Mark G. Sobell wrote a lengthy book about Red Hat Linux and Fedora, A Practical Guide to Red Hat Linux, and we are taking a look at its draft copy (second edition released end of July).The first chapter goes through the history of Linux and the values of Free Software. I must say that the first chapter feels a bit preachy and biased, but after that, the book gets better and more meaty on the topic at hand.
Next, you will be guided on how to install Red Hat Linux (or Fedora), as the book gets you step by step and explains every step with full verbosity. After the installation, on the Part II of the book you get an introduction of the basic concepts of the RH desktop. What stroke me as weird was that the author started talking first about KDE (and in fact instructs the user to select KDE from the GDM list instead of using the default Gnome). For a book that is supposed to follow Red Hat’s defaults and then expand on other non-default territories this was a weird move indeed (“learning Konqueror” anyone?).
After that point, the book really gets down to business and introducing the user to many-many topics, all from the absolute newbie point of view: how to login, how to use utils like man, how to use DEs, the unix command line utils and how to use the terminal, how the linux filesystem is layed out and how to get the most of it using the shell.
Then, you will find a lot of information about how to dip in onto network administration, SELinux and other system administration topics, how to install software, how to print with CUPS, rebuild your Linux kernel etc. The next part of the book discusses how to setup many kinds of servers, including NFS, NIS, Samba, FTP, sendmail, Openssh, DNS/Bind, IPTables, Apache. In fact, this part of the book is extremely valuable for both newbies and experienced users.
The next part discusses programing and regular expressions. There is a bit of quick run over C and how to compile programs, but the author is more into Bash it seems. I would advocate that a quick PHP/MySQL tutorial too, would fit right into place with this book.
The book is full of explanatory graphs, tables and screenshots to help the new user understand better this huge volume of new knowledge unleashed through the book. The author’s writing style is friendly and easy to follow.
Conclusively, this is THE book to get if you are a new Linux user and you just got into RH/fedora world. There’s no other book that discusses so many different topics and in such depth. I removed 1 point from the overall rating though because of the “preaching” in the first few chapters that gets a bit tiring and to me, doesn’t always strike honest.
Buy “A Practical Guide to Red Hat Linux“
Am I the only one, or does it just seem strange to have a book be called ‘A Practical Guide to Red Hat Linux : Fedora Core and Red Hat Enterprise Linux’ when it mostly uses these as example distro’s to talk about Linux and Linux-based subjects?
You’ve got the general Linux and Linux-based components of a dristibution, and the particular engineering choices made by the distributor.
Your remark seems to imply that they should limit their discussion to RPM, Bluecurve, and their installer.
Such a book might not be helpful to someone trying out their distribution for the first time, which is likely their market. Folks that don’t need the general topic treatment are also likely to acquire their own ISOs and just use info/man/irc/usenet to get knowledge.
You talked about default things in Redhat’s distro and I noticed that mysql is not setup by default, even if you choose database server option.
I also think that PHP is not a programming language by default in Redhat environment. They seem to support Python and Perl more.
Electronic manuals has only one advantage over books – search capabilities. Other than that, a good book written by a good teacher will do better than FAQs and manuals in the wild Internet.
Of course, having Google right under by fingers, I always use it for learning Linux, but a good book feels much much better.
However, there is a tendency for Linux books to become like Windows software books, which live only for a season, until next version is out. No one has enough money to follow that.
Where in the world are authors who write FUNDAMENTAL books that enable people to understand the OSes and cope with any new version and even new OSes?