Softpanorama

May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Best Books about Unix System Administration

News

Reviews

Introductory

Open content

Classic books

Unix System Administration

Reference

Solaris

Red Hat

Shell programming

Perl

Tools

Security

Architecture and kernel internals

TCP/IP

Open Source books

Tools

Databases

Network Administration

Humor

Etc

Good introductory book (or better books) save you a lot of trouble, especially if one try to learn Linux/Unix independently. Actually a good book can make a difference between success and failure in moving from widows to Unix environment. Unix is a complex OS and there is a tremendous difference in quality among introductory books. Please be careful. Some books are available in electronic format, see Unix CD bookshelf, 3d edition and Safari

One of my recommendations for very basic introductory books is Mark Sobell's books. He breaks one rule that I talked about in the introduction: the book value is strongly correlated with the quality of the authors web site, if any. The author web site www.sobell.com is weak, but the books are decent. You can read an interview with Mark G. Sobell.

All Mark Sobell Unix books contain two parts: the first is tutorial and the second is reference. Both are good. The reference is close to man pages, but always contain examples -- a sad omission in original Unix man pages (along with obsolete format -- HTML would be much better and more modern choice). Those examples alone are worth the price of the book.

For Solaris books see my Solaris page that I created after Sun's initiative to open Solaris. Solaris 8 is free on computers with up to 8 CPUs and is a very good OS, especially for using with commercial databases. IMHO Oracle on Linux is a rather shaky proposition despite all recent Oracle hype and handwaiving.

Most Unix vendors have documentation available online and the last thing you want is a reproduction of man pages in printed format. You need to check for such a correlation :-). See my Solaris links. Actually it was DEC that has the best documentation available online...

If you have no chance to browse book yourself in a nearby bookstore, open content books are definitely preferable -- at least you know what to expect and you can adapt/add to electronic text to suit your needs. See also Softpanorama CD Bookshelf

Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov


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Old News ;-)

[Jul 1, 2009] Three Books Every System Administrator Should Read Linux Magazine

Two out of three recommended books are semi-junk. Reader beware...

The Unix Philosophy by Mike Gancarz

The Unix Philosophy is a quick read and aims to explain Unix and its design philosophies. One reviewer on Amazon says the book provides “… a rare description of ‘Unixness’” and the characterization is spot on. The Unix Philosophy encourages developers and system administrators to keep the spirit of Unix in mind in every task. Indeed, according to Gancarz, Unix is a herald and exemplar of how software should be designed and implemented.

Much of the book is organized into tenets, where each tenet ties a Unix principle to the jobs of the developer and system administrator. For example, the first tenet is “Small is beautiful.” Small modules are easy to code; small programs are simple to understand; and small building blocks lead to modular assembly. Small is better, from writing methods to building a RAID array.

Another tenet and probably the most oft-heard mantra of Unix is “Make each program do one thing well.” Here, Gancarz presents several questions you should ask constantly during development to preclude feature creep.

  1. Does the program require user interaction? Could the user supply the necessary parameters in a file or on the command line?
  2. Does the program require input data to be formatted in a special way? Are there other programs on the system that could do the formatting?
  3. Does the program require the output data to be formatted in a special way? Is plain ASCII text sufficient?
  4. Does another program exist that does a similar function without your having to write a new program?

These questions may seem obvious, but that makes them no less challenging. The real fallacy is not asking these questions early and often and applying the discoveries. For example, a server should be constructed to do one thing well so that if (when) something goes wrong, there are a minimum number of variables to troubleshoot.

This is #1 on my list of recommended reading for system administrators, new and old.

[Feb 7, 2008] Practice of System and Network Administration, The (2nd Edition) Books Thomas A. Limoncelli, Christina J. Hogan, Strata R. Chalup

This is a policy/procedures handbook with a wrong title. The authors try to exploit IT management goldmine. The topic is complex and advice should be taken with the grain of salt... The most interesting parts of the books are connected with non-technical aspects of system administration. For example books provides some advice of negotiations (32.2.1. Learn to Negotiate) and time management (see also the other . Please note that this is a non-technical book and some reviews reflect this fact.
Here is how author define who should read the book:

Who Should Read This Book

This book is written for system administrators at all levels. It gives junior SAs insight into the bigger picture of how sites work, their roles in the organizations, and how their careers can progress. Intermediate SAs will learn how to approach more complex problems and how to improve their sites and make their jobs easier and their customers happier. Whatever level you are at, this book will help you to understand what is behind your day-to-day work, to learn the things that you can do now to save time in the future, to decide policy, to be architects and designers, to plan far into the future, to negotiate with vendors, and to interface with management. These are the things that concern senior SAs. None of them are listed in an OS's manual. Even senior SAs and systems architects can learn from our experiences and those of our colleagues, just as we have learned from each other in writing this book. We also cover several management topics for SA trying to understand their managers, for SAs who aspire to move into management, and for SAs finding themselves doing more and more management without the benefit of the title.

Throughout the book, we use examples to illustrate our points. The examples are mostly from medium or large sites, where scale adds its own problems. Typically, the examples are generic rather than specific to a particular OS; where they are OS-specific, it is usually UNIX or Windows.

One of the strongest motivations we had for writing this book is the understanding that the problems SAs face are the same across all OSs. A new OS that is significantly different from what we are used to can seem like a black box, a nuisance, or even a threat. However, despite the unfamiliar interface, as we get used to the new technology, we eventually realize that we face the same set of problems in deploying, scaling, and maintaining the new OS. Recognizing that fact, knowing what problems need solving, and understanding how to approach the solutions by building on experience with other OSs lets us master the new challenges more easily.

We want this book to change your life. We want you to become so successful that if you see us on the street, you'll give us a great big hug.

Topics include:
5.0 out of 5 stars teaches you what you REALLY need to know, May 23, 2002
By David Mcanulty (San Diego, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
This review is from: The Practice of System and Network Administration (Paperback) Sysadmining isn't about learning bash really well or memorizing raid levels, this book really goes into what you need to know to be a systems admin.

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for Sysadmin career development, November 13, 2001

By Quentin Fennessy (Austin, TX USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
This review is from: The Practice of System and Network Administration (Paperback)

I am very impressed by this book. I've been a Unix sysadmin for more than 10 years and this is the best book I have read for explaining and demonstrating basic and advanced principles of system administration. And it goes beyond administration of any particular OS or system type. You could apply this to your work architecting, supporting, implementing or administering any computer or network service.

I have many technical books. I do not read them all cover to cover. But I will completely devour this one.

I work on a team of 18 (already excellent!) Unix sysadmins. I would love to have every team member read this book -- our team would be better for it. you may especially enjoy the section on sysadmin salary negotiations.

2.0 out of 5 stars Purely theoretical., March 31, 2002
By Oleg Rakhmanchik "oleg106" (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
This review is from: The Practice of System and Network Administration (Paperback)

This book is full of theories and advice, but it fails to mention any means of implementation.


