If you're one of those people who still keeps a "dead tree" dictionary around in spite of computer programs and Web sites that provide more up-to-date definitions, you'll probably enjoy having Linux in a Nutshell around. It's not that the book is out of date -- the point of having updated editions is to include new commands, tools, and methodologies that have been introduced or modified since the previous release. I found all of the material in this fifth edition to be modern and viable. I did not find it all useful, however.
The bulk of Linux in a Nutshell, 5th Edition is the Linux command reference. It is more or less a basic restatement of every
man page for userland utilities common among popular GNU/Linux distributions. Since we already have the
info command reference tools, I don't see the usefulness of a paper list.
The best parts of Linux in a Nutshell, 5th Edition are the sections on boot loaders (GRUB, LILO, and Windows' boot.ini); the package management section (RPM information, APT and its related commands and switches, package utilities like YUM and Synaptic); the section on shell scripting with bash and KSH; and the vi, sed, and GAWK crash course sections. A significant portion of the book is dedicated to version control systems -- specifically CVS and Subversion. As these two programs have little to do with GNU/Linux use and administration, I thought they were a little out of place.
Overall I found this book to be useful, but perhaps only to a limited number of readers. Anyone who is studying to become a Linux system administrator should have Linux in a Nutshell, but existing sysadmins (and desktop users) probably won't see much value in it.
|Title||Linux in a Nutshell, 5th Edition|
|Author||Ellen Siever, Aaron Weber, Stephen Figgins, Robert Love, and Arnold Robbins|
|Summary||A desktop quick reference for GNU/Linux|
|Price (retail)||$45 Buy it from Barnes and Noble|