The 20 best Linux books of all time

A data-backed answer

🐧

Methodology

There are countless lists on the internet claiming to be the list of must-read Linux books and it seemed that all those lists always recommended that same books minus two or three odd choices.

Finding good resources for learning programming is always tricky. Every-one has its own opinion about what book is the best to learn, and as we say in french, “Color and tastes should not be argued about”.

However I though it would be interesting to trust the wisdom of the crown and to find the books that appeared the most in those “Best Linux Book” lists.

If you want to jump right on the results go take a look below at the full results. If you want to learn about the methodology, bear with me.

I’ve simply asked Google for a few queries like “Best Linux Books” and its variations of. I have then scrapped all those pages (using ScrapingBee, a web scraping API I’m working on).

I’ve deduplicated the links and ended up with nearly 161 links. Using the title of the pages I was also able to quickly discards:

I ended up with almost 147 HTML files. I went on opening all the files on my browser, open my chrome inspector, found and wrote the CSS selector matching book titles in the article. This took me around 1hours, almost 30 seconds per page.

This also allowed me to discard even more nonrelevant pages, and I discarded a lot. In the end I compiled around 87 lists into this one.

Book titles were then extracted with manuel extraction and some web scraping.

I ended up with a huge list of books, not usable without some post-processing.

To find the most quoted Linux books I needed to normalize my results.

I had to play with all the different variation like “{title} by {author}” or “{title} - {author}”.

Or “{title}:{subtitle}” and “{title}”, or even all the one containing edition number.

And afterquite a bit of manual cleaning.

My list now looked like this:

From there it was easy to compute the most recommended books. You can find all the data used to process this list on this repo. Now let’s take a look at the list:

I've also recently used some data from different book sellers in order to not forget important books and try to give more weight to books with incredible reviews.

Results

20
)

Linux in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference

by
Ellen Siever & Stephen Figgins & Robert Love & Arnold Robbins
4.7
% recommend
🛒   Buy
Everything you need to know about Linux is in this book. Written by Stephen Figgins, Ellen Siever, Robert Love, and Arnold Robbins -- people with years of active participation in the Linux community -- Linux in a Nutshell, Sixth Edition, thoroughly covers programming tools, system and network administration tools, the shell, editors, and LILO and GRUB boot loaders.

This updated edition offers a tighter focus on Linux system essentials, as well as more coverage of new capabilities such as virtualization, wireless network management, and revision control with git. It also highlights the most important options for using the vast number of Linux commands.

You'll find many helpful new tips and techniques in this reference, whether you're new to this operating system or have been using it for years. Get the Linux commands for system administration and network management Use hundreds of the most important shell commands available on Linux Understand the Bash shell command-line interpreter Search and process text with regular expressions Manage your servers via virtualization with Xen and VMware Use the Emacs text editor and development environment, as well as the vi, ex, and vim text-manipulation tools Process text files with the sed editor and the gawk programming language Manage source code with Subversion and git
Amazon.com
19
)

Linux in easy steps: Illustrated using Linux Mint

by
Mike McGrath
5.0
% recommend
🛒   Buy
Linux has become an increasingly popular alternative to the Windows operating system. The reasons for its growing appeal are manifold: Linux is an extremely stable operating system that serves as a platform for an ever-growing number of quality applications; it has become more user-friendly with each version released; and perhaps best of all… it's free! Linux in easy steps, 6th edition explains the Linux environment and how to get more out of this popular free operating system.

It starts by showing how to download, install and customize Linux, guides you around the Desktop, and then introduces many great apps, including: The LibreOffice suite of apps: Writer (word processor), Calc (spreadsheet), Impress (presentation), Draw (drawing tool, for creating drawings, charts, diagrams and graphs), and Base (database). Firefox for browsing the web.

Thunderbird for exchanging emails. GIMP, Pix, VLC and Rhythmbox media apps to edit photos & videos, and enjoy music & movies.

