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Linux (Second Edition) -Michael Kofler

© October 1999 Tony Lawrence

Outdated material; included only for historical reference

Amazon Order (or just read more about) Linux (Second Edition)-Michael Kofler (No longer published)

This is not a great book. It's full of errors, misconceptions and bad advice. Definitely NOT recommended- I'd found at least half a dozen completely wrong statements before I got 100 pages in; I didn't bother going much farther.

Part of the problem is that he tries to deal with all Linux distributions, and thus gets caught making statements that may be true for some, but aren't for all. But it goes beyond that: for example he blithely advices that you just need to hit DEL to get into your systems BIOS setup. Apparently he hasn't experienced very many systems; that's a common method, but certainly won't work everywhere. Further on, he describes the lost+found directory as:

is the place where lost files are stored. (These are incomplete or corrupted files that can result from an automatic repair of the file system after exiting Linux improperly.)

That's a dumb and entirely misleading explanation.

Another fairly silly section was his explanation of symbolic versus hard links- not only isn't it explained well, but his conclusions that symbolic links are "better" and should be relative need much more support than he gave them.

Finally, on page 104 (which is where I tossed it over my shoulder), he warns that you must mount CDROM's with the "exec" option if you want to execute programs directly from the CD. I don't know if that was true once, or even is still true on some versions, but it certainly isn't true on current Red Hat.

I'd say don't bother with this one. This opinion is, by the way, completely contrary to the reviews you'll find at Amazon and in Linux Journal- they LOVED this book. Maybe I'm just gettying cranky in my old age, but I sure didn't love it.

I heard from the author a while after writing this- a nice enough guy who admitted to some mistakes but (naturally enough) didn't like my review. If there is anyone else reading this who has a positive comment to add, I'd be more than happy to include it, but I still don't recommend it.

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-> Reviews-Linux-Michael Kofler


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---December 10, 2004

Honestly, I found the book to be very helpful even if there were errors in it...

Some errors should be overlooked and at the time I bought this brand new most books never went in to the file structure but he was very clear with his explanation.

Overall, it's fine to strive for excellence but there aren't many perfect books written these days and I would bet there aren't any from the past 35 years!

Tue Jan 19 14:37:54 2010: 7922   anonymous


Michael's book may not have been perfect, that's probably true about many books, but it had a lot going for it.

When I first bought the book some years ago it was the first Linux book I found that actually went into the Linux file system and three very popular editors (emacs, latex, etc...) Which was kind of un heard of at the time.

In short, Linux was and is a very complex operating system and I stiff defer to this book for some information even though much of it is very dated with the way the OS is changing. But give the guy a break because he stepped up and tried to make things easier for people wanting to try linux and it achieved that goal for sure.

Tue Jan 19 14:44:57 2010: 7923   TonyLawrence


As In noted above, it had what I feel were inexcusable errors.

There are far better Linux books available - why buy something full of misconceptions and bad advice?

Tue Jan 19 14:56:14 2010: 7925   anonymous


When this was written the choices weren't as exhaustive and it wasn't for technical accuracy that this book shined... It was the fact that he gave a good view of the big picture of the OS.

Believe me, I was at the biggest bookstore in Boston during the Linux Craze and the options weren't stellar...

The Oreilly stuff was good for technical but short on explanation, this book was a bridge for that purpose.


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