2.0 out of 5 stars A non technical book on system administration, February 9, 2002 By A Customer

This review is from: The Practice of System and Network Administration (Paperback)

I'm surprised by the reviews of this item. They almost seem to have been written by the authors' friends. Also I don't see why they refer negatively to Mark Burgess's great book Principles of Network and System Administration, which is a different kettle of fish -- more scientific and less touchy feely. I like both books, but I prefer Burgess's more direct approach -- this book seemed to meander around all over.

[Feb 7, 2008] Time Management for System Administrators by Thomas Limoncelli

One of the few books that have only positive reviews on Amazon ;-)

Time Management for System Administrators understands that an Sys Admin often has competing goals: the concurrent responsibilities of working on large projects and taking care of a user's needs. That's why it focuses on strategies that help you work through daily tasks, yet still allow you to handle critical situations that inevitably arise.

Among other skills, you'll learn how to:

Here is one quote:
Sleep Mitigates Stress

Adequate sleep fixes a slew of problems. Everyone is different and needs a different amount of sleep. Getting the right amount helps you deal with stress better.

During a particularly stressful week, I find that if I get an extra hour of sleep I'm able to manage stress better. I feel better, I'm more relaxed, and I get along with people easier.

The problem is that getting an extra hour of sleep is difficult. We usually can't sleep an hour late, so our only choice is to go to sleep an hour earlier. That's hard! There's so much good TV to watch, books to read, chatrooms to play in, web sites to visit, games to play, and so on.

The only way I'm able to get myself into bed earlier is with a little help. I ask my significant other to be involved (in other words, force me to do it). If you don't have a significant other, have a friend call and nag you. Or, set an alarm that can ring to remind you to go to sleep.

I can't just go to sleep earlier. It's a process. I have to do nothing for a half-hour to wind down enough to be ready to sleep. It's pretty difficult for me to do nothing, but I usually get there in about 15 minutes. I think of it as a countdown. At T-120, I stop eating or drinking. At T-30, I wash up. At T-15, I start doing nothing. At T-0, I turn off the lights and crawl into bed. At T+5 I'm...zzzzzzz.

Here is a couple of insightful reviews by Amazon readers:
4.0 out of 5 stars Something for everybody, December 28, 2005
By John S. J. Anderson "genehack" (Gaithersburg, Maryland United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
System administrators have a stereotypical reputation for grumpiness and irritability. Some times this misanthropy is a cultivated pose, designed to deter casual or trivial requests that would take time away from more important activities like playing nethack and reading netnews. More often, however, sysadmins are disgruntled simply because they can't seem to make any headway on the dozens of items clogging up their todo lists. If you're an example of the latter case, you may find some help in Time Management for System Administrators, the new book from Thomas Limoncelli (who you may recognize as one of the co-authors of the classic The Practice of System and Network Administration).

This slim book (only 226pp) packs a large amount of helpful information about making better use of your time at work, so that you can make some headway on at least some of those tasks that have piled up around you, while still managing to have a life outside of work. One of Limoncelli's main points is that sysadmins have to develop some way of effectively dealing with the constant stream of interruptions in their life if they're going to accomplish anything. The other point is that they also need a good tracking system to make sure they don't lose track of new, incoming requests in the process of dealing with existing ones. The book continually reinforces these two points, and presents several alternative, complementary ways to accomplish them.

The first three chapters deal with high-level, generic issues: principles of time management, managing interruptions, and developing checklists and routines to help deal with the chaos of day-to-day system administration. The middle third of the book details how to use "the cycle system", Limoncelli's task management plan for sysadmins. Basically, it's a hybrid between Franklin-Covey A-B-C prioritization and day planning and David Allen GTD-style todo lists, with a few sysadmin-specific tweaks thrown in. The final chapters of the book address a grab-bag of issues: task prioritization, stress management, dealing with the flood of email that all admins seem to get, identifying and eliminating the time sinks in your environment, and documenting and automating your work-flow.

In general, I think this is a great book for sysadmins that are looking to begin addressing time management problems. People that have already done some investigation of time management techniques (like the aforementioned Franklin-Covey and GTD systems) may find less value here -- but I still think the book will be interesting, especially the chapters detailing the workings of "the cycle system". Personally, after reading this book, I don't see any reason to move away from my modified GTD system, but I have gone back to using some daily checklists, which are helping me keep on top of my repeating tasks a lot better. I suspect that any working sysadmin will take away at least two or three productivity-enhancing tips from this book.

4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book, October 3, 2007
By Neil Sedlak (Blacksburg, VA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
Time Management for System Administrators is a book not only aimed at system administrators but also other task and interrupt driven employees early in their career. It presents a core concept of use to anyone struggling with a "never ending TODO list of doom" both for business and personal tasks. Some of the information is of a very basic nature such as "do short tasks and important tasks first". Part of this, however, could be Thomas Limoncelli's writing style which is detailed almost to a fault. It is, however, a very easy book to read and I found myself going through quite a few pages in one sitting.

On the negative side the analogies the author uses to try and explain time management in computer terms get a bit thick at times in the first few chapters but soon they run out and are no longer in the way of the points being made. Two other somewhat awkward chapters are the Stress Management and Automation chapters. Is it worth the time to write (or read) a chapter to basically tell us to occasionally take a vacation and to get a massage? It seems like filler to pad out the book. Similarly, the important take-away point of the automation chapter is to, well, automate things! However the chapter contains an overly specific set of shell programming tricks the author has learned over the years. These are of course presented as examples of how to automate, but the amount of time spent on details and anecdotes makes this chapter also feels like pad. The time spent in these chapters could have been better spent on the core points of the book.

What is the most valuable information in this book? The core technique is what the author calls The Cycle System. This is a way to manage your TODO list so at the end of each day every item assigned to that day has been addressed, if not necessarily completed. It's a very useful technique for learning to plan, to ensure you follow through with completing tasks and to improve your sense of accomplishment that you are managing your workload. Interestingly the author has always used a paper-based TODO list and calendar, so each technique of The Cycle System is explained both for paper and digital (PDA) methods. The Cycle System can help by providing a framework for managing tasks other than continuing to add them to an ever growing list, however it still requires a lot of discipline to properly schedule tasks in the future to avoid them all piling up on the task list for the current day. After several weeks of using the system it is certainly a workable method as long as you are honest with yourself on the amount of real work you can accomplish in a single day and you dedicate a good bit of time on a regular basis to future planning and scheduling of tasks that aren't high priority or due immediately. Unfortunately, the author doesn't go into a lot of detail on techniques to handle the issue of building up a backlog of low priority tasks other than to suggest daily, weekly and monthly planning times to reprioritize and reschedule tasks. The issues of email management, interruptions, unexpected tasks, request tracking software and even life goals are addressed. This portion of the book is where the true value lies and it provides a good amount of information.

If you currently have no structured task management system this is a great resource to start with. You'll certainly come away with a wealth of information on getting a system in place to start to manage things. If you forget to complete tasks or tell someone you'll do something only to forget it when the next person you run into starts you on a new problem, then this book will be very useful to you in how to manage interruptions and always follow through. If you are fresh out of school and you're in an IT job where tasks are starting to pile up, this book will be of even more benefit to you with its stories and broad IT specific topics. As such I would recommend this book to anyone in a task and interruption oriented job as a basic primer on how you should be expected to manage yourself. If you are in a computer job, so much the better, but regardless of your line of work you can still learn a great deal.

