Linux+ Certification Bible
by Mirko Zorz - Wednesday, 3 September 2003.
Author: Trevor Kay
Pages: 800
Publisher: Wiley
ISBN: 0471237159


The aim of this book is to provide you with all the information you need to pass the CompTIA Linux+ Certification exam. The Bible series of books is very popular and always a synonym of quality. This is exactly why I approached this title with great expectations. Read on to find out what I found inside this book.

About the author

Trevor Kay is A+, Network+, Server+, and Linux+ certified. Trevor is currently a technical consultant and author. He has worked as an IT helpdesk consultant, technical support specialist, and network administrator, and played a key role in Y2K preparations at one of Canada's largest financial organizations.

Inside the book

Since this is a Certification Bible, each chapter in this book is preceded by pre-test questions, the answers to which can be found at the end of the chapter. This gives you a glance into what you will learn that chapter. Also, at the end of every chapter, you find assessment questions that help you test the knowledge you gained while reading the chapter.

When it comes to the installation, you get a comprehensive guide complete with pre-installation planning, the standard installation and the advanced installation. The author covers a myriad of topics and shows you how to determine which software and services should be installed, select packages based on what the machine will be used for (workstation or server), use different installation methods, select the appropriate parameters for the installation, etc. A variety of figures and screenshots help you get into the material faster. As for the advanced installation, this is the place to learn more on partitioning, file systems configuration, networking configuration and protocols, dual booting with Windows and Solaris, and more.

After the installation comes the configuration and Kay begins by discussing X Windows configuration and then moves on to write about configuring networking. This type of a book contains a lot of information for all levels so you learn how a network works, learn everything from configuring a workstation for remote access to setting up network, Internet and server services. As regards security, the author is cautious throughout the book. In this chapter he shows you how to configure access rights and introduces you to OpenSSH. There is no in-depth information but this will serve as a good introduction and you can always search elsewhere for more information if you need it.

Before moving on to discuss administration, a small chapter is dedicated to user environment settings. Here you find out how to add hardware, configure LILO, edit configuration files, configure printers, etc. When it comes to administration, this wide topic is covered by three chapters that discuss general Linux administration, Linux terminals and shells as well as Linux system commands.

It's time to learn how to work with users and groups, change file permissions, manage file systems and devices, etc. Kay does a good job at teaching you how to navigate the Linux file system and provides a variety of tables with command options.

The author shows you how certain commands in certain cases pose a risk to the system. You learn how to perform various tasks while logged in as root. Managing remote systems is very common on Linux so no wonder chapter ten shows you exactly that by using SSH, FTP, and more. One of the essential skills a system administrator has to have is writing shell scripts to automate tasks. Kay brings you closer to that as he shows you how to write basic shell scripts.

Since Linux operates in different types of runlevels, it's essential to understand them. The author writes about managing runlevels with init and shutdown. As services go, you learn how to start, stop and restart them. Next you get a chapter on Linux disk and system management. Kay illustrates working with fsck, fdisk and mkfs. The author notes the utmost importance of keeping up with patches.

Process management is very important as it can reveal much about the state of the system. Kay depicts the different types of services, shows you how to identify, execute and kill processes, etc. Attention is also given to the monitoring of log files.

The most interesting chapter for the readers of Help Net Security is certainly the one dealing specifically with Linux security. The author manages to teach you various security best practices. Aside from the basics, here you learn a bit on web server, FTP and process security. This chapter is way too small for my taste but it seems to be enough to make you pass the certification exam.

One of the most important things you have to perform on a system is regular backups. Kay teaches you how to perform and verify backups with a variety of Linux tools and commands.

Once everything has been installed and configured, there's always some troubleshooting left to do. The last part of the book is dedicated exactly to that - troubleshooting and maintaining system hardware. The author illustrates everything from the basics to the troubleshooting of software, networking and hardware.

About the CD-ROM

The CD-ROM contains various programs, the Linux+ Bible Certification Test Engine, as well as an electronic and searchable version of the book in PDF format. I wish more books had something similar as it's useful to have the PDF version on your workstation to browse while working.

My 2 cents

This comprehensive certification guide is probably the only literature you need for the CompTIA Linux+ Certification exam. The author managed to concentrate on the most important aspects of every topic and provide you with intelligent assessment questions that cover the material from cover to cover.

The book is easy to read and browse and the CD-ROM is a welcome addition. If you're thinking about getting certified, this book will help you achieve your goal.


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