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Red Hat Linux 8 Bible 110

Posted by timothy
from the butter-scraped-over-too-much-bread dept.
davorg contributes this review of Wiley's new Red Hat Linux 8 Bible, writing "I've never been much of a fan of large computer books and, to be honest, this one hasn't done much to change my opinion. These large books often seem a little confused about their target audience. They often cover everything from very basic concepts to very complex ones, and I don't really believe that anyone really needs that breadth of coverage. Or, at least, not all at the same time and from the same book." You'll find the rest of Dave's review below.
Red Hat Linux 8 Bible
author Christopher Negus
pages 1062
publisher Wiley
rating 6
reviewer davorg
ISBN 0764549685
summary Wide but shallow overview of Red Hat Linux 8.0

This book is a great example of that. It comes complete with three CDs containing Red Hat Linux (which, I assume, are the same as or very similar to the three that come with Red Hat's own shrink-wrapped product) and it therefore starts with installing Red Hat Linux. However, some thousand or so pages later, the same book is talking about some really quite advanced systems administration tasks. I'm really not sure that the same audience will need both of those ends of the spectrum.

Let's take a look at the contents in more detail:

Chapter 1 gives a useful review of Red Hat Linux. It pretty much assumes that the reader knows nothing about Linux and goes into some detail about what Linux is and where it comes from. It even takes time out at one point to explain what an operating system is. The book does score a few early points for knowing the difference between "hackers" and "crackers" and using the terms correctly. This chapter ends with a more detailed look at Red Hat Linux and some of the changes that were introduced with version 8.0. Chapter 2 covers the installation of Red Hat Linux. It does a good job of explaining this in a way that would be clear to someone with no previous knowledge of how to do this.

Chapter 3 is the start of the second major section of the book which introduces the day-to-day use of Red Hat Linux. In chapter 3 we look at logging into the system and get an introduction to using Unix from the command line. Chapter 4 goes into a similar level of detail on using the two dominant GUI environments -- Gnome and KDE. For a beginner, it may have made more sense to have these chapters the other way round as most Red Hat installations will boot straight into a GUI environment and one of Red Hat's changes for version 8.0 was to make it far harder to work out how to get a shell window open.

Chapter 5 starts to look at at Linux applications. It begins with a table of common Windows applications and their Linux counterparts. It then goes on to discuss finding, downloading and installing new applications where, to my mind, it would have been more sensible to first look at using some of the pre-installed applications. The chapter also includes details on using the Red Hat Packager Manager (rpm) and running Windows applications using WINE.

Chapters 6 to 9 each look at a separate application area and present a very brief overview of the applications available in that area. Chapter 6 is about producing documents, chapter 7 about games, chapter 8 about multimedia and chapter 9 about the Internet. In all of these chapters the overviews are necessarily very short and it's hard to see how anyone could get much useful work done after reading them. It would be better if the chapters contained references to further reading, but they don't even mention the man pages.

Chapter 10 starts the next section of the book, which is about system administration. It contains a useful overview of a number of the most common administrative tasks like mounting disk drives, monitoring system usage or setting the date and time. Chapter 11 is about administering users. Chapter 12 looks at automating system tasks. It includes an introduction to shell scripting and a useful description of the start-up and shutdown cycle. Chapter 13 covers backing up and restoring files. Chapter 14 is possibly the most useful chapter in the book for the complete Linux beginner as it contains an overview of security issues. This is particularly important with the increase in the number of people who leave their computers permanently attached to their broadband connections.

The forth and final section looks at networking, with chapters on setting up a LAN, a print server, a file server, a mail server and many other shared resources. This section also includes a chapter on getting your network connected to the internet. As with much of the rest of the book, space constraints prevent these chapters from going into great depth, and there are very few references to other material.

So what did I think overall? Well, as I said, it's too big. But on the other hand it's too small. It's too big in that it covers such a wide range of topics that very few people are likely to be interested in all of it. It's too small in that it just doesn't have the space to go into great depth about most of the topics is covers. I think that it would be far more useful if was three books: Red Hat 8 Linux Users Bible, Red Hat 8 Linux Admin Bible and Red Hat 8 Networking Bible. Each of them could be smaller than this volume, but still cover the material in more detail.

Having said that, the material all seems accurate. The few times I noticed something that I thought was wrong, on checking I found that I was mistaken. So if want you really want is a broad (but in places shallow) overview of Red Hat Linux then this could well be the book for you.

And it's also cheaper than the "official" Red Hat Linux products.


