloaded a beta XServer with a time-limit (remember when XFree86 did those?).

Later still I obtained an Infomagic 6CD set, and a couple of RedHats, even buying the commercial release. I upgraded almost everything when something new appeared.

Now I run my own custom setup. Almost everything works, but a few packages fail to compile properly, probably due to my library and compiler versions. I've come a long way - but none of it was gained by reading Linux Unleashed.

I wish I had bought this when I started. (1)

yorkie (30130) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637747)

Working in a medium sized town in the UK, it was difficult 4 years ago to buy a decent Linux book, and none of the local booksellers sold anything by O'Reilly at the time. My first book was unfortunatly SAMS Linux Unleashed, mainly because it was the only one available at the time, complete with an almost current Slackware CD. I already had a copy of Slakware from a magazine cover disk, and had prior to that downloaded bits of slakware from Compuserve, so I wasn't completly green. I had also supported various SCO systems for a number of years.

That book taught me some things, but most was lacking, innaccurate or simply out of date. Some chapters had obviously been ported from other books, and at least one chapter still had multiple references to AIX. It was difficult to see who this was aimed at - the programming chapters were either very basic, or assumed a lot of prior knowledge, and would have been confusing to a novice.

I have since thrown the book away in disgust, and since have only bought O'Reilly books.

Re:Another recommendation in the same vein (1)

yorkie (30130) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637748)

You definitly must have been using a later edition. The section of the first edition on X configuration was very poor, and related to a release prior to the one on the supplied CD.

This book must be about 4 years old.

This is a Textbook for my class (1)

frenchs (42465) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637749)

Just thought people might like to know... This book is required for the introduction to computer software class that I am taking this semester (Learning Assembly under Linux for Intel). Boy am I glad I actually get to learn ASM for the Intel processor, maybe I can actually put it to good use writing some drivers :)

We actually had to wait a few weeks after the semester started before it was availible. But that's ok, because it's a good book for the people in the class that aren't familiar with Linux. The class is also getting students familiar with linux, and the people who had never had any experience with it seem to like it. And what is a nice change is that I have heard no complaints of "My computer froze and I lost my program" this semester! :)

On a side note, I'm glad CS classes are now starting to use O'Reiley books, I personally buy them because they are really clear, and I think that the care that O'Reiley puts into their books has caught the attention of eduactional institutions.

Hidden cost of linux (1)

Canadian AC (47292) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637750)

running Linux instead of other OS already cost me around 400$ in fee i could have avoided,and it grow up and up as the time go,but i NEVER did regret it since it help in 2 dept:

1-: i learned immensely and for me,learning is extremely important (esp in my favorite subject which linux fit in)

2-: it help my credit situation (very important as i have a lot of project i want to do)

so all in all,i spent over 4000$ in computing and about 1000$ on that is dedicaced to running Linux,keep in mind that your mileage may vary (and improve a lot when compared to me).

More Gush (1)

omarius (52253) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637751)

I, too, bought bought the book when I was a newbie. That, and Essentials of System Administration helped me a lot -- with my Linux goals in particular, and with Unix in general. Anyone who wants to get started with Linux should pick it up. Other books, like Sam's, etc., are cheap and shoddy IMHO. Most off-the-shelf references are full of white space, lame graphics, poor writing, and disjointed information. A mess from a document design perspective. I've enjoyed consistent quality from the O'R books I've bought, and would recommend them to anyone who can read and wants to learn about computer systems -- particularly Unix. -O

Best Advanced Book (1)

HarpMan (53271) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637752)

What's the best book for experienced Linux users and programmers? I thinking of something like a Linux "Bible", one place to go to look up info on sticky configuration issues and other stuff.

Any opinions?

Re:Another recommendation in the same vein (1)

Enoch Root (57473) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637753)

I dunno, individual experiences may vary, I guess.

I learned a lot from Linux Unleashed, and although the material is not softened up for a first approach, I find it's still a good reference guide when you want to, say, configure a particular X file and need a quick reference. And it was good enough to get me familiarised with most of the material.

"There is no surer way to ruin a good discussion than to contaminate it with the facts."

Re:Best Advanced Book (1)

TMFSumner (60307) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637754)

There isn't one. Use the HOWTOs, the FAQs, the info pages, the READMEs, and the man pages. Check in /usr/doc/packagename on a Red Hat system for other package-specific info (though it's not always all included, more's the pity). Then go talk to google and see what it turns up.