Ranked at four stars due to the issues discussed above, but still very highly recommended!

[Nov 2, 2007] The Old Joel on Software Forum Part 4 (of 5) - Unix books

Are there any books you would recommend to someone interested in improving their understanding of Unix? Even though I use it every day, I feel like my understanding is incomplete. I would like to read one or two books, preferably under 300 pages each, that would make me a lot smarter when it comes to Unix. And I figure reading about Unix at bedtime would help me fall asleep faster.

The Real PC
Friday, May 28, 2004

Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment, Stevens.

SG
Friday, May 28, 2004

I like "Linux System Administration - A User's Guide" by Marcel Gagne' (Addison Wesley).

It's not fat, and it's full of useful info. The downside is that Gagne's writing style is good enough that it might not help put you to sleep.

yet another anon
Friday, May 28, 2004

I always learned fun new things from Unix Power Tools.

http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/upt2/index.html

m
Friday, May 28, 2004

Keep in mind that while I've used multiple languages on unixes, I'm nowhere near being an expert, just gotten in 'n out. So I hope someone will point out if my mentions are outdated.

- Kernighan/Mashey "Unix Programming Environment" paper. Since it's a paper, it's rather short.
- Ritchie/Thompson original paper might put things in perspective.
- Kernighan/Pike _The Unix Programming Environment_ book.
- Maurice/Bach _The Design..._ book goes into detail.
- Nemeth/Snyder/... unix sysadmin book might be useful.
- Unix Hater's Handbook, gratis online.

Tayssir John Gabbour
Friday, May 28, 2004

If you use it every day, but you're looking for more, I recommend O'Reilly's "Essential System Administration." Describes the evolutions of the different branches of Unixes, and how they differ. Each part of the book describes how to do something in the different ways peculiar to different Unix-alikes. It does have a sysadmin bent, of course, but you still might want to check it out.

Rich
Friday, May 28, 2004

I second the Unix Power Tools reccomendation. It has taught me more about unix than any other unix book I've bought, or any one site online.

Its not small, but its not designed to be read straight through. Its a collection of tips from newsgroups and email lists over the past 20+ years.

It won't teach you tons of sysadmin stuff, but it will make you a much more effective unix user, which will translate into a better sysadmin.

I cannot reccomend this book enough.

Andrew Hurst
Friday, May 28, 2004

I'll third Unix Power Tools. It makes learning Unix fun.

Herbert Sitz
Friday, May 28, 2004

I have some of the nicest linux and unix books under the sun!! :D If you read through any 15% of them you'll be able to create a cluster of computers capable of curing AIDS.

They are gathering dust. *sigh* However I probably will not sell them. Maybe for a future project that might accidentally change the world.

Li-fan Chen
Friday, May 28, 2004

Ask me for the list, it's long.

Li-fan Chen
Friday, May 28, 2004

> I feel like my understanding is incomplete

None of the books recommended so far gives you the "big picture", and (IMHO) you will never become proficient in UNIX (be it programming or system administration), until you have a good mental model of the whole.

The best book for the "high-level view" is "Operating Systems: Design and Implementation" by Andrew S. Tanenbaum.

His other books are very good as well, and "Structured Computer Organization" is worth a read no matter which OS you are using.

Employed Russian
Friday, May 28, 2004

I also like The Unix Philosophy which leans more towards the programming life, but sets a frame of reference for why unix is as it is.

m
Friday, May 28, 2004

"The Unix Haters Handbook"

http://research.microsoft.com/~daniel/uhh-download.html

;-)


Friday, May 28, 2004

Eric Raymond's 'The Art of UNIX Programming' Is a bn="right">john
Saturday, May 29, 2004

Linux Server Hacks
100 Industrial-Strength Tips and Tools
http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/linuxsvrhack/

Michael Moser
Saturday, May 29, 2004

A personal favourite is "The UNIX Programming Environment" by Kernighan and Pike. Like UNIX itself, this compact book is either dated or timeless.

M. E.
Saturday, May 29, 2004

I second the Unix Programming Environment, by Kernigan and Pike.

Unix power tools is a good one, as others have mentioned it's a collection of tips for using commands. Ever tried to figure out the find command from the manual? It bites, but Power Tools tells you how to do what you want done.

The Stevens book is great, but only for system programmers. That would be me.

Think Unix by Jon Lasser is another great book on overall Unix stuff.

Snotnose
Saturday, May 29, 2004

Great free resources. In case of LINUX some guys are trying
to create something in the likes of MSDN.

Linux documentation project
http://en.tldp.org/

Developer works tutorials (need to register/fill out a form)
http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/views/linux/tutorials.jsp

Developer works technical library (need to register/fill out a form)
http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/linux/library/technical/linux.html

Michael Moser
Sunday, May 30, 2004

Get "The Design and Implementation of the BSD Operating System". I haven't read the latest version, but it used to be pretty good in the old days.

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, May 31, 2004

Automating Unix and Linux Administration by Kirk Bauer

Junk...

Chapter 1: The Basics.- Chapter 2: SSH: Your Best Friend.- Chapter 3: Login Scripts and Shell Scripts.- Chapter 4: Pre-Installation: Network Preparation and Management.- Chapter 5: Automating and Customizing Installation.- Chapter 6: Configuration.- Chapter 7: Sharing Data.- Chapter 8: Packages and Patches.- Chapter 9: System Maintenance and Changes.- Chapter 10: System Monitoring.- Chapter 11: Security.- Chapter 12: Backing Up and Restoring Data.- Chapter 13: User Interfaces.- Appendix A: Basic Introduction to Tools.- Appendix B: Customizing and Automating Red Hate Linux Installation.- Appendix C: Building RPMs.

A P R E S S . C O M

Chapter 1--Introducing the Basics of Automation
Chapter 2-- Using SSH to Securely Automate System Administration
Chapter 3--Creating Login Scripts and Shell Scripts
Chapter 4--Pre-Installation: Network Preparation and Management
Chapter 5--Automating and Customizing Installation
Chapter 6--Automatic System Configuration
Chapter 7--Sharing Data Between Systems
Chapter 8--Packages and Patches
Chapter 9--System Maintenance and Changes
Chapter--10 System Monitoring
Chapter 11--Improving System Security
Chapter 12--Backing Up and Restoring Data
Chapter 13--User Interfaces
Appendix A Introduction to Basic Tools
Appendix B Customizing and Automating Red Hat Linux Installation
Appendix C Building Red Hat Package Manager (RPM) Packages

5 out of 5 stars Automation - the easy way., October 6, 2003

Reviewer: Nick Downey (see more about me) from Atlanta, GA United States

If you are disciple in the church of Wall, or like me you believe that laziness is the father of invention, or if you simply have more than a couple *nix machine to administer, Kirk Bauer's new book Automating Unix and Linux Administration is definitely for you. From the creator of the popular open source projects AutoRpm and LogWatch comes a thorough - and believe it or not entertaining - look at how one can leverage the power of a few common tools to significantly reduce the time and effort system administrators spend doing their jobs.