You can purchase Red Hat Linux 8 Bible from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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Red Hat Linux 8 Bible

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  • Ugh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by unterderbrucke (628741) <unterderbrucke@yahoo.com> on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:02PM (#4981659)
    My thorax aches, but I must say it: Theres needs to be a "Learn Linux" for a generic distro for new users, instead of "Red Hat 8.0 Bible". Too imposing and specific.
    • Something like (Score:5, Informative)

      by wiredog (43288) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:09PM (#4981703) Journal
      Running Linux? [oreilly.com]
      • Yes that would be the correct answer :)
      • Re:Something like (Score:3, Informative)

        by dasunt (249686)

        I have a copy of Running Linux [oreilly.com], which I read as a newbie, and to say the truth, its not the first book I'd recommend to a linux newbie. I'd suggest Unix Power Tools [oreilly.com] and The Linux Cookbook [nostarch.com]. But don't take my word for it: there is a sample chapter of Unix Power Tools [oreilly.com] and the full text of the Linux Cookbook [dsl.org] online.

        The reason I recommend the Linux Cookbook is that it tells what programs can do what things. As a newbie, I don't know how to use a scanner, or how to record a CD. (OTOH, the Linux Cookbook does tend to lean heavily towards Debian).

        Unix Power Tools is a must read because it is a thick collection of simple tricks of the trade. Plus, its a good example how to think like Unix. I'm not sure about you, but the reason why I run Linux on two of my computers is that it can get things done quickly and easily.

        Speaking of quickly and easily, I'd also have to strongly recommend Learning Perl [oreilly.com] as a primer to perl and the Perl Cookbook [oreilly.com] as a collection of perl snippets. Perl is a damn useful language to know, as Learning Perl says : "Making Easy Things Easy and Hard Things Possible".

        Anyways, my choices tend to be more 'how to do things' rather then 'how the current version or distro works'. Heck, other then for the Linux Cookbook, the rest are good reading for *BSD and other unix users. I prefer advocating the unix mentality instead of one specific distro or kernel.

        To be fair, I haven't read Running Linux in awhile. Perhaps my memory is cloudy. There is also the Linux Problem Solver [nostarch.com], which I find a tad too simple and shallow, but might be helpful to a few people out there.

        Btw, I know book budgets tend to suck. (And O'Reilly books [or any technical book really]) tend to be budget breakers. However, at least one book chain that I know of (Barnes & Nobles) marks down O'Reilly books into the $10-or-so range when a new edition comes out, and for a few of the technical books, Ebay can offer a fraction of the cover price. Be wise though - I tend to avoid older editions if they were published pre-1998 or so unless I know the book is still relevant - the linux world is changing pretty fast.

        Just my $.02

        Hmmmm.... I wonder if I should have recommended a good book on LaTeX. For those unix users who have to type a lot of papers, LaTeX is worth taking a look at. Then again, I haven't found a good LaTeX book yet myself. :)

        • I found that after reading the first few chapters of A Guide to LaTeX, I was able to do nearly everything I wanted. The book now makes a convenient reference, even though I still haven't read most of it. I've even done a little TeX programming, with the book as reference. I think Lamport's book gets good reviews too, but I haven't seen it.
        • Running Linux is how i was introduced to Linux and when i went back and read other books or talked to people who read other i am glad i went to this one first. Running Linux is for the Linux newb but not a computer newb. It expects that you understand a lot about computers in general which was not a problem for me. I have grown up on mostly DOS and windows and i have become pretty good at running these. When i finally read Running Linux i was able to follow along with all of the info without being caught up on non-linux related material. Other people i know have used Running Linux as the first book to get them into Linux and it hasen't worked so well. Most of the tmie i notice this is becuase they are more of an overall newb so they might need to take a step back. A lot of people get stopped up on info about partitioning hard drives, installing drivers, and setting up networks. I had done all of these things previously on a different OS so it wasn't a big step to learn the Linux way. When people cant even install programs in Windows they cant be expected to start troubleshooting an entire system.

          I think that the Red Hat Linux 8 Bible can be good for some users but i wouldn't assume it to be there to introduce someone to everything that Red Hat does different.
    • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Informative)

      by lessthan0 (176618) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:12PM (#4981722)
      There _is_ such a book. It's called Rute User's Tutorial and Exposition:

      http://www.icon.co.za/~psheer/book/rute.html.gz

      Full text online, but the book is the best general linux book I've read. Buy one!
    • Re:Ugh (Score:3, Interesting)

      My thorax aches, but I must say it: Theres needs to be a "Learn Linux"

      Sorry about your thorax. You might like to try any of the study manuals for LPI (linux professional institute certification). I have not gone for the certification but I found that these manuals actually do the best job of any out there in this regards. (I can not remember the publisher but mine is from the company that makes the big yellow books if that helps :-)
  • I'm sure I'll enjoy 8.2 but until then 7.3 will have to do.
    • I have found that the odd numbered releases have been better. 7.3 was great, 7.1 was also good, but 7.0 was really awful out of the box. I remember having to mess with it a lot to get it working though I dont remember what now. 8.0 is a little weird too - there are some problems with the RPM database (fixable by rebuilding, but still) and also with rpm segfaulting.

