Review: Linux Command Line: Beginners Guide to Learn Linux Commands and Shell Scripting by David A. Williams

Linux Command Line by David A. Williams is another seemingly self-published Kindle book, and I am finding these to be a hit or miss. While the author does a decent job of explaining how Linux works, there were many careless errors in the code samples and some odd use of the English language. Granted it was a short read, and cheap at that, but it only really scratches the surface of the complex operating system.

In the book, David breaks things down to 7 chapters. We have the Linux shell, how the command line works, the environment, package management, environmental variables, and shell scripting. For a beginner’s book this is not bad, though many of the early chapters explain more about how Linux works rather than how to use it (for example, the lengthy discourse on GRUB, which many users would not need to understand right off the bat). I did enjoy the chapter on using man and help and other commands to learn how the GNU apps work. This is stuff I already basically knew, but I could see it helpful to a beginner.

However, there were many mistakes in the test. For example, all throughout there were example with “ls” being shown with a “1” (one) instead of a “l” (el). Like: “1s -1 testdir”. Not sure if the author is a 1337 hax0r or something, but I’m pretty sure “1s” doesn’t work on my distro.

There were a few other errors, mostly misspelled variables or logical errors which could make the book confusing if you didn’t catch them. In addition, I noticed a few typos in text and odd use of the English language, but I can forgive this assuming the author is not a native English-speaker. That said, proper editing would have caught it.

If you a reading on an electronic device, unfortunately a lot of the code is not displayed well, even on an Android tablet. I can’t fault the author too much, because this is a common problem, but even code samples that were short (and should fit fine on one line) were spaced or broken up oddly.

So all in all not a horrible book but not great either. I feel like for starting Linux users you should get a book that will teach how to *use* Linux first, before trying to understand how it functions under the hood (though that is good too, at some point later). And even for understanding the OS, this book is not very in-depth either. For the price, if you got free on Kindle Unlimited, I guess it’s not a complete waste of money but your time may be more well spent on better books. Just my 2 cents.

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