Review: The Linux Cookbook

Recently got a copy of The Linux Cookbook Second Edition by Michael Stutz, published by No Starch Press. It’s quite a hefty book, coming in at 695 pages of chapters and then another ~40 pages of Appendices. The book is geared directly towards desktop and workstation users, and as one would expect from a cookbook-style book, it’s task-oriented.

The book is very comprehensive, going through 34 chapters of everything from how to use command-recall to how to edit sound files, and a lot more. It would be pointless for me to try to list everything that the book goes through since there’s so much, so have a look at the table of contents. Well, it turns out that I can’t link directly to the table of contents for the title since the No Starch Press web site is using frames and thus direct linking isn’t readily available. Yes, I could view the source and link there, but maybe they should make linking to their site easier too! Suffice it to say that the book has a lot of good recipes to help desktop users.

I liked the book’s positive coverage of Debian but I do wonder how realistic that such coverage is for this audience who would presumably be using one of the newbie distributions like Red Hat or Mandrake. Of course, if the book didn’t cover Debian I would be very critical of it for ignoring the popular distro. So it’s a no-win situation, but I’m happy to see the Debian coverage in this type of book nonetheless.

I like books that come right out and tell you what they won’t try to show you, as this title does on page 10. This seems quite responsible and would thus prevent a potential system administrator or developer from picking this title up thinking that it’s going to help. Rather, the author makes sure that you know the book is right for you. It is for this reason that I feel comfortable recommending the title for desktop users who want to get things done in Linux. The book won’t show you all of the intricacies of each and every aspect of Linux nor does it claim to do so.

The Linux Cookbook is yet another good title from No Starch that deserves space on just about any Linux desktop user’s shelf.

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