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"The next best thing to having your own personal guru."
A very comprehensive guide to using Linux, covering all the basics in it's 788 pages. This is the newly updated second edition published in 2004. You will learn a lot of things you didn't know, there are comprehensive appendices, lots of examples, scripts etc. It is not distro specific. Debian is used for some examples but this is a general Linux book. Starting with the basics is the general approach, so the commands rather than the GUI are emphasised.
This book with it's 788 pages is a very complete and thorough reference for Linux in general. It uses the 'ground up' philosophy, ie using the command line. GUI applications are of course covered, but the basic command line tools are really where this book excels.
I am relatively new to Linux, but there were some very basic things that I didn't know. The section on text, which is divided into 8 chapters, covers an incredible breadth of usages. Vim and Emacs feature a lot, as do grep, sed, uniq, aspell, ispell, sort, join, etc etc. Some of it is rather complicated, but generally it is extremely well laid out and explained. Examples, usually 2 or 3 are given for each usage being explained.
I would say that it is a good and extensive general reference book written from the point of view of someone who likes using the tools he refers to here, and knows a lot about them.
There are so many tools covered in this book, it is hard to see how anyone could have such an extensive knowledge but this book is a pleasure to read and own. Highly recommended.
To quote from the introduction:
"... the outer shell moves with the fashions of the season, it ages and becomes obsolete...while the inner core does not.
The core melds, picks up new features, refines or discards them, but somehow it lingers and remains... This inner core is the language of UNIX, and it is the foundation upon which the entire system is laid.
It has always been my desire... to teach that foundation in the Cookbook..."