Learning Debian GNU/Linux
By Bill McCarty
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: October 1999
Pages: 360

Linux and Open Source are attracting unprecedented attention in the high tech world. Debian GNU/Linux is a remarkable demonstration of what the Open Source model can produce: Debian is an all volunteer organization, and their distribution contains only open-source software.This exciting new world can be intimidating for those whose primary computing experience is Microsoft Windows. In Learning Debian/GNU Linux, Bill McCarty has written a book for this new audience, aimed at introducing them to a Unix style operating system.Learning Debian GNU/Linux will guide any new user of Linux through the installing and use of Debian GNU/Linux, the entirely Open Source version of the Linux operating system. It demystifies Linux in terms familiar to Windows users and gives readers only what they need to start being successful users of Linux.Learning Debian GNU/Linux takes the reader step by step through the process of installing and setting up a Debian system, and provides a thorough but gentle introduction to the basics of using Debian GNU/Linux.Because the book is written specifically for the included CD, the reader needs nothing else to get started with this exciting new operating system.

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oreillyLearning Debian GNU/Linux
 
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(based on 7 reviews)

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(2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
2.0

Learning Debian GNU/Linux Review

By Charles Cheshier

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Learning Debian GNU/Linux:

A very good and informative book AFTER you have read "Running Linux"! "Slink and half" Debian distrobution is okay IF you do a STANDARD install NOT basic. Other than that, it is pretty much like the other Linux distrobutions' CD from books.

I purchased my book for $3 on the clearance bin at the local computer store!;-)

(1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Learning Debian GNU/Linux Review

By anne

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Learning Debian GNU/Linux:

For a newbie who wants to jump into a linux system -- this is THE book to follow!

Thank you, Bill McCarty. Job well done.

(6 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

Learning Debian GNU/Linux Review

By Chris

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Learning Debian GNU/Linux:

I bought this hoping for a decent intro to Linux, like getting Debian installed and then getting Gnome up and running so I could get online with Netscape and go from there. I was ticking along fine until I hit Chapters Five and Six... things began to seriously diverge from what I was being instructed to do and what was on my screen. I was referred to Appendix C, where I crashed and burned.

Chapters Two through Four take you through installing Debian with the "Basic" profile. I'm somewhat familiar with Unix syntax, so the numerous typos didn't trip me up much. But then chapters Five and Six assume you've got the Xfree86 and Gnome packages installed, which aren't part of the Basic profile. Want to install them? Figure it out yourself, this book isn't giving any hints. Great approach for a beginner's level text.

So I got X windows going, after messing around with dselect for a while to figure out how to install the required Xfree86 packages, with no real help from Appendix C other than a list. Oh yeah, and after I solved a problem with the mouse being called /dev/psaux instead of /dev/mouse, which the book utterly fails to warn me about. How did I find this out? By looking through the HOWTOs. The ones the book says are in /usr/doc/HOWTO directory? Um, no, that directory doesn't exist! Those docs aren't installed with the Basic profile! So I had to reboot into Windows and find them online.

Okay, got X working. Not a lot going on there. So, I'll get working on Chapter Six, Gnome. I'd better, because if I can't, chapters Eight through Twelve aren't going to be much use.

So it's back to dselect and a list from Appendix C to install the required Gnome packages. Wait a minute- they're not on the CD! Fantastic! What a great idea. Not only do you fail to tell me how to install the darn things, you also don't include them on the disc, even though they're free, and required for the final third of the book to be of any use.

I see online people are talking about the weird version of Debian included on the CD... as a tutorial, that doesn't really bother me, as long as it works. But the whole thing is whack. If I ever meet Bill McCarty, I'm going to smack him upside the head with this nearly useless, poorly edited book.

In summary, if you want to get your feet wet with Linux, spend your $35 on something more worthwhile.

PS Jennifer Neiderst, please write a Linux book!

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
2.0

Learning Debian GNU/Linux Review

By Frederick R. Hanhisalo

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Learning Debian GNU/Linux:

A good book crippled by a rotten choice of components on the CD. Debian is a very good distribution but (as others have noted) the CD is a mishmash of bits 'n' pieces from release 2.1 (Slink) and an early alpha version of 2.2 (Potato). Nothing quite works.

XF86Setup destroys the video options in XF86Config -- even if you just change the mouse settings.

route doesn't work with the add option.

Get a real Debian release and don't waste your time with the bogus release included with this book.

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
2.0

Learning Debian GNU/Linux Review

By Anonymous

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Learning Debian GNU/Linux:

This book is so disorganized and lacks of details of setting up X windows. To make matters worse, the accompanying CD does not have complete gnome packages required to walk through this book.

O'Reilly has published many excellent books, but not this one. This looks like a very rush homework. O'Reilly should do better.

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

Learning Debian GNU/Linux Review

By E. M. Collins

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Learning Debian GNU/Linux:

I must say that I was truly disappointed by this book, and by debian for that matter. I have benefited greatly from some of O'Reilly's other computer books however, Mr. McCarty's book is far too general in its coverage of Linux (but not as comprehensive as Running Linux, a far better book), the specifics of the debian distribution, whether they be the file structure, which is different to other distros in many specifics, the unique debian package management facilities, and debian specific configuration issues, are covered in only the most cursory fashion.

I purchased the book as part of the VALinux/SGI/O'Reilly boxed set in hope of having to avoid printing out reams of debian man pages, I was truly upset when I had to log back in to Red Hat, mount my debian partition and print out scores of pages of debian documentation in a vain attempt to diagnose the problems I was having getting apt-get to work and find out what the obscure 'no MMap' et al error messages meant. Unfortunately I can report no succes here, both the book and debian's documentation let me down. This is a real shame, because debian's package management system is touted as one of its greatest advantages over other distributions and should compenstate for the fact that the current official distribution 'slink' is in Linux terms hopelessly out of date.

The age of slink is another issue, the version of Xfree86 that is included doesn't seem to support my video card, nor a great many other cards currently on the market, I had hoped to do an upgrade to a more current version but apt-get failed me. Why not ship with the newer version instead of the half-updated version include? And why not include some of the non-free utilities like Netscape and Acroread for which there exist no suitable 'free' replacements, on a separate cdrom if need be?

I won't talk about the other problems I had with debian, but I've gone back to using Red Hat, or SuSE, Mandrake, Slackware, etc., after my lost long Forth of July weekend in debian's dungeon.

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
2.0

Learning Debian GNU/Linux Review

By Michael P. Soulier

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Learning Debian GNU/Linux:

I picked up this book primarily on the O'Reilly name, which rarely fails me. I was quite disappointed with this book however. The author makes broad assumptions that every step during installation will succeed, saying nothing about what to do if it fails. Most of the problem in working with Linux is getting it installed, and yet a small percentage of the book is actually put towards installation and possible problems. Canned commands are offered without explaining them fully, and meanwhile the actual CD is not truly Debian 2.1.

I bought the book hoping for the usual O'Reilly excellence, such as UNIX Power Tools. Unfortunately I found it far below par.

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