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General Linux I Exam Prep (Exam: 101)

Leblanc, Dee-Ann

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ISBN 10: 1576105679 / ISBN 13: 9781576105672
Published by Coriolis Group Books 2000-03-21, 2000
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: General Linux I Exam Prep (Exam: 101)

Publisher: Coriolis Group Books 2000-03-21

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:New

About this title


General Linux I Exam Prep prepares readers for Exam 101, "General Linux I," which covers the common elements in the certification exams for various Linux distributions including Sair/GNU, LPI, and Red Hat Level 1. Propective and experienced Linux systems admininstrators will gain a sound undertanding of the theory and application of Linux distributions and develop hands-on skills through self-assesment, real-world projects and lab exercises, review questions, and practice tests. The CD-ROM includes two 75-question practice exams featuring questions arranged in a format similar to the the questions found on the actual exam, plus exam questions that are based on the contents of the book.


A comprehensive book that suffers from poor organization and a tendency to ramble, General Linux I Exam Prep tries to condense the vast amounts of must-have, on-the-job Linux administration information down into a reasonably small book, but in doing so, it requires more effort on the reader's overall effort to pass the test. The book is intended for intermediate- to advanced-level users, and it's recommended that you have a solid understanding of hardware (say, around the A+ certification level) as well as some basic conceptual knowledge about Linux/Unix mounting and file structures before tackling this book.

General Linux I cannot be faulted for assuming that you know the differences between IDE and SCSI drives, since they're something that you'd be expected to know as a Linux administrator. Getting Linux to acknowledge various kinds of cards and adapters is a part of the job, and a broad discussion of hardware would be out of place here. However, the preliminary information you'll need on file mounting and file structures is symptomatic of the book's problems.

Like other books in the Exam Prep series, this is intended to be a real-world preparation guide, which is admirable. Too many books only focus on getting you through the test, leaving you high and dry when you finally sit down in front of that computer at your new job, wondering what the heck you should do now that it's not a multiple-choice question. Unfortunately, Linux is a complex topic that requires a lot of knowledge before you can even start to learn the basics of Linux administration. And rather than going for a sweeping 1,000-page reference, General Linux I had to squeeze some fairly complex and wide-ranging concepts down, like hardware compatibility, to a scant few examples.

The danger here, Will Robinson, is that if you don't get those examples (or if your Linux box acts differently from what happens in the sample topics), you may not understand it at all.

Conceptually, the writing in this book is fairly weak; it doesn't really get across new topics in a way that makes sense to those who didn't get it in the first place. If you didn't understand mounting going into the book, you may still have problems after reading it, because the writing is technical and fairly dry.

Adding to potential confusion is the fact that the book is not organized in an intuitive manner, nor does it particularly prepare you for the test. The section on shells and shell scripting, for example, goes into a long overview of basic vi commands--which you would be expected to know for a real job but you don't have to know for the test. Yet it doesn't go over the basics of the differences between the various types of available shells. The book skips from topic to topic--covering many topics that you'll need to know in the course of everyday life and for the test--but doesn't tell the reader which are which. For example, someone reading General Linux may be led to believe that the large section on vi, which gets 11 pages devoted to its use, means that it is a critical test objective (to be fair, "Process Text Streams Using Text Filters" is an objective)--while believing that the cron command, which is covered in two pages and a paragraph, is a minor sideline.

Don't get me wrong; it's not that this is a bad book. It's just that the nature of the writing makes it an all-or-nothing proposition. Read the book thoroughly, understand every word, and memorize everything in there... and not only will you have a good start toward being paid to wield a Linux root privilege, but you'll also have a passing grade. On the other hand, a less-than-diligent reading will punish the potential test-taker. If you're the sort of reader who doesn't skip a sentence, this book would be ideal for you. Skimmers should look elsewhere. --William Steinmetz

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