The Official Damn Small Linux Book: The Tiny Adaptable Linux That Runs on Anything (Negus Live Linux) Paperback – 6 Aug 2007
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From the Back Cover
Make the Most of Today’s Smallest, Fastest Desktop Linux Distribution–Damn Small Linux!
Damn Small Linux (DSL) is a super-efficient platform for everything from custom desktops to professional servers. Now, DSL’s creator and lead developer have written the first definitive, practical guide to this remarkable system. The Official Damn Small Linux Book brings together everything you need to put DSL to work in just minutes. Simply learn a few essentials, boot the live CD-ROM, and master the rest...one step at a time, hands-on.
If you’re new to Linux, you can quickly discover how to use DSL to take your data on the road, safely running your programs and personal environment on nearly any computer. Easily adapt DSL to run on anything from an alternative device (Internet appliance, hand-held, diskless PC, or mini-ITX system) to an older PC that might otherwise be headed for landfill.
Use this book and CD-ROM package to
- Run DSL at blazing speed, from CD, USB pen drive, or directly from RAM
- Run DSL from your hard drive or in a virtual environment within Windows
- Add applications and create shareable extensions
- Customize and remaster DSL to create your own distribution
- Build a complete music and multimedia server
- Use Skype VoIP phone service in DSL
- Quickly set up an XAMPP Web server, complete with MySQL, PHP, and Perl, to host your personal Web pages
- Several versions of Damn Small Linux that let you run DSL directly from the CD, a Windows desktop, a pen drive, or your PC’s RAM.
- Software packages (MyDSL extensions) including everything you need to create an Edna music server, Skype® VoIP calling client, multimedia picture frame, and tiny XAMPP Web server.
- Tools for rebuilding and remastering Damn Small Linux.
Your Practical, Hands-On Guides to Getting Real Results with Free Software
Every book in this series encourages and challenges you to advance in the free software world. Boot the accompanying live DVD or CD and watch the Linux system, applications, and content described in the book come to life. When you finish, you’ll know how to use, customize, and rebuild that open source software. Start as a novice, by trying out examples...and finish as a professional!
- Processor: 486DX (recommended Pentium I) or higher
- Memory: 32MB RAM or more (can run entirely in memory in 128MB RAM)
- Disk space: No hard disk space required to run from CD-ROM or USB thumb drive; 50MB minimum for frugal hard disk installs; 200-300MB recommended minimum for traditional hard disk installs
- Graphics: SVGA-capable card with monitor capable of 800x600 resolution
About the Author
Robert Shingledecker’s IT career spans 35 years, beginning with hand-coding machine language programs targeted for Burroughs Corporation minicomputers. Later, he enjoyed using an assembler and then COBOL. Always having a passion for computers, he was an advocate for COMAL, and was an early hacker on MINIX and Coherent OS. In regards to Linux projects, Robert led the first large-scale deployment of Linux in the city of Garden Grove, California, where in 1994 he deployed Samba on DG/UX systems. He also designed a massively scalable Linux/AOLserver/Sybase e-commerce system. Robert then became CTO of several Linux-based dot-com companies. While building Linux-based, no install, live CD-ROM appliances, including firewalls, VPN, web, email, and database appliances, he became interested in Damn Small Linux. Soon, Robert joined John Andrews to help lead Damn Small Linux development. Now retired, Robert spends his time writing code and working on Damn Small Linux. He also enjoys traveling.
John Andrews is the creator of Damn Small Linux (DSL). As owner of a bead and jewelry store in 1996, John learned HTML and Perl to develop his own website. It eventually broadened to running websites for others on Linux servers. His interest in Linux encouraged him to switch to a Linux desktop full time. The appeal of fast and efficient applications led John to develop Damn Small Linux. After trying several mini-distributions, primarily for diagnostic and system recovery, John wanted to build a sub-50MB distribution that essentially had what he needed to accomplish a day’s work; the result was the Damn Small Linux distribution. John’s proficiencies include Perl, shell scripting, Lua, awk, *SQL, php, and some C programming languages.