      And i CAN NOT figure out how to add new window managers to gdm. Cannot find documentation. I dont know whats up with that. I must be missing something really obvious on that one.

    • by wormbin (537051) on Monday December 30, 2002 @04:29PM (#4983521)

      I'm surprised this post was marked as a troll since "don't use x.0" releases is a pretty good rule of thumb for redhat.

      Unfortunately, it's only a rule of thumb and not some absolute law. You really need to look at each distribution and make your own decision. I've run every version of red hat since 6.0 or so and I currently admin boxes that run 7.2, 7.3, and 8.0 and I have to say, redhat 8.0 is the best desktop linux I've ever seen. It really is leaps and bounds above 7.3

      Of course, my servers are all running 7.2 :)

      • Yeah, I'll agree, it looks great. I had some weirdness like some rpms not installing correctly and a few other things that I didn't catalog when I ran it and just said to myself, wait for 8.2. I might grab 8.1 out of curiousity and hey, maybe it will be what I want.
  • I mean really... bible? Is /. going fundie on us?
  • by duffbeer703 (177751) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:06PM (#4981684)
    These are generally the most-rushed, least useful books published on any topic.

    The web rendered these books obselete circa 1995.
    • It's the same people that buy the "teach yourself x in y units of time" books. Or the Wrox books. Or pretty much any non-O'Reilly book. Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

      Teach yourself to be a dummy in 24 hours!

      • by supabeast! (84658) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:30PM (#4981831)
        Be kind to the"Tech yourself XXX in 24 Hours" books. They are not presented as authoritative or deep textbooks, just as a quick introduction for people new to a subject. I find that one of the best ways to learn about a topic is to read the related "24 Hours" book, and use the basic knowledge presented there as a foundation for deeper knowledge.

        Another nice feature of the "24 Hours" books is the authors. Sams has brought in some really great authors over the last few years, and most of the new books are written by accepted experts, not just some guy with a certification.
      • by HisMother (413313) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:43PM (#4981896)
        > Or the Wrox books.

        I'm sure Wrox has plenty of books that suck, as any publisher does, but both of the ones that I own (Michael Kay's "XSLT Programmer's Reference," and the collaborative work "Professional Java Servlets 2.3") are first-rate, best-of-breed books. I wouldn't lump them in with the "24 Hours" folks at all.

        > Or pretty much any non-O'Reilly book.

        Here I'm really going to argue with you. O'Reilly really used to be the cream of the crop, but they peaked some time ago. They're publishing as much crap as crop these days. Meanwhile, stalwart Addison-Wesley and relative newcomer Manning Publications have been producing books of unimpeachable quality.

    • Why? I occasionally pick one up from the library to get an overview on a certain topic (Bible, learn X in Y hrs/days). Sure, it doesn't give me enough information to master the topic, but I do have an idea of what it is and an idea of what part of it I wish to learn more about, then I can go and buy a more specific book.

      Compare "Markup languages for morons" and "SOAP, the complete reference", Sure, the SOAP book is probably "better", but if I've never heard of markup languages or have any idea what to use it for, I'd be better off with the first one.

    • - A shelf full of 'technical references' in my office makes untechnical bosses think you know more than you do.

      - Many absolutely hate trying to read (let alone find) information on the web.

      - No workstation in the crapper, just a dumpsite.

      - Cheaper than the time/money/hassle involved in finding all the info online, printing it out, and binding it in some sort of conveniently readable manual. A hundred 8.5x11 printouts stapled together is an unweildly read.

      I'd pay 20 bucks for book that consisted of nothing but all the HOWTOs and docs floating around, just stuck together in one easily readable format.
    • Some of the books have been fantastic. I have gotten more value from the JavaScript Bible by Danny Goodman then almost any other book I have purchased (I'm a Web developer).
      K
    • Probably because they are religious geeks.
  • by goodEvans (112958) <devans@airatla[ ].ie ['nta' in gap]> on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:06PM (#4981686) Homepage
    ... Guess what Davorg got for Christmas!
  • To be fair.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rollthelosindice (635783) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:10PM (#4981708) Homepage
    In comparison to THE BIBLE(old + new testaments), Their are easy lessons -- Don't eat the apple God just told you not to eat -- and there are more difficult lessons -- The entire book of Revelations comes to mind.

    Also, It's a book that you read time and time again for various reasons. So this books title might be fitting based on the reviewers opinion.

    That being said, I don't think any book written within the past 50 years should have "bible" in the title.

    • "A book considered authoritative in its field."

      That certainly would apply to many of the tech books with bible in the title.

      And who said the forbidden fruit were apples?
      • In the case of the Christian doctrine it is *The* Book. In it's original usage a generic meaning to apply to the *particular* book was probably intentional. Early Christians could talk about "the book" in public without an outsider knowing what they were specifically talking about.

