[Techtalk] simple reference book on Linux

Telsa Gwynne hobbit at aloss.ukuu.org.uk
Thu Jan 31 11:59:03 EST 2002

On Wed, Jan 30, 2002 at 08:42:41PM -0600 or thereabouts, Glenda R. Snodgrass wrote:
> Can anyone recommend a simple reference book on Linux?  My partner says
> there used to be an Oreilly pocket reference book, he thinks, but I can't
> seem to find it.  We have a client experimenting with Linux on the desktop
> at home, but he has no background in *nix at all, and he could really use
> a basic reference book on commands like ls | > cat and stuff like that.
> Any recommendations?

If it's specifically getting used to that kind of thing, then I wouldn't
go for a Linux one. I'd go for "Think Unix" by Jon Lasser. I have raved
about this book before. It's slim, but this is all to the good sometimes:
no thumbing through 2000 pages to find something. It's also informative
and clear, and explains the basics of the command-line stuff.

There is very very little about X in it, let alone "the desktop". If
it's getting used to the desktop, in theory, people shouldn't need 
"ls", "|" and so on, of course. People shouldn't need to know the
command line is there. Obviously, we're not quite there yet..

Once you have the basics of that sort of "lots of little commands that
fit together, and here's how to find out more", Linux in a Nutshell
is an excellent reference from O'Reilly, but it is a *reference*: 
pages and pages of terse summaries of commands divided by whether 
they're commands a user or root would use, with some others off in
another section. 

I actually have a mouse mat which I got at some show (I think). "Red
Hat Command Reference". Thinking about it, I have seen plenty of 
"print this out, it fits onto one side of A4 paper" references in
the past, but don't remember where. Those might be more useful than
a great long book, come to think of it, especially if this is just
"Things to know for when the desktop needs poking to work". 


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