The HOWTOs and man pages are invaluable, though. Use them.

One simple rule (1)

Entity42 (67737) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637755)

On past experience, I only buy books with animals on the cover. You know when you're buying an O'Reilly book you'll be safe.

Also, never buy a book with a number in the title.

Re:More people use KDE (1)

LordOmar (68037) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637756)

I look at things this way. As long as there is a signifigant user base for a peice of softwear then it should be covered. I would gamble that there are more than enough Red Hat 6.X users out there running GNOME who would find a little more infomration about thier Window Manager helpful. More people use Windows than Linux, but I can find more books on Linux (and related Linux/Unix based softwear) than I find for windows. The reason? The documentation is needed to fully use Linux to it's optimal potential. Documentation should work on a "how much information is needed" basis, not a "how many people need the information".

Second Color Depth (1)

SLOfuse (68448) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637758)

If you've the resources (memory), you can run a second X-server on another virtual console with a different color-depth. (Don't remember the exact command) We used to do that in our lab so we could go play quake or something without rebooting and so on. (Must of done too much of this, my memory is failing ;). It's not exactly "on the fly", but it was useful.

I remembered. (1)

SLOfuse (68448) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637759)

One way to start 2 X-servers with different color depths on one machine:
startx -- :0 vt07 -bpp 16
startx -- :1 vt08 -bpp 32
Then you can ctrl-alt-F7 and ctrl-alt-f8 to toggle between them.
(Of course you'll have to get back to another virtual console after the first command with ctrl-alt-F2 or something.) You can use tty08 instead of vt08. Just be sure you don't use a virtual console that has a getty(login) on it. You might lose your keyboard. You can even have the second server use a completely different XF86Config file if you want. There are probably other ways to do this as well.

Oh yeah, the LDP (1)

SLOfuse (68448) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637760)

If you're *really* on a budget, check out the
Linux Installation and Getting Started Guide.

http://www.linuxdoc.org/doc.html#guide

Re:Best Advanced Book (1)

horsie (91009) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637762)

There used to be a book that was called the "Linux Bible" it was merely a compilation of all the FAQs, How-Tos etc relating to Linux, I was able to get it at Fry's but that was about 4 years ago or something, I haven't seen anything like that since...

I believe it was printed by the makers of Yggdrasil Plug 'N Play Linux... which can't be found any more either... but it did exist once...

Re:ppp in v3 (1)

Rogain (91755) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637763)

I don't understand why ppp seems to be so complex. Unless you're still trying to get that crapmodem to grow the extra circuitry needed to be real modem. Gee, sorry that someone hasn't worked for free to write you a free book-length tutorial about ppp or any other subject you don't fully understand. As with microsoft you are "free" to spend all the money you want on classes and CBTs. Linux is harder, but worth it. Freedom is not Free.

And of course lets have a silent moment of prayer for all of the poor book companies that went broke trying to sell Microsoft related Books. I mean, Windoze is just so dangedly simple you don't ever need to buy one of them paperly things all covered with writting and diagrams. Go to a bookstore and they're not to be found, cause there plainly isn't a market for them!

Re:I wish I had bought this when I started. (1)

nicky_d (92174) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637764)

I agree with this post entirely - I started with Linux a couple of months ago, from scratch, with SAMS' Red Hat Linux Unleashed. Some of the installation instructions were wrong, to begin with... some of the text was useful, but now more so than the HOWTOs. And to top it all, the distro was Red Hat (I didn't know any better at the time). Now I use Slackware and the 2nd Edition of Running Linux (plus any other O'Reillys I can find) and nothing goes wrong. Well, nothing I haven't caused myself ;^) I recommend this book without reservation, and I'm in middle England, too. Must be something in the water.

Wish I had bought it before I installed Linux... (1)

Noel McK (98340) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637765)

This is a great book to take you through the Linux experience... very appropriate to review it the day after Jon Katz's article on his Linux installation. I unfortunately installed Linux first, then bought the book later when I quickly realized the distribution's manual was worthless. A great companion book is O'Reily's "Linux in a Nutshell" - this is basically an encyclopedia of commands that makes a good reference while reading "Running Linux."