        You'll find the word used genercially even today in such words as bibliography and variations of the word are still the generic for book and library in many Latinate languages.

        Let me repeat. Bible is not a religious word, any more than, say, genesis is.

        You're right about the apple of course. There is no Biblical source for assuming this.

        Me, I rather guess that the actual fruit was a banana.

        KFG
  • good point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by miltimj (605927) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:10PM (#4981709)
    That's a good point about a book with too much breadth. Have a beginner's book and advanced book (probably multiple of the latter).

    It seems they're trying to make a book where you can "grow into". By the time you grow into some of the advanced concepts, you'll probably need a new book anyway..
    • by Anonymous Coward
      At my school, student's carry around all 4 years' worth of textbooks in every class. It's quite useful, because if you forget your text, you can borrow someone else's copy -- even if that person is 3 years behind you!
      • by grondu (239962)
        At my school, student's carry around all 4 years' worth of textbooks in every class.

        So how are things at Hunchback U?
      • Really... my four years' worth of textbooks take up three shelves next to my desk.

        What, did you all carry hockey bags?

        Sorry, but I'm unable to believe that statement. Stack overflow error.
  • Bibles are good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tcort (538018) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:10PM (#4981710) Homepage
    This type of book is good if you don't read it. Instead of reading it cover to cover, it should be used as a reference. Read the sections you need when you need them. No one should read about NIS if they are using a single computer at home to try out linux.
    • Instead of reading it cover to cover, it should be used as a reference.

      The problem is that this book is out of date by the time it's printed. If you need reference I suggest Google or "man" command. :)

  • by mustangdavis (583344) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:13PM (#4981729) Homepage Journal
    1) It has apache 2.0 ... threads are great for large apps ... keeps server load down on RH 8.0 web servers

    2) Wine w/ OpenGL allows you to play WarCraft III on RH 8.0 work stations

    3) Still has journal file system ... which is good

    4) Grub still sucks :)

    Buy a discounted book on RH 7.x for the rest (not much else is worth reading on IMHO) and send me an email thanking me for saving you some $$$$, especially if ou live in Soviet Russia where $$$$ owns you :)

  • by more (452266) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:16PM (#4981736)
    Earlier RedHats used to have nice README files in many places. Today, RH 8.0 usually has only a reference to the paper manual. This is really annoying. I hate paper and wish I could obtain the information directly on cd. To me it is obvious that RH is protecting their business (not for the benefit of the customer) by trying to sell the full set with the manual rather than having people to just copy their cd. This behavior is creating market for other unnecessary books, too.
  • What I want (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JHromadka (88188) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:17PM (#4981749) Homepage
    I want a book for someone that is a Mac/Windows user that shows how to setup a small office server. I use Mac OS X exclusively at home and want to turn an old (P2/450) Dell into a Linux server. I want it to run DNS, DHCP, File sharing (NFS?), email, MP3 streaming, and web. All of this I want to control from my Mac, so I would rather do it all from the command-line. Is there a book that can help me?
    • Re:What I want (Score:4, Informative)

      by lactose99 (71132) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:27PM (#4981806)
      The _Running Linux_ book from O'Reilly is a good start. I have one of the older editions (2nd edition), and it describes exactly what you are asking (minus the streaming MP3 server, which can be setup with some help from www.shoutcast.com or www.icecast.org). I hear the newer editions of this book focus more on the GUIs of Linux (KDE and Gnome), but I imagine that most of the core stuff is still there as well. Might be what your looking for.
    • I want a book for someone that is a Mac/Windows user that shows how to setup a small office server. I use Mac OS X exclusively at home and want to turn an old (P2/450) Dell into a Linux server. I want it to run DNS, DHCP, File sharing (NFS?), email, MP3 streaming, and web. All of this I want to control from my Mac, so I would rather do it all from the command-line. Is there a book that can help me?

      If you really want it, commission it, if that sounds too pricey you might drop a note to a couple publishers about the idea they might just pick it up and find someone.
    • fwiw, all those things that you listed are about the most commonly done things--you can find hundreds of FAQ's and HOWTO's for each one--it's not like your situation is one in which you're the first person to want to do one of those things. For areas where demand is strong, internet is, imho, best resource.
    • Why do people always run Linux on their crap PCs? I am personally opposite.

      Windows Machine : PII 400Mhz with 256MB RAM

      Linux Machine: AMD Athlon 2100+ 512MB RAM, and GeForce4 4200.

      I only maintain my Windows machine for Quicken, and because my University basically standardizes on MSVC++ 6.0.
      • Re:What I want (Score:2, Interesting)

        by AKnightCowboy (608632)
        Why do people always run Linux on their crap PCs? I am personally opposite. Windows Machine : PII 400Mhz with 256MB RAM Linux Machine: AMD Athlon 2100+ 512MB RAM, and GeForce4 4200.

