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Inside Linux

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Spotlight Customer Reviews

Average Customer Rating: 3.4

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: Pronounced Leen-ucks
Comment: Ok, so the phonetic of the name isn't going to decide a purchase for a book on an Operating System (OS) as versatile as Linus Torvald's Linux--yes, he pronounces it Leen-ucks, good enough for the creator, good enough for me. Interesting (or not) trivia aside, Inside Linux (IL) by Michael J. Tobler is a well-rounded & user-friendly guide for intermediate users, a nifty desk reference for advanced users, & very likely a useful starting point for beginners to any OS.

Granted, IL was released in Oct of 00 & as Linux is open source, it's always evolving, changing, reinventing etc. IL may seem remedial, dated, & prosaic to a certain class of uncouth uber-geek w/a superiority complex--though the aforementioned variety of narcissistic egghead never seem to have made the acquaintance of a spellchecker; go figure. To be fair, Linux has rapidly evolved since 00 & there's a certain obsolescence to IL. However, for those of us who are friendly neighbourhood IT geeks living in reality, we comprehend the need--to say nothing of desire--for a foundation to build upon & thus create usability. Further, we realise the only way to establish groundwork is beginning w/easy to digest concepts written in reader friendly language. IL is an excellent resource for developing said framework, despite the "dated" claims of uber-geeks who give the rest of us digerati a bad name. Thus, it's better, IMHO, to go back a couple of years, & use that as a starting point. So really, IL is an advantage over getting the latest & greatest--that can easily be rendered redundant w/i the course of a year or less!

However, IL isn't for total novices. One really should have a degree of technical savvy that comes from experience. Beginning users who've become experienced users due to suffering through reinstalling or upgrading their OS--& masochistically enough, enjoyed the learning process--will find IL an important & worthwhile read. A majority of the basics are common to all OSs & very useful to know regardless of what you run on your box. Beginning users may need to do homework or research on some topics, however, it's nothing that can't be easily reasoned out, or even better, patiently explained by a friendly neighbourhood IT geek.


Further, if all one has ever known is Micro$oft (M$), & one is willing, itching, or just curious about a different OS, this is really a useful book to learning what Linux is about. If anything, IL will provide a great entry point for further exploration into the open-source world. Stating it was written for "smart users" or those w/an experienced to advanced technical acumen. Certainly, the language & jargon are geared toward the level of knowledge required to install an OS, yet, as computer slang is ubiquitous, literate beginners should have few issues w/terms & concepts. The largest group of beneficiaries are those of us who've learned Linux via trial & error & always wondered about "why does it do *that*?"

Tobler starts out w/a quick history, speaks to some general strengths & weaknesses of Linux vs. other systems, explains to whom the book is geared & how it's written, & then deftly slips into the purpose of the book. Information from previous chapters is seamlessly integrated into future chapters; however, it's no problem to skip around depending upon your level of knowledge. Chapter content is presented in a clear manner & effortlessly readable.

Tobler thoughtfully includes many useful resources--websites, checklists, charts, etc--along w/a lot of valuable tips. The practical advice for installing, configuring, & using Linux is extraordinary & will certainly aid those unfamiliar to the OS. Verily, the author deftly wrote a technical book that not only flows, but is actually user-friendly as well.

Maybe it takes a Linux enthusiast to impart such a painless read. Tobler's list of accomplishments & credentials are impressive enough--as well as being a Linux aficionado for over 9 years @ printing. Thus, his skill & knowledgebase make possible an invigorating change from the extremes found in most guides; from the IDG--Dummies series--folks w/their inane superfluous humour to M$ Press w/their dry, impersonal technical manuals. Tobler skilfully combines personality & knowledge in a way I wish other guide writers would emulate.

While no tech book is complete w/o jargon-laden sentences, remarkably, the information remains clear & concise, but not overly dry. Tobler has a distinct personality making the manual more "human". One actually feels his enthusiasm & earnest concern throughout; as though he's in the room & giving guidance.

Yes, Tobler includes jargon-heavy portions of chapters, complete w/acronyms, however, the delivery, definition, & usage of such language is related in such a manner so it easily blends & doesn't hurt the eyes. The incorporation of the jargon isn't just one big load of geek-speak, rather, it's introduced gradually w/pertinent explanations of what it means to the user. Ergo, data is absorbed without difficulty & understood in relation to application.

All in all, IL was a very comfortable read, in contrast to a text I was reading on Project Management (PM) @ the same time. The authors seemed possessed of a sadistic bent to write entire chapters in nothing more than alphabet soup & PM jargon. Worse, the jargon definitions--if defined @ all--were vague, & just dumped on the reader. Supposedly, it was a book for a total novice to Project Management, however, it read like an advanced users guide from M$ Press.

To conclude, I really think novices & super users won't find the book so useful. However, for those of us in between, there's a lot of terrific information--even if somewhat out of date. I really hope Michael Tobler writes a revised updated version of Inside Linux. Further, no matter how you say it, "Lynn-ucks", "Line-ucks", or as Tovald "Leen-ucks", it's certain to evolve quicker than Tobler can get a revision to press, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Customer Rating: 1
Summary: Out of date
Comment: The book is old and out of date. The author skims the surface of topics, but not enough details. Maybe if he updates for current world of Linux he can drill down more.

Customer Rating: 1
Summary: Inside Liux
Comment: This is one of the poorest written Linux books I have ever read. The author jumps around, leaves out many of the important details and is very careful not to touch on the tougher topics.
I would recommend not buying this book unless you are an absolute beginner with Linux.