By Ken Guest
The second edition of "Linux In A Nutshell" by Jessica Perry Hekman is
a good source of reference material. As it is published by O'Reilly this should not be a suprise.
According to the blurb on the back of the book it "covers the core
commands available on common linux distibutions", it is a "complete
reference containing all user, programming, administration and networking
commands". This is not far from the truth.
Slightly - but not by much. It does not cover distribution specific
commands such as Redhat's package manager (which we all know simply as
'rpm') or S.U.S.E.'s yast utility, covering more recent GNU software
instead. So if you want such infortmation you had better reach for the man
pages. Nor, unfortunately, does the book cover each command thoroughly -
which is somewhat disappointing, considering the ambitous blurb on the
back cover stating that it is a "complete reference".
It is what it says it is though, on the front cover - a "quick
nothing more, nothing less. And apart from the bickering differences of
how it describes itself it really is quite a handy book to have about the
"Linux In A Nutshell" does try to cover the common, development and
administration commands, pattern matching , shell syntax, four of the main
editors (emacs, vi, ex and sed) and more besides all this. This book
contains good sectional overviews and is quite comprehensive for a "quick
reference book", referring the reader to other O'Reilly books for further,
more complete information and related topics. "Mastering Regular
Expressions" by Jeffrey E. F. Friedl is recommended for a more thorough
grounding in pattern matching for awk and such tools, similarly so for
Perl where "Learning Perl" and "Programming Perl" are similarly
recommended. Though quite suprisingly there is no mention of the DNS &
Bind book, until you decide to have a quick look through the last few
The bottom line is that, like most other books in the O'Reilly
series", "Linux In A Nutshell" is a good quick reference book to accompany
the more complete man pages on your system and tomes on your shelves.
If you feel that you need something to point you in the right direction
then this book is what you are looking for. If however you can navigate
through the man pages, the HOWTO's and apropos then you would probably be
better off spending your money on something else.
A Reading List for the Linux Newbie
About The ILUG
About the author, Ken Guest.