Practical Guide to Linux Commands

Author: Mark G. Sobell
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Pages: 1080
ISBN: 978-0131367364
Aimed at: Novice Linux users
Rating: 3
Pros: Comprehensive
Cons: Not helpful to those moving to Linux from Windows
Reviewed by: Harry Fairhead

This is a big encyclopedic book that details the what and how of the Linux command line, including Editors and Shell programming.

Part I is about the Linux operating system and is a suitable introduction if you are moving from Windows, for example. It covers the basic commands such as ls and the hierarchical directories. It is all very dry and there is little help in putting things in context or how they relate to the Windows way of doing things. Coming from Windows you immediately ask "why is there no Dir command?" and what does iS do? Explaining that it stands for liSt would help those making the move to Linux. 

Part II moves on to consider the Vim and Emacs editors which you either love or hate depending on your background experience. This forms an introduction suitable once again for a Windows user or someone new to the command line.

Part III is all about the bash and tcsh shell and Part IV deals with programming tools - mostly the basics of the gcc compiler. You need to already be a programmer, and specifically a C programmer, to get much out of this section of the book. The final section is a huge command reference that basically is just a handy version of what you can find on the web or as man (shorthand for manual) pages.

The big problem with the book is that it is too technical for the complete beginner and too shallow for the expert. If you are looking for a book more like a reference volume than a tutorial then this might suit.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 14 January 2010 )