Matt Welsh (1)

stephen geer (98797) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637766)

I roomed with Matt Welsh at Cornell while he was writing this book. It was 1993-94, and at the time I knew even less about Linux than I do now. I always wondered what happened to him after graduation, but the blurb on the book hasn't been updated. (I think the third edition of Running Linux was updated by the third author, not by Matt or Lar.) Does anyone out there know?

Re: Unleashed == not good (2)

bjk4 (885) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637767)

I too bought this book with the hopes that all 1114 pages would have a whole lot of information. Instead, I found myself reading pages on pages of nothingness. I still cannot figure out how the author managed to write so many pages of words on so little information. I really recommend you find a different book for yourself to read if you want to learn Linux.

-B

Re:Opinions please, no fighting (2)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637768)

In addition to those already mentioned, I highly recommend "Essential System Administration." I don't know a [Li|U]nix admin who doesn't have a copy of this on his bookshelf.

Written by Aeleen Frisch, published by (you guessed it) O'Reilly and Associates.

The Ultimale Linux Book (2)

zhobson (22730) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637769)

At work we have a running joke about the Ultimate Linux book:

The Idiot's Guide to Linux for Dummies Unleashed in 21 Days

That covers all the bases, doesn't it?

Where does this fit into the O'Reilly Library? (2)

Cornycornguy (40008) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637770)

Just curious: I have "UNIX in a Nutshell" and "Essential System Administration". Between the two I've been able to figure out how to do the majority of things I've wanted to do.

How does "Running Linux" fit into this? Does "Running Linux" cover a lot of ground that isn't covered by "Essential Sys Admin"?

Thanks.

The Red Book (2)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637771)

The other book I would recommend in this light is Unix System Administration Handbook [amazon.com]. It's red with badly drawn cartoon characters. I've heard people refer to it as "The Red Book".

I have a hard time picking a favorite between O'Reilly's "Armadillo Book" and "The Red Book". Both are great. Both are a bit dated (The Red Book published Jan 1995, Armadillo 2nd Edition Dec 1996). Nevertheless, both provide invaluable information about general Unix administration (including how to deal with variations in flavors).

Having said that... I'm partial to O'Reilly & Associates as a company. And the Armadillo book can be picked up for much cheaper. If you're on a budget, buy only the Armadillo Book. If your budget allows, pick up The Red Book too. Both are worth the expense.

Useful, but possibly... (2)

CJ Hooknose (51258) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637772)

...not what people are looking for. I bought it at the end of August because I wanted a more general reference than the SuSE manual I had. It's filled that need, sort of, but I don't know in the abstract how newbie-friendly it is. It's nice to see paper tutorials on emacs and vi, though--both programs sorely need those. (hides from flamage)

The non-distro-specific nature of the book is great--after all, a Linux system is configurable to a large extent, and who knows what new oddities Corel/RH/Sun/Debian will put in their latest and greatest things? In the tech world, it seems that if it's documented, it's out of date. Maybe this book will be useful for a bit longer because it doesn't only cover version 0.997 of YaST.

This book also answered one nagging question I had: "How do I switch from 1024x768 to 800x600 to 640x480 under X?" The SuSE manual (and their Web page IIRC) said, "Ctrl-Alt-{+,-}" which didn't do anything. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the "+" and "-" referred to the keys on the numeric keypad. :-( Now if only we could switch color depth on the fly....

Another recommendation in the same vein (2)

Enoch Root (57473) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637773)

For people taking their first plunge in the wonderful world of Linux, I would also recommend Linux Unleashed [amazon.com]. It's cheap in paperback, it comes with a Linux CD and it's really extensive for a first-time overview. (It even talks about the basics of C, C++ and Perl.)

Plus, when you show this to people used to buying Microsoft products, they don't believe their eyes... $30 for a Linux reference, complete with a CD including a truckload of apps. Most Microsoft application books are more expensive than that, and they certainly don't come with the OS!

"There is no surer way to ruin a good discussion than to contaminate it with the facts."

