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Sams Teach Yourself Red Hat Linux 9 in 24 Hours

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Spotlight Customer Reviews

Average Customer Rating: 4.4

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: An excellent way to join the Linux world
Comment: I have a pretty extensive background in Windows, and have been meaning to dive into Linux, after a fairly negative experience with it back in about 1996. After doing some shopping, I chose this book and one other (Linux for Windows addicts.) It is very well-written and quite easy to follow, at least for me.
The book includes two cd-roms with the Red Hat Linux distribution on it, which is very useful, since you know the version you're working with is the same as what you're reading about. (The distribution includes Apache, Samba, Open Office, mySQL, and a load of other stuff.)
Having a text referring to the same version you've got on your desktop is not a huge deal, but there are minor differences. For instance, in some distributions, you switch between different consoles with the [alt] key and the function key (F1-F7) With Red Hat 9, it's [ctrl]-[alt]- F#.
The "24 hour" feature in the title is a sort of a gimmick, I guess; it would be more accurate to say "24 lessons." But the lessons do follow from one to the next in a sensible way, and build on one another well. For me, it worked well to read the chapter over, then sit down at the keyboard and work through the chapter. And, I was able to jump around and mess with stuff that interested me without a problem. For instance, I was quite interested in getting Samba up, so I interrupte my progress at hour 5, and jumped to hour 22.(If you do that, the beginning of the chapter points you to earlier chapters that have specific information you might need, which is a really thoughtful feature.)
One thing that might have been useful is a table of Linux commands and their analogous DOS commands. For instance, one handy DOS command I use without thinking is CLS (to clear the screen.) The Linux equivalent is CLEAR, but to find that out I had to ask a Linux guy I was working with. It's not a command you NEED to have, but it's handy.
A problem some Linux books (and many users) have is the self-righteous approach they tend to take: "you're really stupid to be using Windows and giving your money to that evil empire." Mac users have the same sort of attitude, and believe me guys, it may make you feel better, but it doesn't do anything for your cause. This book avoids that stance (most of the time.)

I was fortunate to have a spare PC to install Linux on, rather than making space on a partition on my Windows PC. But if I had needed to use the same PC, the approach I would have used would have been to purchase a new IDE drive and install it there. It's a cheap solution, completely safe, but not suggested anywhere in the book. (Having two PCs is nice because you can experiment with Apache and Samba more realistically.)

Overall, it's a very good book, and I'd look to this publisher for other books in the series.

Customer Rating: 4
Summary: Nice Starting Point for Linux Newcommers
Comment: One of the big problems getting started with Linux is actually getting your hands on the software. Sure you can spend half a lifetime downloading the stuff, but why bother? This book (like many others, to be sure) includes the 2-CD "Publisher's Edition" of Red Hat Linux v9. (The full version is 3 CD's and includes a lot of other add-on packages, but believe me, all the essential stuff is here, along with plenty of other goodies to keep you busy for quite a while!).

The book itself is broken down into 24 chapters, representing one hour of study for each chapter. You may be able to *read* it in an hour, but to really understand it will take many more hours of self-study. Ideally, you'll read the chapter, then go back and review it while you're at you machine.

Each chapter does a reasonably good job of presenting the material. The book starts with the installation process, most of which is automated, so you get up and running pretty quickly. It then moves through basic text-console operations (using help, configuring the network, the help system and basic scripting). By Chapter 10 we're into the GUI (basic desktop configuration, using some of the built-in productivity programs and system tools, etc). By Chapter 17, we're getting into the 2nd level stuff (advanced configuration, security, job scheduling), with the last few chapters dedicated to very specific functions (Installing Software, Network File Services, Web and FTP Servers, and Troubleshooting). Each chapter concludes with a concise summary, a short Q&A section, then a brief Quiz (hey SAMS! Why not move the quiz answers to the back of the book in the next edition?)

Hsiao's writing style is comfortable and easy to read. He keeps it simple, without too much jargon, and presents the material clearly. Occasional typos and even a few inaccurate pictures (Figure 2.10 is a shot of the "Network Configuration" screen, when it's supposed to be about Disk Partitioning!) might be frustrating for some, but the diligent reader should be able to work through them without getting lost. I especailly liked the later chapters where much of the same material is covered twice: once for GUI users and again for command-line jockies (the preferred method if you're installing a server as opposed to a desktop machine).

If you're already comfortable with command line operating systems (DOS, NetWare, etc), you'll probably have an easier time moving to Linux that those who grew up in the Windows world. But in either case, this book will do a good job of easing you gently into it, giving you enough know-how to get the basics done, and empowering you to explore deeper. If you're already familiar with Linux, this book probably won't tell you much you don't already know. But for the rest of us, its a very good intro into this exciting and powerful alternative to Windows.

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: a newbie finished reading book and it painlessly helps u
Comment: I'm a newbie to linux. Have no prior knowledge. But used windows for a long time. OUtside with the GUI in RH9. It looks the same but underneath is different. I printed out many PDF's on redhat but found that the book was a better way to go and really helped you from installing to set up networks to applications to everything in between. I highly recommend for newbies. But for little people with a bigger SCOPE of linux should buy the book i'm currently reading "Bible for RH9". More knowledge and shows the true colors of RH9