This book is very timely. It deals with Fedora Core 4, which has only recently been released for public use. The book shows how linux, as implemented in its Fedora incarnation, is now a very broad operating system, with many utilities. Also included in the book is a DVD with FC4. As another indicator of how much comes in FC4, it is a DVD that had to be furnished. A normal CD is now too small.
Luckily for many of you, there is no need to comprehensively go through all or most of the book. Some chapters, like on an overview of linux, or how to install it, or about the basic commands, are mostly unchanged from what they would have been under earlier Fedoras.
For the GUI, a chapter gives equal coverage to Gnome and KDE. Both have equivalent functionality, and it is mostly a question of personal preference as to which you use.
About a third of the book is devoted to sysadmin tasks. Examples are shown of various graphical utilities for displaying CPU and memory usage. While /proc is explained as a way to get detailed real time memory usage information. Ambitious sysadmins can also find out how to change and make a new kernel, and then to safely test this, while retaining the previous kernel as a fallback.
For the linux programmer, several chapters show what is available to you. Of these, an entire chapter is given over to the language Tcl/Tk. It is unclear to me how much programming still goes on in this. Yes, I know it was popular in unix machines over 10 years ago. But nowadays?
The last chapter explains how to program Java. Purists might point out that linux is open source, while Java is owned by Sun. But the pragmatic reality is that many people (including me) program in Java under linux. In just one chapter of 60 pages, the book tries to cover Java. It seems to do quite well. But it is a little hard for me to tell, since I already know Java. The chapter is also another contributor to the sheer length of the book. Frankly, if you do not know Java, I would recommend going to a book devoted to it, and there are hundreds of these, rather than follow this book's abbreviated explanation, well done though it is.