From the outset Bauer takes a straightforward and principled approach to problem analysis. Usually starting with anecdotal example scenarios (many of which will have you saying "been there before") and progressing through ideals, goals and consequences, he examines many of the common issues facing system administrators with candor and realism. Almost nowhere in the book does the author assume an authoritarian stance, he questions his own decision making process and encourages the reader to come up with exceptions to his rules. Fundamentally Bauer has one goal - to develop a comprehensive system for reliably automating the tedious but important tasks that all system administrators face on a recurring basis.

Admittedly, it would be a fallacy for any book to claim complete and comprehensive coverage of all things related to system administration and Bauer does no such thing. When the author touches on topics that obviously require more depth than a single chapter can afford, he is certain to include at least one reference (and in many instances more) to alternate publications without bias to any particular publisher or author. Having said that, the book's scope and depth of topic coverage is impressive. Starting with an exhaustive examination of SSH and progressing through cfengine, NFS, LDAP, RPM and Tripwire (just to name a few) Bauer provides carefully detailed instruction on how to automate tasks ranging from simple network management and software packaging to security, monitoring and backups. The author even goes so far as to suggest methods for efficiently front-ending automation systems for the less technical of users.

Although not expressly stated in the text, the overall theme of the book is walk on the shoulders of giants. Starting with simple example scripts (in both Bash and Perl) and many single-line commands, Bauer builds on the content of each previous chapter as the book progresses. Examples shown in early chapters are incorporated into more complex systems one step at a time. Following along is easy, each script or command is detailed on a line-by-line basis, and because of Bauer's principle-based approach the reader is rarely left wondering why the author has chosen a particular tool or implementation. More often than not the elegance of how Bauer pieces together methods and procedures will excite you about the possibilities for automation of your own systems.

Although Bauer explicitly states that readers are presumed to have more than a modicum of experience in system administration even the novice administrator, as well as those that are responsible for only a handful of machines, will find this book invaluable. Also included are three appendices which provide an easy introduction to basic shell tools, creating your own RedHat distribution and how to package software as RPM's. These portions of the book alone justify the less than $40 price tag, but for those that run clusters or data centers this book stands to save you countless hours of repetitive headaches. Published by apress and boasting nearly 600 pages this lively read has made itself a permanent addition to at least one reference library.

Vi iMproved (VIM) by Steve Oualline

Actually not a bad book.
David F DelGreco (see more about me) from Bay Area, CA
3 out of 5 stars Does anyone actually read the books they review???, July 23, 2001
I decided to learn Vim because I work on WinNT/2K, Linux, and Macintosh boxes. Using a single editor makes it easier to work on mulitple platforms.

My review of this book is mixed. First, it's the only book on Vim and it contains a lot of information, so that's a plus. Also, it shed a lot of light on using the editor that, frankly, the help files did not (you can look up *ANYTHING* via ":help <topic>", but the documentation is not very accessible to the new user). However, the typos, errors, bad grammar, and personal idiosyncracies of Mr. Oualline just have to be seen to be believed.

You can figure out most of the errors easily enough. For example, there's a reference to the non-BUI version of Vim (I think he meant GUI)and for some reason, in the word "filename", when used as an example (e.g., "type 'vim filename'"), the "fi" is sans-serif while the rest of the example text is in bold Courier. There are, however, numerous places where the diagrams don't match the example being discussed in the text or are just plain wrong. Some of these left me wondering if I had missed something, but trying out a command in Vim quickly showed the diagram was wrong. My favorite goof is where '#' (the command to search backwards for the word under the cursor) is shown in numerous places in Appendix C (pp. 445, 449, and elsewhere) as a British money sign (e.g., "/count/ L"), where L is the pound sign. Get it? Pound sign? Obviously the person who did the Appendices and Index (and copy-editing???) was not Mr. Oualline.

With regard to the content, I found that Mr. Oualline is very idiosyncratic. Vim is VERY flexible, using ancient Vi ways of doing things, as well as more modern ways that are easier to use. Take yanking (copying) a block of text to a register (like the clipboard). *Mouse way*: select lines, press y. *Visual way*: move cursor to top of lines to be selected, press V, select lines, press y. *Vi-ish way*: go to top of lines to be selected, press "ma" to drop a mark labeled "a", go to bottom of lines, type y'a (yank from current position to mark "a").

If you consider these different styles (mouse, visual, or Vi-ish) to approaching the same general problem, Mr. Oualline always goes with the Vi-ish style, to the point of also showing you in many cases how to precede the command with a line range instead of using marks. Where Ctrl-Wn (open a new window) will do, we get Ctrl-W Ctrl-N (equivalent). Where Ctrl-W<down> moves down one window, we get Ctrl-W Ctrl-J (the arrows aren't mentioned). My guess is that this is not how the majority of new users will use Vim (though it might be handy if you find yourself using Vi or Vim via telnet).

A real barrier to learning the editor is the immense number of variations for accomplishing a given task. Multiple keystrokes to accomplish the same thing, as well as different approaches. What would be great for Vim is an attempt to break down tasks into functional groupings (movement, formatting, programmer stuff, managing buffers/windows) and choose a style (probably visual mode, which is almost interchangeable with mouseing) so you can say "here's a good way to get started." The many variations can be left as an excercise for power users. They are available in the online help, anyway.

All in all, I learned a lot about Vim from this book. But if I hadn't been determined to do so, I would have given up. If you want to learn Vim and the online docs aren't doing it for you, buy this book. You've been warned, so just chuckle when you come across errors and general weirdness. Kudos to Mr. Oualline for writing a book, but don't give up your day job. :-) BIG raspberries to New Riders for letting this slip through without proper editing. And thanks to Bram, who put up an unofficial list of errata at www.vim.org.

UNIX System Management Primer Plus by Jeffrey S. Horwitz

The Practice of System and Network Administration by Thomas A. Limoncelli, Christine Hogan

5 out of 5 stars A must have for any sysadmin, regardless of skill level, November 18, 2001

Reviewer: Amy Rich from Beverly, MA

As a UNIX sysadmin veteran, I wish this book had been around when I started out. It would have saved so many headaches as I "learned the hard way."

Though not a nitty gritty technical book, this one is a must have for every sysadmin, regardless of skill level or the technology s/he uses. For the novice admin, it offers a good big picture look at the most important "whys" of system administration. For the intermediate admin, it has great advice on how to balance fire fighting with project work that will lessen the need for the fire fighting. For the senior admin, there are gems of design wisdom and sections on how to deal with being in a managerial or team leader role. Because it's more high level, this book is even a good buy for people who manage sysadmins but are not themselves technical.

The chapters are conveniently split into the "basics" and the "icing," depending on the skill of the reader and the state of the reader's work environment. The authors back up their sound advice with real world case studies and personal experiences. Best of all, not only was it a good read cover to cover, it's organized so that the reader can come back to it as a reference later.