Christopher Negus has been one of the world’s leading writers of Linux books for nearly a decade. His Red Hat Linux Bible series has sold more than one-quarter million copies worldwide. Chris also authored or coauthored the books Linux Bible (2005 through 2007 editions), Linux Toys, Linux Toys II, and Linux Troubleshooting Bible for Wiley Publishing. For Prentice Hall, Chris is the editor of the Negus Live Linux Series and author of that series’ flagship book, Live Linux CDs. Before becoming a full-time author, Chris Negus worked on UNIX operating system development teams at AT&T Bell Labs, UNIX System Labs, and Novell in the 1980s and 1990s. In particular, Chris worked in the areas of UNIX system administration and networking. When not working on computer books, Chris likes to spend time with his family: Sheree, Seth, and Caleb. Chris also enjoys playing soccer, singing opera (when nobody can hear him), and making things out of old computers.
Top customer reviews
Some sections are worth reading, but fail to go into as much detail as I'd like. For example, once I'm told there are four different formats for "DSL extensions" I want to see the differences explained (and, preferably, justified), not just that I shouldn't worry my pretty little head about it.
On the other hand, some parts are so detailed as to become a waste of paper. A whole chapter devoted to how to install a version of Skype that was probably outdated before the ink was dry? Isn't that what the Skype website is for? Another chapter that's simply a printout of the contents list of the DSL repository, rather than just a URL?
That leaves only the deeply frustrating parts, like the one where I'm told that if it fails on my hardware I should try adding boot parameters, but with no definitive list of which parameters are recognised, nor what they actually do.
Two and a half stars - somewhere between "I don't like it" and "it's OK".
Runs on anything? Not if you want it to run from your hard disc it doesn't. I tried to install dsl from the CD on two systems, one a laptop which had an old NT disc on it and a desktop with a clean disc. Having got past the initial problem that neither screen would display anything beyond the introductory screen without modifying the boot instruction I proceeded. It was a little awkward that there was no UK keyboard option. I found in both cases that the instructions in the book did not agree with what happened on screen. I tried all sorts of variations but nothing would get linux to boot from my hard disc. There is no troubleshooting chapter so no explanation of error code 15 which kept appearing on my laptop or any of the other errors which appeared for no apparent reason. At least it made me appreciate Windows in its many forms. The occasional blue screen in NT I could live with.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Enter DSL! I fell in love immediately. Here were all of the missing pieces. Until the appearance of this book, the web and patience, were the only way to gain a good grounding in the techniques specific to this distro. The contents of this work are not just a repeat of that found on the net. The materials included are complementary to that information.
Don't just read the 1st half of the book. Read the project material also. There are gems to be gleaned therein.
The only complaint that I have about the book is in the binding, which is quite stiff, and therefore does not easily lend itself to setting next to the keyboard, or project workspace. I took my working copy (I have three) to an office supply store and had it coil bound for ~ $6.00. Problem solved.
Good job guys...
Christopher Negus takes third billing on "The Official Damn Small Linux" book in deference to its two primary developers (Robert Shingledecker and John Andrews), but it is clear that Negus is the guiding hand. The writing throughout reflect Negus's crisp, clear writing style.
The book is really well planned. The beginning chapters provide an overview of Damn Small Linux and its development, how to boot DSL (which is very interesting and showcases the versatility of DSL and using DSL applications, which are substantially different than those found in other distributions. Everything about DSL is oriented toward compactness.
Following chapters include using MyDSL to extend your DSL install with other functions and apps, using DSL apps, configuring and saving DSL settings,
There are four chapters just on alternative ways to install DSL. These are, in my opinion, among the most fascinating in the book because they show you how to install on flash drives, hard drives, running DSL embedded in Windows (virtualization). Next are two chapters on adding applications to your DSL install and how to remaster DSL.
The last third or so of the book is a series of projects, which I didn't find to be of more than passing interest, although the chapter on running DSL On mini-ITX and other alternative hardware is quite interesting.
Overall, this is an excellent book for learning about a specific distribution and Linux in general.
Some background: I am an I.S. professional, university trained and many years experienced in Microsoft systems and all hardware. I have very limited familiarity with Linux operating systems. I expected this book to be a beginners guide. It is far from a beginner's guide. One would have to be quite familiar/literate with Linux to fully appreciate the complexity of this volume. I would have hoped that within the confines of the pages, there would be a concise lesson on usage for the beginner. That does not exist. I am very thankful that I purchased the book, used, for less than a dollar.
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