        People run Linux on their crap PCs because they use their better machine to play games on. Games are almost always more system intensive than what you'd be doing with a Linux box. I use my Linux box (PIII-500, 512MB of ram) for file serving via NFS and Samba, occassional web browsing with Mozilla, internal BIND server, etc. Nothing major. The Windows box on the other hand is a 1.4GHz Athlon with 512MB of ram and it barely runs acceptably in my opinion for newer games. I guess dropping in a GeForce4 to replace the GeForce2 would solve some of the problems, but the point is still, the Windows box is always more powerful for gamers. Besides, for general web browsing and Quicken and such I've got my iBook.

  • by Znonymous Coward (615009) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:19PM (#4981755) Journal
    >> I've never been much of a fan of large computer books and, to be honest, this one hasn't done much to change my opinion.

    Large books should be used as a reference tool and not a novel. I rarely read an *entire* 1000 page book... Skip the newbie chapters. Read the important ones and reference the odds and ends when necessary.

  • by reallocate (142797) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:29PM (#4981819)
    Whenever I jump into something completely new -- like Linux several years ago -- I tend to go out and buy several books on the subject. Contrary to two perennial /. comments about books of this nature, their readers are not idiots, nor do they find that the web offers a convenient, coherent and error-free substitute.

    So-called "bible" volumes are intended to package enough information to allow a completely new user to move from installation and configuration to moderately sophisticated use. One of their most useful attributes is that they help the neophyte begin to understand all the capabilities available in Linux (and how to exploit them via the inevitable distribution-specific foibles).

    On a second note, /. book reviews would be more useful if they'd concentrate on the book itself, rather than trying to prove their assertion that the book doesn't need to exist. Leave that for the self-inflated /. posters who castigate the "idiots" who might actually buy the book.

    • I bought the 7.2 Bible and didn't regret it. While I have experience in MacOS9 and certis in Win2K, I had no knowledge of *nix. I have a little server at home which I switch hard drives on when I want to boot into my newbie installation of Linux. And, yes, I am constantly breaking stuff and having to recover or reinstall. Best way to learn.

  • by cr@ckwhore (165454) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:29PM (#4981821) Homepage
    These large books often seem a little confused about their target audience. They often cover everything from very basic concepts to very complex ones, and I don't really believe that anyone really needs that breadth of coverage.

    Well, not all of the book may be useful to you in your application of RH8. But, if they wrote this book specifically to your needs, then this book would not have broad appeal. Its all about the audience. You use a small portion of the book, other people use other portions. But in its entirety, it should appeal to a broad range of RH8 users.

    Even if you don't use a lot of what is covered in the book, its still beneficial to read up on the more complex topics. At least be informed -- then less will be mysterious to you in the future should you need to apply more diverse skills.

  • by Neck_of_the_Woods (305788) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:32PM (#4981836) Journal


    Any book that has "complete reference", "BIBLE", or "Everything" in the title is just cliff notes.

    You can be a neophyte to all, or a master of one. Pretty much goes for books on large subjects as well.

  • I read it, too. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FreeLinux (555387) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:33PM (#4981849)
    I still check these books out in my search for the Holy Grail of Linux books, a good, well written book that I can recommend to people who are familar with computers but, unfamiliar with Linux.

    This book sadly, is not it. The reviewer is actually quite generous in his review. I found the book to be convoluted in its arrangement with repeated early referrence to commands that were not explained until after the tenth chapter. It did not flow well which made it all the more difficult to read its copious 1000 pages.

    As the reviewer stated it tries to cover the full breadth of a subject from very basic to very advanced but in both cases it simply touches on each topic without any real depth. For instance, after adequately explaining the installation steps, it describes recompiling the kernel in less than two pages with no real explanation or what or why. Hardly something necessary for new users or people who may never have compiled a program before, and really no information on the ins and outs of the kernel for advanced users.

    Basically, the book is adequate for a referrence if someone needs to get a new service up and running quickly. If you've never setup MySQL or Sendmail the book will walk you through installation and basic configuration, beyond that, you're on your own. Read the Man page and check the news groups, as the book says repeatedly.

