Author: Steve Heath
Price: $39.95 US
Reviewer: Marjorie Richardson
Essential Linux is written to give you an understanding of the basics of Linux using the Slackware v3.1 distribution. It is directed to the newcomer, the same market as Matt Welsh's Linux Installation and Getting Started and O'Reilly's Linux in a Nutshell. I think the fact that so many books directed toward the Linux user seem to be appearing on bookshelves these days is a sure sign that publishers are recognizing the growing market to be found for Linux.
The book describes author Steve Heath in this way:
“The author has been involved in the design and development of microprocessor-based systems since 1982. He is the author of 15 books in the computing field.”
As described, Mr. Heath is certainly well qualified to write a Linux book for the novice. The book is well written and clear, although like most books it could have benefitted from one more proofreading pass. I found it a bit annoying that the word megabytes is abbreviated as Mbytes instead of MB, but certainly not confusing. In the trade name declarations, Mr. Heath prematurely announces Linux as a trademark of Linus Torvalds. (Certainly a statement we hope is true by the time this review is printed.)
Chapters are arranged nicely, starting with the introductory material (installation, booting, etc.) and going on to discuss commands, shell scripts and editors. Finally, there are short chapters on system administration, networking and installing XFree86.
The installation chapter is comprehensive and accurate, working its way from setting up the keymap and disc partitions, through software installation and configuration, to building and testing the kernel. There are also discussions of LILO, kernel patches and the /proc file system. All of this is good information that is necessary in order to get up and running with Linux.
The basic Linux commands are also covered well. Mr. Heath uses a standard format to present the information, which includes the command definition, the arguments and an example. While he is quite explicit about the dangers of using the remove command (rm) carelessly, he neglects to offer the usual advice to the novice of setting up an alias for rm containing the -i option, so that the user is always queried for confirmation before removing a file.
The bash and tcsh shell chapters are adequate and full of examples to aid the novice in writing scripts of his own. No mention is made of the korn shell, which some of us still do use.
Editors are given short shrift. Mr. Heath concentrates on the ed and ex line editors, giving 5 of some 20 pages to vi and ignoring Emacs entirely.
The chapters on system administration and networking are also short given their subject matter, but they do give a good introduction to the basics for both—and this is all the title has promised.
The final chapter is entitled “If It Doesn't Work” and gives some solutions to a couple of common problems and some tips for debugging shells. At less than five pages, it is the shortest chapter in the book. I guess not much goes wrong with Linux.
Essential Linux comes with a CD-ROM that contains Slackware v3.1, documentation from Sunsite and various versions of the Linux kernel from 1.3.2 through 2.0.06 and 2.1 (development).
In conclusion, if you are a Linux beginner who has chosen Slackware as your distribution, Essential Linux is one of many books that can help you get started. It amply fulfills its promise of presenting the essentials.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
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- The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database
- Stunnel Security for Oracle
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide