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57 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Reference Manual
How many times have you been trying to find a particular command but just can't remember what it was called. How many times have you been typing in a command and forgot the options available?
Through this book, the author has taken many of the substaintial commands for users, admins, networking and programming and rolled them into a dictionary of sort for Linux...
Published on May 6, 2004 by Robert L. Stinnett

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46 of 58 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars reprint of the man pages
400 pages of the 900 pages are a reprint of the man pages. Other parts of the book can be found online. For example the chapters on shell programming, you can find similar stuff online.
I would like to know how to change task priorities. I heard about the nice command. I look it up in the book and it is just a reprint of the man pages. The man documentation...
Published on October 31, 2003 by Daniel Cardenas


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57 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Reference Manual, May 6, 2004
This review is from: Linux in a Nutshell (Paperback)
How many times have you been trying to find a particular command but just can't remember what it was called. How many times have you been typing in a command and forgot the options available?
Through this book, the author has taken many of the substaintial commands for users, admins, networking and programming and rolled them into a dictionary of sort for Linux users.
Sure, you can find out a lot about any command through the online man pages, but the author has taken the somewhat cryptic man pages and broken them down into simple, to the point, references laid out much like you would expect to find in a dictionary.
In addition, you'll find handy reference manuals for common utilities, such as emacs, vi, CVS, sed and awk. While each of these could fill a book in themselves, the author has broken them down to the bare basics to help you get up and running and understand basic operation of each.
All in all, a wonderful reference manual that will compliment more in-depth manuals on actual use and administration of a Linux system.
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is just what is should be, November 9, 2004
This review is from: Linux in a Nutshell (Paperback)
If you understand what "in a nutshell" means, then you shall be pleased with this book. It is not a tutorial, it is not a beginners' guide, it is not a theory book... it is a reference book, featuring entries that are succinct, to the point, sparse in places, but complete in breadth and indispensable.

I don't use Linux for my work station (Mac OS X) or for my servers (BSD UNIX) and so when I need to do something on a Linux box the UNIX commands at my fingertips sometimes don't work; then I turn to this book. Very handy.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your IT tool box would be empty without it, August 19, 2003
This review is from: Linux in a Nutshell (Paperback)
I have used Linux (nearly every major and some minor distributions) and I cannot tell you how many times this book has saved me. It is also great because a huge percentage of the commands covered also work just fine in UNIX (though I recommend UNIX in a nutshell too. I also have never bought a book from O'Rielly that was less than top notch. If you are a newbie or want to learn Linux in general BUY THIS BOOK WITH ANOTHER BOOK. Like all of the ....in a nutshell books it's reference book not a read cover-to-cover book....
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Linux Reference, July 25, 2005
By 
J. Huckaby (rackAID www.rackaid.com) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Linux in a Nutshell (Paperback)
Unless you are a seasoned Linux guru who never forgets anything, then you should buy Linux in a Nutshell. This is quite possibly one of the most essential books for anyone working with Linux. If you are like me, reading documentation online can be tedious and having a handy reference volume is better than stumbling through Google search results. Linux in a Nutshell covers major user, programming, administration and networking tools for popular Linux distributions. At over 900 pages, this hefty volume can save you time and prevent you from making mistakes. Have you ever gotten regular expression wrong and deleted a bunch of files? This handy reference can help prevent future mistakes!

At first glance Linux in a Nutshell may appear to be nothing more than Linux's manual pages in print form - but it's much more. The whopping 400-page third chapter provides a comprehensive reference guide to almost any standard Linux command you will need. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of commands are covered in this chapter. Arranged alphabetically for quick reference, you can easily find the proper documentation for a command. For example, consider the simple shell command 'ls' used to list contents of directories. Often you may find yourself wanting to list items in a specific way. If you pull up the man pages on your console terminal or SSH window, you will find yourself scrolling through a myriad of pages. Or with this book next to you, you could turn to page 258 and quickly run through all of the various listing options. There are nearly 50 different command options for the seemingly simply listing command. With this reference volume, you can scan through them all in seconds.

Another excellent chapter covers package managers. It provides a solid introduction to Red Hat's rpm format and Debian's deb format. If you use Linux, then you probably grab packages frequently and install them. This chapter will guide you through many aspects of the package manager. Especially useful on Red Hat is rpm's verify command. If you suspect your system has been hacked, using rpm to verify md5 checksums can be a very quick way to check on specific files.

