O'Reilly In a Nutshell book

hiddenknight821hiddenknight821 Member Posts: 1,209 ■■■■■■□□□□
I'm now in the market for my first "In a Nutshell" book. I'm not sure which reference to buy as my long-term goal is to get the RHCSA and RHCE, but I have no experience yet. I plan to test the market after my surgery in a few months.

I was prying on the UNIX in a Nutshell on Amazon. In my opinion, UNIX admins are hardcore, and I have utter respect for them. I plan to work with Solaris and BSDs whenever possible. I have been playing around with Solaris in VM for well over a month. I figured if Linux derived from UNIX, then I need to become more comfortable with UNIX first. However, the book is dated since 2005. Have yet found negative reviews. Seems like the content is still fresh as UNIX rarely changes.

Although, there is a Linux in a Nutshell book that is probably more relevant to my Redhat study, which I will be dealing with soon. The latest edition is 2009. Is the purchase worth it or should I proceed with caution as the content may immediately become obsolete? Let's not forget that some distro have their specific commands and syntax.

My only concern is that I may not need those references after all as I have the Internet and man command to find answers. Yet, I believe I will find it cumbersome to search around specific things on the Net when I can just grab a book on my desk for a quick look up. I would like your opinions on which book I should purchase or should I abandon it altogether until I gain experience.

DISCLAIMER: I also assumed both books have shell scripting, awk, sed, (and perl would be nice too) details. I am not talking about scripting from the command prompt, but creating the script files as well.


  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Mod Posts: 4,564 Mod
    Sorry to hear about your surgery, I hope you're better now :)

    O'Reilly's in a nutshell book series is actually just a comprehensive reference, that can be used as a reminder for some commands or introduction to other commands. I don't recommend it as a way to begin unix studies, but it's a good reference to have (HINT: my avatar ;) )

    now to answer some of your questions...You don't need knowledge in Solaris nor BSD to learn Linux. However, when you learn Linux, then learning Unix gets easier, and vice versa. There's no preferred order of learning, and no dependencies either. They're similar. Pick one distro, stick to it, learn everything you can about it, get a job, and go from there. Every work environment will have different challenges, and you will learn different things. It gets easier as you go, and you will notice similarities.

    My advice is: get RHCSA. Do your best to learn everything in RHCSA ins and outs. Use Michael Jang's book and any other recommended book. Then get a job. Depending on your job, you can move forward.

    Learn Bash, sed, awk, on the side. It's important to try to find a job as soon as possible. RHCSA will help..and keep learning as you go. Make RHCE your goal and work towards it after you get a job.

    Good luck! you can actually do just fine without any formal book, the internet is full of helpful free websites. Make sure you practice everything, as much as you can.

    Good luck icon_thumright.gif

    Learn GRC! GRC Mastery : https://grcmastery.com 

  • hiddenknight821hiddenknight821 Member Posts: 1,209 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Oh! About that surgery, it was nothing serious. It's rather a medical enhancement that I should have gotten a while ago. Can't wait to get the surgery over with! icon_bounce.gif

    UnixGuy, your feedback was more than helpful. +1. I actually had to stop by a Microcenter nears me to see if the Linux in a Nutshell was any good. It was a good reference that I would like to have, but since you mentioned RHCSA will help me a lot with the bash, sed, and awk programming, I decided to forgo the book until I work in a linux environment and wait for the next edition.

    I just finished reviewing the Unix material, and I have to say the Your Unix: The Ultimate Guide is a good book to read for anyone. You can't go wrong with it. It's more throughout and concise than the Fedora and RHEL Bible I'm currently reading. However, it's more expensive since it's an university textbook. I am aware the Fedora Bible sucks, but I am only skipping pages that I am already familiar with. I still have the Linux Administration by Wale Soyinka and Michael Jang book on my reading list. I plan to save MJ book for last. As you can see, I'm prepping hard for the RHCSA, which is probably an overkill.
  • varelgvarelg Banned Posts: 790
    Why would RHCSA be an overkill? Go for it and have no shame icon_wink.gif
    Unix guy nicely put it, "... in a nutshell" series are mostly reference books and what you need is essentially some practical examples with thorough explanations. So far, of all books that I have on Linux, I found myself to go back to Mark Sobell's books time and again. Rarely some filler pages, it is all instruction and explanation. Also make sure you regularly go through how-to's on linux posted on the net that you find intriguing. Sure, man pages are always there but they can hardly count as instructional material.
  • UnixGuyUnixGuy Mod Posts: 4,564 Mod
    You can't really go wrong with RHCSA. As far as I know, the best material that covers the test topics is Red Hat's official books which you can get only if you attend their training class rooms. Training classes are expensive, but very useful. You can sign up for the full courses ( I think one month long courses, very expensive though), or since you're already preparing properly, then maybe you can take the crash course (4 days before the test); it is EXTREMELY helpful. It's not an easy exam, so be well prepared icon_study.gif

    like @Varelg said, how-to's guides on the net + man pages are your best friend.

    Good luck with the test, and make sure that you can do EVERYTHING in the prep guide (exam objectives) of RHCSA. They're not going to miss a single objective on the exam, they will test you on everything icon_cool.gif

    Learn GRC! GRC Mastery : https://grcmastery.com 

  • hiddenknight821hiddenknight821 Member Posts: 1,209 ■■■■■■□□□□
    varelg wrote: »
    Why would RHCSA be an overkill? Go for it and have no shame icon_wink.gif

    Oh you misconstrued what I posted. What I meant to say was that my preparation for the RHCSA is probably an overkill, but it's totally worth it. We can all agree that the RHCA is an overkill. Since UnixGuy said I'm preparing decently, I'm relieved to know that I'm not overestimating the exam. I should take the exam no later than spring of next year, but I'm trying to shoot for a date in Feb.
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