This guide even shows how to use the powerful Linux shell to communicate directly with the kernel at the very heart of Linux, for total control. Linux in easy steps, 6th edition opens the door to a whole new world of digital possibilities using Linux
Amazon.com
18
)

Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming, A

by
Mark Sobell & Matthew Helmke
5.5
% recommend
🛒   Buy
Linux continues to evolve. Today, it’s the world’s dominant Internet server platform.

Google runs on Linux. So does Amazon -- including its market-leading EC2 cloud-based platform.

It’s no wonder more and more system administrators and web developers need to be fluent in Linux. But fluency means knowing how to operate a Linux system from the command line, not from a pre-programmed GUI: that’s the only way to gain full control.

Through three previous editions, Mark Sobell’s A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming has earned a global reputation as the best way to gain this mastery. Now, Sobell and top Linux expert Matthew Helmke have thoroughly updated this best-seller to reflect Linux’s latest innovations.

Like all previous editions, A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming, Fourth Edition is fully distribution agnostic: it will serve you just as well, whether you work with Ubuntu, Fedora, Red Hat, or any other distribution. Sobell’s style is famously compact, concise, and comprehensive.

He lives Linux, understands exactly what system features Linux professionals really need to master, and what examples can help them understand it quickly and in depth. This edition’s extensive new coverage includes the latest distributions, as well as DNF, Python 3, the zsh shell, Maria DB, and more.
Amazon.com
17
)

Linux Essentials, Second Edition

by
Christine Bresnahan & Richard Blum
5.7
% recommend
🛒   Buy
Learn Linux, and take your career to the next level! Linux Essentials, 2 nd Edition provides a solid foundation of knowledge for anyone considering a career in information technology, for anyone new to the Linux operating system, and for anyone who is preparing to sit for the Linux Essentials Exam. Through this engaging resource, you can access key information in a learning-by-doing style.

Hands-on tutorials and end-of-chapter exercises and review questions lead you in both learning and applying new information―information that will help you achieve your goals! With the experience provided in this compelling reference, you can sit down for the Linux Essentials Exam with confidence. An open source operating system, Linux is a UNIX-based platform that is freely updated by developers.

The nature of its development means that Linux is a low-cost and secure alternative to other operating systems, and is used in many different IT environments. Passing the Linux Essentials Exam prepares you to apply your knowledge regarding this operating system within the workforce
Amazon.com
16
)

Wicked Cool Shell Scripts, 2nd Edition: 101 Scripts for Linux, OS X, and UNIX Systems

by
Dave Taylor & Brandon Perry
5.8
% recommend
🛒   Buy
Shell scripts are an efficient way to interact with your machine and manage your files and system operations. With just a few lines of code, your computer will do exactly what you want it to do.

But you can also use shell scripts for many other essential (and not-so-essential) tasks. This second edition of Wicked Cool Shell Scripts offers a collection of useful, customizable, and fun shell scripts for solving common problems and personalizing your computing environment.

Each chapter contains ready-to-use scripts and explanations of how they work, why you’d want to use them, and suggestions for changing and expanding them. You'll find a mix of classic favorites, like a disk backup utility that keeps your files safe when your system crashes, a password manager, a weather tracker, and several games, as well as 23 brand-new scripts, including: – ZIP code lookup tool that reports the city and state – Bitcoin address information retriever – suite of tools for working with cloud services like Dropbox and iCloud – for renaming and applying commands to files in bulk – processing and editing tools Whether you want to save time managing your system or just find new ways to goof off, these scripts are wicked cool!
Amazon.com
15
)

Understanding the Linux Kernel, Third Edition

by
Daniel P. Bovet & Marco Cesati
5.8
% recommend
🛒   Buy
In order to thoroughly understand what makes Linux tick and why it works so well on a wide variety of systems, you need to delve deep into the heart of the kernel. The kernel handles all interactions between the CPU and the external world, and determines which programs will share processor time, in what order.