Kudos to Tom and Christine for writing an excellent book, one which I will certainly be recommending to my clients and colleagues!

Richard Bejtlich (see more about me) from Texas, USA

5 out of 5 stars A book without implementation details, but hard to beat, July 14, 2002

"The Practice of System and Network Administration" (TPOSANA) sat on my shelf for nearly a year before I read it. I wish now I'd read it a year ago! It's rare to find a book useful to both Windows and UNIX system administrators, but rarer still to read one designed to improve one's career and attitude.

TPOSANA is a 'framework' book. It teaches you how to think and leaves out the implementation details. System administration isn't all about man pages and tech books. The authors' principles -- simplicity, clarity, generality, automation, communication, and basics first -- will make a good sys admin great and a great sys admin extraordinary.

Others have outlined the TPOSANA contents, so I'll share my favorite aspects of the book. The writing is lively and witty, with memory-jogging conclusions nicely summarizing each chapter's contents. The text is filled with dozens of applicable and informative case studies. Finally, the authors devote seven chapters to fundamental management and personal attitude issues, showing they know people and processes matter as much as products.

I highly recommend TPOSANA. The sad irony is those most needing to read this book will push it aside, as I initally did. Those who take the time to read it will be glad they did. Anyone acting in a technical capacity -- sys admins, engineers, and programmers -- will find it enlightening and entertaining.

mrichich (see more about me) from Green Brook, NJ United States

5 out of 5 stars Systems Administration as a Liberal Art, May 29, 2002

The thing about this book is that it's a theoretical treatise on systems administration as a discipline in and of itself. There's no other book like it on the market, and Limoncelli and Hogan do a great job of showing us the core competencies and knowledge that define a systems administrator, the knowledge that has nothing to do with what specific systems or networks we're actually running. Up until now, the only way you'd get this knowledge was if you were lucky enough to apprentice under an experienced systems administrator or if you read between the lines of other systems administration books, and figured out the metaknowledge contained in their lists of commands to type and single platform descriptions.

If you're a new sysadmin starting out, reading this book will give you the edge that would take at least 5-10 years on the job to get--and only a few sysadmins who attack the job from more of an academic perspective will get. It's mostly a book about how to think, much like a liberal arts education teaches you how to think. Perhaps the liberal arts background of the authors is showing a bit.

If you're an experienced sysadmin, you still probably haven't put it all together this way before. If you're a manager, you need to read both the chapters on how to manage sysadmins, as well as the chapters that tell what your sysadmins will be doing to get what they want from you.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in systems administration as a discipline, science, art, career, or job function.

UNIX CD Bookshelf, 3.0

***+ This is an expensive CD. The Unix CD Bookshelf packs six books: one excellent, two good and three semi-useless/obsolite. Version 3 provides convenient online access to seven books. It also includes the hard copy of Unix in a Nutshell, Third Edition.
Contents of CD

**** Unix Power Tools, 3rd Edition;

??? Learning the Unix Operating System, 5th Edition;

??? Learning the vi Editor, 6th Edition;

??? Mac OS X for Unix Geeks;

***** Learning the Korn Shell, 2nd Edition;

**** sed & awk, 2nd Edition;

*** Unix in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition.

The CD has a master index, a powerful search engine, and all the text is extensively hyperlinked, so you'll find what you're looking for quickly.

A Practical Guide to Red Hat Linux 8 by Mark G. Sobell

Not bad...
The title is misleading. This book is pretty much usable as a Solaris introduction (you can skip GNU/Linux ideology pages that the author added to this addition :-). IMHO this Mark Sobell's book is one of the best introductory Unix no matter what flavor of Unix you are using. It covers a lot of command line ground that are essentially common and Gnome that is now used with Solaris too.
This is a hell of a book with its 1616 pages :-).


But you can judge general quality of material by browsing chapters that Mark Sobell provides online:

Copyright Notice
Table of Contents
Preface
Chapter 5: The Shell I
Chapter 7: GNOME Desktop Manager
Chapter 9: Networking and the Internet
Chapter 12: The Shell II: The Bourne Again Shell
Index


I browsed those chapters and I instantly recognized the level and the quality of his previous books. A very nice typesetting too.

I have an extremely high opinion about his prev. book on Solaris as well as the first Linux edition and I hope that he managed to improve his prev. edition of the Linux book (1997) considerably in those six years since the first edition.

One remark: using pine as a newsreader as in Chapter 9 is fine if you are limited to the command line. If not, than Netscape Communicator (in its Mozilla incarnation) is much more user friendly and easier to use program.

I also somewhat doubt that Red Hat should be called GNU/Linux system :-)


I think there is a very little risk in buying this book for Solaris user or beginner administrator.

Configuring and Tuning Databases on the Solaris Platform by Allan N. Packer

Solaris 9 The Complete Reference

5 of 5 stars Vast improvement, June 27, 2002
Reviewer: Daniel O'Riordan from New York City, New York

I bought the Solaris 8 version of this book. It was OK but did not contain sufficient material on the new technologies. I ordered the Solaris 9 version of the book because it's the only Solaris 9 book around. I am happy to report that this book covers new technologies like RBAC, LDAP and the resource manager. These are so much more important for the enterprise than GNOME. Strong emphasis on disks - format, partition, volume management, backups - is good and logically ordered. The only thing I would like to see is more coverage on application servers, databases, message queues and other uses of Solaris in large firms. But that's probably an architecture book with a different focus.

Essential System Administration, Third Edition by Aeleen Frisch

***** Probably the intermediate best sysadmin book on the market.

Think UNIX by Jon Lasser

Paperback - 295 pages 1st edition (July 2000)
Que; ISBN: 078972376X ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.75 x 9.09 x 7.29

The problem with this book that an intended audience is pretty unclear. In no way this is an introductory book. A beginner will be confused and bewildered trying to learn Unix from this book. IMHO the only role in which this book can be useful is as an add-on to the existing library for those people who already know Unix a little bit and can buy books for the company money. After reading the book the simple question arises: "Why this book was so rushed to the market?"

In a current form the book is a way too short to be a decent introduction and many important things are just mentioned, not explained. Unix is such a complex system that an introductory book below 500 pages is immediately suspect. And in this case suspicions are correct: this is not a competitor to Sobel's books or "Unix Complete". Again, it probably might be a useful add-on to a better introductory book, but this book cannot stand on its own.

The author is also suspect by being a coordinator of Bastille: a set of low quality Red Hat hardening scripts ;-).

A sample chapter is above average in quality, but might be the best chapter of the book. Style is good and important points are properly emphasized, but still there are some problematic statements, for example:

The hard way to redirect STDERR relies on a feature present in only some Unix shells: numbered file handles. The Bourne, Korn, and Bash Shells all have this feature. The C Shell and tcsh don't. For more about shells, see Chapter 6. For now, simply type the following command to find out which shell you have:3

cat /etc/passwd|grep ^ username:|cut -d : -f 7

A blank after ^ is a typo and generally the whole regex should probably be in quotes. Besides NIS, this is incorrect for NIS+ or if any shell wrapper (for example SecureID) is installed. I also strongly doubt that "A file handle is an abstract representation of a file." IMHO file handle is a pointer to a system block for a particular file.