    I'd rate this book as a 5 out of 10.
    • Re:I read it, too. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by deadsaijinx* (637410)
      Your missing the point of any Bible series for any subject. It is designed to take a reader from a 100% newbie to a multi-faceted user whom has a clue about what to do. I also read this book, and i myself was a complete newbie to linux. This book introduced me to the very basics and eventually brought me up to speed on many important features and benefits of linux.
      As you and others have stated, there is little depth to subjects, yet it covers a broad group of subjects; and there in lies the key. This book allows a user to start with absolutely no understanding of linux and grow into various subjects. This allows for me to see an overview of the core subjects involved in linux and allows me to gain at least some advanced use of each. It also allows me to choose which areas i want to develop my skills in more. For example, the books shows how to set up a fileserve, which ended up interesting me. Though the depth was not great, i now have a foundation on which i can build more knowledge.
      And that is what the bible is all about. it allows a newbie to enter the linux world with some knowledge of most of the important topics. Later on, the reader can decide which subjects they wish to expand their knowledge of.
      So for someone like you, who is obviously a seasoned linux user, the book holds little value, but that is no reason to rate this book as a 5 out of 10. Instead, it should be judged on whether it does what it inteds to do. And I feel that this book suits its purpose well. 9/10
      • I got the Redhat 7.3 Bible a while back and have referred to it a few times since when I've needed a quick way in to something I haven't done before, like configuring Apache or setting up MySQL.

        It has a fairly good hit-rate in my experience of having the basic information I need at the point where I still need basic information.

        I dare say most of it's also available on the web, but I prefer printed books for "single-digest" reading where you sit down and go through a few pages in sequence and then you're done; the web is better suited to hopping around rapidly in search of meaningful nuggets.

        There's nothing stunningly good about the "Bible", but it fills a need that some of us have and doesn't tend to mislead or patronize the way many newbie texts do.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Articulation, clarity, and elegance, mean little to publishers when physically large books sell faster than skinny ones.

    Publishing companies push hard for writers to expand all points to the maximum number of pages. Even if the expansion made points incoherent. I couldn't do it. Was always a source of friction between me and various project managers.

  • ...Even after reading this review.

    I'm getting it for Christmas (My Mom ordered it for me from Amaz[ingly slow to deliver]on.com) and this review assures me that it's just what I want.

    I've been using Red Hat exclusively since 7.1 and have learned plenty of tidbits here and there, but I still lack a full understanding of certain topics. It appears that those topics are the ones covered toward the back of this book.

    The other thing that I'm excited about is that this book sounds like something my wife can read and get something out of. She is mildly technical and might like to know more about the OS she uses (Yes, she prefers Linux to Windows, but still has to reboot once a week to run some proprietary business software).

    Hey, I think I'll even ask Chris to autograph it! He's a member of my LUG [taclug.org] and a really nice guy.
    I'm happy to support him with my Mom's money. ;-P

  • In the fact that you state plainly at the start

    this review of Wiley's new Red Hat Linux 8 Bible, writing "I've never been much of a fan of large computer books and, to be honest, this one hasn't done much to change my opinion. These large books often seem a little confused about their target audience.

    My question is Why did You bother doing a review of it? Why did you even buy it? It must have appealed to you on some level? I myself enjoy a GOOD big book, as it makes me feel like I am getting my money's worth in the purchase, especially if it goes into the detail and expanse that your review later stated it did.

    I would have to also ask if there was any coverage of SAMBA and the "new" method it uses to set itself up? That alone to me would be worth the price of admission, especially because it applies to Red Hat 8.0. The "MAN" pages and all of the help online were useless when I was setting this up. I was able to get it to work, but in no way/shape/form as to how it was instructed by the outdated information. If this book covers those specific topics that directly apply to the Version of software I am running, as opposed to the older versions, then it is definitely well received regardless of the breadth of the book itself.

    In fact, I will now have to look for this little gem on my next outing to Powells or Borders.....

    • Why did you even buy it?

      Let me let you into a little secret. Reviewers don't buy books. Publishers send us free copies.

      I would have to also ask if there was any coverage of SAMBA

      Yep. Chapter 18 is all about setting up a Linux file server and it includes 16 pages on configuring SAMBA. Much of that is about confuguring it using SWAT.

  • With Man and HowTo pages all over these books are not that necessary. While I have always felt HowTo and Man pages sometimes being too thorough and making me search for info these "bibles" seem to be too brief, they touch on a topic and move on with the reader wanting more, ironically it also points to websites for more info that are not created by the author of the book, but developers or people that have done a good job creating a How To page.

    I will admit I used to own a Mac bible during the OS 7 days and it was fun just because it didnt teach you anything but listed easter eggs and tidbits of trivia on Apple. But when the internet hit with specialized sites it turned those books into a monitor stand.
  • by madstork2000 (143169) on Monday December 30, 2002 @12:58PM (#4981991) Homepage
    First background: I have been using linux since the mid 90's, but would not call myself an expert. I have found the bibles to be a good "manual" akin to the good old days when every software package came with 3 ring bound 1000+ page manuals.

    The "bible" does a good job introducing new features of RH distro, (like the alternates system) that are not "standard" or in wide use yet. They also have a nice charty of all the applications and where the config files live. While a lot of them are obvisous, it helps when setting up something for the first time, or trying to tracking down security settings etc in unfamiliar apps.

