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Slashdot: GNU/Linux For Dummies: A Brief Survey [Book Review]

Aug 22, 2000, 23:49 (0 Talkback[s])

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"Don't scoff at the nature of these books, though; the skill of translating the arcana of any computer topic (and boy are they all arcane to the uninitiated!) into language that mom, kids and the guy down the street can understand is not a common one. If you don't know what a root prompt (or an editor) is, or why you might want one, it's hard to do much else with your system...."

"Why would you buy these books? They provide detailed installation instructions and supply recent CDs of the titular distributions. They also provide decent -- if basic -- introductions to simple commands and standard tasks. The installation chapters have sufficient detail to walk nearly anyone through the process, including dual-booting techniques, tips on discovering hardware information in Windows, selecting the desired packages, and creating sane partitions. (With 5 chapters devoted to navigating the shiny installers, the only thing preventing success is hardware failure or sunspots.) If you follow the directions, you'll have a decently-equipped workstation capable of accessing the Internet through a modem."

"Once your new Linux system is installed, what can you do? There's a tutorial on command-line basics, discussing the Unix file system and basic file commands. You'll meet the bash shell, with pipes and job controls and even a little shell programming. The vi editor also gets a bit of explanation -- follow the instructions and you'll know enough to edit files. (Pull out the command reference card from the front of the book just in case you forget :wq.)"

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