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HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICEon September 7, 2004
I've always been more of a GUI-type user, and even the old DOS commands never did much for me. But now that I'm moving into the world of Linux, I need to understand the power of the command line. To that end, I got a review copy of the Linux Pocket Guide by Daniel J. Barrett (O'Reilly). I have a feeling this will become a dog-eared favorite on my bookshelf.

Normally I'd list a chapter breakout, but there's just too many "chapters" here to do so. Suffice it to say that if it's a shell command in Linux, it's in here somewhere. The great thing is that you get the command and a list of the useful options, along with the syntax in less than half a page (and the book is small!). So instead of hauling down the large volume and scrolling through multiple pages, you can get right to the command you need with the options you're probably looking for.

For a beginner like me, it will help to make me more comfortable with many of the basics of command line work. For experts, it will be the quick reference for that particular option that you can't remember the capitalization rules for...

Short, concise, easy to understand, and packed with meat... What more could you want in a reference manual? This is a keeper.
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on April 15, 2004
Anyone who uses Linux will benefit from this handy pocket guide which lists general Linux commands for various tasks, ranging from directory operations, file commands, locating files, doing backups, controlling various processes, to working on the Internet (web browsing, Usenet news, email, and network connections). There are lots of commands listed here. No, this is not a general reference book by any means (and there are lots of Linux reference books around), but it is just the thing when you need to look up a specific command fast. All commands are listed with their syntax and a brief explanation of what they do.
The book discusses in a little detail about Fedora, Red Hat's "free Linux OS." It also goes into some descriptions about running a shell, logins and logouts, filesystems, and home and system directories. Again this book covers the basics and it assumes the readers already have a decent knowledge of Linux. Since Linux does so many things and it's next to impossible to remember every single command, a book like this is handy to have on your desk when you can't remember a specific command.
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It's no secret, there's a lot of books about Linux on the market today. Linux is HOT!! But it's also no secret that a lot of publishers have been jumping on the bandwagon churning out Linux books just to get a piece of the action. This Oreilly pocket guide is everything you would expect from an Oreilly book: thorough, succinct, and worth the money.
The book has a great structure, covering the basics and then going into commands. The commands are organized in functional groups. So if you want to do some user administration, just thumb to that section and all the relevant comands are at your fingertips.
There's enough detail about each command that you can actually use it. The author also often tells you how the command is "usually used," which is helpful. There's even some basics sprinkled in about programming and shell syntax. It's awesome that they actually put useful stuff in a pocket guide!
Whether you're an advanced administrator or a beginner, this book is worth the investment. It has enough info to be a quick reference, but it's clearly written enough to be a primer for beginners. ENJOY!!!
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on August 9, 2005
Back when I was starting out on Linux I remember when the second edition of Linux in a Nutshell came out. A co-worker had bought a copy, and I drooled over the wealth of information it offered. I had received a copy of an older edition of UNIX in a Nutshell as a birthday present, and while helpful, I found Linux in a Nutshell to be much more applicable (not to mention much more comprehensive). That was before I came to appreciate the wealth of information to be had in the man and info pages, in perldoc, and online documentation in general.

O'Reilly's Linux Pocket Guide could easily be considered a (very) streamlined version of Linux in a Nutshell. It offers a concise command-reference for some of the most common commands you might use in Linux. The commands covered aren't limited to what you would run from a command-line, though. You'll also find (very concise) information about the gimp, mozilla, and xload, and others as well.

Who would want to buy this book? Well, when I was starting out in Linux, I would have loved a book like this. For me as a 'starving' college student, a 'regular' O'Reilly book was usually out of the reach of my budget, so I loved the pocket references beacuse you could get some great information for under $10. For the budget minded, the book packs a lot of information for not a lot of money. Also, for a pocket reference, it's pretty thick at just over 180 pages. As evidence of its usefulness for beginners, I recently loaned my copy of the Pocket Guide to someone I know who is just starting a new job working with Linux. He was looking for something to help him climb the learning curve, and upon returning the Pocket Guide informed me that he was on his way to buy his own copy. The Linux Pocket Guide would make a good stocking stuffer for your geek-to-be, and in a small form-factor, is nice for not having to lug a heavier book with around with you on campus or when on the go.

Most of what you can find in the Linux Pocket Guide can also be found in the man pages on most Linux systems (which don't weigh anything), so from that point of view, you might ask, what's the point of a book like this? For one thing, there is a lot to be said for the dead-tree experience when learning new skills. From another point of view, because the book isn't a thorough reference, it has to focus on only the most relevant and useful options for each command covered, so it's nice to be able to find the info you need without having to wade through pages of obscure information you might only rarely use. The book is also a nice refresher. While I was reading it I had several "oh yeah, I had forgotten about that . . .", and "Wow, cool, I didn't know about that option . . ."-type moments while reading. I've been using Linux since 1998, so my guess is there might be something new for most folks in here. That being said, you'll probably get more bang for your buck with Linux in a Nutshell.
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on October 3, 2004
If you are a competent computer user and want to switch to Linux but don't really know anything about it, you NEED this book!

Basically, it tells you how to do all the things that everyone assumes you already know how to do: text editing, basic text manipulation, finding files, managing files, changing permissions, using groups, &c&c.

If you have installed Linux but are now wondering, "How do I delete a folder?" go buy this book!

Edit: It's 2008 and years since I first wrote this review. I'm LPI certified and I work with Linux every day at an advanced level. A lot of the knowledge I apply every day came from this book. I recommend it to my coworkers who know less about Linux and I still use it for a quick reference on some commands. When I wrote the review, I was a beginner; now I'm an expert and I still feel the same way about this book. BUY IT!
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on November 19, 2014
If you are partially experienced with the Linux command line interface, this book is great to have, and essential if you are off the internet.

Reference-style detail is given to the most valuable commands you will come across. Also has tricks and tips for user and administrator tools.

As a former engineering educator, I can recommend this book as a supplemental textbook for a systems administration course. For the price, the students will thank you too.
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on October 17, 2008
I was looking for a small form linux for dummies. This manual was too technical for me. It may be of use for me down the road.
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on February 16, 2011
Few months ago I decided to learn some Linux command line with Learn Linux Complete for a Beginner Video Training and Four Certification Exams Bundle, Ubuntu Edition. 8-disk DVD Set, Ed.2011 and I tried few books along the set. I found this book to be very helpful and to be the best book that complements the set. It is very logically organized, well written, easy to follow and helps in extending my understanding of Linux. It is what Linux reference book should be. It uses simple language to explain sophisticated commands and it is neatly organized. I wish this book to have smaller dimensions to be really pocketable. otherwise it is great reference book.
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on March 5, 2004
The Linux Pocket Guide will prove to be an indispensible reference for new linux users as well as those with years of experience. This guide covers just about every command you will ever need while using linux, as well as all of the options that each command supports. The fact that it is oriented towards the new Fedora Core releases from Red Hat will also make this guide more valuable to the many new users who are being attracted to linux by this new distribution.
I especially liked the fact that the author exposes the 'internal' commands that are built into the shell, also describes the 'external' commands that are not part of the shell, and let's the user know which ones are which.
Mr. Barrett also includes information as to where the command is stored on disk, the directory and file name, and even which package is used to install the command.
This guide has made administering my systems much easier, and I will keep a copy of this pocket guide right next to my personal linux system at all times.
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on April 6, 2016
One of my favorite books for a Linux quick reference. Great for anyone starting to use Linux to get an introduction to all of the commands. Also good for the experienced admin to have the fundamentals at your fingertips to refresh at a moments notice.
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