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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for command-line administration
First off, this book focuses on RPM-based and Debian-based distributions. This doesnt, by any means, make it useless for those that don't, but some of the "recipes" are specific to either of these.

I am not even sure where to begin with my praise of this book, it's got over a dozen sticky notes marking key sections that I find useful. I guess I can start by...
Published on July 10, 2005 by Elizabeth Krumbach

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Same Titles, Different Authors/Publishers
Caveat emptor: Carla Schroeder's "Linux Cookbook," 2nd Ed., ISBN 1-59327-031-3 appears to be quite appealing. However, I am much confused to find another "The Linux Cookbook, Second Edition," ISBN-13: 978-0596006402, 2004, by Michael Stutz, also available. It seems the shopper needs to check out the author and publisher, as well as the book and reviews, before making a...
Published 15 months ago by RayK


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for command-line administration, July 10, 2005
By 
Elizabeth Krumbach (Schwenksville, PA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Linux Cookbook (Paperback)
First off, this book focuses on RPM-based and Debian-based distributions. This doesnt, by any means, make it useless for those that don't, but some of the "recipes" are specific to either of these.

I am not even sure where to begin with my praise of this book, it's got over a dozen sticky notes marking key sections that I find useful. I guess I can start by saying that the author is deeply involved with doing system administration via the command line, which is fantastic news for me! There are plenty of decent GUI tools out there, but when x dies and you're stuck at a command line, using them isn't an option. I feel that if you don't have the knowledge to fix things yourself, at least have a book by your side that offers you some tips, and that is what this book is for. And some people just prefer doing administration via the command line all the time, myself included.

The time I most often pull out this book, however, is not when I run into a problem, but when I'm setting up a new system. I don't reinstall often, but when I do there are little things that I often forget how to do, since I do them so infrequently. Things like setting up ssh keys, setting up users and groups, setting up NTP, setting up new fstab.

I also found this book useful when I wanted a quick and clean explaination of different filesystems and more information about command line options for CD burning. Also I got some good ideas for backups and local file transfer methods from the chapter on Backup and Recover.

Best of all, this book contains a great chapter on kernels. So many books and online how-tos I've seen give you the steps of compiling a kernel, but don't explain what is going on. This always left me feeling like I had no clue what I was doing, and if there was an error I'd have no idea where I'd begin fixing it, since I didn't really know what "make mrproper," for instance, means (side note, she even quickly explains "according to Linux lore" the reasoning behind the name Mr. Proper, a delightful bit of trivia). Now that I've read this chapter on kernels I'm much more comfortable recompiling and customizing my own. She also talks about patching a kernel, which is something I had trouble with for a while, since so much documentation I found and people I asked said "just use patch" which meant nothing to me.

An excellent book for the linux user who wants to move away from the GUI and learn more about core, command-line administration. I love it.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Numerous tips on direct command line usage, January 16, 2005
This review is from: Linux Cookbook (Paperback)
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this book is that it wasn't published prior to December 2004. Linux has been popular enough in recent years that the book would have been useful earlier. But given that it has just appeared, Schroder has a very up to date coverage of linux tips.

Take for example the chapter on CD and DVD recording or copying. All sorts of guidance on using DVDs for data or audio. Linux has powerful but obscure commands for these tasks. But they are run at the command line. Often with many input arguments. Not the easiest of things for someone to remember. Linux lacks a nice UI to take some of this burden off you.

Some of you should check out the chapter on Knoppix. There is an allure about making a bootable version of linux on a CD or DVD that you can then run on an arbitrary Intel or AMD machine.

The chapter on managing spam has a very limited discussion on using a blacklist. It talks about how it's used to block incoming messages from addresses on the list. No mention about using the list against domains from hyperlinks in the message body.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good choice for command-line Linux admins..., April 1, 2005
This review is from: Linux Cookbook (Paperback)
If you're a Linux admin/guru who loves the command line, you'll probably really like Linux Cookbook by Carla Schroder (O'Reilly)...

Chapter List: Finding Documentation; Installing and Managing Software on RPM-Based Systems; Installing and Managing Software on Debian-Based Systems; Installing Programs from Source Code; Discovering Hardware from Outside the Box; Editing Text Files with JOE and Vim; Starting and Stopping Linux; Managing Users and Groups; Managing Files and Partitions; Patching, Customizing, and Upgrading Kernels; CD and DVD Recording; Managing the Bootloader and Multi-Booting; System Rescue and Recovery with Knoppix; Printing and CUPS; Configuring Video and Managing X Windows; Backup and Recovery; Remote Access; Version Control; Keeping Time with NTP; Building a Postfix Mail Server; Managing Spam and Malware; Running an Apache Web Server; File and Printer Sharing, and Domain Authentication with Samba; Managing Name Resolution; Finding Linux Documentation; On-line References; Microsoft File Types; Init Script for CVSD; Index

The standard "Cookbook" format has a problem (such as "Installing YUM"), a solution, a discussion of the problem and solution, as well as additional reference material (either other cookbook items or external sources). The focus is less on theory and more on practicality. The author wants to help you learn to do something without necessarily understanding every little nuance or subtle effect. Because one of the primary target audiences is Linux administrators, there's a strong emphasis on command line techniques. For instance, there's a "recipe" for password-protecting LILO. All the things you do involve entering command line statements at prompts.

