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Search in Book Reviews

The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Linux at Work
Author:
Marcus Goncalves
ISBN:
0 471 33349 2
Publisher:
Wiley
Pages:
360pp+CD
Price:
£25-95
Reviewer:
Mike Ellis
Subject:
unix
Appeared in:
12-3
This is one of those books that are very hard to review, not because it is inaccurate or technically challenging, but because it is very hard to know who it is aimed at. The book comprises three sections and each seems to have a different target audience. The first section is aimed at the Linux newbie, someone who has heard the word 'Linux' and wants to know a bit more about the 'Linux/Unix phenomenon' before dipping their toe in thewater.

The second section, aimed at middle managers, lists a number of different roles Linux can perform for companies (e.g. webserver, bastion host, print server...) and includes case studies of Linux use by some large corporations. Although it does assume some technical knowledge of Unix-like systems and networking technologies, it is still understandable by a competent computer user without much experience of Unix.

The third section, aimed at a sysadmin tasked with installing a Linux solution, lists a number of applications available for Linux, giving short examples of how they might help businesses.

A number of appendices round off the book by covering such details as the 'Care and Feeding of a Linux Systems Administrator', a list of URLs to find out more and a huge (120 pages) list of 'Linux Consultants' who will help you with your Linux problems at commercial rates in the United States. The CD includes a couple of applications, which will interest stock-brokers only (and, in one case, are for Solaris anyway!).

Would I buy the book? No - I work with computers all the time, I administer a number of Unix machines and I know what Unix is capable of. This book does nothing to extend what I already know. There is some good material in the book, but you probably know most of it already. If you don't know it then you either don't use computers or you're a MicroSofty at heart and this book won't help you on either score. Given the title of the book, it is odd that the people who would benefit most are those who are fed-up with being forced to use Windows at work and want to play with something different at home. However, I don't believe it would be worth the (relatively high) price charged for a fairly thin book.