    They have helped me immensely while getting started with current information. The one area where a book has an advantage over the Internet for me is the specific target. It is frustrating to wade through newsgroups, and websites, when there is so many variations and versions of software in use. I like the book as a starting point because it is a references how to complete a task w/ RH and you can use that to start, then if you do need to advance beyond what the book offers, you have a lot better background to refine your google search to save a lot of time.

    While the review says its too big and simultaneously too small, I disagree. If you take the book more as a manual, it is a good size (considering the monstrocity that RH is growing into). It touches on virtually everything that RH includes in the distro, and explains what it does. This makes it a lot easier to tune and trim your RH system.

    Overall, for $50 bucks, these books have saved me a lot of time, and are worth the price to me even if they only serve as a starting point for further investigation. The book is like any other tool, it is only as useful as the person using it makes it.

    -MS2k
  • all of these linux newbie->vet->guru books are good for one thing only :

    introducing you to linux.

    the book I learned linux one isn't even in print anymore ( honestly, I can't even remember the name of it ), but it was cut from the same block ( judging by the review ), just a few generations before, as this one. I paid ten bucks for it at a used bookstore, it helped me crawl until I could walk, and then I moved on to O'Reilly's and to much broader aspects of computing + programming ( actually, linux convinced me that it was worthwhile and fun to go back to working on my CompSci degree ).
  • I disagree with the poster. I like a big book that introduces the topic in the first few chapters to someone who doesn't know anything about it. the rest of the chapters have good in depth information - because even newbies at a topic sometimes need to know nitty gritty. A good book will serve as a good reference, too.

    If i want to learn something new, i don't want to buy 3 books (one for learning from scratch, one for advanced topics, and one for reference). That's why I really dig O'Reilly books - I find them to not only teach a topic well, but they serve as a great reference after that!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And it's also cheaper than the "official" Red Hat Linux products.
    If the book includes a CD-ROM, buying the book is a great way for the bandwidth-challenged to get the RH distro, as well as a great big steaming heap of documentation. It would be nice though if the CD also included a large collection of HOWTOs.

    • I went to the The Linux Documentation Project [tldp.org], got to the HOW-TOs, and grabbed the tar.gz file of all the HOW-TO pages (multiple archive formats and document formats available, NO, Word isn't one of them). Then I grabbed the same in mini-how-to. Found other things to do while I waited for the files to download via dialup. It links to the collected man pages in html, I may grab it, there seem to be man pages missing from my RH-8.0 installation.
  • Good Value (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Izaak (31329) on Monday December 30, 2002 @01:19PM (#4982129) Homepage
    If you are planning on picking up a boxed linux
    distribution anyway, you can do a lot worse than
    picking up a big, gereral purpose linux reference
    that includes the CDs. Chris Negus does a great
    job with every incarnation of this book... as
    good as can be expected with such a broad subject
    matter. It is not a book to sit down and read
    from cover to cover and expect to learn Linux,
    but it does make a wonderful reference.

    DISCLAIMER: I might be a little biased; I was a
    contributing author for the initial version of
    the Redhat Linux Bible.

    Thad
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 30, 2002 @01:32PM (#4982224)
    The biggest complaint about Linux books is usually from novice who are looking for information that just isn't in the book. For obvious reasons the writers of these books will make books that will sell.
    All those of you who bitch about these books aren't going to buy them anyway so you are irrelevant.

    As in everything, if you don't like it you don't buy it and you stop bitching. This book is likely or sell like hotcakes and increase the use of Linux.

    As an experienced Linux user I still like those books as a reference. Memory is a faculty made to forget and it is nice to have a reference books that can browse thru to refresh your memory.

    It's like a dictionnary, why would anyone put in the dictionnary just the words that you don`t know about?
  • i was a proud borrower of 'unix system administrator's bible' and own 'red hat linux bible'. the s.a.b. covered almost exclusively command line work and came with freebsd 2.something. over 1000 pages of unix command line tutorials, you can learn from such a thing.
    the r.h.l.b. came with red hat 5.2 for 7 dollars used. it was very useful to study in preparation for my new job as an i.t. manager. i carried it around all summer in my car, and if i ended up resting under a tree at the race track or something i could study it and take notes.
    i don't see how a book can have 'too much information' unless you're talking about professional wrestling or johnny knoxville or something...
    these books make good long-time companions and are good for reference for a long time imho...
    ok, links -g still doesn't understand my shift keys, i'll get to it someday...

    lr
  • of buying alot of Linux books, especially when first learning the os, but they really are superfluous when all the resources are online and free. Fire up the printer and study what you need to at the time. I used to print out code when learning to program in C and I would fold up the sheets of paper and shove them in my back pocket, then study it at work - during break of course (cough).

  • Big books always have some portions you don't want, or that are too shallow. While this much is true, my experience is that there are always part of an OS that you don't know that well. That's where the mixture of advanced and beginners' topics comes in handy.

