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Debian GNU / Linux 3.1 Bible 1st Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0764576447
ISBN-10: 0764576445
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

If Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 can do it, you can do it too ...

Debian is a complex project, but this comprehensive reference will guide you through the process of setting up, using, and administering a Debian GNU/Linux system. This book teaches you the commands, configuration setups, and best practices to use Debian productively on the desktop, Internet, and intranet servers. You'll learn about the thousands of software packages available for Debian, and how to create your own packages and make them available for other Debian users.

Inside, you'll find complete coverage of Debian GNU/Linux 3.1

  • Understand the features that make Debian unique among Linux distributions
  • Install Debian, use the shell and filesystem, and install and manage software packages
  • Understand basic Debian system administration including managing user access, performing backups, and securing your system
  • Run Debian using the KDE and GNOME desktop environments
  • Configure graphics and sound, play games, and handle Internet, desktop publishing, and multimedia applications
  • Provide Internet services on a home or corporate network, including e-mail, FTP, and Web servers
  • Set up an intranet and manage file, print, and database services
  • Use a Secure Shell connection to access your Debian system remotely
  • Use the Debian platform for software development and understand Debian policy, the New Maintainer process, and packaging fundamentals

About the Author

Benjamin Mako Hill is an intellectual property researcher and activist and a professional Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) advocate, developer, and consultant. He is an active participant in the Debian Project in both technical and nontechnical roles, and is a founder of Debian-Nonprofit and several other Free Software projects. He is the author of the Free Software Project Management HOWTO and many published works on Free and Open Source Software in addition to academic and nonacademic work in both technical and nontechnical fields. He is currently working full time for Canonical Ltd. on Ubuntu, a Debian-based distribution.

David B. Harris is a professional systems administrator who works with Debian systems daily. He is an active and recognized member of the Debian community, where he maintains a number of Debian components. David also serves as the point of first contact for numerous Debian users and developers, and is known for providing excellent personalized technical support. Aside from Debian, he manages all the technical aspects of the Open and Free Technology Community, a group formed early in 2000 to provide services to Open Source projects.

Jaldhar Vyas is a 34-year-old Hindu priest and consultant specializing in Perl and Linux who lives in Jersey City, New Jersey, with his wife Jyoti, daughter Shailaja, and son Nilagriva. Jaldhar has been a Debian developer for eight years and a Linux user for 10. His current major area of interest is Debian-IN, subproject to improve Debian’s support of Indian-language speakers.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (August 12, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764576445
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764576447
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,129,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 Bible (DGL3B) is a good book if your expectations match its content. This can be difficult when the cover bears this somewhat misleading quote by Debian founder Ian Murdock: "This book contains everything you need to know to get the most out of Debian, from installing it to tapping into its vast repositories of software." That quote should have been applied to Martin Krafft's book "The Debian System," which I read right after DGL3B. Those new to Linux will like DGL3B, but those experienced in Linux but new to Debian should read Krafft's book instead.

Why is DGL3B a Linux beginner's book? Consider the installation recommendation given on p 25 that says "all files in one partition is the best choice." This is really not the "best choice" for anyone in my opinion. If you're new to Linux and you just want to get an operational system, then following this recommendation is acceptable. I found the installation instructions in chapter 2 to be weak. It spent far too little time on the peculiarities of Debian installation, which is very different from the slicker GUIs seen in Red Hat or other distributions.

Beyond the installation chapter, DGL3B covers all of the topics one would expect to see in a book for new Linux or Unix users. Ch 3 describes using a command line shell and the Linux filesystem. Ch 4 covers software management. Ch 5 discusses basic system administration while ch 6 gives advice on performing backups. I thought the explanation of std in, std out, and std err on p 67 was helpful. The backup section introduced me to rdiff-backup, which I now use on FreeBSD. With the conclusion of Part I, readers will not see truly Debian-centric material again until Part V.

Ch 7 begins Part II, with 6 chapters on Linux as a desktop.
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Format: Paperback
I had already installed Debian 3.1 on my home PC's, and had several years background using Linux / Debian, at a medium user/administrator level. However, all my knowledge from Linux came from scattered on-line manual and pieces. Thus, I purchased this book to have a printed, consistent reference, specially for Debian Sarge (3.1).

The pros:

- The book gives you a general overview of what you can do with Debian 3.1.

- The most useful chapters for the newcomer are at the beginning of the book (bash, debian package system).

- It is not hard to read (I am a Spanish speaking user).

The cons:

- I expected a deeper insight into the Debian/GNU Linux system itself: there is no reference to runlevels, treatment of processes and process management is almost missing, and the same about other common themes such as filesystem handling (mount, fstab), and other important Linux commands. Of course, no mention about installing Windows and Debian on the same computer (e.g. using GRUB loader).

- I found the book is sometimes more a catalog of Debian's bundled applications than a coherent description of Debian for the beginner user. Many times it ends redirecting the reader to the corresponding application's documentation if you want to use that application.

- According to previous points, the explanation about some applications/tools - e.g. Apache web server - tries to cover the essential aspects but is too weak...

- On the other hand, it curiously assumes sometimes you have a background about the subject discussed (in contrast to the beginner approach in other parts of the book).

My opinion:

You must have a minimal background on computers, and a bit on Linux.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I liked this book, it is easy to look up what you want, and it is nicely divided to setup a desktop PC, a Internet server and a intranet server. It puts you on the right track and will get you started. It is however a starter book, and I would not call it a bible. Maybe a beginners bible...? The book comes with Knoppix to let you play without installing and the Debian 3.1 CD. I installed from the CD and it downloaded nicely the other packages I needed through the internet. The book was a good place to setup most things and I believe this is the only book many users will need. If you want to start using Linux and are curious, Debian is great, and I am certain these people will enjoy this book to go with it.

Good book, easy to read but lacks depth for more advanced users.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From reading the first five chapters, I have mixed opinions of the book. On the "good" part, a Debian book that gives a high level overview of everything is welcome, because the documentation sometimes loses the forest for the trees. A Debian book is also a good investment because of the system's stability. if Woody is any indication, this book should be current for the next quarter of a decade.

On the "could have been better" side, this book suffers from a certain lack of focus -- is it aimed towards the rank beginner in Linux (in some chapters, it is assumed that the reader is a rank beginner). Or is it aimed towards an intermediate reader? (witness the more complex discussions of APT). While the discussions of apt were involved, they were not IMHO as good as the freely available APT-HOWTO. Any discussion of APT should have been _preceded_ by a discussion of the structure of a Debian repository.

The main author himself admits that he came into the book at a late stage to pick up the pieces and put it together. He has explicitly admitted what is implicitly recognizable -- the book has been put together by multiple people at different points in time.

Finally there are two CDs in the back of the book -- one a minimal Sarge install, and the other a Knoppix CD. The reader would have been better served by one DVD of a full Sarge install. After all, Knoppix is not really based on Sarge, which is the topic of this book.

A better strategy for Linux authors will be to separate their Linux writing into two separate kinds of books -- one kind of book discusses only distribution-specific detail (such as apt and friends). Another kind of book discusses only general Linux programs that are common across distributions (e.g. using ls, vi, etc).
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