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Linux books

Discussion in 'Linux / Unix Discussion' started by Theprof, Dec 2, 2007.

  1. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Ladies and gents,

    I was just wondering what you would recommend as a good book to learn linux? I am a total beginner and right now I am basically learning everything from scratch, such as installing linux packages, learning where everything, or at least the equivalence to windows applications. I am using Ubuntu 7.04 as the linux distro.

    Any feedback would be appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
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  2. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    If you really want to learn the package management system for Ubuntu, which is based on Debian, the book written specifically for Debian on it's system managment tools by a leading Debian developer is probably your best in-depth look at it. It's called The Debian System: Concepts and Techniques. It's written by Martin Krafft and is published by No Starch Press.

    Ubuntu stresses the gui more than Debian, but underneath it's the same package management system. The above book is the by far the best reference I've found, and it explains the entire system very well.
     
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  3. tripwire45
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    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Learning Linux and learning Ubuntu/Debian involves quite a bit of overlap but strictly speaking, they are not identical processes. Linux is Linux on the level of the kernel and a recent article I read (which could be disputed I suppose) says the differences between distros is rapidly disappearing on a fundamental level (here's the story).

    If you are really learning Linux from the ground up, the first place, I'd recommend is the Linux Tutorial site. The information is somewhat elementary, but organized in a vary linear fashion, so just working through the tutorial sections will help you to master those skills pretty quickly.

    As far as learning Ubuntu specifically, I'd suggest putting the Ubuntu Forums in your browser's bookmarks. Frankly, there are just some things that are "Ubuntu-centric" and the Ubuntu community has the best knowledge and experience base for answering questions on those issues.

    Freddy is right when he says that a large amount of learning Ubuntu is learning Debian. Debian is what I think of as "old school Linux" which for me is a good thing. The book he suggests is quite good but frankly, there are tons and tons of Linux books on the market that are also quite good depending on what you want to learn. I've got a partial list of my Linux book reviews on my website:

    http://www.wiredwriter.net/reviews/reviews_list.html#linux

    http://www.wiredwriter.net/reviews/reviews_list.html#linuxmag

    You could have a look and see what seems interesting to you. I think what's been presented so far should keep you busy for the next little bit. Good luck. :)
     
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  4. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Thanks for the reply guys, I appreciate it. Actually yesterday when I installed the Ubuntu os which is now Kubuntu I assigned up at the ubuntu forums because they do have tons of information there, and they did memntion the officialy ubuntu book, which I am probably going to get. Trip and Freddy, I will definitely look into the books you guys mentioned above.

    I was just curious how different is the old school linux from the newer linux os that is available today? is it better to learn the new linux like lets say mandriva or stick with ubuntu?
     
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  5. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    Mandriva has been around a long time. It used to be known as Mandrake. The problem I have with it is that I've tried it a couple of times and it's been buggy every time. It has been a couple of years since I looked at it though.

    "Old school" Linux, as Trip likes to refer to it, is Linux that doesn't depend heavily on gui's and wizards, and thus kind of make you learn. Some of the more "old school" distro's are Debian, Gentoo, Slackware, Linux from Scratch, etc.... The more gui-dependent systems are RedHat, Mandriva, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, SuSe, etc....

    It all depends on your goals with Linux. If you really want to learn the guts, take one of the more difficult distro's. If all you want is a point-and-click experience to surf the net and do email with, take one of the gui-dependent systems.

    There are two main package management systems: .rpm and .deb. The .rpm distro's have all sort of descended from RedHat or chosen the use the rpm system. They include SuSe, Mandriva, Fedora, CentOS, etc.... The .deb distro's have all descended from Debian. They include Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Mepis, Sabayon, Knoppix, etc.... Off by themselves with each of them having their own way of installing software are Slackware, Gentoo, and a couple of others. Almost all others are descendants of RedHat or Debian in one form or another.

    The terms rpm and deb come from the file extension names of the two types of systems. In the RedHat system all .rpm files are packages of files that the software management system needs to install the software. In Debian the deb files are the same.

    The apt-get system from Debian is by far the most bug-free of the two main systems. Even after all this time people still end up in what's called "rpm hell" with missing dependencies, broken packages, etc.... The only time I've ever had a broken package in Debian is when running their development release and the dependency just hasn't made it into the system yet. I've run into rpm hell in both SuSe and RedHat in their stable releases. I ran into a dependency mess in SuSe on a fresh install. I couldn't even install updates until I had figured out how to straighten the mess out. And this was one of the 10.x releases, which are their latest releases.
     