    I am an RHCE, but I know virtually nothing about NIS, or KDE, or wu-ftpd. I could, however, cite the iptables manpage for you (don't ask... ;-) ). I always find that when it comes to big books, you find some interesting parts, *not* covered in the generic howto's you've read, in the advanced sections, and that when you have to do some simple things like making a dial-up server while living in an cable-internet-area, it's just there. And that's great.

    Furthermore, books like this can always be given to friends thinking you'll answer the phone at odd hours, helping them install or configure this or that, so they also give me a good night's sleep.

    Honestly, I like big books...
  • Someone can tell me if this book tell us how to add a item in the bizarre Gnome menu of RedHat 8 ?
    Everyone and his sister are complening all the fuckup RedHat make with KDE in RH8, but, in KDE on RH8 you can add item in the Menu, not in Gnome ! I think that RH make a lot more fucking shit in Gnome that they made in KDE !

  • And it is one of the best Linux books i have read. it is really through and in depth. Plus it came with RH 8.0 Cd's! That was the coolest part. How many windows books come with the OS loaded..
  • I've never found the "Bible" books to be good for general Admin of a system. I have however found the Bibles to be a excellent resource when used in conjuction with a class of some sort.

  • I am one of those users that has just enough information to be dangerous. I understand the user concept and some basic command line stuff. I can install/update/remove RPM's (why do they still use RPM's?). I can install from source, if there are no big issues (dependency hell reminds me of DLL hell from win 3.11 days...).

    I would like to learn more, from one comprehensive source. My "teacher" (old roommate who moved to another state) just barks at me to 'look it up online' somewhere.

    If I have the time, this could be the book for me, if I go back to using redhat.
  • Quote: They often cover everything from very basic concepts to very complex ones, and I don't really believe that anyone really needs that breadth of coverage. Or, at least, not all at the same time and from the same book.

    Wrong.

    I have a Slackware Unleashed book from '96 that still helps me to this day. The advanced stuff may not be for now but eventually you'll get what you need. Plus, it allows you to look at advanced things you might not otherwise know existed.

  • It's a 'Bible' type of book, so I'd say it can cover whatever breadth the author chooses..

    What.. no M$ exploits to whine about today?
  • Bought this book for some insight into configuring Sendmail on RedHat 8.0, Sendmail being something I've never played with before. Was looking for a book that might identify any distro specific issues. While the book does go into some in-depth detail on the subject of configuration, I found it to be somewhat useless. After multiple warnings from the author to configure the sendmail.mc script used to generate the sendmail.cf file rather than the sendmail.cf file directly, the author then when into an in depth analysis of the sendmail.cf file and stated nothing I found helpful about configuring the sendmail.mc file. Being new at this, maybe the information provided was universal and applicable to both, however if it was, that distinction was not made clear enough for me to gain any knowledge from this book. The warnings were enough to keep me from messing with the cf file, and left me with no resource on how to configure the mc file.
  • I'm a newbie to Linux in general, and Red Hat specifically.

    So far I have found that the book has got me up and running quickly, with good explanations and examples.

    I'm coming from the windows arena, and it gives great comparisons for people like me (read: people Linux supporters seem to want to switch over).

    I consider myself quite computer literate (in Windows/DOS) - and this sort of book is perfect. It starts out with the basics, but then also gets into the tougher stuff like configuring sendmail and squid.

    As someone who is very interested in moving from Windows to Linux, I am finding the Bible to be a great resource.
  • I've found that there are too many places trying to cash in on the Linux craze by having 'everything you need to know' books, usually by many unknown (and yet likely underpaid) authors. These huge wastes of good pulp never deliver on their promise.

    A subject like Linux is just too big. Linux installation, Bash shell (ineteractive and scripts), GUIs, applications, server software -- all of these should ideally be in different books where they can be covered in good detail.


  • It is a reference, not a bible, and not thee Bible(R). Authors of this book, please do not confuse a Reference with a bible. A bible would include commandments and regulations. A bible is a code of law. "RedHat 8 Bible" is both improper use of the string "Bible" and incorrectly implied to actually being a reference to the Work(TM).

    In a bible, I expect to find laws(code) such as, yet "RedHat 8 Bible" contains none:

    Though shalt not steal software marked for per-user usage.
    Though shalt enjoy the free beer and free speech software and keep them wholey and good.
    Though shalt not use the X Windowing System in vain (implying KDE and Gnome are evil).
    Though shalt honor thy initd process.

    None of those were found in the said "RedHat 8 Bible" and it is too late to re-label it as "RedHat 8 Reference." As usual, open the book and you immediatly see notes as it being a "reference." oi
  • I wasnt sure where to post this question and this tread seemed like a good place so here goes :D I want to start using Linux, which distro should I start with? Is Red Hat 8.0 a good place to start?

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