This wouldn't be the type of book you'd buy if you're looking for things you can do from the KDE or GNOME desktop environment. You'd walk away with very little, if any, value. But if you're an administrator who wants to tap into the full power of the command line server interface, this will be an interesting book for you...
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy two copies and lend one to your friends, July 6, 2005
This review is from: Linux Cookbook (Paperback)
Linux Cookbook by Carla Schroder (O'Reilly)

I have already lost my copy of this excellent book to my coworkers. This is another great entry to O'Reilly's "Cookbook" series. I have been running and administering Linux for 10 years and I didn't expect too much from this book. I was wrong. It is packed full of useful recipes that are the kind of thing I can never remember and spend ages digging out of documentation when I need them. Two of my favourites so far are how to use Grub to boot your machine when you have toasted your Master Boot Record, and a script to create a "phantom rpm package" that reflects all those libraries on your system that you have compiled and installed from source so that RPM knows about them.

The author has clearly had to make some hard decisions about what information to include in here and she has done a great job. The recipes cover the full spectrum of common administrative tasks that have details which are hard to remember. They include tasks such as configuring Samba, Apache, NTP, DNS, printing, mail servers, backups, and user accounts. There is information on installing software for both Debian and RPM based systems, and on rebuilding the kernel and how to patch it. The list goes on; you'll just have to read the book.

In short, there are lots of great tips in here that are easy to find and use. Keep this book at hand for all those times when you are asking yourself, "now how do I ... ?"
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It was perfect to get me moving on LINUX, August 9, 2005
This review is from: Linux Cookbook (Paperback)
I wanted to become more experienced with UNIX so I had the Ubuntu distribution installed in my computer. I spent six months having a hard time getting simple things done until I came accross this book.

It is organized in such a way that it is easy to get to do what you want/need and, what's better, the explanations provided give you insights on how UNIX works. After a while, you will find yourself doing new stuff on your own.

If you want to get into UNIX but knows little about it my advice for you is: get this book and jump into LINUX - it is worth it!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Useful, but it's Hit-and-Miss, September 10, 2006
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This review is from: Linux Cookbook (Paperback)
Because this is a "cookbook," it gives you recipies -- step-by-step instructions for performing specific tasks.

This makes Linux Cookbook EXTREMELY useful when it has a recipie you need, and it often gives you a good starting point when you need to do something that isn't specifically covered.

For example, let's say you need to setup a mail server, which you've never done before. As long as you're willing to use the mail tools she describes (which are perfectly good tools), then this book is the fastest way to get the job done. She also shows you how to make sure the server will be secure.

I'm glad I have this book on my shelf, I recommend it, and I refer to it whenever I need to do something new in Linux. The problem is, you can't have a step-by-step recipie for everything. When this book hits the mark, it's the best book you can have, but you cannot rely on this as your only Linux book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect binding keeps the book open at the desired page, September 27, 2005
By 
Lih-Chern Chiu (Richardson, TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Linux Cookbook (Paperback)
... which comes in real handy considering how often I reference it.

Chapter 10 (Patching, Customizing, and Upgrading Kernels) and Chapter 12 (Managing the Bootloader and Multi-Booting) helped me recompile my kernel for the first time. Not only are the instructions clear, but the author also made sure to explain each step so I knew why I was typing a certain command. There's even a section on how to create an initrd image for SCSI drive users, which I had a hard time finding on the web.

This book does an excellent job covering all the basics, and it's worth spending the time to read it from beginning to end. I certainly see myself getting a lot of mileage from it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eclectic collection to quickly solve your pain, May 4, 2005
By 
This review is from: Linux Cookbook (Paperback)
This book has an eclectic collection of recipes to problems I didn't even know I wanted solved! For example, I didn't know I could virus scan my Windows OS using Knoppix. Many of this book's recipes are so simple to use, all you need is to take 30 seconds to read the problem to see if it describes your pain. If so, then you implement the quick recipe. In many cases, you can skip the discussion. What do you care? You just want the problem solved. Of course, you'll learn a lot more about Linux by reading the discussion. This book is worthwhile to keep on your bookshelf. It'll gather dust until that one day when you must find a solution in 5 minutes. Then you'll be happy to have it.

