This is a book about Red Hat Linux. Linux is a UNIX-like operating system. The core is maintained by Linus Torvalds. Red Hat Software, Inc. collects supporting tools from around the Internet and packages the lot into their Linux distribution.
This is a practical book. Some knowledge of UNIX is assumed. Generalizations and theory are avoided to the maximum extent. The unique features of the Linux system are demonstrated with little regard to design fundamentals.
This is a book mainly for UNIX users and administrators who are curious about the specific features of Linux. While this book draws from a number of "development" technologies (such as C, HTML, PHP, Perl, and the shell), the focus is upon system maintenance and administration.
This book was written for two audiences. The first is the role of a technical user who has an immediate need for some feature available in Linux. The second audience is seen as those who are curious about the Red Hat Linux system, who may someday exploit its features or direct others to do so. Favor is given to the first audience.
An effort has been made to keep each subject entirely self-contained within a chapter. The material is not cumulative to a large extent. It is conceivable that a user could begin reading the text at a later chapter, then return after some time (if at all) to the earlier material. There are only a few places within the text that this effort has not been maintained.
This book is appropriate for use in a classroom environment, even though there are no formal problem sets. The creation of such activities is trivial, and is left as an exercise for the instructor.
Linux is an operating system of dazzling complexity. It is easy to become diverted by its many features. The temptation to include much more than is reasonable in this text is very great. There is far more to Linux than what is contained here.
It has long been accepted that the Internet is driven by UNIX. Internet standards and UNIX standards have developed coequally for the life of both environments. The profound influence that the Berkley Software Distribution has had upon UNIX has been maintained since by powerful UNIX utilities such as sendmail, Sun Microsystem's NFS, NCSA/Apache httpd, wu-ftpd, and many other tools.
The Internet is now causing a vast social revolution. It has made resources and information from around the world available with a single click of a mouse.
This text is, to some small extent, a point of entry into this broad new horizon. By mastering the material presented here, a user can construct and maintain a global communication system.
You have purchased your ticket, and we are prepared to disembark. Linux awaits.