It manages limited memory so well that hundreds of processes can share the system efficiently, and expertly organizes data transfers so that the CPU isn't kept waiting any longer than necessary for the relatively slow disks. The third edition of Understanding the Linux Kernel takes you on a guided tour of the most significant data structures, algorithms, and programming tricks used in the kernel.

Probing beyond superficial features, the authors offer valuable insights to people who want to know how things really work inside their machine. Important Intel-specific features are discussed.

Relevant segments of code are dissected line by line. But the book covers more than just the functioning of the code; it explains the theoretical underpinnings of why Linux does things the way it does.

This edition of the book covers Version 2.6, which has seen significant changes to nearly every kernel subsystem, particularly in the areas of memory management and block devices. The book focuses on the following topics: Memory management, including file buffering, process swapping, and Direct memory Access (DMA) The Virtual Filesystem layer and the Second and Third Extended Filesystems Process creation and scheduling Signals, interrupts, and the essential interfaces to device drivers Timing Synchronization within the kernel Interprocess Communication (IPC) Program execution Understanding the Linux Kernel will acquaint you with all the inner workings of Linux, but it's more than just an academic exercise.

You'll learn what conditions bring out Linux's best performance, and you'll see how it meets the challenge of providing good system response during process scheduling, file access, and memory management in a wide variety of environments. This book will help you make the most of your Linux system.
Amazon.com
14
)

Linux All-in-One For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))

by
Emmett Dulaney
6.2
% recommend
🛒   Buy
8 mini books chock full of Linux! Inside, over 800 pages of Linux topics are organized into eight task-oriented mini books that help you understand all aspects of the latest OS distributions of the most popular open-source operating system in use today. Topics include getting up and running with basics, desktops, networking, internet services, administration, security, scripting, Linux certification, and more.

This new edition of Linux All-in-One For Dummies has a unique focus on Ubuntu, while still including coverage of Debian, Red Hat, SuSE, and others. The market is looking for administrators, and part of the qualifications needed for job openings is the authentication of skills by vendor-neutral third parties (CompTIA/Linux Professional Institute)―and that’s something other books out there don’t address
Amazon.com
13
)

Linux Kernel Development

by
Robert Love
6.8
% recommend
🛒   Buy
Linux Kernel Development details the design and implementation of the Linux kernel, presenting the content in a manner that is beneficial to those writing and developing kernel code, as well as to programmers seeking to better understand the operating system and become more efficient and productive in their coding. The book details the major subsystems and features of the Linux kernel, including its design, implementation, and interfaces.

It covers the Linux kernel with both a practical and theoretical eye, which should appeal to readers with a variety of interests and needs. The author, a core kernel developer, shares valuable knowledge and experience on the 2.6 Linux kernel.

Specific topics covered include process management, scheduling, time management and timers, the system call interface, memory addressing, memory management, the page cache, the VFS, kernel synchronization, portability concerns, and debugging techniques. This book covers the most interesting features of the Linux 2.6 kernel, including the CFS scheduler, preemptive kernel, block I/O layer, and I/O schedulers
Amazon.com
12
)

Linux Essentials (010-160): A Time Compressed Resource to Passing the LPI® Linux Essentials Exam on Your First Attempt

by
Jason Dion
6.9
% recommend
🛒   Buy
In this book, you will receive a crash course that will introduce you to everything you need to know to pass the LPI Linux Essentials® certification exam. This book covers just the essentials with no fluff, filler, or extra material, so you can learn the material quickly and conquer the certification exam with ease.

