'Linux Utilities Cookbook' - Book Review

Linux Utilities Cookbook
by James Kent Lewis

A somewhat nebulous title doesn't prevent this from being a good book. Lewis has obviously been using Linux for a long time and is very knowledgeable. Here are the topics he covers.

Table of Contents:

1 Using the Terminal / Command Line
2 The Desktop
3 Files and Directories
4 Networking and the Internet
5 Permissions, Access, and Security
6 Processes
7 Disks and Partitioning
8 Working with Scripts
9 Automating Tasks Using Cron
10 The Kernel
Appendix A: Linux Best Practices
Appendix B: Finding Help
Appendix C: Index

Like him, I've been working with Linux a long time, so this was more of a refresher than training. I read the book on my subway ride to and from work each day over the course of several months (mixed in with several other books I have on the go). I was pleasantly surprised at how much I learned on a number of different topics. Probably the most helpful was the section on LVM, which I admit to being a newbie to. Being a relatively complex subject, the chapter on LVM is more of an overview than in depth, but nevertheless a great entry point.

The book isn't without flaws: one bizarre suggestion that stuck with me was given in the kernel chapter, where he explained that he unpacked the kernel source and built the kernel under the /tmp/ directory because (if I recall correctly) he likes short path names. That's all fine and good ... right up until the next reboot, at which point most Linux-based OSes will wipe /tmp/ completely clean. Thus removing all your hard work tweaking the kernel config.

The topics are somewhat diverse, but if you're command line oriented, it's a very good general introduction or refresher course.