This book uses certain typographic styles to help you quickly identify important information and to avoid confusion over the meaning of words. This introduction shows an example of this in the use of a monospaced font when referring specifically to Linux commands. The following conventions are used throughout this book:

• A normal, proportionally spaced font is used for the bulk of the text in the book.

• Italicized text indicates technical terms that are introduced for the first time in a chapter. (Italics are also used for emphasis.)

• Monospaced text is used for listings and examples; and to identify the Linux commands, filenames, and domain names that occur within the body of the text.

• Italicized monospaced text is used in command syntax to indicate a variable for which you must provide the value. For example, a command syntax written as HelpFile=path means that the variable name path must not be typed as shown; you must provide your own value for path.

• Bold monospaced text is used to indicate something that must be typed as shown. This might be user input in a listing, a recommended command line, or fixed values within the syntax of a command. For example, a command syntax written as HelpFile=path means that the value HelpFile= must be typed exactly as shown.

• The square brackets in a command's syntax enclose an item that is optional. For example, ls [-l] means that -l is an optional part of the ls command.

• A vertical bar in a command's syntax means that you should chose one keyword or the other. For example, true|false means choose true or false.

In addition to these text conventions, which can apply to individual words or entire paragraphs, a few conventions are used to highlight segments of text:

Note A Note indicates information that's useful or interesting, but that's somewhat peripheral to the main discussion. A Note might be relevant to a small number of networks, for instance, or refer to an outdated feature.

Tip A Tip provides information that can save you time or frustration, and that may not be entirely obvious. A Tip might describe how to get around a limitation, or how to use a feature to perform an unusual task.

Warning Warnings describe potential pitfalls or dangers. If you fail to heed a Warning, you may end up spending a lot of time recovering from a bug, or even restoring your entire system from scratch.


A Sidebar is like a Note, but is longer. Typically, a Note is one paragraph or less in length, but Sidebars are longer. The information in a Sidebar is useful, but doesn't fit into the main flow of the discussion.

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