While Josh Thompsons’ Linux For Beginners Guide, at first, looks like it may be yet another self-published Kindle book, it’s actually pretty good quality once you get into it. The book is not very long, and can probably be finished in an hour or two. The material covered is on the easier side, good for a beginner’s book, and the explanations are adequate. I believe some of the coding tutorials were sources from other places online, but the author does give credit and provides links to the original website.
So what is in the book? From the 8 chapters we have: installing a virtual machine, the Linux directory structure, the shell, basic commands, fish, permissions, text editors, and environmental variables. There are some interesting tidbits here I haven’t encountered before, like the CTRL+L shortcut to clear a terminal window, but most of topics are basic stuff you would see after spending a week or two with Linux.
There was only one (pretty big) mistake I noticed. In the steps to install a Linux virtual machine, it looks like the author got confused, or combined two tutorials or something, because, midway through, the steps turn to show how to actually install Linux on your hard drive as the primary OS. While I did not see any other obvious errors like this, this could be pretty bad if a beginner wipes their hard drive by following the bunk instructions.
Aside from that error, the rest of the book was readable, even if I only learned a few things here and there. If you are just starting out, or want to try Linux, I think The Linux Command Line by William Shotts is a better place to start. However, if you are looking for a quick and cheap read, Linux For Beginners Guide is not so bad.
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