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Linux in a Nutshell, Fifth Edition: Bestselling Reference Revised for the Current State of Linux

August 30, 2005

Sebastopol, CA--"It's hard to chart the rise of Linux without risking the appearance of exaggeration and hyperbole," observe the authors of the fifth edition of Linux in a Nutshell, Fifth Edition (Siever, Weber, Figgins, Love, and Robbins, O'Reilly US $44.95) in their introduction to the book. Linux has evolved from virtual playground for student/hackers to an upstart challenger in the server market, and more recently to a respected system taking its rightful place in educational and corporate networks. There are many serious analysts who claim that its trajectory has just begun, and that it will eventually become the world's most widespread operating system.

Considered by many to be the most complete and authoritative command reference for Linux available, Linux in a Nutshell covers all substantial user, programming, administration, and networking commands for the most common Linux distributions. The new edition brings readers current with software changes and updates in Linux since 2003 and entirely eliminates all four chapters on desktop and windows management that were present in previous editions. In spite the omission of these chapters, the new edition has only three fewer pages than the previous edition.

The reason for this? "From feedback on earlier editions, we found that readers didn't reference the desktop information frequently but wanted even more networking and administration commands, with more explanations on how and when to use them," explains the book's editor, Andy Oram. "Chapter 4, on Boot Methods, along with many other kernel-related commands, were thoroughly updated by Robert Love, a well-known kernel developer. We added a new chapter on using Subversion and new sections on configuring and updating Linux using new front-ends for the familiar RPM and Debian apt package formats."

The book is several important quick references rolled into one: bash, ksh, Emacs, vi, sed, qawk, CVS, Subversion, regular expressions, package management, and bootloaders, along with core command-line utilities. One of the major strengths for which Linux in a Nutshell is known is that the book goes beyond mere reference listings. Many of the subtler aspects of the utilities--aspects that are ordinarily discovered through long experience with the operating system--are illustrated through examples to give the reader a solid grounding in these areas. Entire chapters are devoted to critical tools such as pattern matching (regular expressions) and version control. Other topics include:

  • Programming, system administration, networking, and user commands with complete lists of options
  • GRUB and LILO bootloaders
  • Red Hat and Debian package managers
  • Shell syntax and variables for bash and ksh shells
  • Emacs, vi, and vim editing commands
  • sed and gawk utilities
  • CVS and Subversion version management systems
  • The material in Linux in a Nutshell, Fifth Edition was tested on Fedora, Novell/SUSE, and Debian systems (with some testing on other distributions as well. No single volume can cover all the commands provided by even on of the popular Linux distributions, but readers will find most of the commands they are likely to need with the major distributions are contained in this volume. It's the one reference book that every Linux user will want to have close at hand.

    Praise for the previous edition:

    Voted Most "Indispensable Linux Book" in Linux Journal's 2004 Readers' Choice Awards

    "...a great reference to keep close at hand for the experienced user. Linux in a Nutshell is highly recommended for Linux administrators and anyone else dealing with Linux configuration, installation, or customization on a regular basis."
    --Harold McFarland, The Midwest Book Review, May 2004

    "[Linux in a Nutshell] is the king of the infodump. The Kaiser of the keyboard. TheEmperor of the Enther button. And any other bad alliteration that should spring to mind. . .It is, in short, a collection of every major Linux terminal command that you're ever likely to need, all packaged up into alphabetical order, explained in plain English. . .If you don't lock your office, this'll be the first thing that a techie colleague will steal! Linux Format Rating 9/10."
    --Richard Cobbett, "Linux Format"

    Further reviews of previous editions of Linux in a Nutshell

    Additional Resources:

    Linux in a Nutshell, Fifth Edition
    Ellen Siever, Aaron Weber, Stephen Figgins, Robert Love, and Arnold Robbins
    ISBN: 0-596-00930-5, 925 pages, $44.95 US, $62.95 CA
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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