Title: Red Hat Fedora 5 Unleashed
Authors: Paul Hudson, Andrew Hudson
Published: May 29, 2006
Edition: 1st Edition
As the title suggests, this is a book about the latest release of Fedora Core linux distribution. Thanks to it's correct approach however, it would be accurate to claim that this is a book that can train you appropriately in the ways of Linux Operating System using Fedora Core distribution as a reference, instead of being just an other shallow distribution-specific manual.
GNU/Linux (usually refered to as simply "Linux") is a completely free Operating System that can be used for a wide variety of tasks. Fedora is a community-driven distribution of Linux, sponsored by Red Hat, one of the leading and oldest organizations in the field.
Unlike what many people think, Linux is not a specialized OS that can only be found as part of network infrastructures. Through the last 15 years, it has evolved to a modern general-purpose OS that can be used for almost any task you can think of: from office workstations, to WAN backbone routers, and even for few that you propably hadn't considered, like voice machines, PBX, televisions, compact multimedia devices and much more!
Most importantly, Linux' software for such applications has reached production-level quality, is free to use, modify and redistribute and supports every open standard. Also, it performs well on commodity hardware, even old Personal Computers that cost less than 50$ can be more than enough for most jobs.
As one would expect however, an operating system of such flexibility unavoidly has a certain degree of complexity in it's roots, and configuring it appropriatelly can prove challenging even to experienced users and IT profesionals. Official software documentation, while detailed, many times seems too strictly specific for a user that lacks the technological context to comprehent it, especially in complex tasks where the tight collaboration of more than one pieces of software is required.
This is where "Fedora Core 5 Unleashed" comes. It is essentially a training guide written with the completely inexperienced user in mind, however it also manages to extend it's information to an advanced level for most of the subjects.
The "Unleashed" book series from SAMS is known for it's thoroughness and detailed coverage of each topic. Fedora Core 5 Unleashed, counting 6 well-balanced parts in more than 1000 pages, stands up to this legacy. Each part contains numerous Chapters, in the end of each chapter, there is a reference section, containing links to web resources for related subjects. This is a very good idea that increases the book's value. The same applies for the gray tags that mark each chapter on the side of the book, making browsing each part easy, and the comprehensive appendix in the end which contains a thematic index of all the material based on keywords.
Inside the book there is also a DVD containing the complete Fedora Core 5 linux distribution, so that you can get started right away.
The material covered is organized as following:
Part I of the book is the introductory part. It covers the procedure of installation, some of the fundamental information about Linux and especially Fedora and some basic configuration instructions, so that everyone can have a fully functional system before continuing with the rest of the book.
Part 2 is dedicated to the use of Linux as personal desktop and office workstation. It provides information about available office, multimedia and leisure applications and documents in detail the graphical environment. All users that intend to use linux as desktop will want to read this.
Part 3 focuses on system administration. Most of the concepts and facilities of Linux are described here, so everyone should read it carefully.
Part 4 describes the possibilities of a linux machine serving data in a network. All popular types of services (mail, databases, dns, proxy, filesharing, etc) are described in detail, both in theory and in implementation. This is primarily important to System Administrators that will use Linux as part of a network infrastructure.
Part 5 is a fairly detailed introduction to programming in Linux. More specifically, there is a basic tutorial on PERL, PYTHON and PHP, enough to get you started with those languages. There is also a chapter dedicated to C/C++ and available Integrated Development Environment applications. Developers and powerusers will be interested in this part, since scripting greatly enhances the functionality of the system in many scenarios.
Part 6, finally, offers practical advice for a wide variety of subjects, like security, performance tuning and troubleshooting. This is an all-around chapter that can help everyone, regardless of how they intend to use Linux.
In each part, advanced users will find some very cool ideas and pieces of important information they'd been missing. Inexperienced users will also find themselves on their way to becoming geeks, without losing track at any point, thanks to the plentiful explanations, examples, references and ilustrative tables.
The fact that absolutelly no previous knowledge is required for someone to follow the book means the only real requirement would be an interest to familiarize with the great Operating System called Linux. Fedora Core distribution along with Fedora Core 5 Unleashed book, provide a great training package for anyone to achieve this efficiently.