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A Practical Guide to Red Hat Linux-Fedora Core and Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Reviews Views Date of last review
3 39100 09-16-2004
Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers None indicated 7.7

Description: A book aimed at users of Fedora Core and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The majority of the topics are not specific to these distributions and so it can be used by anyone who needs to administer a Linux server or desktop.
Keywords: Fedora Red Hat Enterprise Prentice-Hall administrator
Publisher: Prentice-Hall
ISBN: 0-13-147024-8

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Old 07-05-2004, 11:31 AM   #1
Registered: Nov 2002
Distribution: Debian Testing
Posts: 19,192

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8

Pros: Concise and comprehensive. Well written and jargon well explained
Cons: The nature of the book means that none of the topics are covered in depth

In my opinion, this book is aimed at beginner to intermediate level users and administrators. This does not mean, though, that experienced users are excluded from reading and using this book. There are a huge number of topics covered - everything from your first install through to administering a DNS or mail server. What impressed me most was that rather than write 2 books (one for each distro), the author tags up a section if it is relevant to one distro or the other - this means that all the information is presented in such a way that you can read through the topics without having to find the section relevant to you. In most cases, the difference is as basic as using system-config-printer in Fedora and redhat-config-printer in RHEL.

Also covered are methods of downloading the isos for your distro - wget, ftp, http and bittorrent. Up2Date, YUM and APT4RPM are also covered. This is where this book is valuable - the options it covers are not just applicable to Red Hat. In many cases, the options are not just applicable to rpm based distros - installing from source and other methods are dealt with.

Since there is such a lot of information to go through, do not expect this book to go into great depth on any of the topics, this book should be used as one of many in your library, rather than the only one. Topics covered are: installation, utilities, filesystems, using C, shell scripting, servers (NIS, NFS, mail and others). It weighs in at 28 chapters (plus Appendices) and is a long and weighty tome. If the author were to cover all of the topics in greater detail, the book would have to be retitled to add "Volume 1".

This is an ideal reference guide for all users and administrators: where the chapters cannot cover all details, you are given references to man pages, internet sites and other books. The topics covered are those you would expect to encounter as an administrator and as a user - security topics, set up, troubleshooting and shell scripting among others.

Very handily, at the end of each chapter there are Review Exercises for you to work on to validate what you have just read. If you are working on certification, this will be useful.

This is not written in an overly dry, technical voice. Plain english is used and, where jargon is unavoidable, it is explained. This book comes into it's own when used as a reference for real world tasks - setting up your mail server, for instance.

This book will not turn you into a guru, but it will give you a good base from which to become one. I would definitely recommend this to users of Fedora Core and RHEL. I would also suggest it to users of other distros - the nature of Linux means that the vast majority of the information is applicable to all versions.
Old 08-21-2004, 04:32 PM   #2
Registered: Jan 2001
Posts: 24,149

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8

Pros: Newbie Friendly, Covers the Basics, Very Straightforward and Great Examples; Comes with Fedora
Cons: Not Indepth, Not for Advanced Users

This book is a great book for those starting out with using Linux for the first time and should make it easy for those to follow along as it supplies Fedora Core on 4 cd's.

It starts out like many Linux books, a background on Linux, what it is and does. The pros and cons of Linux compared to other operating systems and so on. Then it goes into details on how to install Fedora and Redhat. It runs you thru the basic installation process which I see helpful for those very new to the installation but very boring for those who've installed Linux. The only good thing I did like was it covered a little about the kickstart tools, to create a custom kickstart, install from, etc.

The next several chapters cover the basics any person who's been using Linux for months or longer should be familiar with. If your one of these people who have used Linux and are comfortable with basic commands used daily along with the X Window system, Gnome, KDE or any other Window Manager, basic networking, you can most likely skip these chapters as you will maybe only learn a few tidbits of information you might not have known before.

Around Chapter 11 is when it starts getting a little more involved, learning about setting up particular services. I do like the fact it goes over SELinux. This is the first book I've come across that actually mentions it. For those who don't know what SELinux is, its Security Enhanced Linux, developed by the NSA which implements Mandatory Access Control. To learn more, you'll have to either visit their site or pick up this book.

Though it does take several chapters for those advanced users to enjoy this book, the later chapters that dicuss how to setup DNS, Samba, Apache and most of the other major services used, its not a very indepth book covering such topics. It's pretty straightforward, can get anyone going and working with such services.

I totally recommend this book for those wanting to learn Linux, have never used Linux or have installed it for the first time and get to know it better. For those who want a book to go in more depth about setting up Apache or DNS, your probably better off getting a book just for that particular service.

Overall, a great book and read. I knew most of the topics already but still learned some other small details I never pay attention to myself.
Old 09-16-2004, 02:28 PM   #3
Registered: Aug 2001
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 5,700

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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 7

Pros: thorough
Cons: mentions the existence of telnet at all (too thorough)

I would prefer to judge any intro/intermediate Linux book by the gold standard of the field Running Linux by Matt Welsch. I would give this one 3+1/2 rearing horses out of 5, and possibly a shot at a fourth.

I'll try to just supplement TK and XavierP's reviews with some of the things I noticed in addition to the above. Primarily, this is not one of those intro books with huge graphics of the GUI menus. Okay, there are a few, and they're at the beginning when it covers installation. After that its all command line, and the author is able to take the reader through some very complex concepts in a rather short number of words. If you would like to call me out on that with reference to the book's 1100 page length, well then you've got a point, but remember that in 1100 pages Mr. Sobell writes a chapter for which O'Reilly or Prentice have whole series of books upon, and these chapters do a good job. Take for instance, Mr. Sobell's chapter on SSH, which of course covers one of the most mindbogglingly hard things to explain, reverse ssh tunnelling, or ssh'ing into a remote machine so that it opens a weird port there that's then tunnelled back to the local crate on some other arbitrary port. Did that make sense? No, of course not, its just a nightmare to explain, and Sobell does a lot better job of it then I just didn't.

In closing, the only real fault of this book is its title. Let's take a look at that:

A Practical Guide to Red Hat Linux-Fedora Core and Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Yeah... this book isn't going to be exceptionally helpful with the oddities of RHEL or Fedora, it is going to be incredibly helpful with Linux in general. If you simply remember that runlevel 5 in RedHat equals 4 in Slackware and runlevel 3 in Redhat equals 2 in Debian, then armed with that information and this book you can administer basically any distro. Its that comprehensive.



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