Book Review: Red Hat Linux 9 Bible by Christopher Negus

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John Wiley & Sons, 2003

ISBN: 0-7645-3938-8

$49.99 US

At 1,000+ pages, calling this book a bible is not an exaggeration. Browsing its pages, I quickly realized that it is broken into three sections, the first oriented toward users, the second toward system administrators and the third toward networks. The book comes with three CDs for installing Red Hat Linux 9.

The first thing I look for in a book such as this is the section that explains what is new in Red Hat 9. The book explains it all on page 12, “Although you don't see it, the Native POSIX Thread Library is the most significant addition to Red Hat Linux 9 (and the main reason why the release is called 9 instead of 8.1).” Thank you. The book also details the components of Red Hat 9 that have been upgraded, dropped or whose days are numbered.

Chapter 2 is worth reading in-depth, especially for a novice to Linux, for grounding in the concepts before proceeding with the tasks. Chapters 3–9 cover the desktop, basic commands and how to run applications. These chapters help users who are a bit disoriented when faced with a new computing environment.

The important chapters in this book—dealing with system and network administration—are missing what most books on Linux system administration seem to miss: information about troubleshooting and gathering system information.

Chapter 13, “Backing Up and Restoring Files”, is comprehensive, and I especially enjoyed the discussion of mirrordir. The best thing about this chapter is many solutions are discussed, and the reader can select from several options. I also liked the quick reference charts for pax, dump and Amanda. This is not the only chapter with these charts; they are used liberally throughout the book and are quite handy.

Network services are easily a topic for a whole other book, and they consume more than a third of this book. Chapter 15 discusses setting up a LAN and includes information on wireless networks, which to me makes it timely and useful. I'd call this a handy reference to consider and keep available, especially for those new to Linux.

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