Learning to use a text editor is essential to becoming a good system administrator. Linux in a Nutshell covers Emacs and vi. Linux text editors can be very powerful when you know the right commands. Also editors like vi tend to preserve a files format better than simpler editors like pico. Though these chapters will not replace a dedicated reference volume they are certainly handy when you need to find a quick way to change a text file.

Linux in a Nutshell is an excellent reference volume. At first, you may not think you will use it, but once it is at your side, you will find yourself referring to it often. Even if you're a seasoned Linux user, you occasionally run across some command that you may not know well. Rather than stumbling though man pages and often-inappropriate online documentation, you could use this book and have your answer in seconds. In short, if you use Linux, buy this book.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seriously Useful Great Big Reference, July 23, 2003
This review is from: Linux in a Nutshell (Paperback)
I'm one of the authors on this book and I figured I should point out what's new in the 5th edition, and how we improved it over the 4th one.

My favorite improvement is that in the reference section, we put in lots more examples, so it's easier to see the most common uses of commands. Also, we got kernel developer Robert Love to write a lot of the developer and kernel-related sections, so you know that they're applicable to real-life developer tasks.

Changes to content for the 5th edition: power management now covers ACPI, printing covers CUPS, and the kernel section now focuses on kernel 2.6. The subversion version control tool and the GRUB bootloader get a lot more coverage, too.

In my humble opinion, this is an indispensable reference, and in addition to being an update, it's an improvement in style and substance over the previous edition.

This book is a good choice if you've ever asked questions like: What's a shell script and how do I write one? How do I use a version control system? How do I select an arbitrary rectangle in Emacs? How do I write a makefile? How do you build an RPM, anyway? This can also be good to have as a reference for new users-- read the introduction, read up on the tools you're using, then keep it there by your side, and you'll grow into this book as you learn to do more with Linux. (You may also want to consider "Running Linux," which is an overview and introduction, with more focus on GUI applications and end-user tools).
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference book., July 13, 2006
This review is from: Linux in a Nutshell, 5th Edition (Paperback)
Title: Linux in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference (5th Edition)

Authors: Ellen Siever, Aaron Weber, Stephen Figgins, Robert Love, Arnold Robbins

Publisher: O'Reilly

Pages: 925

ISBN: 0-596-00930-5

Linux in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference is exactly what it says in the subtitle. The book is geared almost exclusively to someone sitting at a machine, looking for how a command is used. If you're just starting with Linux and are looking for something to get you started, this is not the book you want. If you want something that will teach you how to use Linux, the introduction recommends Learning Red Hat Linux or Running Linux, both of which are also from O'Reilly. Pick up Linux in a Nutshell if you already have at least a basic understanding of using Linux and want a good book for looking up how specific commands work.

The book starts off with a brief introduction that is equal parts extolling the virtues of Linux and description of the books content. The introduction is followed by a short section (5 pages) listing commands a beginning user might need, followed by a slightly longer (18 pages) list of common System and Network administration commands. These sections contain just enough description to know why and how you might use these commands. But you don't need to wait long before you get more detail. In the next chapter you hit the meat of the book, which is a 500 page alphabetized list of Linux commands. They provide the syntax for the command, along with a list of any options that are available. For me, the value here is not having to swap back and forth between looking at man pages and what I'm trying to work on.

Chapters 4-6 are divided into task related sections. These sections all follow about the same format: a brief description of the process involved, followed by a list of related commands, their syntax, and options. The first of these (Ch 4) describes how to setup a Dual boot machine. They cover the use of LILO and GRUB, providing the commands and options used by each. Chapter 5 covers Package Management, the process used to install and update applications. They cover the use of RPM (Redhat Package Manager) and Debian style packages. They go into detail about various methods using apt, rpm, up2date, yum, and synaptic. They also cover building packages for those developing their own applications. Chapter 6 goes in depth into the functionality of the Bash and Korn shells. It covers both commands that can be issued at a prompt and the use of shell scripts.

Chapters 7-11 cover some of the text manipulation utilities in Linux. Chapter 7 goes over pattern matching and the use of regular expressions. There's also a handy chart of what metacharacters work in which utility. Chapter 8 talks about the text editing functions of Emacs, including a 13 page list of commands and the associated hotkeys. Chapter 9 covers the same for vi, ex, and vim. Chapter 10 covers the application sed and its use as a script based text editing tool. Chapter 11 describes awk/gawk and how they can be used for text processing and as a scripting program language.

Chapters 12-14 address Source code management in Linux. Chapter 12 gives a brief overview of the concepts of multiple developers, code versions, and source code repositories. It also introduces several code management systems. Chapters 13 and 14 go in depth about two of these, CVS and Subversion, respectively.