The LPI Linux Essentials® exam is the first certification exam in the Linux Professional Institute’s certification path. This certification is designed to test your ability to use the basic console line editor and to demonstrate an understanding of processes, programs, and components of the Linux operating system
Amazon.com
11
)

Linux Bible

by
Christopher Negus
7.2
% recommend
🛒   Buy
The industry favorite Linux guide Linux Bible, 10th Edition is the ultimate hands-on Linux user guide, whether you're a true beginner or a more advanced user navigating recent changes. this updated tenth edition covers the latest versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL 8), Fedora 30, and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

It includes information on cloud computing, with new guidance on containerization, Ansible automation, and Kubernetes and OpenShift. With a focus on RHEL 8, this new edition teaches techniques for managing storage, users, and security, while emphasizing simplified administrative techniques with Cockpit.

Written by a Red Hat expert, this book provides the clear explanations and step-by-step instructions that demystify Linux and bring the new features seamlessly into your workflow. This useful guide assumes a base of little or no Linux knowledge, and takes you step by step through what you need to know to get the job done
Amazon.com
10
)

CompTIA Linux+ Powered by Linux Professional Institute Study Guide: Exam LX0-103 and Exam LX0-104 (Comptia Linux + Study Guide)

by
Christine Bresnahan & Richard Blum
8.1
% recommend
🛒   Buy
CompTIA Authorized Linux+ prep CompTIA Linux+ Study Guide is your comprehensive study guide for the Linux+ Powered by LPI certification exams. With complete coverage of 100% of the objectives on both exam LX0-103 and exam LX0-104, this study guide provides clear, concise information on all aspects of Linux administration, with a focus on the latest version of the exam.

You'll gain the insight of examples drawn from real-world scenarios, with detailed guidance and authoritative coverage of key topics, including GNU and Unix commands, system operation, system administration, system services, security, and more, from a practical perspective that easily translates into on-the-job know-how. You'll also get access to helpful study tools, including bonus practice exams, electronic flashcards, and a searchable glossary of key terms that are important to know for exam day.

Linux is viewed by many companies and organizations as an excellent, low-cost, secure alternative to expensive operating systems such as Microsoft Windows. The CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI exams test a candidate's understanding and familiarity with the Linux Kernel.

Review the basic system architecture, installation, and management Understand commands, devices, and file systems Utilize shells, scripting, and data management techniques Navigate user interfaces, desktops, and essential system services As the Linux server market share continue to grow, so too does the demand for qualified and certified Linux administrators. Certification holders must recertify every five years, but LPI recommends recertifying every two years to stay fully up to date with new technologies and best practices
Amazon.com
9
)

CompTIA Linux+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide: Exam XK0-004

by
Ted Jordan & Sandor Strohmayer
8.8
% recommend
🛒   Buy
Publisher's Note: Products purchased from Third Party sellers are not guaranteed by the publisher for quality, authenticity, or access to any online entitlements included with the product. This comprehensive study guide delivers 100% coverage of every topic on the challenging CompTIA Linux+ exam Get complete coverage of all the objectives included on CompTIA Linux+ exam XK0-004 from this up-to-date resource.

Written by Linux experts and technology trainers, the book provides learning objectives at the beginning of each chapter, exam tips, practice exam questions, and in-depth answer explanations. Designed to help you pass these challenging exams, this definitive volume also serves as an essential on-the-job reference
Amazon.com
8
)

Linux (Quick Study Computer)

by
Inc. BarCharts
9.7
% recommend
🛒   Buy
Free operating system for various platforms that can be built and configured by the user or users to best suit their system needs. Chart includes detailed information on: · logging in & out · user & group manipulation · LINUX shells & command line · the file system · I/O redirection · wildcards & the VI editor · permissions & ownership · shell & user variables · FTP (File Transfer Protocol) · archiving files & directories · login shell scripts · job control & processes · command summary
Amazon.com
7
)

UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook

by
Evi Nemeth & Garth Snyder & Trent Hein & Ben Whaley & Dan Mackin
11.0
% recommend
🛒   Buy
UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Fifth Edition is today’s definitive guide to installing, configuring and maintaining any Unix or Linux system -- including the systems that provide core Internet and cloud infrastructure. Now fully updated for today’s Linux distributions and cloud environments, it details best practices for every facet of system administration, including storage management, network design and administration, web hosting and scale-out, automation, configuration management, performance analysis, virtualization, DNS, security, management of IT service organizations, and much more
Amazon.com
6
)

