Fedora Linux

Chris Tyler - Amazon.com

ISBN: 0-596-52682-2

O'Reilly Media Inc., Copyright 2007


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.



p. 232: "It's often useful to be able to log into a machine remotely to perform some management operation". Errrrr... ya think?
p. ix (Preface): "the best way to learn Linux is to use it" TRUE.
p. 486: "Unfortunately, Fedora Core does not include any tools that permits ACLs to be viewed or adjusted graphically". maybe there is a god...

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