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|Teach Yourself Red Hat Linux in 24 Hours|
Judith Samson, Jason Byars, Dallas Releford
430 pages (2 CD-ROMs)
I've just finished reading Teach Yourself Red Hat Linux in 24 Hours from SAMS, written by Judith Samson, Jason Byars and Dallas Releford. The book includes two CD-ROMs with a fully functional version of Red Hat Linux 7 itself, and it certainly does what it claims!
The so-called 24 hours are written down in 24 chapters, each more-or-less about a specific topic.
The chapters are then put together into four groups (you are allowed some rest in these 24 hours).
The first part helps you to install Red Hat Linux 7.0 on your system. The CDs in the back make sure you don't have to download the latest distribution (although it can't hurt to check for updates). Apart from installing Red Hat Linux, the first few chapters explain the Linux basics, help you explore Linux and especially the XFree86 Linux Window System (the X Window system for Linux). Especially the latter is explained slowly, with much detail, which really helps inexperience Linux users to find their way into this (often considered complex) task of configuring XFree86.
The second part of the book is about using (versus installing) Red Hat Linux 7.0. Without going into too much detail (or too deep), the book covers topics like the GNOME Desktop Environment (the default of Red Hat), setting up printers, and perhaps most important your internet connections! This part ends (about halfway the day) with a chapter about fun and games (who thought Linux didn't have games?).
The third part of the book covers the Linux Foundations. This is where you learn about the Linux 2.4 Kernel (the kernel of Red Hat 7.0), working with shells (bash, ksh and tcsh will mean something to you after you've read chapter 15), and system administration using linuxconfig and other tools. If you've just started to use Linux, then you may have to get back to this part in the time to come, for example to learn how to set up your own simple network.
The last part of the book covers some advanced topics like trying to integrate Linux and Windows (trying things like dualboot, WINE, VMWare (my personal favorite) and Samba servers and clients). The last few chapters cover network and security, and programming (compiling and installing source code) - although you shouldn't expect too much from the latter.
Each chapter ends with some questions (and answers) and a little quizz that helps you to make sure that you truly understood everything that was presented in the chapter. Which also means that you can probably skip (parts of) the chapter if you think you already know this stuff (but verify by making answering the questions first).
There are numerous Linux books out there, many also include distributions on CD. This one is no different in that aspect, but it certainly does a good job in explaining the basic features and powers of Red Hat Linux in a way that is easy to understand for non-experienced Linux users. If you are capable of installing Linux blindfolded (or with one hand tied on your back), then this book it not for your. But if you want a guideline that will take you by the hand and learn you the basics of Red Hat Linux (in approximately 24 hours - or say a few days to a week), then I can certainly recommend this book for you!
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