The Barnes & Noble Review
Linux + wireless = freedom. But freedom isn’t free: You have to know something to make the most of wireless on your Linux notebook, desktop, or other device. That’s where Linux Unwired comes in. It covers all the technologies, from standard 802.11b and 802.11g to infrared, Bluetooth, and cellphone networks. And it covers virtually everything you’d want to do: connecting to hotspots, finding them, mapping them, creating them, securing them, you name it.
As the authors note, “Wireless support on Linux has come a long way.” This book takes you the rest of the way. If you haven’t bought your Wi-Fi card yet, they tell you which ones offer the best Linux support. You’ll learn what you need to know about installation and configuration: everything from providing PCMCIA support to installing Linux Wireless Tools to recompiling your kernel (often still necessary).
Linux Unwired walks you through getting on a network, then presents a full chapter on security -- including your options for WPA support. (Unfortunately, you can’t use your Linux box as a WPA authenticator yet. But that’s in progress. The authors tell you who’s doing the work.)
There’s detailed coverage of Linux-friendly access points, including a lengthy chapter on building your own. Next, the authors turn to alternative wireless technologies, beginning with Bluetooth. There’s coverage of infrared syncing with Palms and Pocket PCs, cellular data connections, even GPS.
Along the way, there are plenty of tips, workarounds, troubleshooting solutions, pointers to third-party drivers and open source add-ons, sample settings, diagrams...everything you need to make wireless Linux work. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2003 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.
Linux's popularity continues to grow owing to its lower cost and better security. Multiple flavors and uses of the OS lead to multiple guides; those listed here mainly cover the popular licensed Red Hat Enterprise and freely downloadable Fedora, both distributed by Red Hat. Pocket Guide explains the common commands (organized by function), uses, and options of Fedora Linux, focusing on the command line; minimal attention is given to graphical interfaces. A succinct reference for larger libraries owning more comprehensive guides. For beginners, Learning Red Hat Enterprise addresses both Red Hat Enterprise and Fedora and includes the smaller publisher's edition of Fedora on CD. After an introduction and history, the book moves from installing the operating system to setting up networking and understanding shell scripts. This clear, well-organized guide is highly recommended for all libraries. For intermediate users, Linux Unwired mixes two hot topics in one short text, showing with humor and enthusiasm how to use Linux with several wireless protocols and standards, including 802.11, Bluetooth, cellular data, and GPS. The authors explain how wireless works as well as how to set up your Linux box for wireless and create your own access point. Given the increased popularity of both Linux and wireless in addition to the increased complexity of configuring wireless on Linux this is recommended for medium and larger libraries. Moving includes Knoppix on CD-ROM, which allows readers to run a Debian-based Linux distribution without installing it on their hard drives, plus open source application software. It targets Microsoft administrators wanting to switch their business networks to a Linux environment, covering both system administration for the most common distributions and applications (e.g., OpenOffice.org, Mozilla, and KOrganizer) and focusing on the KDE desktop; for larger libraries. For beginners, Beginning Fedora 2 contains the publisher's edition on DVD (or downloadable for readers without DVD drives). Step-by-step instructions, chapter summaries, and exercises help teach the OS. A little more comprehensive but less clear than Learning Red Hat; appropriate for medium and larger libraries. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.