I've really enjoyed this one. (2)

LordOmar (68037) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637774)

I picked this book up last week, and have really found it useful. It was even a great help fixing a friend of mines networking problems. I really have to credit O'Reilly for thier good work, but I think that there was a certain bias to KDE (a big, "DUH" on the reasons why). I've been neutral on the Window Manager war and plan to stay that way, but it would have been wise for O'Reilly to include on of the team members in the book's production as a whole. The additional GNOME material was nice but something about it to me seemed "too little, too late", I'd like to see some definitive guides to Window Managers published by O'Reilly very soon as this is one area of expertise that I seriously lack in (usually sticking to straight text and only using x-windows in order to have multiple sessions running easily), hurm, I should check thier upcoming releases section of thier web page.

LO

These 3 will take you a long way. (2)

SLOfuse (68448) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637775)

1) Running Linux - (the one reviewed here)
2) Linux in a Nutshell - Ellen Siever Et. al
(2nd Ed - O'Reilly)
3) Beginning Linux Programming - Matthew & Stones
(WROX Press)

O'reilly and other linux books (2)

Spazmoid (75087) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637776)

I still have my 1st edition of dis book and use it often. As the review says it is more encyclopedic than linear which is the way I like to use a book. I generall don't read my new computer books cover to cover. I skim the chapters that hold specific needed knowledge or special interest information for me then sit down with a box and really get my hands dirty. Another good refernce in the linux vein that I like is the Linux Network by Fred Butzen and Christopher Hilton published by IDG. Fairly inexpensive in paperback it lacks alot of meat but covers in varying detail everything from diald to ipchains to sendmail to socks to a litle security. It even has a little samba thrown in for good meauser. It is writen to assist in building a MS intranet with Linux acin as file/print/net access server but is applicable to many different styles of network. It is fairly distributionless in instruction in that it reminds you that what it says is for one distribution and others may vary. it comes with Slackware (my old favorite so that makes me biased) but for a good reference its hard to beat.

Re:Where does this fit into the O'Reilly Library? (3)

Christopher B. Brown (1267) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637777)

Running Linux fits in as a reference intended to feed your curiosity moreso than to figure out how to administer the system.

It provides introductory information on a whole lot of different sorts of software, particularly including development tools and applications. It only provides a "taste" of each, but nonetheless does provide enough detail to accomplish something useful, as well as how to get at more detail if you care to make more serious use of the facility.

The purposes of the books are pretty complementary; Running Linux does not forcibly obsolete UNIX in a Nutshell or Essential System Administration;

Running Linux is particularly useful for assessing answers to the question:

So what can I do with this Linux thing anyways?

Please send us corrections (3)

Matt Welsh (11289) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637778)

First of all, I really appreciate all of the good reviews here on Slashdot, and I'm glad that folks find Running Linux to be useful. I wanted it to be a book that Slashdot readers would appreciate :-)

I'd just like to point out that if you do find any mistakes or incorrect information in the book, please feel free to send corrections my way: mdw@metalab.unc.edu [mailto]. Usually we can correct small things in subsequent printings without waiting for the next edition to be released. In a book of this size, sometimes things slip through the cracks, but we do our best.

Also, feel free to send me any suggestions or ideas for future editions. We really depend upon readers to help us to shape the direction of the book's content, since it's often hard to tell which topics are important to cover and which are not. Now that Linux has grown so much this task is even more difficult than in previous editions.

It is true that our bias towards KDE was due to Kalle being on-board for this edition, but we did our best to talk about GNOME (albeit in an appendix). I hope that the next edition will have a bona fide section on GNOME incorporated into the book, but unfortunately we ran out of time to include it in this one.

Thanks everyone!
Matt Welsh

Review from a complete Linux newbie (3)

Bughammer (49758) | more than 14 years ago | (#1637779)

I bought this book about a week ago when I decided to take the Linux plunge. I chose that book because it seemed to cover a lot of subjects, it had a lot of references for each subject, and it's published by O'Reilly (they just have good books).

Considering I'm a complete Unix/Linux newbie (I just found out yesterday I have to be logged in as root user to invoke shutdown. Stop laughing, you were a newbie once too), it's been pretty usefull so far.

I've managed to install Linux in about an hour, and most of that time was spent trying to configure my Linux partitions properly with Disk Druid. I have Lilo running well for dual boot with Win98, and I've been able to do some file management, DOS style.

I obviously still have much to read, but considering all of the complaints I've read about installing Linux (including last week's CNN article), it's been very helpful so far, and I don't have any problems recommending it.

bh
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