Book review: A practical Guide to Linux. Commands, Editors and Shell Programming by Mark G. Sobell

Mark Sobell, a best-selling UNIX author, has done it again: he has delivered yet another fantastic book which makes GNU/Linux easier to approach.

The book’s cover The book’s cover

GNU/Linux (or “Linux”, if you want to be brief and get Mr. Stallman angry) is probably the most talked about operating system in the world right now. Even though GNU/Linux can be used without ever touching the infamous command line (thanks to distributions like Ubuntu or Suse), quite a few users out there are keen to learn how to get the most out of the Unix commands available.

Book review: Hardening Apache by Tony Mobily

A recent Netcraft survey found that approximately 67% of websites (two-thirds of the entire internet!) are served with Apache. With such a large number of administrators using Apache on their servers it stands to reason that a large number of crackers will focus their attentions on cracking it. That’s where “Hardening Apache”, a book by Free Software Magazine’s own excellent and keen-eyed Editor In Chief, Tony Mobily, comes in (it was just a little plug).

Book review: Free Software for Busy People by Mohammad Al-Ubaydli

I've used Windows for most of my life. Almost all of my family, friends and colleagues use Windows. The Microsoft network effect has locked in a majority of the population.

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Up to now, I've found that it is very hard to get people to switch to free software. After all, most Windows users have an operating system with applications that work well enough. Why should they care about free software when most of the people they know aren't using it?

What I wanted to know was will this book convince people to start switching to free software?

Book review: Deploying OpenLDAP by Tom Jackiewicz

For years I’ve had two to five computers around the house, with a variety of accounts for myself, my wife, and now my kids, not to mention a couple of special management accounts. Manually configuring these systems can be pretty tricky, because we’ve never installed any kind of central system for controlling users and passwords. We just try very hard to keep the UID numbers the same on all the different computers (which annoys my wife, because she’s the “second user” even on her own computer).

Book review: The Debian System by Martin F. Krafft

The title “The Debian System” may be misleading to some, but it shouldn’t be. As the author claims, this book isn’t yet another guide to GNU/Linux. It’s a guide to Debian GNU systems, whether the kernel is Linux, BSD, or Hurd. Thanks to this book, both Debian beginners and experienced users have a detailed guide to the Debian world: its organization, licenses, and tools.

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Book review: Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB, and WordPress

Three books in one, covering popular community building softwareThree books in one, covering popular community building software

Increasingly, the World Wide Web is not about static information pages, nor even dynamic web applications, but the process of creating and maintaining communities and collaborative efforts. Three of the most popular tools for developing such sites are presented in this new book from Apress.

This book is really three small books bound into one volume, as each software package is dealt with in a separate part of the book, apparently by separate authors

The contents

Book review: Ending Spam—Bayesian Content Filtering and the Art of Statistical Language Classification

For a lot of people, thoughts about spam are limited to a burst of bad language and perhaps a brief marvel at the sheer volume of organisations that want to help fix aspects of other people’s genitalia. However, there is more to spam than expletives. Spam doesn’t just magically appear in your mailbox, it has a history and so does the battle against it. There are some pretty interesting and innovative weapons available to combat the evil that is spam. And some of those weapons are examined in Ending Spam: Bayesian Content Filtering and the Art of Statistical Language Classification

Book review: Randal Schwartz’s Perls of Wisdom by Randal L Schwartz

Ask for some key figures in the world of Perl and it wont be long before the name Randal L Schwartz appears. Randal has, at one time or another, been a trainer of Perl, the Pumpking (responsible for managing the development of Perl), as well as a prolific writer and speaker on Perl techniques and materials. In Perls of Wisdom (Apress) he gathers together many of his talks and articles into a single book, expanding, correcting and extending them as necessary.

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Book review: Degunking Linux by Roderick W Smith

Over the course of a typical computer’s lifetime you will probably create all sorts of files, temporarily install software and generate lots of information and data that you don’t really want to keep. Unfortunately, computers tend to have a terrible habit of keeping these files and information about. In Degunking Linux by Roderick W Smith you’ll find hints on how to clean and, as the title suggests, degunk your Linux installation to help free up disk space, CPU time and help optimize your machine. You’d be amazed how much of a difference degunking your machine can make.

