Printed book recommendations for learning GNU/Linux

Hey there!

I am interested in the inner workings of my Manjaro system and would like to read printed books about it. I know there are good man-pages, I am aware of the excellent Arch Linux wiki, and there are nice ebooks and even some video tutorials out there for individual topics. But I want to know more about the big picture and also enjoy time off the screen.

I am looking for up to date books about using the shell, learning how the system boots, how the Kernel works and stuff like that, maybe also some light history about the design philosophy of UNIX and what differs today. Though I don’t need code listings as I am not a low-level developer.

Most probably I am already set with the printed books I have found so far:

  • The Linux Command Line - William E. Shotts, Jr. - 2nd Edition (2019)
    Read a few pages of the ebook and started interacting with it, this one is really hot. My favorite introduction to the command line so far. Ordered the printed book and will read it completely in January.
  • Modern Operating Systems - Andrew S. Tanenbaum - 4th Edition (2014)
    This book will most probably lay out the basis for me to understand the inner workings of any operating system. I have read a few pages and just ordered a copy from a private seller. Will definitely read this book from start to end in February/March even if it gets dry at some point.
  • How Linux Works - Brian Ward - 3rd Edition (coming out March 23th) (2021)
    I have skimmed through an older ebook and decided to preorder the 3rd Edition coming out in two months. This book explains a lot of concepts like systemd in a practical way. I also think I will read this book as a whole.

Then I have stumbled across two books which I plan to read only if there is still a desire:

  • Unix and Linux System Administration Handbook - Evi Nemeth et al. - 5th Edition (2017)
  • Understanding the Linux Kernel - Daniel P. Vovet, Marco Cesati - 3rd Edition (2006)

What are your recommendations or opinions about the mentioned books?

Thank you.

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Hello p-value,

I have Brian Ward’s “How Linux Works”, second edition and it is excellent. I have found many books on how to use Linux, but this was the first one I read that actually went into detail about how Linux works. I have learned much from this book, and am still learning from it (it is well worn now). Understanding how the OS works definitely made me a better and more confident user. I am sure you will enjoy the third edition, which will expand on the the excellent second edition.

As for books on using the shell, I recommend “The Linux Command Line and Shell Scripting Bible”, Third Edition (2015), by Richard Blum and Christine Bresnahan. It is a big book and covers a huge amount of material.

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You can also search the internet for BSD and Linux pdf books and print them.