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Linux Unleashed (4th Edition)
ISBN 0672316889 / 9780672316883 / 0-672-31688-9
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The authors of Linux Unleashed, Fourth Edition, know that their operating system is best at lurking in the background, reliably plugging away as a server platform. They cover a few graphical user interfaces (GUIs) just for the sake of comprehensiveness, but this book focuses on the Linux 2.2.5 kernel and the most popular server software you can run on it.
For the most part, this book treats Linux generically, though the hand-holding installation section uses Red Hat Linux 6 as its primary example. (Less explicit sections cover installation of Caldera OpenLinux and Debian GNU/Linux.) The authors have also done great work in highlighting differences among the distributions as they crop up during the tutorials. For example, they're careful to explain the (significant) differences among the three distributions' implementations of DNS service. Attention to variations among them is one way this book distinguishes itself from its (many) competitors. Prose sometimes is accidentally poetic--"Samba won't work without a working network"--and generally clear, accurate, and easy to follow.
Like all books in the Unleashed series, this one includes some programming coverage. While it adequately introduces the reader to the Linux development environments for several languages and will probably make some readers aware of languages they might not have known before coming to Linux (like gawk and Motif), the programming material doesn't get into any real problem solving. The authors just show how each language works, detailing loops, arrays, and basic syntax--it's introductory or refresher material, depending on your perspective. Regardless, the excellent coverage of Linux and its server software makes this book a worthwhile buy, particularly if you want to try out several distributions. --David Wall
Topics covered: Linux 2.2.x and three of the most popular distributions of it (Red Hat, Debian, and Caldera). Installation, TCP/IP network configuration, and the basics of system administration are all here, but most readers will appreciate coverage of server software the most. The authors cover Web, FTP, mail, and print servers, plus implementations of the Domain Name System (DNS). File-sharing resources, including Samba and the Network File System (NFS), receive plenty of attention too. Rudimentary programming coverage includes Perl, Motif, gawk, Tcl/Tk, C/C++, and Java. [via]