To most of the world, all Linux users are geeks. But there are users who don't even realize that they're using Linux at work, and users who have recently installed Linux for the first time. On the other hand, there are users to whom everyone turns when they have a problem. We target this book to that group of experts to help them solve the annoyances they face on the job: finding the right hardware, configuring servers, supporting less experienced users, and more.
Linux Annoyances for Geeks provides a guide to many of the more common complaints faced by the experienced Linux user. Sometimes the annoyance comes directly from Linux, and sometimes from the adaptations required to support a regular user. The solutions are designed for three of the more prominent Linux distributions: Fedora Core, SUSE, and Debian. As Fedora Core serves as the test bed for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, many of the annoyances (and solutions) have also been tested for that distribution.
There are many other excellent Linux distributions. I wish I could have covered more. In writing this book, perhaps the biggest annoyance was the subtle differences in how things work (and how annoyances are solved) among distributions. As each distribution evolves, annoyances change. And too many details pertaining to different distributions would not be fair to those among us who are focused on a single distribution.
This book is an outgrowth of a long conversation with Andy Oram at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention. He was looking for a Linux equivalent to Windows XP Annoyances for Geeks, and I had the experience with the distributions on which he wanted a focus. He has been instrumental in shepherding this book from start to finish.
My own background includes administering, tinkering with, testing, and writing about a wide variety of Linux distributions. While studying for my MCSE, I started working with SUSE Linux, and I've been sold on open source ever since. While my RHCE certification has focused me on Red Hat distributions, I actually use Debian, and now Ubuntu Linux, as my primary home distributions.
Conventions Used in This Book
The following typographical conventions are used in this book:
Organization of This Book
Linux Annoyances for Geeks is divided into three sections. Chapters 1 through 4 are focused on the desktop, with tips for the geek who needs to help regular users adapt to Linux. Chapters 5 through 8 examine issues associated with hardware and system configuration. The final three chapters, 9 through 11, examine administrative annoyances related to servers, users, and more:
Using Code Examples
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We appreciate, but do not require, attribution. An attribution usually includes the title, author, publisher, and ISBN; for example: "Linux Annoyances for Geeks by Michael Jang. Copyright 2006 O'Reilly Media, Inc., 0-596-00801-5."
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Every technical book is a team effort. Andy Oram spent many long hours with me, making sure that every little bit of information is as relevant as possible for the Linux geek. Great thanks to Elizabeth Zinkann, technical editor for this book, for making sure I stayed on track during the long hours it took to complete this book. Many thanks to the technical reviewers who brought their experience and insights to make this book useful for as many Linux geeks as possible: Michael Boerner, Keith Burgess, Phil Hughes, Chris Lawrence, Rick Rezinas, and Kevin Shockey.