Linux: The Complete Reference, Second Edition
Author: Richard Petersen
Publisher: Osborne McGraw-Hill
Price: $50 US
ISBN: 007 882 461 3
Reviewer: Ben Crowder
Linux: The Complete Reference, Second Edition attempts to cover the whole of the Linux knowledge base, and in that respect, it makes a fair showing. You may, however, want to wait for a future edition, the reasons for which I'll explain later.
The book is fairly well-organized, granting a wide variety of topics a decent amount of coverage. Even with the seemingly large number of one thousand pages, however, there's a limit to how deep a reader can delve; a few subjects seem spread a bit too thinly (which is understandable, of course). The book is divided into seven parts: Introduction to Linux, Linux Operations, Networking, Shells, Editors and Utilities, Administration and Appendices. The one noticeably absent area is multimedia—the only mention of anything having to do with video, sound, graphics or gaming is a two-page procedure on installing a sound card. Perhaps multimedia will be dealt with in a future edition. Other than ignoring multimedia, however, the areas chosen seem to cover the geography of Linux fairly well.
Part I begins with an introduction to Linux, describing the history of UNIX and Linux, then gives an overview of the whole system (the shell, the file system structure, utilities, etc.). The next chapter leads the reader through the installation process. This chapter is heavily Caldera-oriented (the book comes with a Caldera OpenLinux Lite v1.2 CD), and you probably won't have much luck trying to install another distribution with these instructions. Chapter three runs through basic Linux tasks such as getting into your system through LILO, logging in and out, starting X Windows, the manual pages, etc. Chapter four tells you about window managers and desktops (such as the Caldera Desktop, with no mention of KDE or GNOME). Later versions of OpenLinux include the KDE desktop, so hopefully this will be updated soon.
Chapter five opens Part II with a guide to shell operations (redirections, pipes, scripts, etc.). Chapter six describes the Linux file structure, and the next chapter goes over file management operations such as permissions and mounting file systems.
In chapter eight, which begins Part III (Networking), one learns how to run the basic e-mail utilities such as Mail, Elm and Pine. Chapter nine goes over Usenet and newsreaders. Chapter ten introduces several Internet tools (TELNET, FTP, archie, gopher, etc.), and the Web is covered in the next chapter. In chapter twelve, the process for creating many different types of Internet servers (web servers, FTP servers, gopher servers, etc.) is described in detail. Chapter thirteen goes over remote access (UUCP, rsh, etc.).
Part IV, Shells, delves into the filters and regular expressions, the Bourne Again Shell (BASH) and the TCSH shell. Here you learn how to write your own shell scripts, as well as the arcane technicalities of each of the two major shells.
Part V covers vi and Emacs in adequate detail. Though the title of the section includes the word “utilities”, only those two editors are covered.
Part VI, Administration, goes into systems configuration (chapter nineteen is mistakenly labeled “Device Configuration” in the header of each page), network administration (the basics of TCP/IP, PPP and SLIP), X Window System configuration, typesetting (TeX, LaTeX, Ghostscript), the standard Linux C compilers and libraries (gcc, g++ and gdb), Perl, Tcl/Tk, Expect and gawk.
The last and seventh part is just a compilation of appendices. The first lists hardware parameters that may be necessary to pass to the kernel at boot time, such as those for CD-ROM IRQs and other sometimes-annoying settings that don't properly autodetect. The second lists all the software packages that come with the OpenLinux CD, and the third lists the video cards supported by the X Window System.
Apparently, the book was published before it was thoroughly proofread—it is littered with glaring typographical and grammatical errors, misspellings and repetitions (for example, some text is repeated later on in the same chapter, almost word for word). Linus Torvalds' name is repeatedly spelled without the final “s”, and '/dev/cua1' is used as a plural. Given extensive proofreading by an editor with a sharp eye, and adding a section on multimedia, the book could become a shining jewel, but in its current state it isn't worth the price of $50 US.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
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.
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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