Linux in a Nutshell, now in its fourth edition, has won awards in the Linux community as the most indispensable book about Linux. It is an essential desktop reference for the commands that users of Linux utilize every day, with the depth of information and the practical, succinct "In a Nutshell" format that made the previous editions so popular.Comprehensive but concise, Linux in a Nutshell covers all substantial user, programming, administration, and networking commands for the most common Linux distributions. It's several quick references rolled into one: sed, gawk, RCS, CVS, vi, Emacs, bash, tcsh, regular expressions, package management, bootloaders, and desktop environments are all covered in this clear, to-the-point volume, along with core command-line utilities.The fourth edition continues to track the major changes in bootloaders, the GNOME and KDE desktops, and general Unix commands. Several commands related to CDs and music reflect the evolution of multimedia on Linux. Coverage has been added for GRUB, which has become the default bootloader on several Linux distributions, and for vim, the popular and feature-loaded extension to vi. The addition of several new options to the iptables firewall command and new commands related to DNSSEC and ssh show the book's value as a security tool. With this book, you no longer have to grope through long manpages and info documents for the information you need; you'll find it here in clear language and an easy-to-read format.Contents include:
Programming, system administration, networking, and user commands with complete lists of options
GRUB, LILO, and Loadlin bootloaders
Shell syntax and variables for the bash, csh, and tcsh shells
Emacs, vi, and vim editing commands
sed and gawk commands
The GNOME and KDE desktops and the fvwm2 window manager
Red Hat and Debian package managers
Chapter 1 Introduction
The Excitement of Linux
Distribution and Support
Commands on Linux
What This Book Offers
Sources and Licenses
Chapter 2 System and Network Administration Overview
Ellen Siever is a writer and editor specializing in Linux and other open source topics. In addition to Linux in a Nutshell, she co-authored Perl in a Nutshell. She is a long-time Linux and Unix user, and was a programmer for many years until she decided that writing about computers was more fun.
Stephen Figgins is a programmer, animal tracker, musician and life-long learner. He honed many of his computer skills while working as O'Reilly's book answer guy. Now living in Lawrence, Kansas, he works as a writer, editor and consultant.
Aaron Weber is a technical writer for Ximian, Inc. and wrote the manual for Ximian Evolution, Red Carpet, and Red Carpet Enterprise, as well as a section on GNOME in Running Linux. He's also published in Interex Enterprise Solutions (interex.com) and Boston's Weekly Dig (www.weeklydig.com), and is the host of secretlyironic.com.
Our look is the result of reader comments, our own experimentation, and feedback from distribution channels. Distinctive covers complement our distinctive approach to technical topics, breathing personality and life into potentially dry subjects. The animal featured on the cover of Linux in a Nutshell is an Arabian horse. Known for its grace and intelligence, the Arabian is one of the oldest breeds of horse, with evidence of its existence dating back 5000 years. The Arabian was instrumental as an ancestor to other popular breeds, most notably the Thoroughbred in the 17th and 18th centuries. Possibly one of the more characteristic horse breeds, the typical Arabian has large expressive eyes and nostrils, small ears, and a short, sturdy back. Its stamina suits it particularly well for endurance riding, where the breed dominates the sport. Its wonderful temperament makes the Arabian an all-around favorite riding horse in North America, although it also can be found in more specialized competitions such as dressage, jumping, and reining. Emily Quill was the production editor and copyeditor for Linux in a Nutshell, Fourth Edition. Derek Di Matteo, Claire Cloutier, Genevieve d'Entremont, Mary Brady, and Colleen Gorman provided quality control. Derek Di Matteo and Jamie Peppard provided production assistance. John Bickelhaupt wrote the index.Edie Freedman designed the cover of this book, using a 19th-century engraving from the Dover Pictorial Archive. Emma Colby produced the cover layout with QuarkXPress 4.1 using Adobe's ITC Garamond font.David Futato designed the interior layout. This book was converted by Joe Wizda to FrameMaker 5.5.6 with a format conversion tool created by Erik Ray, Jason McIntosh, Neil Walls, and Mike Sierra that uses Perl and XML technologies. The text font is Linotype Birka; the heading font is Adobe Myriad Condensed; and the code font is LucasFont's TheSans Mono Condensed. The illustrations that appear in the book were produced by Robert Romano and Jessamyn Read using Macromedia FreeHand 9 and Adobe Photoshop 6. The tip and warning icons were drawn by Christopher Bing.