Book review: Regular Expression Recipes by Nathan A. Good

I’ll admit right up front that I am something of a regular expression junkie.Years before I even knew such a system existed (before the days of the internet) I wrotemy own regular expression system to handle the needs of a free-text database managementpackage. Today, we are all familiar with regular expressions in Perl, sed, awk/gawk andeven in “user” applications like email and word processors.

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Book review: Linux Server Security by Michael D Bauer

While developed and supported with the best of intentions, Linux is still based on a widerange of different applications and systems working together. From the free softwareperspective this is its power; many people working together to produce a top qualityoperating system.

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Book review: Computers & Typesetting Millennium edition by Donald E. Knuth

Professor Donald E. Knuth doesn’t need an introduction: he created TeX (a powerful typesetting system) and METAFONT (a program to design fonts). He also designed a font family, called Computer Modern, which is the default choice of TeX.

The boxed setThe boxed set

Mr. Knuth is known to write sharp and enlightening books. His books about typesetting are no exception: he wrote five books dedicated to these topics, and Addison-Wesley now sells them all in one box, entitled “Computers & Typesetting Millennium edition”.

The contents

The five books are:

  • “The TeXbook”

Book review: High Performance Linux Clusters by Joseph D Sloan

Like distributed computing, clusters are a hot topic in the current computing climate. The reason is simple, with the explosion of Linux and cheaper components it’s actually become quite simple and inexpensive to put together a relatively high-powered cluster. Driving the cluster production is an increased need for computing power as applications are developed for different situations.

Book review: Practical Subversion by Garrett Rooney

Version control is—or at least should be—a critical part of thedevelopment process. As Garrett Rooney explains right at the beginning of PracticalSubversion (published by Apress), using version control can help you recover that fileyou accidentally deleted, or put your code base back into the position it was in, whenit worked, before you introduced that latest bug.

Book review: Linux in a Windows World by Roderick Smith

Linux in Windows World aims to solve the problems experienced by many system administrators when it comes to using Linux servers (and to a lesser extent clients) within an existing Windows environment. Overall the book is meaty and a quick flick through shows an amazing amount of information has been crammed between the covers. There are though some immediately obvious omissions, given the books title and description, but I’m hoping this won’t detract from the rest of the content.

The book’s cover The book’s cover

The contents

Book review: From Bash to Z Shell by Oliver Kiddle, Jerry Peek and Peter Stephenson

If you use a free software operating system or environment, chances are one of your key interfaces will be through some kind of shell. Most people assume the bulk of the power of shells comes from the commands available within them, but some shells are actually powerful in their own right. Many of the more recent releases being more like a command line programming environment than a command line interface. “From Bash to Z Shell” published by Apress, provides a guide to using various aspects of the shell.

Book review: Unix Power Tools 3rd edition by Shelley Powers, Jerry Peek, Tim O’Reilly and Mike Loukides

Using a Unix system requires a lot of knowledge, and it’s common to see Unix users and administrators spending a lot of time reading handbooks, tutorials and man pages to find out the “right” sequence of keystrokes. In the publishing world there is a little pearl, a single source of information about Unix and how to use it: Unix Power Tools, published by O’Reilly and Associates. O’Reilly is a well known publisher of Unix books; in this one, you’ll see Tim O’Reilly himself as an author!

The book’s cover The book’s cover

The contents

Book review: Knoppix Hacks by Kyle Rankin

Knoppix is a live-CD Linux distribution which comes with X Window and some of the most exciting and useful programs in the free software world ready for use. Like the famous Swiss Army Knife, “Knoppix Hacks” is an invaluable device. It has the best tips, tricks, and tools, along with information on other Knoppix-like systems. It contains common pitfalls and ways around them, most of which I had to discover by trial and error. Knoppix has quirks like mounting hard drive partitions read-only by default, but Mr.


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