5 out of 5 stars not a life-saver, but surely a life-improver, October 23, 2000
Reviewer: Edward J. Hyer (see more about me) from Baltimore, Maryland USA

The reason I cannot call Mr. Lasser's book a "life-saver" is because I would not have perished from the Earth without it. Indeed, I probably would have figured almost all of the stuff in this book out, given six or seven years. But you gotta ask yourself, "at what cost?" In hair torn out (it's leaving fast enough, isn't it?), in hyperventilation (save that for the gym), in premature aging.

This book is not for Dummies. This book works best with people, as I may have indicated above, who Would Have Figured It Out by themselves. But while you may pretend to enjoy a rugged hike through the steeper parts of the learning curve, Mr. Lasser's book is like strapping on a jet-pack.

The book is conversational, sometimes funny (though it helps if you spend a lot of your time in front of computers), and extremely direct. If you are just curious about what this Unix thing might be good for, read the book slowly, learn a lot, and gain a solid foundation for becoming the captain of your computing destiny. If you have something you need to get done, read it quickly, learn-- well, a lot, and get where you're going in a hurry.

One caution: this book does expect that you will read it. It is not a ready reference, it is not designed for index-backward utilization. It is a short course in the skeletal framework of Unix, and not a hypertext instruction manual. If you are unaccustomed to reading as it was practiced before computer self-help books arrived to chaff the bookstores of our nation, you will not derive the maximum benefit from this book.

I recommend this book to (prospective) users of unix systems who take pleasure in reading, and need to learn a great deal very quickly.

The Multi-Boot Configuration Handbook

LinuxProgramming.com: Book Review:

"An exhaustive and nearly exhausting examination of the issues, tools, and techniques related to running more than one operating system on the same computer. If you're interesting in running any two or more of Linux, FreeBSD, BeOS, OS/2, DOS, and any flavor of Windows on the same system, this book could be just the thing you need at 2AM when things so seriously wrong, or you simply can't figure out how to do something simple in a multi-OS setup. Highly recommended."

Professional Linux Programming

TheLinuxGurus.org: Book Review:

This book takes a different approach in that it steps through the development of a fictional application. The application you will build is an interface for a DVD rental store."

Linux Socket Programming by Example (By Example)

by Warren W. Gay

Paperback - 576 pages 1 edition (April 18, 2000)
Que Education & Training; ISBN: 0789722410 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.38 x 9.21 x 7.47
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 8,798
Avg. Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Number of Reviews: 3

Linux Programming by Example by Kurt Wall

Paperback - 560 pages 1 edition (December 3, 1999)
Que Education & Training; ISBN: 0789722151 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.29 x 9.06 x 7.34
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 28,612
Avg. Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Number of Reviews: 4

Linux Programming Unleashed 2nd Edition by Kurt Wall

Paperback - 817 pages (August 1999)
Sams; ISBN: 0672316072 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.88 x 9.10 x 7.34
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 75,109
Avg. Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
Number of Reviews: 11

First edition was average. It looks like Linux Programming by Example (By Example) by the same author is a better (and cheaper) book.

Sams Teach Yourself Samba in 24 Hours

Gerald Carter, et al / Paperback / Published 1999
Amazon price: $14.99 ~ You Save: $10.00 (40%)

Paperback - 490 pages Bk&Cd Rom edition (April 20, 1999)
Sams; ISBN: 0672316099 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.74 x 9.10 x 7.40
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 863
Avg. Customer Review: *****

Number of Reviews: 8

Covers Samba 2.0. See ERCB review Samba

Unix Complete

**** Stan Kelly-Bootle (skb@crl.com) -- a famous author of Understanding Unix and The Computer Contradictionary

Peter Dyson, Stan Kelly-Bootle
Paperback / Published 1999

Unix System Programming : A Programmer's Guide to Software Development

Keith Haviland, et al / Paperback / Published 1999


Recommended Open Content Books

Please remember that it's not always cheaper to print the book if you are using you own laser printer and paper.

Using Samba -- O'Reilly open content book on Samba. Jay Ts Corrected version

Unix Cd Bookshelf (Contains 6 books and software)

***** A very good deal ! 

Daniel Gilly(Editor) / Paperback / Published 1998
Amazon price: $55.96 ~ You Save: $13.99 (20%)

This is a very good deal. A must to have CD for any Unix sysadmin. Probably the most competitive deal on Unix books that you can find on Amazon. The UNIX CD Bookshelf contains six books from O'Reilly (plus the software from UNIX Power Tools) with a master index a search engine. HTML text is hyper-linked. A hardcopy of UNIX in a Nutshell: System V Edition, is also included, but I believe you should sell it to keep cost down.

The CD-ROM contains three good and tree average books:

The main advantage of buying this collection is that you can print some useful parts from each book and have your own "meta-book" at a reasonable cost. I just wish that O'Reilly included Frish's book Essential System Administration, 2nd Edition on the CD too.

Slackware Linux Unleashed

Full text: http://www.mcp.com/personal/

Tim Parker(Editor)/ Paperback / Published 1997, Third Edition/ ISBN: 0672310120
Amazon price: $39.99 ~ You Save: $10.00 (20%)


Tim Parker is a very good author. Although it says "Slackware" this only pertains to the installation, the rest of the book is great for any Linux system. It covers a lot of ground. This book is especially useful for a user who was a "advanced user" in Dos or Windows before. Good style... It's easy enough for beginners and advanced enough for intermediated. Although the book is about one year old it has not yet become outdated. The most recent Linux book from MCP bookshelf. CD-ROM in paper edition includes source code and two books in HTML format.

Unix Unleashed : System Administrator's Edition

**** e-text is available from MCP bookshelf

Robin Burk, et al / Hardcover / Published 1997
Amazon Price: $41.99(30% off)

UNIX Unleashed: System Administrator's Edition is one of the best introductions to UNIX system administration that I have ever seen. From fundamental topics such as "What is UNIX?" to advanced system administration procedures, this book covers the entire range of technical information. Moreover, the book includes technical details specific to several major UNIX implementations including HP-UX, AIX, and Solaris.

Unix Unleashed   Robin Burk, Salim M. Douba

e-text is available from the book CD

****  / Hardcover / Published 1999


Classic books

Design of the Unix Operating System by Marice J. Bach

Hardcover / Published 1986

Unix: Network Programming - W. Richard Stevens; Hardcover

see also: W. Richard Stevens' FAQ

Essential System Administration, Third Edition by Aeleen Frisch


Introductory Books

Unix in general and Linux in particular is a complex OS and any introductory book that has, say, less than 800 pages is suspect. You just need to put a lot of stuff into the introductory Unix book. Some books like all Mark Sobell books are structured in two parts with the second part containing a reference. This is a good idea for the introductory book as man pages are often difficult to use for novices, but content of the first part suffers (Sobell's books do not contain chapters on AWK and SED -- a sad omission for the introductory book, but it contain a pretty decent information about this utilities in the reference part of the book). The problem is that Sobell authored a general Unix book (A Practical Guide to the Unix System, 1994 see below) and never updated it, his more recent books are about Linux and Solaris. They are covered in my Linux and Solaris pages. Here we will cover general introductory books.

