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Book Review: Linux Pocket Guide - Essential Commands


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 PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2004 9:01 pm   
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Reviewer: Crouse - www.usalug.org

Book: Linux Pocket Guide
Author: Daniel J. Barrett
"Essential Commands."
200 Pages , $9.95 US, $14.95 CA, £6.95 UK
1st Edition March 2004
ISBN:0-596-00628-4
Publisher: O'Reilly
Publisher Book Link: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/linuxpg/index.html
Table of Contents

One of the first things you will notice about this book is the size. Measuring a tiny 4.25 inches wide X 7 inches tall and only about a 1/2 inch in thickness, you might be under the mistaken impression that it doesn't have much to offer. Don't let it's size fool you. Personally, I love the size of this little book. It is small enough to take with you in your coat pocket, giving you reading material while waiting in line or any time you have spare time to kill.

This book is written as a short guide, and not intended to cover every single topic. What it does cover, it covers very well. Basically it shows you the "Essential Commands", just like the note on the front cover says. If your like me, and don't have every command and man page memorized or are just learning the Linux command line, this is a valuable tool. The book covers almost all of the basic command line commands and gives a very readable account of how they are used and some intersting comments thrown in for good measure.

The book starts out with the obligatory introduction to Linux and progresses very fast from there. A few comments on "What's a Command" and "Users and Superusers" and then into a few pages on "The role of the Shell". Now it starts to get into the bulk of what makes up the book. The bulk of the rest of the chapters cover mostly commands and what each one does. The book progresses nicely through these, starting with the basic commands for moving through the Linux filesytems, and then to basic file operations. The flow of the book is nice because as it progresses, you don't feel lost. Each section builds on the others and feels almost like a textbook in that regard.

So much is covered in the 200 pages, it's hard to believe that it actually all fit into this small book. Again, don't let the size fool you, there is an enormous amount of information packed into it. The final chapters cover some graphical things (it's not all command line), like audio/video, screensavers, web browsing. The final section deals with shell scripting and the basic bash commands. This ties in nicely as it allows you to use the commands from the previous chapters and integrate them into some bash scripts which, very nicely, wraps things up.

One of the only things that might initially make people think the book isn't something that they want, is that it says "Covers Fedora Linux" on the cover. While it does go into some Fedora specific things on a few pages, in reality, it isn't much of an issue and 99% of the book is applicable for other distro's as well. So don't let that stop you from getting this book!

This is definatley a must have for those new to Linux that want to get up to speed on using the command line. I saw this book the other day in the bookstore and bought it. It's such a great value, I had to write a review for it. For $10, you would be hard pressed to find a better book for the money.

This gets 5/5 big grins :D :D :D :D :D

Book Review: Linux Pocket Guide - Essential Commands
http://usalug.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=4638

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 PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2004 9:13 pm   
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Sounds like a book that I should get as I avoid the comand line as much as posible now.


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 PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 2:38 pm   
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I've been looking for a book like this. Essential Commands sounds like the book I've been looking for! Then I won't have to keep asking all the GURU's "What's the command for XXXX or YYYY....... now I'll just have to ask how to use them :lol:?" I'll have to check back at Borders, they didn't have this last time I looked through their Linux/Unix book section ;).

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 PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 5:08 pm   
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I am already a competent user, so I may or may not find use for this particular book. I will say this about the vast majority of O'Reilly books I own or have examined in book stores: nearly all the time, the books are of uniform high quality. The only time I've ever had significant criticism of an O'Reilly book has to do with things that tend to quickly date themselves. O"Reilly books tend to be well researched and well reviewed. As such, they tend to have a fairly long publishing cycle. Stuff that dates itself quickly is difficult to do well under such conditions. As far as timeless stuff, or at least stuff that doesn't change every week or every month, their books are hard to beat.

I'm glad to see that this reference is one of them, that it qualifies as a five star book and that it belongs in the pocket of a real Linux enthusiast.

Crouse, would you say that the level of detail in the commands makes this a useful enough book to get even for someone experienced, who might want a quick command reminder every now and then? Does it do a better job than just man pages? If so, it might be worth picking up. I'll have to check it out next time I stop by Border's!

Great review, thanks!

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 PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 8:09 pm   
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Well, it's got a few more practical examples that the man pages, but it's definately not as comprehensive as "Linux in a Nutshell" (an awesome book).

It is extremely useful for someone NEW to the command line, but for more experienced users, the man pages and "Linux in a Nutshell" would be a better fit. Still, I really like the book, and for it's small price, it would be a nice addition to anyones book collection.

I've found myself using it several times..... simply for some of it's examples. Nice reading for me when I'm not at my computer too. :)


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 PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:22 pm   
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I've read the linux pocket guide- and it's a pretty nice book. as was written in the first post, its a small pocket sized, which makes it fun to travel with.
As a side note, it can be found at a much better price here - http://www.fetchbook.info/Linux_Pocket_Guide.html (its a book price comparison engine I use a lot, for instance it found this book for less than $2.5).
in my eyes, it doesnt cover bash so well- which is a mandatory (i think) for any linux guy. "linux shell scripting with bash" is a good one for bash.

i hope this helps...


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 PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:07 pm   
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amz99 Welcome to USALUG :!:
Best LUG this side of the International Date Line
(no matter which direction you go, East or West ;) :lol: :lol: )

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 PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 4:35 pm   
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I am relatively new to Linux and I have found this little book useful, partly because it carries easily. I have supplemented it with an apt-get command sheet that stays tucked with it becaue I use two debian distros.

The only other Linux book that travels with me is Robbins, vi Editor.

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I have a weak mind ..........

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 PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:09 am   
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at the recommend of USALUGers, I did spring for "Linux in a Nutshell". It is very good, especially to help me with GRUB LILO explanations. The convenience of a pocket book is tempting.

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 PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:29 pm   
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I carry this book around in my toolbox. I don't use it often because i generally reach for the man pages, but it is handy if i can't remember which command i wanted or the manpages are broken for some reason.

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 PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:45 am   
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Removed spam.
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 PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:32 pm   
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Here you can check out the most used [url=http://commands.tips-linux.net] linux commands [/url] .


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