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  6. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    Prof,

    It all depends on what you want. Do you want to learn the Debian system of managing software from the inside out, or do you just want to know enough to point and click your way through things? If you really want to know how Debian, and thus Ubuntu, handles software packaging, this book will teach all of it. It will teach you apt-get, apt-cache, apt-build, and dpkg. You will learn enough to work your way of out any possible problem you could run into. You will learn how to build software from source that is optimized for your system and still handled by the apt system so that all dependencies are handled automatically. You will learn how to build your own .deb packages from other software sources. How to take a .rpm package and turn it into .deb package. How to build your own custom-built kernels, how to patch existing kernels, and a whole lot more.

    There's no other single resource I've found that will teach you all of this. The book won't teach you the file system. There's plenty of information on that elsewhere. The same with other aspects of Linux. But, if you want to learn the system that makes Debian, Debian, and is used without any real change in all its descendants, you won't find another resource like it.
     
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  7. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Here is the thing, I would say that I know windows pretty well, why? because I use it on a daily basis, I studied it for certifications, I implemented what ever I learned whether from experience or studying. I had a tons of problems with windows that I ended up fixing from fooling around with it. All of this knowledge came from me wanting to learn.

    I want to apply the same concept with linux. My goal is to be able to use the OS comfrotabley, whether it's on the job or at home. This means that I need to have an open mind to learning this OS because it's very different from windows. So my intentions are to start learning it right now and see how much I can learn and what I can implement at home or at work from what I learned.
     
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  8. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    Then learn it from the ground up. Use one of the more "old school" distro's and work through the problems you encounter. Just know that you will run into a few and don't get discouraged when you run into obstacles.

    The "hard" distro's aren't all that hard to use. They just require a greater knowledge to administer. Thus they require you to learn more. It's not rocket science (can't be if I can do it), it just takes the patience and motivation to do the needed research. Linux just takes time to learn as you're going to be learning new terminology and a new way of looking at computing. The fundamentals are all the same, they are just implemented a little differently and with a different philosophy.
     
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  9. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    I agree with you, right now I am just reading the ubuntu wiki and learning how to install things, where everything is, etc. I'll also get the books you and trip recommended.:biggrin
     
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  10. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    Then I'd recommend you use Debian, Gentoo, or Slackware. I can help a little with Gentoo, very little with Slackware, and a lot with Debian. Phoenix can help quite a bit with Gentoo, very little with Debian, and I'm unsure about Slackware.

    We have some other Linux people around here that have used RedHat too. Trip can help you some with Ubuntu and some with Debian.
     
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  11. tripwire45
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    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    The long and the short of it is to learn Linux you must use Linux...just as frequently has you've used Windows. Try putting aside your home Windows machine and use Ubuntu (or Kubuntu) on the desktop. Even using the GUI, you'll still be learning a lot. Try to do *everything* on Kubuntu that you would do on Windows and when you hit a snag (and you will), do the research and find out what you need to do to make it work.

    Try learning both the GUI way to make things work and the shell way (terminal). I don't care how well refined the Ubuntu people and whoever else makes the GUI, Linux at its core is still better admnistered from the command line (I suspect this is also a closely guarded secret about Windows as well). There are still things I do almost by reflex in the shell that I probably could do in the GUI just because that's how I learned it and it works.

    If you make Linux a "habit", you'll learn it.
     
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  12. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    I see. Thanks Freddy. Is there a major difference in Ubuntu and Debian? or is it just that the location and naming of the applications is different? or are there also different commands?

    Thanks Trip, I agree with you that would be the best way to learn. You know I was even thinking about saving up a little and getting like a 300-400$ laptop to install the Linux OS to practice. Also at the moment I have it running in a VM, you think that is sufficient enough to work with? or is there certain things that I can't do in a vm that I would be able to do on regular dedicated linux computer?
     
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  13. tripwire45
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    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Differences between Debian and Ubuntu? Well, as "Linuxes" they both share the same kernel or "core" of the operating system source which is what makes Linux "Linux. They also share the same basic default desktop (Gnome, but so do a lot of distros) and the same software management system (the apt system). Basically, the Ubuntu people took Debian and "dolled it up" to make it more of a "desktop friendly" distro.