A Practical Guide to Red Hat Linux 8 by Mark G. Sobell

****+ This is a hell of book with its 1616 pages and Red Hat 8 CD included :-). And this is not "blind date" type of the book. On his website the author provides the text of four chapters (Ch 5: The Shell I, Ch 7: GNOME Desktop Manager, Ch 9: Networking and the Internet, Ch 12: The Shell II: The Bourne Again Shell).

This is a hell of book with its 1616 pages and Red Hat 8 CD included :-). And this is not "blind date" type of the book. On his website the author provides the text of four chapters (Ch 5: The Shell I, Ch 7: GNOME Desktop Manager, Ch 9: Networking and the Internet, Ch 12: The Shell II: The Bourne Again Shell).

What I really like about Mark Sobell's Unix books is that all of them contain two parts that can be considered as a separate books. So in essence you buy two books for the price of one.

The book also has pretty usable index and five appendixes. Appendix A (regular expressions) actually deserves to be converted to a chapter.

This edition is a result of polishing the material from four previous editions and that shows. For example in the Chapter 2 (p.38) the author mentions the problem of using Ctrl-Z by the beginners who attempt to undo some command line changes. But this is not a Windows environment and that actually postpone the program -- a very puzzling situation for beginners for which very few Unix beginner books authors provide a helpful advice. Useful tips can be found in almost any chapter and it is this attention to details that really make this book an outstanding example of the introductory Unix textbook.

Another interesting feature of the book is that the command line environment is introduced after GUI (KDE/Gnome) environment. Such an approach is more modern than "command line first" approach and provides an opportunity for students immediately transfer their Windows-based skills to Linux and master command line after that, saving a lot of frustration (vi as the first Unix editor is a torture, I know that for sure :-). In this case beginners can postpone struggling with vi until they get to speed with pipes and classical Unix utilities. Actually this permit studying vi in more depth. We should not forget than most students now study Unix after they learn Windows and Sobell's book in one of the few that take into account this situation.

I used his previous Solaris-based book for several introductory Unix classes at the university and can attest that students grasp most material very easily. Exercises given after each chapter can serve as a basis of very useful homework assignments.

As for shortcomings there are very few of them and they generally does not diminish the high value of the book. For some reason gawk and sed are not covered in the main chapters, but only in the reference part. I would change this is a future edition(s).

Grep and find probably also can be covered a small separate chapter (or the author may wish to swap it with the chapter 14 --the second shell (c shell) might be an overkill for the introductory book (bash is now "good enough") and it's better to move it into supplement :-). I would also convert the supplement about regular expressions into a regular chapter and devote some space to Perl (Z-shell can go to the supplement too; I doubt about wisdom of covering three shells in an introductory book.)

It's really sad that Perl is not mentioned at all while the whole chapter is devoted to zsh: in reality Perl killed shell scripting in all but simple and special purpose (startup) cases. And although the decision whether to include Perl chapter or not should probably be better left to the author (it complicates the book as such has some drawbacks too), I think that it make sense at least to provide a supplement with Perl overview in future editions.

Another minor thing: using pine as a newsreader as in Chapter 9 is fine if you are limited to the command line. If not, than Netscape Communicator (in its Mozilla incarnation) is much more user friendly and easier to use program.

All-in-all I hope everybody who is trying to master Linux will appreciate the level of insight into this pretty complex environment that this book provides. It beats similar books not only by weight :-). IMHO this book is as close to a classic Linux book as one can get.

P.S. It's extremely rare and generous for such an author as Mark Sobel to provide three chapters online and I applaud his courageous decision:

Copyright Notice
Table of Contents
Preface
Chapter 5: The Shell I
Chapter 7: GNOME Desktop Manager
Chapter 9: Networking and the Internet
Chapter 12: The Shell II: The Bourne Again Shell
Index


I browsed those chapters and I instantly recognized the level and the quality of his previous books. A very nice typesetting too.

I have an extremely high opinion about his prev. book on Solaris as well as the first Linux edition and I hope that he managed to improve his prev. edition of the Linux book (1997) considerably in those six years since the first edition.

One remark: using pine as a newsreader as in Chapter 9 is fine if you are limited to the command line. If not, than Netscape Communicator (in its Mozilla incarnation) is much more user friendly and easier to use program.

I also somewhat doubt that Red Hat should be called GNU/Linux system :-)


I think there is a very little risk in buying this book...

A Practical Guide to Solaris 

****  Best intor solaris book. Now outdated...  

Mark G. Sobell / Paperback / Published 1999
Amazon price: $26.95

Paperback - 1120 pages 1 edition (June 1999)
Addison-Wesley Pub Co; ISBN: 020189548X ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.62 x 9.62 x 7.39
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 388
Avg. Customer Review: *****
Number of Reviews: 3

A very good book, probably not only the best introductory Solaris book available but the best overall introductory Unix book. I used this book for an introductory Unix class at the university and can attest that students grasp most material very easily. Exercises given after each chapter can serve a basis of useful homework assignments.

This edition is a result of polishing the material in three previous editions and that shows. For example in the Chapter 2 (p.23) the author mentions the problem of using Ctrl-Z by the beginners who attempt to undo some command line changes. But this is not a Windows environment and that actually postpone the program -- a very puzzling situation for beginners for which very few Unix beginner books authors provide a helpful advice. Another example of attention to details is that this is one of the few intro Unix books that recommends a reasonable .profile file that make Solaris/Unix more user friendly. All-in-all tremendous amount of useful tips can be found in almost any chapter and this attention to details really make this book an outstanding example of the introductory Unix textbook.

Another excellent feature of the book is that Solaris/Unix command line environment is studied along with X windows environment. such an approach is more modern than pure command line approach and it provides additional insights into how best use Solaris/Unix in a particular circumstances. For example I am convinced that the approach adopted in the book of using X-based editors first is an improvement over traditional methods of introducing students to vi from the beginning. In this case beginners can postpone struggling with vi until they get to speed with command line and that experience can simplify mastering vi features and permit to study vi in more depth. We should not forget than most people study Solaris/Unix after they learn Windows and Sobell's book in one of the few that make necessary adjustments for this situation.

What I really like about Mark Sobell's Unix books is that all of them contain two parts:

As for shortcomings there are very few of them and they generally does not diminish the high value of the book. For some reason nawk and sed are covered not in the main chapters, but only in the reference part. I would change this is a future edition. Grep and find probably also can be covered a small separate chapter after chapter 10 along with more material on regular expressions. Backup is also covered pretty superficially and this is another are were the book can be improved. I doubt about wisdom of covering two shells in an introductory book, but C shell is more user friendly and ksh is more widely used in commercial environment, so the author was definitely hard pressed to cover both.

Perl is not mentioned at all but in practice Perl killed shell scripting in all but simple and special purpose (startup) cases. And although the decision whether to include Perl chapter or not should probably be better left to the author (it complicates the book as as such has some drawbacks too), I think that it make sense to provide a supplement with Perl overview.