Linux Command Bible 3e

by
Richard Blum & Christine Bresnahan
11.7
% recommend
🛒   Buy
Talk directly to your system for a faster workflow with automation capability Linux Command Line and Shell Scripting Bible is your essential Linux guide. With detailed instruction and abundant examples, this book teaches you how to bypass the graphical interface and communicate directly with your computer, saving time and expanding capability.

This third edition incorporates thirty pages of new functional examples that are fully updated to align with the latest Linux features. Beginning with command line fundamentals, the book moves into shell scripting and shows you the practical application of commands in automating frequently performed functions.

This guide includes useful tutorials, and a desk reference value of numerous examples. The Linux command line allows you to type specific shell commands directly into the system to manipulate files and query system resources.

Command line statements can be combined into short programs called shell scripts, a practice increasing in popularity due to its usefulness in automation. This book is a complete guide providing detailed instruction and expert advice working within this aspect of Linux.

Write simple script utilities to automate tasks Understand the shell, and create shell scripts Produce database, e-mail, and web scripts Study scripting examples ranging from basic to advanced Whether used as a tutorial or as a quick reference, this book contains information that every Linux user should know. Why not learn to use the system to its utmost capability? Linux is a robust system with tremendous potential, and Linux Command Line and Shell Scripting Bible opens the door to new possibilities.
Amazon.com
5
)

The Linux Programming Interface: A Linux and UNIX System Programming Handbook

by
Michael Kerrisk
12.7
% recommend
🛒   Buy
The Linux Programming Interface (TLPI) is the definitive guide to the Linux and UNIX programming interface—the interface employed by nearly every application that runs on a Linux or UNIX system. In this authoritative work, Linux programming expert Michael Kerrisk provides detailed descriptions of the system calls and library functions that you need in order to master the craft of system programming, and accompanies his explanations with clear, complete example programs.

You'll find descriptions of over 500 system calls and library functions, and more than 200 example programs, 88 tables, and 115 diagrams. You'll learn how to: –Read and write files efficiently –Use signals, clocks, and timers –Create processes and execute programs –Write secure programs –Write multithreaded programs using POSIX threads –Build and use shared libraries –Perform interprocess communication using pipes, message queues, shared memory, and semaphores –Write network applications with the sockets API While The Linux Programming Interface covers a wealth of Linux-specific features, including epoll, inotify, and the /proc file system, its emphasis on UNIX standards (POSIX.1-2001/SUSv3 and POSIX.1-2008/SUSv4) makes it equally valuable to programmers working on other UNIX platforms
Amazon.com
4
)

How Linux Works, 2nd Edition: What Every Superuser Should Know

by
Brian Ward
14.4
% recommend
🛒   Buy
Unlike some operating systems, Linux doesn’t try to hide the important bits from you—it gives you full control of your computer. But to truly master Linux, you need to understand its internals, like how the system boots, how networking works, and what the kernel actually does.

In this completely revised second edition of the perennial best seller How Linux Works, author Brian Ward makes the concepts behind Linux internals accessible to anyone curious about the inner workings of the operating system. Inside, you’ll find the kind of knowledge that normally comes from years of experience doing things the hard way.

