Spring Into Linux Paperback – 25 Apr 2005
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From the Back Cover
The fastest route to true Linux mastery!
You know your way around Windows (or maybe a Mac, or even UNIX). Now, you're ready for Linux.
And you don't have a minute to waste.
Welcome. This book's for you.
Janet Valade has spent thirteen years helping new users master Linux and related technologies. She knows the "magic words" that'll help you get the job done, fast. (And she knows exactly how to keep you out of trouble, too!)
You'll learn Linux through dozens of focused, bite-size examples, each one carefully designed to build on what you've learned before.
Need specific solutions? This book's carefully crafted, high-efficiency format delivers them... instantly. Working on Fedora? Mandrake? SuSE? No matter. This book is for you.
No other introduction to Linux covers this much, this well, this quickly. Dig in, get started, get results!
All you need to succeed with Linux―without the hassles!
Choose the best Linux distribution for your personal or business needs
Get Linux installed quickly and running reliably
Handle your day-to-day tasks and efficiently manage your files
Master KDE, GNOME, and the Linux command line
Write documents and build spreadsheets with OpenOffice.org
Set up Web access, email, and instant messaging
Work with powerful Linux multimedia and graphics software
Find, install, and run new Linux software
Set up your printer to work with Linux
Supercharge Linux with shell scripts and customized configuration files
Includes concise Linux command reference and quick guide to building powerful Regular Expressions
Spring Into... is a new series of fast-paced tutorials from Addison-Wesley Professional Publishers. Each book in the series is designed to bring you up-to-speed quickly. Complex technologies are reduced to their core components, and each component is treated with remarkable efficiency in one- or two-page spreads. Just the information you need to begin working...now! And because the books are example-rich and easy to navigate, you'll find that they make great on-the-job references after you've mastered the basics.
© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Janet Valade has 20 years experience in the computing ?eld. Her background includes experience as a technical writer for several companies, as a Web designer/programmer for an engineering ?rm, and as a systems analyst in a university environment where, for over 10 years, she supervised the installation and operation of computing resources, designed and developed a state-wide data archive, provided technical support to faculty and staff, wrote numerous technical papers and documentation, and designed and presented seminars and workshops on a variety of technology topics.
Janet currently has two published books―PHP & MySQL for Dummies, Second Edition, and PHP 5 for Dummies. In addition, she has authored chapters for several Linux and Web development books.
© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Contents: Understanding Open Source Software; Choosing a Linux Distribution; Getting Ready to Install Linux; Installation; Interacting with Linux; Using Your Desktop; Using the Command Line; Linux Accounts; File Management; Applications and Programs; Word Processing; Spreadsheets; Graphics; Printing; The Internet; Multimedia; Email, Messaging, and News; Editing Text Files; Shell Scripts; Regular Expressions; Command Reference; Index
As with most successful books, this one has a particular style that helps to maintain the focus on quickly getting up to speed. Each chapter consists of "chunks", which are one to two pages of material covering a specific topic or skill. Each chunk starts at the top of the page, so it's pretty easy to find what you're looking for. Also, the chunk titles are also listed in the table of contents, so finding the topic for reference purposes is pretty easy. Due to the space constraints for each topic, there is a higher ratio of text to pictures than you'll find in a lot of other books. So if you want a lot of step-by-step pictures, you might not do too well here...
The distribution coverage, while not exhaustively complete, does hit many of the major ones... Fedora, Mandrake, and SuSE. Again, this will not give you a complete reference to absolutely every option in your distribution of choice, but that's not the purpose of this book. It's enough to get you up and running. From there you can learn more of the details over time. There's a good mix of command line to desktop GUI material here, so you should learn enough in the way of skills to allow you to switch back and forth when necessary. And in addition to the OS material, Valade also covers some of the more significant desktop applications that are needed by nearly every computer user. Applications such as OpenOffice and GIMP will allow you to be as productive on the Linux desktop as you are in a Windows environment.
For the right audience, this is a book I'd definitely recommend. It's focused, concise, and it will get you active with the software in short order...
It is not impossible to learn Linux from this book without a background in computers -- just difficult. The book assumes an understanding of concepts and computer use that you may not possess. However, if you appreciate a book that assumes you can understand quickly and delivers information in a compact form, without distractions and repetitive explanations, give this one a try. It might work for you.
As far as its goal of delivering the information in compact form, the book certainly succeeds, but not without some repetitive explanations.
In her attempt to deliver simply a quick start guide, the author chose not to focus on one distribution, but to use three distributions: the two primary enterprise distributions, Red Hat/Fedora and SuSE, and a distribution targeted at novice and home uers, Mandrake (now Mandriva). There is an obvious lack of depth, but depth is not the intent of the book. In fact, the default subject is Red Hat, with differences in the other two distros explained along the way. True to the style of "tell them what you're going to say, say it, and tell them what you said", each chapter begins with an "executive summary" and ends with a summary, with the meat in between.
The first four chapters of the book introduce Linux and getting it installed, beginning with a fairly quick explanation of Open Source software and Linux. After briefly covering the three distros used in the book, Valade includes a quick summary of a few other distros, notably Xandros and Mepis. Ubuntu is notably absent from the group.
The installation chapters form the largest segment of the book. Although there are fairly good step-by-step directions for each of the three distros, the directions lack the depth needed for anything but a straightforward install. The pre-install chapter, however, points out some of the potential pitfalls, such as hardware compatibility and partitioning. Although the book is already dated (for example, Mandrake is now Mandriva, Novell now provides SuSE as OpenSUSE), the instructions are still pretty accurate as far as the installation screens and procedures. The reader should at least feel more comfortable about the installation process after reading these chapters.
After the install process, there are several chapters on using Linux with KDE and Gnome. After an initial introduction to both interfaces, the author settles on KDE, as the default throughout the rest of the book, with stops for Gnome when there are significant differences between the two. While trying to keep the introduction to Linux on a graphical level, Valade frequently drops into the command line interface, using bash for the shell. Although the chapter devoted to CLI is light, meatier stuff is available at the back of the book for the more knowledgeable or intrepid.
Finally, about half way through the book are nine chapters on the application programs available, starting with how to get and install them. Mozilla is the featured browser in the chapter on using the Internet, which includes a section on getting connected. Multimedia coverage is light, with a caveat at the beginning of the chapter: "Although working with multimedia files is much easier than it used to be...it can still be problematic on occasion. You are more likely to encounter problems in this area than any other."
The book generally delivers on it's promise, but the style does get tedious after a while. The applications chapters were also surprisingly elementary given the intended audience. But they are mercifully quick reading. Though dated, it is a good introduction to enterprise Linux distributions (and an easy to use personal version) for "busy" professional types.
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