    That's terribly symplistic since the functionality has been changed in a number of different areas to make it a more GUI driven distro and to make configuration and use more GUI driven and user friendly than Debian is seen to be. One example is printing. I've had a heck of a time getting printing to work in Debian but it was a snap in Ubuntu, even though both use CUPS to manage printing. There are more GUI tools for configuring printing in Ubuntu than Debian (at least the last time I looked). More GUI driven software management tools are available in Ubuntu than Debian so that if the user doesn't want to, they don't have to open a bash shell and use the apt system at all (a mistake, in my opinion).

    Mepis and Xandros are another couple of "desktop-friendly" distros based on Debian so it's not like Ubuntu is unique. I don't know if Ubuntu is truly a better desktop distro than the other Debian-based (or other-based) distros around or if they just have better marketing, but it seems it's here to stay.

    I've seen Freddy write that he uses Debian on the desktop and feels that it's a perfectly fine desktop distro. I think that's true if you're willing to put the time and energy into figuring out how to make it a perfectly fine desktop distro, but most people who use a desktop computer want it to "just work". For the most part, Ubuntu "just works" (not 100%, but that's where you get to learn small bites of Linux). My opinion for whatever it's worth is that Debian really shines as a server distro where you live and breathe in the bash shell and GUIs are for "sissies". I like to go "under the hood" in Debian and do day-to-day chores on Ubuntu. That's just the way I see them. Your mileage may vary.
     
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  14. zimbo
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    zimbo Petabyte Poster

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    I think you have found the two masters and they have told you pretty much what you need to know. I jumped straight into the deep end and started using Debian because Freddy took me under his wing when i needed help. IMO im not a fan of Ubuntu beause of the GUI - to me its just not linux!! The book is used was

    Debian® GNU®/Linux® 3.1 Bible ok i know its debian but like freddy said ubuntu is based on debian - althought im sure the ubuntu book in this series will be just as good as the debian one i used - i reccommend you look into it! 8)
     
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  15. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    I wouldn't use this book. It is based on Sarge, not Etch, and there are a lot of differences between Sarge and Etch. Etch is the current release. Sarge was the release before Etch.
     
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  16. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Sound advice guys, I really appreciate the feedback. I will download the Debian distro and start learning it. Linux was always something I wanted to learn but never really put much time and effort into it. I think now that I'll be getting a good 2 month vacation from school I will be able to apply more time into learning to use it correctly not just from the gui but from the CLI. I've seen what linux is capable of and how much you can customize it. Looks like a fun OS to use once you know what you are doing.

    Cheers guys.

    P.S There will probably be a lot of question about linux coming your way:twisted:
     
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  17. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Also I forgot to ask, I am on the debian website right now and under the downloads I have the options of choosing the DVD or CD. I chose to download the dvd but then I have more choices like alpha, arm, hppa what does all of this mean? are those just the servers hosting the os?
     
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  18. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    If you have broadband, and are going to install Debian, then look for the "network install" disk. It's only a 120MB download or so, but gives you then entire installer. What it assures is that you have an up-to-date system at install time.

    How it works is that the cd contains just enough to give you a working system that allows you to choose the software you want to install. That means all security updates, all bug fixes, etc... that have been made since the Etch CD's have been released are downloaded and installed during the initial installation. There is no updating the system after the install.

    That's how I do all my installs. It gives you the choice of as minimal or as complete an install as you want.
     
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  19. JohnBradbury

    JohnBradbury Kilobyte Poster

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    I sat down today and thought about giving Ubuntu a real test drive on my main system. So far my experience of Linux has been on a superficial level, nothing down and dirty but it's made a big impression.

    In a way I feel a bit torn but something in my head keeps telling me to take a closer look.

    One thing that has really struck a cord is reading about the GLP and the way people think about Open Source. I'm going to back up everything tomorrow and make the switch.

    I still have VMWare for my Lab environment.

    Tripwire thanks for the tutorials link that's going to come in very useful. I also found this HowToForge which you might find useful prof.
     
  20. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    I am going to dual boot xp with debian. I've already installed xp and I am about to download the debina network install cd. I'll let you know the update as to where I am, once the installation is done.
     
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