Title: Fedora Linux
Author: Chris Tyler
Pages: 639 pages
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Reviewer: Lyger (at) attrition.org
About fifty percent of the way into this book, I quit taking notes and
just kept reading. Even though the front cover labels this book as "a
concise task-based approach", a more accurate description would be "a
completely-thorough-to-the-point-of-being-scary approach." Chris Tyler
clearly knows his stuff; after 600 pages of technical detail about
Fedora and Linux in general, all I can say is "dot... dot... dot...".
The book starts off with a chapter titled "Installing Fedora". Good
choice. From there, other chapters include desktop usage, notebook
usage, system management, storage administration, networking, and
security. One middle chapter about "package management" will mean little
to those with no interest in Fedora or Red Hat, but the chapter itself,
as well as the book in general, is fairly well detailed about RPM and
'yum' technologies. In my opinion, chapter 5 (Package Management) wasn't
particularly useful for me, but Fedora and RH junkies will probably find
more than a few tidbits of information that should be useful, especially
the installation, roll-backs, and creation of RPM packages.
A good chunk (chapter 7: Network Services) of "Fedora Linux" deals with
basic network geekery: Samba, DHCP, DNS, Apache, sendmail, and FTP are
all covered, as well as MySQL and log analysis. Again, Tyler is fairly
thorough with his explanations and his writing style could be considered
"conversational", at least as far as a 600-page Fedora "bible" can go.
Both command-line and GUI configuration options are discussed; the GUI
sections appear to be pointed at users who are relatively new to Fedora,
RH, and Linux in general, while the command-line sections appear to be
useful, at least in some context, to experienced Linux users.
I found it interesting that video, sound, and printing configuration
options appeared earlier in the book than basic networking and security,
but from a "complete guide" standpoint, it makes more sense to appeal to
new users early on and hold advanced topics for later in the book.
Illustrations are used frequently, however not to the point of being
simple filler or overbearing. Compared to books I've reviewed from other
publishers, pretty well done.
Maybe not Shakespeare, but good stuff for those with an interest in not
just Fedora, but Linux in general. Quite possibly intimidating for the
newbie and some parts may be a "well, duh" for experienced users. If you
have the time and interest, I would recommend at least reading a few
pages at your favorite local bookstore as a test-drive. Otherwise,
consider picking up a copy for your geeky cousin and then steal it from
him (or her) after the holidays.
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