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The First Three Books Every Linux User Should Read 133

lessthan0 writes "Anyone proficient with Linux had to climb the steep learning curve. Part of getting over the top for me was reading a hundred different Linux and Unix related books. From that list, three books stand out as the most useful and influential. I can't promise easy sledding; it will take some work, but mastering this material will demystify Linux and make you appreciate it more."
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The First Three Books Every Linux User Should Read

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  • Huh...? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @11:55AM (#15381047)
    The "man" command doesn't work anymore? I know "man woman" definitely does not work. :P
  • Re:Poor Grandma (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @11:57AM (#15381075) Journal
    My favorite was what the article refers to as "the somewhat contrived recursive title" of Rute User's Tutorial and Exposition. Yeah, that's definitely part of Unix that needs to be demystified -- the notion that godawful recursive names are hilarious and just keep getting hilariouser with each new atrocity.
  • by Hacksaw ( 3678 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @12:01PM (#15381119) Homepage Journal
    Let's think about this, shall we?

    Let's say I am a software author. I wrote some program to scratch my own itch. Now I need to write a manual for it.

    How well am I going to do at this? It's going to be terse and assumptive, because I'm already an expert on my program.

    So lets say a friend becomes and semi expert on the program, and expands the manual some. Hey, we're good, right?

    No, because the manual still sucks, because neither of them are technical writers, and don't possess the skills.

    And a good writer might be interested in writing a better manual for it, but what do they have to gain if they aren't passionate about the program, if they aren't allowed to publish it for money?

    You can't buy groceries with accolades.

    I mean, good on the author and his friend for realesing the code in to the wild, and helping out everyone, but they got the program they wanted. It's free because it costs them nothing to make it free.

    The good writer has to spend time doing the writing, as opposed to earning money some other way.

    This is why so much OSS has crappy manuals, and why companies like RedHat and Novell are so important: they pay the writers.
  • by shrapnull ( 780217 ) * on Monday May 22, 2006 @12:05PM (#15381154)
    I understand that TFA is about learning Linux, but I would hesitate to encourage people to join up as a simple hobbyist without doing some homework about the free movement as well.
    The Cathedral and the Bazaar

    In the Beginning, There Was the Command Line

    Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution

    Once you understand what you've become a part of, you're more likely to contribute in some way.

    While not every user has to be a zealot, and not everyone is willing or capable to participate, the opportunity to become a part of something that will last longer then yourself is something people should be aware of in using GNU/Linux and GPL'd software.

    I don't think it's enough to just use it because it's free. You need to have some sort of understanding as to why it's important, how standards empower the consumer, and that free information is the only way to go to keep our technological advances moving forward instead of getting stuck in a freeze-frame induced by patent lawyers and litigation that explicitly deters education (DMCA).

    Knowing the goals of Open Source has often made members more forgiving of its present-day shortcomings, because the notions of freedom to use, freedom to change, freedom to learn and freedom to share outweigh some little compatibility nuances that exist today, but continue to improve through the contribution of the community at large.
  • Every Linux User? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ElleyKitten ( 715519 ) <kittensunrise@@@gmail...com> on Monday May 22, 2006 @12:08PM (#15381180) Journal
    Not every Linux user needs to become a Unix guru to use Linux. For me, reading a bit in the Ubuntu wiki took care of what I needed to use Linux on a daily basis. For my less tech-savv friend all it took was a Mepis cd. It was a live/install combo, and I told her to mess around with it until I had the chance to install it for her. By the time I had the chance, she already had it installed and she was happily using OpenOffice/Firefox/Gaim (which is all she ever used Windows for). I taught her how to change themes and how to install programs, and now she has more puzzle games then she'll ever need and even stupid desktop pets.

    Really, I fail to see how every Linux user needs to read complex sysadmin books and learn everything about the command line.
  • by weierstrass ( 669421 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @12:14PM (#15381213) Homepage Journal
    man, google and irc.
  • by Hacksaw ( 3678 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @02:19PM (#15382366) Homepage Journal
    I didn't say it cost them nothing to make it, I said it cost them nothing to give it away. Their value is derived by the fact that they made a tool to solve their particular problem. They are paid in the problem being solved.

    If they write a crappy manual and open it up to corrections while responding to feedback and rewarding those that give, I suspect the quality of the manual would increase like the software did by getting a larger user base.

    This makes the assumption that those offering corrections have the skills to make a good manual. While not impossible, historically, I haven't seen this to be the case.

  • by jb.hl.com ( 782137 ) <.joe. .at. .joe-baldwin.net.> on Monday May 22, 2006 @05:12PM (#15383691) Homepage Journal
    I don't want to join a movement, or even learn about a movement. I want to use my computer. Your idea, while nice, doesn't really work for people who just want to know how to use things.
  • Re:Users? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tirnacopu ( 732831 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @05:38PM (#15383850)
    May I suggest 'man hier'? It sure was helpful for all C:\ folks (including me) that bumped into the Unix way of arranging things.
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @06:08PM (#15384036) Journal
    The grandma that worked with the first computers out there. Who thinks vi is just for kids that can't hack ed. As for vim well, she is a grandma and she loves all her grandchilderen even the "special" ones.

    The simple fact is that computers ain't new anymore. Think of it like this would you dare suggest that a young adult of today is a better car operator then someone who has managed a jeep all the way through WW2?

    Reminds me of a family trip ages ago to england with the ferry. Cousin was being all protective and telling grandpa that it was perfectly safe and all. Neatly forgetting that grandpa had actually been on convoys in WW2. A channel ferry crossing wasn't exactly going to be a trill ride was it now?

    Long before you had Windows, long before DOS secretaties have had to deal with computers and type letters on systems their bosses couldn't figure out.

    In many ways we are unlearning some of these lessons. Just as kids of today don't have the programming exposure that kids who grew up with home computers like the C64 had, kids today are no longer learning how to deal with programs that don't hold you hand all the way.

    I seen kids stumped by older versions of windows because they only know XP and lack any kind of skill in just being able to figure things out.

    So be carefull when you question your grandma's capabilities. You might find you don't compare very well.

    Oh and a final note. Stupid grandma's have stupid grandchilderen. Now I ask you again, what kind of grandma do you got?

The moon may be smaller than Earth, but it's further away.