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Linux for Dummies, 2nd Edition

The book is nicely categorized into seven parts, each further simplified into different chapters and further sub topics. Though it is advisable to read the book from 'Part I to Part VII' in tandem don't let the rules bully you. Every chapter is interlinked with the previous topic. It can however be read in any manner, provided you know what it is about and have a rough idea of the past. All the 18 chapters are comprehensively explained keeping the 'lame' user in mind. The small icons or smileys offer an interactive way of dealing with the technical stuff when the going seems to be getting a little tough. Every chapter has a small summary as to what it contains and what you should know at the end of it. There's an abundance of screen shots and serve the purpose of both teacher and a guide.

Using Linux (Part III) forms the heart of the book. Beautifully categorized into '5' chapters, it helps a newcomer get friendly with Linux. Starting from "Working with Files and Commands" to "Calenders, Calculators, and Music Makers" it talks about file permissions, working with editors, basic shell commands, bringing X on par with Windows and making the box as "The world's most intelligent music machine."

The three appendices included at the end of the book, provide a easy way to access offhand information when required. The last few pages explain the "GNU General Public License." Explaining Legal Eagle things, it states the "Do's and Don'ts" that one needs to follow to redistribute the software. The last page is an advertising gimmick featuring a discount on an upcoming book and a "Register and Win" extravaganza.

The accompanying CD has Red Hat 5.2, which is an old version and gives the book a "nostalgic look" You could however apply most of the theory to the later versions too. Hopefully the next edition will be more contemporary.

There's a fine touch of illustrative humor included by Rich Tenant better known as "The Fifth Wave." Most impressive thing about the book- the way it has explained "How to install Linux." Keeping in mind, that the reader is having Windows installed, it first invites the user to know his system thoroughly through Windows, and then partition it, using fips or fdisk.

The Cheat Sheet included with the book offers common Linux commands. At places, where more information is desired or if the book cannot dedicate pages on that topic, it guides the reader through a host of links.

Summing up, the book is a must have for Beginners / Intermediates who want to know what Linux really is and how to go about it.

Linux for Dummies

Author : Jon "Maddog" Hall