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Book Review - Linux Cookbook 2nd Edition

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2004 3:54 pm    Post subject: Book Review - Linux Cookbook 2nd Edition Reply with quote

Linux Cookbook 2nd Edition

Author(s): Michael Stutz
Publisher: No Starch Press
Book Specifications: Soft-Cover, 788 pages
Category: Linux shortcuts
User Level: Basic/Intermediate/Advanced
Suggested Publisher Price: $39.95 USA/ $55.95 CAN/ £25.60 Net UK (inc of VAT)
ISBN: 1-59327-031-3
Amazon.co.uk: Linux Cookbook 2nd Edition
Amazon.com: Linux Cookbook 2nd Edition

Info from Back: "The Linux Cookbook is encyclopaedic in scope, but quick and easy to reference. No matter what your filed or specialty, if you want to get the most out of Linux, you’ll find its advice indispensable – from the basics that “every Linux user knows” to undocumented expert tricks. This greatly expanded and revised edition includes supports for all major Linux distributions, coverage of file conversion and advanced text manipulation, Ogg Vorbis and MP3 audio, and hundreds of other improvements.”


One of the biggest things I have noticed when talking with people unfamiliar with Linux is that they are completely intimidated by it. Why? In large part because they are unfamiliar with its many command line options. This though is one of Linux’s greatest strengths in my mind. That being the many little programs which can greatly simplify your life. What programs you ask? Well ones such as sed, awk, wc, uniq, and many others. You may have noticed that these all deal with text manipulation of one sort or another.

Being able to manipulate text or logs, to be specific in one case, is very much key. Many Linux users in the corporate and home world want the ability to parse their firewall logs. Contained in this book are the commands to do just that, although this book does not only deal with text parsing programs. The book will also deal with such things as customizing your Xwindows, your shell, and a great deal other Linux related minutiae. Anyone with a passing interest in improving their Linux skills would do well to buy this book. A good deal of system administrators I know would also benefit from this book, and its clear explanations.

Content & Overview

This book contains an amazing amount of hard to find information on specific Linux commands. I also quite enjoyed the very first chapter itself. It deals with the open source movement, various Linux distros, and general information on Linux itself. Having this chapter really helps give one a perspective on Linux and its roots to the reader. All told the book has seven chapters, and four appendixes.

Chapters two and three deal with files, and text respectively. I enjoyed the one on text especially, as it really is a treasure trove of information. Not only are you shown how to manipulate fonts, but you also are shown various ways to massage the text itself. From analyzing, formatting, to searching text, pretty much every imaginable thing you would want to do with a text file is covered. This information is conveyed to the reader is an easy to understand fashion.

In chapters four and five the author covers various ways to play with images, and various things you can do with audio on your Linux distro. Most every Linux distro comes with a complete set of audio tools. With that in mind the chapter on sound covers how to play music, and how to edit various music characteristics. Very much a geek thing to do is changing the amplitude and sampling rate of your music files. Some clear and concise examples are given to do just that.

The last two chapters cover productivity and networking. Topics in the productivity chapter range from disk storage to printing to scheduling. I personally found this chapter useful as I am lacking knowledge of this area vis a vis Linux. Within the networking chapter one will find the expected material such as email, web activities, and other internet services. Specific examples are given on how to set up your ppp connection, and also how to send/receive a fax in Linux. Quite a few various email solutions are shown as well.

Style and Detail

One of the first things I noticed about the book itself was that it was easy to open and keep open. It wasn’t a strength competition, nor did you have to break the books spine. Also the writing and its layout is very much reminiscent of an O’Reilly book. Not a bad comparison indeed. Seen as this book is about Linux you should pretty much expect all information to be about command line syntax.

Not to fear though for the Linux novice, as this book is a very easy read. More importantly the lessons that the author is trying to get across are clearly illustrated. No mean feat when you are talking about a technical book. The fonts and general text layout in the book are also quite easy on the eyes. All command line examples are clearly shown and highlighted. Lastly the table of contents itself was nicely laid and allowed the reader to quickly navigate to a specific topic.


For both the novice and experienced Linux user one of the challenges is in maximizing the many tools that come with it. Being able to leverage these tools can greatly simplify your life. That after all should be the goal of every Linux user; maximizing the operating system and it’s free programs. Having this book as both a guide and future reference will keep you in good stead for some time to come.

This book gets an SFDC 8/10 from me

Keywords for this post: Linux Cookbook 2nd Edition

This review is copyright 2004 by the author and Security-Forums Dot Com, and may not be reproduced in any form in any media without the express permission of the author, or Security-Forums Dot Com.
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Trusted SF Member
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Joined: 25 Aug 2004
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Location: San Francisco, California


PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2004 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the review alt.don, just was I looking for. Very Happy
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SF Boss
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2004 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Ryan, no problems, and am glad you liked it. The book is pretty neat as it has a nice array of tools profiled. I don't mind reading man pages but not everyone likes to read them. This book will suit those who don't like man pages to a T.
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Joined: 29 Oct 2004
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Location: Augsburg, Germany


PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very well written and very informative. I really got interested into this book. These days I read Essential System Administration, by A. Fisher, from O`reilly, which I really love, and for which I will write a review.

Regarding the man pages, I can say, they are helpful, but not always what you really need, I would say. If you really want background, the internet or books are your destination. I also bought Linux in A Nutshell, which is a very helpful reference.

Anway, nice review, and interesting book. Will buy it sooner or later, I guess.

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