The collection covers the gamut from boot-ups, rpms, backups, and CVS to servers for web, printer, domain names, and mail. You may buy this book for one of its specific areas. Or you may buy it just for insurance for that one day when you need the solution and can't find it in your admin guides. If you don't need to do much admin tasks, you might find more daily use from the Linux Desktop Hacks book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Linux Admin Book, April 21, 2005
This review is from: Linux Cookbook (Paperback)
Carla Schroder's Linux Cookbook (O'Reilly) is an extremely dense volume packed with valuable information. The author writes with precision and detail and with a conversational style that handles the topic with a wry humor making this book a pleasure to read. The Linux Cookbook is command-line based so some familiarity with a Linux system, the inherent power of using the command-line and the dangers of using root are necessary.

The O'Reilly Cookbook series uses a problem/solution/discussion layout to deliver content in a "recipe" format. Schroder provides an extremely thorough compendium of practical solutions to common problems found in the Debian and RPM-based Linux environments. Intended for the beginner to intermediate user, this book also has lots of good nuggets for the advanced Linux systems administrator. The table of contents generously lists each topic covered with enough detail for the reader to quickly pinpoint specific problems of interest.

Briefly, topics covered: documentation (man pages, changelogs, etc.); installing and managing software on RPM-based systems and Debian-based systems; detecting hardware; JOE and Vim editors; runlevels and starting and stopping X; managing users and groups; managing files and partitions; patching, customizing and upgrading kernals; CD and DVD recording; managing the bootloader and multi-booting; Knoppix; CUPS; configuring video and managing X Windows; using rsync and Mondo Rescue for backups and creating restore discs; remote access; CVS; ntp; Postfix; Apache; Samba and DNS.

O'Reilly is well known for producing high quality books that are beautifully bound and well designed. The layout of this book is simply presented with clear typography with chapter and topic headings easily discernible and command-line sections cleanly delineated. The book opens and stays open to selected pages for ease of use (no "cracking" of bindings allowed or necessary!); most of us like to follow along with a book splayed open next to our keyboard or laptop so it's nice not to have to balance our mug of coffee on one side of the book to prop it open.

The Linux Cookbook by Carla Schroder is extremely easy to navigate and very readable thanks to the author's sensible and practical topic selection, clarity of writing and humor. In providing solutions to common problems, Schroder has also managed to disperse valuable advice along the way. Her common sense approach to Linux systems management and administration shines through. The reader gets the benefit of the author's experience in this clearly written and valuable resource to Linux. A bonus is the author's enthusiasm for her topic. This translates into a pleasurable read. Much of this information is scattered across a large number of Websites but having a single competent resource to have at hand makes this book worth owning.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid Linux reference book, February 1, 2005
This review is from: Linux Cookbook (Paperback)
Linux Cookbook, written by Carla Schroder and published by O'Reilly Media, covers a lot of Linux-related topics, but offers several invaluable recepies for maintaining your Linux system. It includes recepies for several common open source applications, including Apache, postfix, CVS, GRUB and LILO, CUPS, XFree86, Mondo, NTP, SpamAssassin, Samba, and BIND.

In addition to addressing applications, the book includes recepies for reading documentation via info or manpages, file permissions, managing users and groups, discovering hardware, and also installing software from RPMs, DEBs or from source. This book has the type of practical insight and useful tidbits that you might find on a Linux mailing list, but they're all included in a nice format for you desk, rather than searching down the information.

There were several typos in the text that started to detract from my reading experience. There were directories that were not referenced properly. This is an important detail when teaching someone the remove (rm) command. Another slightly misleading statement came when discussing a password in GRUB's menu.lst file. The author discussed putting a hashed password in the file, then putting a clear text password, and then mentioning that a file with a clear text password should be readable only by root. While this is true, it is equally true that any password contained in a text file (hashed or clear text). If a non-root user can read the file, they can use a password cracking program and learn what the password is. A new user might not understand the security risks involved. I'm sure the second edition will mention this.

There were a few instances in the text where I felt that more information could have been included on a given topic or application. In a discussion of the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS), the author makes no mention of FHS versions, or the newer directories like /srv or /media. I understand that documentation lags behind newer technology, but there was no FHS version number to give the reader an indication of what they should expect. With no version number, I assumed the version was the latest, rather than the latest at the time of the author's writing. I'm sure this new version will be mentioned in the second edition.

I did learn several things from this book, including the differences between the ext3, reiserfs, jffs, and xfs filesystems. The author gave a lot of great background information, but kept true to the bookbook-style, "how-do-I-do-this?" type of book. It is a book you should keep close to your keyboard for those quick "how-do-I?" moments.
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Linux Cookbook
Linux Cookbook by Carla Schroder (Paperback - December 9, 2004)
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