There are some technical publications which are just like some novels in that you either don’t want to put them down or you don’t want to stop reading them. When O’Reilly first published their GNU/Linux series of books Linux in a Nutshell and Running Linux were quickly seen to be essential reading by the international GNU/Linux community. Along with any book about Sed and Awk. As time has gone by many other GNU/Linux publications have come along from many other publishers who have joined in the publishing spree but Linux in a Nutshell has remained a constant throughout all of this. Now in it’s sixth reincarnation it still stands above the others as the book that should be on your shelf for those times when you need to get out of trouble or to look up something that you haven’t used for some time. Great for beginners and experienced advanced users. The general purpose widget for the kind of basic information that is invaluable to anyone.
In 875 pages the reader is shown what to do with just about everything in the GNU/Linux operating system. As it says in the introduction “Linux has grown from a student/hacker playground to an upstart challenger in the server market to a well-respected system taking its rightful place in educational and corporate networks. Many serious analysts claim that its trajectory has just begun, and that it will eventually become the world’s most widespread operating system.”
The book begins with some simple ideas about the operating system and then leads through the System and Network Administration overview through boot methods and package management to the Bash shell and pattern matching. The latter is something that is an invaluable source of facts for the first time and experienced user. The section on the use of variuos editors is also useful as is the later part of the book which shows CVS and Git management. If you would like to get hold of something tasty in a nutshell rather than talking to the nut the down corridor this book could be for you.