Year after year, Patrick Volkerding's Slackware remains one of the most popular distributions of Linux in the world-and one of the best. In Linux Configuration & Installation, 4th Edition, Volkerding and two colleagues walk you step-by-step through getting Slackware running perfectly. You also get a complete, 2 CD-ROM Slackware 3.5 distribution, including the full Netscape Communicator Web client and a ton of Linux tools for programming, networking, editing, and goofing around.
The book is every bit as authoritative as you'd hope. There's especially thorough coverage of getting your PC ready for Linux. You'll find specific help with each step of the installation process. There's excellent coverage of one of the trickiest aspects: configuring X Windows. (Many Linux books skip this-hey, GUIs aren't a passing fad!)
You'll configure Slackware for networking and the Internet; get it running on a notebook PC; handle the ins and outs of CD-ROM configuration; handle basic sysadmin tasks, and more. All that's missing is a PC.
Bill Carmada @ Cyberian Express
The Linux operating system continues to increase its already significant popularity. More personal-computer users are selecting Linux for a variety of reasons. Whether to learn additional skills (such as TCP/IP configuration, networking, firewalls, and so on), maintain a similar interface on work and home computers, or escape Microsoft's Fatal Exception Errors, users recognize Linux as a viable alternative or companion to existing commercial operating systems. Some of its more obvious advantages include its low cost, the extensive amount of technical support available (at any time) via the Internet, the return of control to the user, and Linux's acceptance of most hardware configurations. The fourth edition of Linux Configuration and Installation may be used with any Linux distribution, but it is tailored to Slackware and, more precisely, to Slackware 3.5. (Because Slackware 3.5 resides on an accompanying CD-ROM, this presents an excellent opportunity for the reader to install and experiment with 3.5's capabilities.)
Volkerding, Reichard, and Foster-Johnson address Slackware Linux installation, technical configuration, individual customization, and applications thoroughly and completely. Each chapter details the concepts and implementation of a Linux feature or process. The authors explore individual procedures such as installing Slackware Linux, Slackware Linux and the Internet, and Linux system administration. The appendices contain a "For More Information" section and "About the CD-ROMs" followed by the index, the End User License Agreement, the GNU General Public License, and the CD-ROM installation instructions. The accompanying CD-ROMs include Slackware 3.5, Linux documentation (how-tos), Linux utilities, and software. Some of the programs provided are the Java Developer's Toolkit for Linux, Perl, Samba, and a variety of communications, e-mail, graphics, multimedia, networking, office, programming, and system-administration selections.
The first chapter itemizes possible hardware choices and how Slackware Linux supports them. (If you have an unsupported device, the authors provide a possible solution or advise on where to locate the device driver.) The authors not only detail which components and peripherals will interface smoothly, but also which combinations may cause difficulties. In the second chapter, "Installing Slackware Linux," the authors demonstrate in a step-by-step manner how to install Slackware Linux. They illustrate an extremely helpful technique in Table 2-7, "Optional Software Installation Packages," which matches the package name (for example, A1, N4, Xap1) with the package contents (for those of us who are not mind-readers), and also provides a software description so the user can intelligently decide whether he or she wants to install it. In addition to the basic configuration guidelines, the fourth edition considers some of the more complex issues, including networking protocols, compiling (and recompiling) the kernel, ISDN, and Year 2000 compliance and support. The authors also survey Slackware Linux functions related to mobile computing devices-specifically laptops, PCMCIA cards, and 3Com's PalmPilot.
Linux Configuration and Installation is an extraordinary book. Volkerding, Reichard, and Foster-Johnson have produced the most complete step-by-step guide to Linux installation I have read. The hardware discussions in the first chapter provide a helpful, if not essential, checklist for evaluating systems and of possible conflicts between software and hardware properties. The authors explain what each element of the operating system is and why the user may (or may not) want or need it. The format of the book is also exceptionally easy to read and reference. New users will understand and experienced users will appreciate the straightforward descriptions of both new and familiar topics.
Electronic Review of Computer Books