Learning Red Hat Linux

COMPUTER BOOK REVIEW  

397 words

Title: Learning Red Hat Linux; Bill McCarty; O'Reilly; ISBN: 1-56592-627-7;
Soft cover, 378 pages, $US$34.99, CAN$48.95, 

Reviewer: A.T.Connellan, "Linux has become the computer book publisher's
'flavor-of-the-month.' For those of us who need our hands held, so far this
is the best basic book I've seen." 

397 words

O'Reilly and McCarty Lead the Linux Way

There is a growing community of computer users, who having tired of the
inexplicably frequent system crashes and other anomalies of the Microsoft
operating systems, have opted to return to a text based system similar to
what many had encountered in pre-windows days.

Back in the time of DOS there was a sense of order to our computer adventures.
Type the command properly or face a stubborn refusal to comply. Case, spacing,
and slashes meant something, and embarking onto the fledgling Internet was a
voyage into the largely unknown, but we learned and accomplished. Founded on
Unix the Internet became our wonderland.

In the early 1990s Linus Torvalds, a Finnish computer science student, began
working on a kernel for a Unix-like system. Friendly hackers jumped into the
project, and Linux was born.

In the intervening years the development of this no-cost operating system has
expanded so well that lawyers defending Microsoft against the U.S. Government's
anti-trust charges recently argued that Linux's strength prevents Microsoft
from dominating the market, maybe so.

In any event the unfettered development by free-swinging hackers has produced
a rock-solid operating system that does the job better and at a fraction of
the cost of the competition. But can the average computer user comfortably
function in Linux?

Ignoring the rumors of a steep learning curve, author Bill McCarty builds an
unafraid understanding of the inner workings of the now-ubiquitous Linux. This
is a most comforting book for those considering a switch to Linux. The author
removes the mystery and the worry.

Between the covers he sets out the history, structure, and a step-by-step
procedure for the installation and fine-tuning of a fully operational system.
The book probably costs more than many versions of Linux but is saved by the
fact that it includes a CD of Red Hat Linux, its most popular version.

One minor quibble, it would have been helpful if the publisher had been able
to co-ordinate the text with the illustrations instead of lagging a page or
two behind. 

My advice to readers is to ignore the illustrations, and just read the text.
Eventually you'll catch up to them and you can say to yourself "aha, that's
what the editors were trying to do."

Linux has become the computer book publisher's "flavor-of-the-month." For
those of us who need our hands held, so far this is the best basic book I've
seen.




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