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Linux for Windows Administrators (Mark Minasi Windows Administrator Library)

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List Price: $49.99
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Spotlight Customer Reviews

Average Customer Rating: 4.12

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: One of the best Linux books I've read
Comment: I haven't had a chance to pick up this 2nd Edition yet, but the first edition blew my mind. I'm already a big fan of Minasi and was worried that he might take a negative approach toward Linux considering the fact that he is probably THE authority on Windows networking. To the contrary, he is extrememly honest in telling you when it is best to use Windows and when it is best to use Linux. It is one of the only "cross-over" books out there and it was unbelievably helpful in my quest to learn Linux. My problem with Linux books is was that I either had to buy something in the area of "Linux for Dummies" or an O'Reilly book that, while it was high quality, assumed that I already had 5 or 6 years of Linux/Unix experience. If you already know Windows NT/2000 and are looking to learn Linux, there is no better book out there. As a companion to this book, I would also recommend "Linux for Windows Addicts" by Miller. Minasi's book is great for the server administrator and focuses mainly on the command line. "Linux for Windows Addicts" takes more of a GUI approach and is more useful toward using Linux for desktop systems.

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: A must have!
Comment: The first edition of this book was on my wishlist for some time, so when I found out that Mark wrote second edition I preordered the book the same day. One reason for that is because of the author itself (I read his fourth edition of Mastering Windows 2000 Server and I was really impressed by both the technical level and comprehensiveness of the book - believe me, this man really knows how to explain complex topics in plain English with real life examples), the second reason is the fact that there is no good alternative on the market - I couldn't find any other book of this kind. Linux books tends to be targeted either to already experienced users of Linux/Unix or to total newbies without any networking/OS background whatsoever. I have several years of Windows NT experience on my back so I don't want to re-learn some basic topics that are common to all network operating systems. I was looking for a quick headstart approach to transfer some of my knowledge from NT environment to Linux. Now, that I read the second edition of the book I'm really sorry that I waited so long, if I bought the first edition it would probably saved me some hair ;-).
Here is why this book should be on every bookshelf of Windows/Linux administrators;
At first I was a little skeptic to buy a book about Linux from one of the leading authors on Windows technology, even if I knew that writing style will be superb and that book is co-authored by Linux expert Dan York. I was expecting "GUI approach" to explain basic Linux administration. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that book is all about using command line to administer Linux. This is REALLY GOOD news ! (And don't worry there is excellent chapter on setting up X environment, one of the best that I read so far.)
One strength of the book is also that when appropriate author explains or compare command or feature in familiar lingo for us NT admins, like the sentence "..To set what we'd call in the NT world the Everyone/Full Control permission for speech.txt, you would type chmod 777 speech.txt".
In my reviews I usually honor some chapters more than the others, this time I can't pickup my favorite chapter, in all 10 chapters I learned something new. They're all up to the task to introduce you to the topic and give you a headstart, for example, now I know that server in the X world is not a 'server' and the client is really not a 'client' ;-) or I also learned how the system of starting/stopping daemons work on Linux, how file permissions work on Linux and what are the limitations compared to NT, how to setup my own DHCP, DNS, FTP, Web and mail server, how to setup NFS, NIS and SAMBA, or to compile my own kernel and many more.
Considering the size of the book (less than 500 pages) I think it's one of the finest material that you can find on the topic, especially if you're NT admin starting to explore the wonders of Linux. Highly recommended!

Customer Rating: 3
Summary: Good, Not Great
Comment: Most people reviewing this book either love it or hate it. I won't go to quite that extreme, but I do have to say that the book missed the mark in a number of areas.

While it is most certainly a matter of editorial discretion, the author seems to have a habit of giving some subjects hardly any mention at all, while providing us with pages of agonizing details on other subjects that most readers will simply want to skip over.

Probably the biggest lost opportunity in this book is the author's one sentence devoted to Webmin, which is unquestionably the single most useful tool for Windows admins transitioning over to Linux. There are entire books devoted to Webmin that will have most Windows admins running a Linux server in no time, and without having to learn any of the exhaustive command line skills that the author recommends.

For those who DO want to learn Linux from the inside out, there is an amazing lack of depth when it comes to basic command line skills. This book would have been immeasurably more useful if it devoted a chapter (or appendix) to explaining some of the more useful commands. I learned more about grep than I ever wanted to know, but there are dozens of just as useful commands that the author never touched upon. So, if you want to learn the most basic command line skills, you are going to need to buy another book.

As some of the other reviewers mentioned, the author comes off as being a bit snobbish when it comes to Linux; quick to complain, slow to compliment. I would rather have had the author use the space reserved for complaints and grumblings with some useful information. It does get a bit old after awhile.

That being said, the author does do a good job of keeping your attention and moves from chapter to chapter in a very logical manner. Unlike many Linux books, the chapters in this book do not seem thrown together at random. It's a book that you will most likely want to read from cover to cover, instead of just using as a reference.

Despite the author's occasional whining, I really enjoyed the book's flow and progression through various topics. The book must have been very up-to-date at the time, but is starting to show its age. The author bases all of his experience with RedHat, who is now dropping out of the "consumer" market, and only offering a very expensive server version now. Thus, RedHat is not the Linux distribution that most of you will want to start off with.

All in all, the book was well worth reading, despite its age and shortcomings. This would be a good first book for you to read if you are a Windows admin trying to learn Linux, but you will definitely need other books on the subject before even considering deploying a Linux server on your network.