I'll start off by saying that I like this book. It's the book that I often reach for when I need to know the location of a specific file or the correct order for executing certain commands. I recommend it thouroghly. Now the problems: I don't particuarly like he way it starts explaining a certain topic but doesn't really cover the possible pitalls one might face. it seems to refer the reader to the distribution vendor just a little too often for me. It does however still go into plenty of detail on the various options available for various parts of the Linux OS. Setting up X, recompiling the kernel, navigating the file system and many more are all done in a well laid out and effective manner. It also explains things which with modern distributions (Fedora/Red Hat, SuSE, Mandrake etc...) you don't need to do. Using Fdisk for instance. I think this is good as it explains the industry standard tools which get the job done, and which at some point you may well need to fall back on. It also carries on the tradition of O'Reilly books by being accessable for the new user but not treating them like an idiot. It assumes you want to go further and allows you to do so by giving a good grounding as well as introducing advanced topics. All in all, a very good book which I would say is suited to the person who wants to learn the way things are done and really access the power of Linux. If you just want to write letters in Red Hat, get "Red Hat for Dummies" or "Red Hat in 24 hours". If, however, you want to learn how to properly reconfigure the kernel in Slackware then go for this.
There's never a book that covers *absolutely* everything. But this book has been invaluable to me because it assumes no foreknowledge of Linux or Unix, yet doesn't shy away from getting you involved in the nitty-gritty of configuring your system. Particularly useful if you favour excellent, 'traditional', Unix-like distros like Slackware. Not so useful if you've got, say, Suse, with all its proprietary Yum, Yast, Sax tools etc etc.
Installing and getting Linux running on even straightforward hardware is notoriously problematic. Even when it’s up and running and you’ve got KDE or GNOME installed, things are still far from obvious. This book covers every practical aspect of Linux you could possibly wish for: installation, post install, all those yucky UNIX commands you’ll have to learn, managing your system and how to avoid breaking things. Once you’ve got some confidence, Running Linux will then show you how to get the best out of your system: recompiling the kernel, security, some programming. “Running Linux” covers a lot of the history of Linux and not only explains *how* things work, but *why* they are that way in the first place – it’s an important view that helps learning. If you’re new to Linux, or experienced and need a handbook, this book is indispensable. Not only is it very sound technically but it’s written in a readable and accessible style and is actually funny in places. Highly recommended.
Although this book covers many linux topics, it does cover all of them rather quickly, and I have often had to seek further help other than the help this book provides. "Running Linux will provide expert advice just when you need it" is stated on the back cover, and, yes, it will, but the advice will be of questionable use.
I read this book from start to finish before a knew little or nothing about linux. It gives you a great impression of how powerful linux is and how much you can do with it. Linux makes sense, and this book shows you that. The Nutshell book is a worthy companion.