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Monday, 12 December 2011

Guide to Linux Certification - John Schitka, Jason W. Eckert

Guide to Linux Certification 
                              - John Schitka, Jason W. Eckert

This particular study guide is very strong on Linux installation, administration, X-Windows, networking, and most of the major areas where you really need to know what you are doing in order to pass the exam or work with a real world Linux system. On the other hand it is a little weak on the hardware side. While most people, including myself, feel that the book covers hardware sufficiently for learning Linux and using Linux in the real world, it is a Linux+ certification guide and so should cover hardware in the same detail required for the exam. The exam may include questions like showing four different interfaces and asking the test-taker to identify which one is a SCSI3 interface. This is not covered in that level of detail in the book. In my opinion that sort of question belongs on a hardware exam and not in a Linux+ exam, but the fact of the matter is that sort of question is on the exam and so should be covered in any exam preparation book. If this were a guide to learning and using Linux I would not treat this as a problem at all.
When comparing the book to other Linux+ study guides I consider it to be one of the top choices. The other recommended guide (from Sybex) doesn't do any better of a job in dealing with the hardware problem. This is a problem consistent throughout all the study guide books. It does use RedHat and include a copy, which is a positive point. And finally, it has one of the best indexes of all the Linux+ study guides. This can be very important if you don't pass the exam the first time and need to study some specific areas. If you are looking for a keyword that you were unsure about on the exam then you need to be able to look it up. For example, when I took the exam there were some basic questions on Squid and iptables. All you really needed to know was that Squid is a proxy server and iptables is related to firewall services. This is the only book I've reviewed that actually had entries in the index for Squid and iptables. The others had the information but no index entry and so no knowledge of where to look for the information. There is really no excuse for a poor index in any book that seeks to help the reader become certified and this is the one with the best index. If you want to pass the exam on the first try you should add a hardware book like one of the certification guides for the CompTIA A+ hardware exam. "Linux+ Guide to Linux Certification" is a recommended purchase for people new to Linux seeking to learn the system and pass the exam.

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