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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
For more advanced trainees it can be a desktop reference, and a collection of the base knowledge needed to proceed with system and network administration. This book contains many real life examples derived from the author's experience as a Linux system and network administrator, trainer and consultant. They hope these examples will help you to get a better understanding of the Linux system and that you feel encouraged to try out things on your own.
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I have dabbled in Linux for a couple of years now and most of my knowledge has been gained in a reactive way. I bought some Linux disks, inserted them, and have been flying by the seat of my pants ever since. By reactive learning I mean every time I got a problem, I had to solve it somehow. This website has been invaluable when doing this.
I would now like to develop my Linux foundation knowledge and am looking for a book to help. Instead of clicking away at GUIs, I want to start learning how to really use Linux. I want to gain control of my command line. I can create and edit files with text editors, carry out basic command line tasks and have basic C++ and Java programming experience in a Linux environment.
What is a kernel and what does it do, how to compile a kernel, how to interact with the kernel, how to compile new apps on a system, how X windows operates, how to I interact with X windows, how to create dual OS systems that my Microsoft OS does not interfere with, how to create basic networks, how to configure internet and network connections of various types, what is a tarball, how to configure hardware, what is a swap partition and what does it do, how are hard disks partitioned, why are Linux hard disks partitioned the way they are, what is a file system and how is it implemented, how is the Linux directory tree structured and why, how is a shell created, how are apps ported to Linux, what is the difference between Linux distros, what is a Linux server and how do you create one, what is Apache and how do you use it, how do you write and compile a shell program, how do you create a GUI launcher for an application written in C++ or Java, what is errata and what do you do with it, how do you backup a system and make use of the backup when a hard disk dies, etc etc etc.
These are the type of questions I'm asking myself. There are certainly many other basic concepts any Linux administrator worth his salt should understand. But I do not know what I should know. I could spend years researching each topic as it becomes relevant to me (ie a problem arises), but I have no direction in my travels. I want to make sure my basic training covers all the required areas.
Most books I have seen either assume you know nothing (Linux is an operating system, like Windows is an operating system), or start launching into Linux terminology riddled spiels that assume a fairly decent level of knowledge is held by the reader. There does not seem to much in between that provides the basics to a reasonable depth in plain language and provides tutorials and complete examples. I seek such a book.
The O'Reilly series of books have always pretty good I've found. The "In a Nutshell" ones are very good for reference and thorough command sets, whilst the "Cookbook" range assumes you already know the basics and gets right in teaching exactly what you want on specific subjects. Generally, they are sets of examples on how to perform certain tasks. The Apache + Squid ones have been very good. They also have pocket reference guides, of which I bought the IPTables one a few months back and is very good reference.
Some of the Bible series and the Complete Reference by McGraw Hill (not sure about the Bible range) are generally great tomes that contain so much, but not a lot of detail on anything in particular, and usually assume no starting knowledge so not that good if you already know a bit abuot Linux. Too much of a read for me, but the O'Reilly books I've always found informative!