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Editor's Note: Best Linux Books of 2008

Dec 20, 2008, 00:03 (10 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Carla Schroder)

by Carla Schroder
Managing Editor

I love books. I read books, write books, and collect books. After years of too-small homes I finally have a house big enough to hold all my books. Yes, the bookworm's dream come true, a whole room dedicated to a book library. It's not a huge room, just a small bedroom, but it holds all of my books and there is room for future acquisitions. It even has stylish pine bookcases that I built myself. Straight and true, though I did skimp on the sanding, which makes splinters a bit of a problem. But it's a small price to pay for the luxury of having all of my books on actual shelves, and organized so I can find what I want.

I buy a fair number of computer books even though a lot of the knowledge becomes outdated in a short time by book standards, because books don't depend on electricity and are completely portable. When the network is going up in flames and nothing works, the last thing I want is to have to cobble up a working system and an Internet connection just to look things up. These are my favorite networking books:

  • Linux Networking Cookbook-- duh, I wrote it!
  • Schneier on Security
  • TCP/IP Network Administration, 3rd edition by Craig Hunt
  • DNS and BIND, 5th edition by Liu and Albitz (I hate BIND, but still have to deal with it)
  • Practical Packet Analysis by Chris Sanders
  • Silence on the Wire: A Field Guide to Passive Reconnaissance and Indirect Attacks, by Michal Zalewski
  • The Book of PF, by Peter N.M. Hansteen
  • TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1: The Protocols, by Richard Stevens
These are my fave all-around useful Linux books:
  • bash Cookbook, by Albing, Vossen, Newham
  • Linux Kernel in a Nutshell, by Greg Kroah-Hartman
  • Linux Cookbook, by me!
  • Linux Cookbook, by Michael Stutz
  • sed and awk Pocket Reference , 2nd Edition by Arnold Robbins
  • Free as in Freedom: Richard Stallman, by Sam Williams
  • Learning the bash Shell, 3rd edition, by Cameron Newham, Bill Rosenblatt
  • Open Sources, 1st Edition by Chris DiBona, Sam Ockman
  • Learning Python, 3rd Edition by Mark Lutz
  • Evil Geniuses in a Nutshell, by J.D. 'Illiad' Frazer
Now I'm into audio recording and engineering, and digital photography with Linux. Keep your eyes peeled for "Building a Digital Sound Studio with Audacity" (No Starch Press) sometime next year, and after that an equally awesome digital photography book that does not even mention dumb old Photoshop. Practically every darned digital photography howto in existence revolves around Photoshop. A pox on Photoshop-- there are excellent alternatives. So like any good FOSS geek, if it doesn't exist then by gosh I'll create it myself.

For fun reading I have discovered William Lashner's books. He writes legal mystery/thrillers starring Victor Carl, a sleazy lawyer who chronically falls into tight situations way over his head, outsmarts himself a lot, but somehow always wiggles his way out. Carl is not your typical macho hero, but is frankly cowardly, scrawny and unfit, and pretty much willing to do whatever it takes to make a living. But he is a complex character who is funny, has his own mixed-up set of morals, and worries about what kind of man he is becoming. Lashner also delivers nice rich mysteries, a fast pace, and a an assortment of equally fun and interesting side players.

I won't have much time for recreational reading until my Audacity book is finished, but the nice thing about books is they age well-- I don't have to worry about the technology leaving me behind. When I have time they'll be waiting for me.

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