Finally, there's a comprehensive index of both topics and commands. One of my pet peeves, especially with reference books, is a weak index. That is definitely not the case here. This book makes it easy to find what you're looking for. As far as I can tell, all the commands are indexed, and a random sampling of topics always netted me the correct page number.

In conclusion, Linux in a Nutshell does an excellent job of providing you the commands and utilities available in your typical Linux installation. If you know what you're trying to do, this book is handy for looking up the command and syntax required to do it. The entries are clear and concise, but still provide a good level of detail on the commands, switches, and options they're describing.
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46 of 58 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars reprint of the man pages, October 31, 2003
By 
Daniel Cardenas (Chandler, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Linux in a Nutshell (Paperback)
400 pages of the 900 pages are a reprint of the man pages. Other parts of the book can be found online. For example the chapters on shell programming, you can find similar stuff online.
I would like to know how to change task priorities. I heard about the nice command. I look it up in the book and it is just a reprint of the man pages. The man documentation isn't very helpful.
If you don't like to read online, then this is book for you. If I purchased this book from a local book store, I would return it. Anyone know of a better book for experienced people coming from the MS Windows world?
Daniel
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you hate the man command, this is the one to buy, August 7, 2004
By 
Thomas Almy (Tualatin, OR USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Linux in a Nutshell (Paperback)
I've used Unix on and off for over 20 years, and I've never gotten an appreciation of the on-line documentation. So when I decided to dabble with Linux, I went searching for a command reference. This is the one! All you need to know about the command line programs as well as additional chapters on the top window managers, editors, shells, resource control, boot managers, and other topics that seem to come up frequently. O'Reilly comes through again!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent refresh of a classic Linux text., October 28, 2005
This review is from: Linux in a Nutshell, 5th Edition (Paperback)
Linux in a Nutshell, now in it's fifth edition, is one of the classic works of Linux documentation. Much has changed with Linux in the two years since the fourth edition was published, and Linux in a Nutshell reflects those changes with several major changes to the book, while keeping the parts that worked from previous editions.

What's new?

Linux in an Nutshell has grown since the early days of the first edition, not the least of which is the number of pages the book comprises of (924 pages). Linux in an Nutshell reflects the constantly evolving and morphing changes that comprise the Linux distributions of today. Both GNOME and KDE are radically different from their 2003 versions, so the authors wisely decided to remove those chapters from this edition. They also removed the chapter dealing with FVWM. (I've never understood why GUIs are documented in a Linux book anyways, as the GUI is the component most succeptible to change.) TCSH is no longer covered in this edition, favoring expanded coverage of both bash and ksh. Reflecting the changing needs of revision control in the Linux community, the authors also decided to drop the chapter on RCS in favor of a new chapter on Subversion. Not all changes involve deletions, though. The chapter for package management now includes yum and up2date (both methods for keeping a Linux machine updated from a remote repository), as well as updates for the newer versions of RPM and apt. Many of the commands have also been updated to reflect new functionality (one useful command I found as a result of this book is diff3, which compares three different files at the same time), while others have been removed because they're not generally useful (imake, anyone? :) ).

What's good?

Linux in a Nutshell is quite simply an excellent reference for useful commands in Linux. The layout makes it easy to find a command in a hurry. The command descriptions are informative, and the command line options are well balanced to provide just the right amount of information without overloading the reader with useless functionality. The specialized chapters for vi, Emacs, sed, awk, bash/ksh, CVS and Subversion go into more depth than the other commands, and give an excellent insight into the methods, capabilities, and pitfalls of each of these commands.

What's the verdict?

If you're currently using an older edition of Linux in a Nutshell, it's time to upgrade. Linux in a Nutshell remains true to the original spirit of the Nutshell series, while expanding to reflect the realities of the current Linux distributions. Beginners and experts alike will find this book informative, useful, and well-thumbed. It's a difficult task to take Linux and distill it into under a thousand pages, but the authors have once again risen to the task to make a reference that everyone will enjoy using.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth dropping your earlier editions of this book, May 16, 2004
This review is from: Linux in a Nutshell (Paperback)
I had the 3rd edition of this book, and the 2nd, and was really hesitant about getting this latest edition. After all, linux is pretty mature these days, isn't it?
Then I read the other reviews, and decided to get it. Glad I did so! Linux is still rapidly expanding, and it really helps to get the latest authoritative scoop, thanks to OReilly.
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Linux in a Nutshell, 5th Edition
Linux in a Nutshell, 5th Edition by Ellen Siever (Paperback - August 6, 2005)
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