Comments about oreilly Linux in a Nutshell, 4th Edition:
The Book:Linux in a Nutshell
By Ellen Siever, Stephen Figgins, Aaron Weber.
4th Edition June 2003
Book Link: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/linuxnut4/
You can find this book and others on O'Reillys book catalog page.
For a sample chapter, click here for chapter 5, "Red Hat and Debian Package Managers"
After reviewing the 3rd edition of nutshell in a Borders store, I decided that book had to come home with me. I'm presently reviewing the 4th edition, so right there, you know I found additional useful information in this 4th edition of the book. Although some experienced Linux users may feel that the majority of the book covers familiar territory by being essentially nothing more than glorified 'man pages', I felt this was the strong point of the book, giving depth to those 'not quite informative' man pages. Certainly, some man pages are written well enough that they are the equal of the Nutshell explanation...
This Nutshell book is far more than that.
The organization of the book is that the commands are grouped according to tasks, something that a man page is unable to fully replicate. Are you setting up a network? The book groups those tasks together, in one section. Other tasks are similarly grouped together. Want to know more about boot loaders? LILO, Grub, and loadlin are all covered, and grouped together. Emacs, vi, sed - each have their own chapters. Gnome, KDE and fvwm2 each have a chapter.
But I have to wonder why include reference to fvwm2? I have not used it since 2 years ago, and then used it only for the novelty of looking at it, nothing more. fvwm2 does not hold my interest, nor does fvwm2 ever get discussed in any of 4 user oriented Linux forums which I visit frequently.
Thus, on the down side, I was dismayed to see fvwm2 covered in both volume 3, and the coverage enhanced for volume 4.
The space consumed by fvwm2 might be better consumed by a brief overview of DEVFS, or possibly Apache. Still, the book has earned a place in my collection, despite the fvwm2 coverage. Evidently someone must use fvwm2! Ultimately, I feel that the omission of DEVFS takes precedence over the inclusion of fvwm2, hands down, based on the length of discussions I've seen in forums. Certainly there is merit in discussing DEVFS, at least in some nominal overview. To me, the amount of usefulness for a DEVFS section replacing fvwm2 would be tremendous. Ultimately, though since there are rumblings about replacing DEVFS in the near future, the authors might have made a strategic decision to not change the current format to add any new sections. All in all, though, my dislike is based on only ONE chapter, so there is no need to penalize the book without balancing all the good which the book offers elsewhere.
What can this book do? Did you want to get an overview of the command options for CVS? That's in this book. Having trouble with pattern matching in shell scripts? Then you should open to the section titled 'Pattern Matching'. There you will see how the syntax evolves for various shells, scripts, and commands. What does the -l option do for the mount command? Page 306 describes it as follows:
When reporting on mounted filesystems, show filesystem labels for filesystems that have them."
Have you ever wondered what a forum post was trying to say, but the post was not composed correctly and you can't tell if a space is missing somewhere? The book can help you see some common examples which are properly composed. Are you surprised at an example in a forum, because you didn't know there was such an optional argument to the command? Check the book for 2 reasons: the command options are listed, and the book may explain it better than any example in a forum.
The uses for the book are many: Linux newbie gets printed materials which are bound and complete (I never found the printed man pages from my 'Intro to Unix' class... I put them in a folder somewhere). The experienced sysadmin that can't seem to remember why sudo is not working for a user can get an overview of the command. The inexperienced sysadmin that has to run a system in an unfamiliar shell could use this book.
Ultimately, this book covers little things, in detail, that you might not be able to get from a man page or from the info pages, or even from a friend.
Comments about oreilly Linux in a Nutshell, 4th Edition:
I've used Linux for a few years now, however I've never been one to venture into the CLI very much. Knowing the power of root and the risks involved I've played it safe. All the while I've envied those who could rattle out a command that would give you the information you need based on pipes and switches. This book has opened up a new can of worms for me.
I really like the fact that it has the commands broken down with the options that is truly the best part for me.
My copy is actually the 3rd edition but I'm sure the 4th is just as well written as my version.