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[REVIEW] "Linux in a Nutshell" [was: Re: The LSL TriLinux2 CD?]

    Hi John!

I suppose others would be interested in such a reply as well therefore
i've sent this to 'debian-user' too. I hope you don't mind breakage of
the netiquette regarding email in this special case, ok? ;-)

On Tue, 18 Feb 1997, John M. Rulnick wrote:
> I was thinking about buying "Linux in a Nutshell" when I read your
> comment.  Can you summarize what you like about it?  Do you also have
> Welsh and Kaufman's "Running Linux"?  Are they similar?
I have Welsh and Kaufman's "Running Linux" too but i don't like it
very much as a reference book.  "Running Linux" is good for the
unexperienced newbie without any former Unix knowledge but not for
those who are already there.  Give it as a present to someone who
needs to be convinced into using Linux and who needs basic guidance.
For this it should be really great but for experienced users it is
very much too superficial.  I'm glad that here in Germany numerous
original books for the advanced user about Linux are published which
are clearly superior to "Running Linux", which BTW also exists as a
translation of the first edition here by the German O'Reilly branch.

"Linux in a Nutshell" is a whole other story though. Check out the
table of contents for this book and it's description at the O'Reilly
web site "http://www.ora.com";. It is one of those rare very well
organized sites and you will easily find your way to this book's
description page. 

It is by no means suitable for the beginner but as in the tradition of
the "Unix in a Nutshell" line it is a rather complete reference to
most commands available in a well set up GNU/Linux environment. It
covers exclusively the GNU pendants of regular Unix commands and may
therefore be useable for everyone running GNU tools in other Unix
environments. I'll cite some sentences from the preface and the
introduction because IMHO they are describing the book very well:

    "[...]  This book is a quick reference  for the basic commands and
    features of  the Linux operating system.   As  with other books in
    O'Reilly's  "in  a Nutshell"  series,  this  book is geared toward
    users who know what they want to  do and have  some idea how to do
    it, but   just can't remember  the   correct command  or  option."
    (p. iv) 

    "[...] This book will  not tell you  how to install and maintain a
    Linux  system.  For that you  will   need 'Running Linux', (...)."
    (p. iv) 

    "[...] 'UNIX in a Nutshell' doesn't teach you UNIX -- it is, after
    all,  a  quick   reference  --  but  novices as     well as highly
    experienced users  find  it of great  value. [...]   It is also an
    eye-opener: it can  make you aware of options  that you never knew
    about before." (p. 3) 

    "[...]  With 'Linux in a Nutshell', we have thoroughly updated and
    adapted 'UNIX   in a Nutshell' for  Linux.   Not only  that, we've
    produced a book that many other UNIX users  will want too, because
    for the first time this  reference work covers the tolls  produced
    by the FSF for the GNU project.  GNU tools are popular on a lot of
    UNIX systems, so   you may be  using  them even  if  you don't run
    Linux." (p. 3)

I've waited so much for such a book to come out that i even bought
'UNIX in a Nutshell' about one year ago although it doesn't come even
close for lack of covering GNU tools.  I was so fed up searching
command parameters throughout various Linux books and initelligibly
large man pages.  'Linux in a Nutshell' puts it all in one place.   
I definitely would buy it again! ;-)
                                         Regards, P. *8^)

PS: I supposed the book still contains some errors which i have not
    detected being no Unix or Linux geek at all. Maybe someone more
    competent than myself could post a more in depth review?
   Paul Seelig                         pseelig@goofy.zdv.uni-mainz.de
   African Music Archive - Institute for Ethnology and Africa Studies
   Johannes Gutenberg-University   -  Forum 6  -  55099 Mainz/Germany
   Our AMA Homepage  in  the WWW at  http://www.uni-mainz.de/~bender/

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