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Linux Books mini-FAQ

Karsten M. Self (kmself@ix.netcom.com)
Written: Saturday October 7, 2000
Modified: 2005/04/08 10:28:39

In response to the perennial "read any good books" lately question, vis-a-vis Linux and Unix, I've compiled the following. Prices are approximate.

Getting Started Guides.

Mark G. Sobell, A Practical Guide to Linux, Addison-Wesley, © 1997 ISBN 0-201-89549-8, US$40

Matt Welsh and Lar Kaufman, Running Linux, 3rd Edition O'Reilly, © 2000. ISBN 1-56592-151-8, US$30

System Administration

More advanced topics. Each of these references is a classic. You don't need all three (though I've got a copy of each), but you'll find within each the distilled wisdom of experienced system administrators.

AEleen Frisch, Essential System Administration : Help for Unix System Administrators, O'Reilly, © 1996, 788 pages. ISBN 1-56592-127-5. US$35

Evi Nemeth, Garth Snyder, Scott Seebass, Trent R. Hein UNIX System Administration Handbook (Bk\CD ROM), Prentice Hall, © 1995, 780 pages, ISBN: 0-13151-051-7. US$75

M. Carling, Stephen Degler, & James Dennis, Linux System Administration, New Riders, © 2000, 337 pages. ISBN 1-56205-934-3. US$30

User References

It was the following two books (actually, the earlier UNIX in a Nutshell) which put me "over the hump" in becoming familiar and experienced with Unix and Linux. I still refer frequently to each text when trying to accomplish a complex system task or needing command syntax and examples that the man pages just don't provide.

Brief command and system reference:

Ellen Siever, Stephen Spainhour, Stephen Figgins, Jessica P. Hekman Linux in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition, O'Reilly, © 2000, 650 pages, ISBN 1-56592-167-4. US$35

Shell and tools "cook book":

Jerry D. Peek, Tim O'Reilly, Mike Loukides, UNIX Power Tools, 2nd Edition, O'Reilly, © 1997, 1120 pages, ISBN: 1-56592-260-3, US$55

As Richard Stallman says, using vi isn't a sin, it's a pennance. This handy pocket guide will give you (or answer) a prayer.

Arnold Robbins, vi Editor Pocket Reference, O'Reilly, ISBN 1-56592-497-5, US$6.95


You want to reach out and touch someone? The NAG, as it's affectionately known, is available online in electronic format, but you can take the hardcopy to your favorite cafe, the beach, or that most popluar of technical reading environments, the WC.

Olaf Kirch, Terry Dawson, Linux Network Administrator's Guide (2nd Edition), O'Reilly, © 2000, 474 pages, ISBN 1-56592-400-2. US$35 Online: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/linag2/book/index.html


When you're tired of people reaching out and touching you... Garfinkel and Spafford is a classic, though slightly time-worn. Its emphasis on philosophy over specific toolsets, and a strong vision on the part of the authors makes it a worthwhile read even now.

Sonnenreich and Yates have published an excellet guide not just to building a firewall (this Debian GNU/Linux fan highly recommends the OpenBSD route), but some excellent front-matter on contemporary elements and aspects of network security. Be sure to look at the companion website as it contains up-to-date information concerning recent changes to software and distributions, and more advanced firewalling, monitoring, and proactive security tools.

Simson Garfinkel, Gene Spafford, Practical Unix and Internet Security, O'Reilly, © 1996, 1004 pages, ISBN: 1-56592-148-8

Wes Sonnenreich, Tom Yates, Building Linux and OpenBSD Firewalls, John Wiley & Sons, © 2000, 384 pages. ISBN: 0-47135-366-3. US$40

© 2000 Karsten M. Self (kmself@ix.netcom.com)
Last updated 2005/04/08 10:28:39

Distribution terms: To be determined, but leaning generally toward GNU GPL, the GNU Free Documentation License. Most likely not the Open Publication License. Input welcomed.