April 28th, 2002, 12:38 PM
There are so many distributions of Linux out there but most of the good books are for Red Hat Linux.
Are they all very different and can I get a red hat linux book to learn how to use some other distributions?
April 28th, 2002, 06:17 PM
The various distributions are the same in that the same basic commands for day-to-day work are largely the same. Each of the various distros have their own administrative tools and/or package management tools (for loading/removing software). SuSE, RedHat, & Mandrake all use the RPM format, but the packages are often not interchangeable. Debian uses an entirely different package system, w/ different strengths and weaknesses, but at least as capable in the end. Slackware uses a very minimal package management system, since its designers/users usually prefer to do such tasks manually for finer control. As far as admin tools, again, Debian and Slackware have very minimal admin tools, instead assuming a certain level of knowledge from the administrator, or else a willingness to work to figure out the answer, in exchange for tight control of things. The more 'flashy' distros like RedHat, Mandrake, and SuSE have more 'wizard' like tools for helping along the beginning administrator, but the same ability exists for an experienced admin to bypass the helper apps and do the configuration manually how they want.
As far as the books being mainly for RedHat; well, part of that is due to the RedHat marketing machine which has been pretty effective in the U.S., and part of that is due to that some of the other distros, like SuSE in particular, actually come w/ a useful manual (Professional version) that can help you accomplish real tasks. I personally have never seen the RedHat manuals as more than 'fluff', though YMMV.
April 29th, 2002, 07:13 AM
Just to add to nuk's very good reply, there is a slight difference between learning how to use the operating system GNU/Linux, and how to use a particular dstribution.
If you learn how to use GNU/Linux, then you can use any distribution on the planet without too many problems (you'll just have to learn how to use the various distro-specific tools nuk mentioned). If you learn how to use a specific distribution, and you then switch to a different distribution, you'll find it quite hard to get used to losing distro-specific certain tools, and leaning new ones.
If I were you, I'd try to learn how to use GNU/Linux generally whilst also learning how to use the distribution you bought. A good way to do this is to get both a manual for the distributution (so get one of those RedHat books, or get SuSE Professional which comes with several very good manuals), and then get a book published by O'Reilly (www.oreilly.com) called "Running Linux", which will help you understand the core ideas behind GNU/Linux, how to run it, how to administrate it, etc.
I wouldn't try to learn how to use, say, Mandrake, whilst reading from a RedHat book. You might get really confused, as some RedHat books I've seen don't teach GNU/Linux at all, they just teach the various tools RedHat has.
So my advice would be to get one of the following combinations:
SuSE Professional + Running Linux
RedHat + RedHat book + Running Linux
Mandrake + Running Linux + Mdk web site (very good)
April 29th, 2002, 07:24 AM
Thank you all for your explanation. I will take note of your recommendation on "Running Linux" book telex4.