You’ll learn: –How Linux boots, from boot loaders to init implementations (systemd, Upstart, and System V) –How the kernel manages devices, device drivers, and processes –How networking, interfaces, firewalls, and servers work –How development tools work and relate to shared libraries –How to write effective shell scripts You’ll also explore the kernel and examine key system tasks inside user space, including system calls, input and output, and filesystems. With its combination of background, theory, real-world examples, and patient explanations, How Linux Works will teach you what you need to know to solve pesky problems and take control of your operating system.
Amazon.com
3
)

The Linux Command Line, 2nd Edition: A Complete Introduction

by
William Shotts
15.8
% recommend
🛒   Buy
You've experienced the shiny, point-and-click surface of your Linux computer--now dive below and explore its depths with the power of the command line. The Linux Command Line takes you from your very first terminal keystrokes to writing full programs in Bash, the most popular Linux shell (or command line).

Along the way you'll learn the timeless skills handed down by generations of experienced, mouse-shunning gurus: file navigation, environment configuration, command chaining, pattern matching with regular expressions, and more. In addition to that practical knowledge, author William Shotts reveals the philosophy behind these tools and the rich heritage that your desktop Linux machine has inherited from Unix supercomputers of yore.

As you make your way through the book's short, easily-digestible chapters, you'll learn how to: •  Create and delete files, directories, and symlinks •  Administer your system, including networking, package installation, and process management •  Use standard input and output, redirection, and pipelines •  Edit files with Vi, the world's most popular text editor •  Write shell scripts to automate common or boring tasks •  Slice and dice text files with cut, paste, grep, patch, and sed Once you overcome your initial "shell shock," you'll find that the command line is a natural and expressive way to communicate with your computer. Just don't be surprised if your mouse starts to gather dust.
Amazon.com
2
)

Linux Basics for Hackers: Getting Started with Networking, Scripting, and Security in Kali

by
OccupyTheWeb
16.9
% recommend
🛒   Buy
This practical, tutorial-style book uses the Kali Linux distribution to teach Linux basics with a focus on how hackers would use them. Topics include Linux command line basics, filesystems, networking, BASH basics, package management, logging, and the Linux kernel and drivers.

If you're getting started along the exciting path of hacking, cybersecurity, and pentesting, Linux Basics for Hackers is an excellent first step. Using Kali Linux, an advanced penetration testing distribution of Linux, you'll learn the basics of using the Linux operating system and acquire the tools and techniques you'll need to take control of a Linux environment.

First, you'll learn how to install Kali on a virtual machine and get an introduction to basic Linux concepts. Next, you'll tackle broader Linux topics like manipulating text, controlling file and directory permissions, and managing user environment variables.

You'll then focus in on foundational hacking concepts like security and anonymity and learn scripting skills with bash and Python. Practical tutorials and exercises throughout will reinforce and test your skills as you learn how to: - Cover your tracks by changing your network information and manipulating the rsyslog logging utility - Write a tool to scan for network connections, and connect and listen to wireless networks - Keep your internet activity stealthy using Tor, proxy servers, VPNs, and encrypted email - Write a bash script to scan open ports for potential targets - Use and abuse services like MySQL, Apache web server, and OpenSSH - Build your own hacking tools, such as a remote video spy camera and a password cracker Hacking is complex, and there is no single way in
Amazon.com
1
)

Linux Pocket Guide: Essential Commands

by
Daniel J. Barrett
17.2
% recommend
🛒   Buy
If you use Linux in your day to day work, this popular pocket guide is the perfect on the job reference. The third edition features new commands for processing image files and audio files, running and killing programs, reading and modifying the system clipboard, and manipulating PDF files, as well as other commands requested by readers.

You’ll also find powerful command line idioms you might not be familiar with, such as process substitution and piping into bash. Linux Pocket Guide provides an organized learning path to help you gain mastery of the most useful and important commands.

Whether you’re a novice who needs to get up to speed on Linux or an experienced user who wants a concise and functional reference, this guide provides quick answers. Selected topics include: The filesystem and shell File creation and editing Text manipulation and pipelines Backups and remote storage Viewing and controlling processes User account management Becoming the superuser Network connections Audio and video Installing software Programming with shell scripts
Amazon.com

Conclusion

I hope that you liked this list. Please do not hesitate to check out the other ones I've published.

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