JP Vossen on 23 Feb 2008 13:18:29 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] Tech Book Publishers & Book Suggestions?

> Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2008 14:43:14 -0500
> From: "Bill Diehl" <>
> Subject: [PLUG] Tech Book Publishers & Book Suggestions?
> With which other publishers are such arrangements available?

I don't know, perhaps someone else does?

> Some of the O'Reily books looked useful and interesting but few for 
> Linux newbies.  Any suggestions from any publisher for getting 
> networking with file and printer sharing set up via Debian through a 
> wired router connected to 2 Win98SE machines?

I am a big O'Reilly fan (and author), and I almost never "stray," so 
I'll only speak to them.  I also haven't been a Linux newbie for a long 
time, and I haven't followed "intro" books, so take my advice with some 
salt.  Unless otherwise noted, I own and have read all of the books I'm 
talking about.

_Running Linux_ was a great intro to Linux book last time I checked, but 
it looks like the 4th edition was 2002 and is out of print.  Grrrr.  See 
below for my answers to your other points.

> Any suggestions for general (basic) reference books for using 
> Debian with KDE to maintain, configure, backup, secure, etc. the 
> system. (Note: I don't need to be an expert, programmer, hacker, or 
> guru.  I just want to be able to get things working and keep them 
> working).  I spent hours in various books stores looking at Linux 
> books and borrowed several Linux books from our library system 
> last summer but most were too detailed and technical for me.

You have some very specific things in mind here.  That focus is good, 
but it may also be hard to find books that specific, though you probably 
already know that.  Having said that...

_Linux Cookbook_ ( is an 
*excellent* book.  It covers Debian, and Ch23 is "File & Printer 
Sharing...with Samba."  23.7 is "Managing Samba Logins from Windows 
95/98/ME."  From 2004 it's getting a bit old, but I think it's still 
close enough to allow you to figure stuff out.  I also *think* it's 
clear enough for those with less Linux experience, though again I'm not 
a good judge of that.

> I found some decent books on KDE basics,, Firefox 
> and such, though a bit old.  Transferring what I learned using 
> Windows apps. for the past 10 years should not be a problem.  
> Learning a new operating system and getting it configured and 
> optimized is mostly where I could use some help.

_Linux Server Hacks 1&2_ (, are also cool, though 
they are less "intro'y" than _Linux Cookbook_.

_Ubuntu Hacks_ ( is 
also a *great* book, but you specifically talk about Debian.  While some 
things translate between the two (especially on a fundamental level) a 
lot doesn't.  Keep this one in mind if/when you use Ubuntu.  Personally, 
I use Debian on the server and Ubuntu on the desktop, though there is a 
server version for Ubuntu.  Ubuntu Server is more up-to-date than 
Debian, at the added cost of more frequent updates, and potentially less 
stability, though that's really more of a theoretical concern.

Ubuntu is a great distro, and has more GUI tools that are more user 
friendly than Debian.  On the other hand, the Webmin tool offers a 
web-based admin tool for Debian and many other distros...  Personally, I 
don't think servers should have GUIs, but I recognize that a GUI can be 
very handy for anyone transitioning from the Windows world.  But much of 
the Ubuntu books/docs will cover more about Gnome than KDE.  That 
matters, because many of the GUI tools differ.  You can usually run a 
KDE tool on Gnome and vice versa, at a cost of additional libraries to 
be installed and some overhead as they are loaded into memory.

Debian is *rock solid* at a cost of being perpetually way behind in 
applications versions, unless you use the "unstable" or "testing" 
flavors.  Contrary to the names they aren't very unstable, but they do 
change much more.  For a real, production, stable server, I'd use 
Debian.  For goofing around learning, I'd consider testing, unstable or 
Ubuntu server.

There's also _Ubuntu Linux for Non-Geeks_ 
(, but I don't own that, I 
haven't read it, and it might be too basic for you.

You might also try querying OR for Linux and paging through the results 
to see what jumps out at you:

There are some other books geared towards applying Windows knowledge to 
Linux: _Point and Click Linux_ 
( is 
good, but covers the "MEPIS" distro 
( which is less 
well-know or used than say, Ubuntu.  Also, the "official" site 
( seems to have trash now.  I did 
read this but gave my copy to someone else a while ago.  It was good.

There are other Linux distros specifically geared towards Windows users, 
e.g. Xandros (, 
PCLinuxOS ( and 
many others I'm forgetting.  See also:

FYI, if you want to consider using Red Hat, use CentOS 
( instead.  Personally, after many years of Red 
Hat use I switched to Debian and find it much better, but I use a lot of 
RHEL and CentOS at work.  That isn't to say Red Hat is bad; they've had 
a huge positive impact on Linux and open source.  I just find Debian 
works more logically and I appreciate its openness.  And I suspect more 
users on this list are more familiar with and in favor of Debian and 
Ubuntu than Red Hat and others. :-)

Bottom line: if you only buy or consider one book, make it _Linux 
Cookbook_, and keep your Debian server.

OK, I'm shutting up now.  Good luck,
JP Vossen, CISSP            |:::======|        jp{at}jpsdomain{dot}org
My Account, My Opinions     |=========|
Microsoft has single-handedly nullified Moore's Law.
Innate design flaws of Windows make a personal firewall, anti-virus
and anti-malware software mandatory. The resulting software arms race
has effectively flattened Moore's Law on hardware running Windows.
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