The author web site is www.sobell.com. You can read an Amazon interview with Mark G. Sobell.


Unix Complete

***** A very good price for 1K well written pages ;-). Well known authors. Stan Kelly-Bootle (skb@crl.com) -- a famous author of Understanding Unix and The Computer Contradictionary

Peter Dyson, Stan Kelly-Bootle / Paperback / Published 1999
Amazon price: $15.99 ~ You Save: $4.00 (20%)

1008 pages 1st edition
Sybex, Inc.; ISBN: 078212528X

Amazon.com Sales Rank: 303,861

 


Table of contents

5 of 5 stars Good Reference Book, June 29, 2000
Reviewer: josh_g (see more about me) from st louis, mo United States
This book, I have found, is not especially conducive to reading straight through. However it serves my purposes as a reference tool quite well. The last 500 pages are nothing but explanations of the (most) commands available in UNIX. There are very few examples in this area of the book though. Overall, page for page, I think you'll find this book gives you the most quantitative and qualitative information for your buck.

Teach Yourself Unix in 24 Hours, Second Edition

**** good intro book...

by Dave Taylor, James C. Armstrong Jr.

Our Price: $15.99
Paperback - 529 pages 2nd edition (January 1999)
Sams; ISBN: 0672314800 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.33 x 9.21 x 7.48

Author web site

Table of Contents

Amazon.com Sales Rank: 10,028
Avg. Customer Rating: ****+
Number of Reviews: 22


5 of 5 stars Excellent UNIX Book, June 29, 2000
Reviewer: Theresa London (see more about me) from St. Joseph, MO USA

When I first learned UNIX 8 years ago, there were't any books available - it was "learn by trial and error." When I found myself with a new programming job using UNIX, I was delighted to find this book.

What's great about this book:

- Covers all the basics & essentials of UNIX.
- Goes over different UNIX platform differences.
- Includes information on different text editors.
- Very few, if any, distracting typos.
- Humorous approach.
- Written as author talking directly to reader.
- Perfect for a refresher course!

I'm finding more and more that SAMS books are the best, in any category - and this UNIX book is no exception.

5 of 5 stars Simply a great book, September 7, 1999
Reviewer: A reader from Somewhere in New York
No book can cover everything. However, what the authors attempt to cover in this book is done very well. They are not interested in showing you how smart they are as SOOO many technical manuals are. The authors give you a quick explaination of a topic then SHOW you the topic is action (very effective). Again, not everything is covered. You won't find a lot on shell scripts. However, what is there will allow you to understand some of the other books that are dedicated to this topic. They cover what they say they will and do it well. Definitely a five-star book!

***** Valuable for beginners & reasonably experienced UNIX prgrmrs, June 9, 1999
Reviewer: A reader from NEBRASKA, U.S.A
The author was successful in ensuring my interest on the subject with one of his striking "Just a minutes" at page #5 to the effect that he "found that trying to duplicate the functionality of a particular command or utility was a wonderful way to learn more about Unix and programming." I felt that advises like this makes this book valuable for beginners and reasonably experienced UNIX programmers alike. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised when a friend (a DBA with decades of UNIX experience) said that he had read the book! The content of the book was able to satisfy my concerns as to whether there would be an adequate level of subject detail given that the title mentioned "24 hours" -it took me a lot more than that to complete this book!

5 of 5 stars Every UNIX novice should get this book!, August 2, 2000
Reviewer: A reader from Milwaukee, WI USA
As a network tech, I have extensive experience in the world of Windows, but virtually no experience using UNIX. The book is written as if you know nothing about UNIX, but are comfortable with computers. It does not explain how to install or optimize a system, nor is it intended for advanced users. What is does is give you a strong background in the basics of navigating and utilizing the operating system. It is straightforward and to the point. It is well-written without a lot of fluff or extraneous information.

I would recommend this book to anyone just stepping into the UNIX\Linux world.

A Practical Guide to the Unix System  

***+ A very decent book, but largely outdated. The author has a more recent and generally better Solaris and Linux books that are more up to date. You can read an interview with Mark G. Sobell. Fantastic as Primer, but not good as Power User Guide. The book is well written in unemotional and descriptive style so there's no confusion.

Mark G. Sobell / Paperback / Published 1994
Amazon price: $38.44

Paperback - 800 pages 3rd edition (October 1994)
Addison-Wesley Pub Co; ISBN: 0805375651 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.17 x 9.21 x 6.23
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 11,835
Avg. Customer Review: *****
Number of Reviews: 4


A very decent book, but largely outdated. The author has a more recent and generally better Solaris and Linux books that are more up to date. You can read an interview with Mark G. Sobell. Fantastic as Primer, but not good as Power User Guide. The book is well written in unemotional and descriptive style so there's no confusion.

A good thing about this book is that it is very patient; the author assumes that you have absolutely NO experience in computers. He is pretty elaborate even covering on how to enter a command in UNIX. He says it like this: Press the characters on the keyboard in a sequence that matches the name of the command you want to use and press ENTER button.

The purpose of the book wasn't to tell you EVERYTHING. Rather, it is designed to get you comfortable with UNIX so you can advance if you want. But this book already has plenty of information to start doing some productive work in UNIX.

Overall, I recommend any later Solbell's book instead of this one if you are new to UNIX and just want an easy, no -frills guide. If you are interested in Solaris then the author Solaris book will be much better value.

Unix for Dummies

****+ This is is good fo non-dummies too ;-)

John R. Levine, Margaret Levine Young / Paperback / Published 1997/ usually can buy it for $9.99

The first author also wrote Lex & Yacc and Mixed Language Programming. So he is not a newcomer to both Unix and Dos/Windows environments. I read 1993 edition and I consider it to be a good book for DOS users. Generally "For Dummies" books have nice typography and a light, non-technical style. This one is an excellent reading, and contain easy instructions for a lot of frustrating for the newcomers situations. Unix is not very user-friendly platform (I believe any DOS user remember the first attempt to get out of Vi ;-), or I would like to say it is very selective as for its friends ;-), so any book that's simplify initial very frustrating stage of mastering Unix -- is a steal. I'm not a big fan of the "Dummies" series though I have a couple of them. But this guy know what he is talking about and the book is hard to beat when it comes to getting good information in a relatively painless fashion.

Unix Made Easy by John Muster

***+  

John Muster, Muster Associates / Paperback / Published 1996
Amazon price: $27.96 ~ You Save: $6.99 (20%)
Paperback - 720 pages 2nd edition (March 1996)
Osborne McGraw-Hill; ISBN: 0078821738 ; Dimensions (in inches): 2.10 x 9.08 x 7.39
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 9,920
Avg. Customer Review: *****

Number of Reviews: 4

butterfi@glef.org from San Rafael, CA , July 14, 1999 *****
Great for Novices

I have come back to this book more times then I can count. Its a great book for building basic Unix skills, and a nice introduction to shell programming. John is also an excellent teacher, and for anyone who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, look for Johns "Unix Made Easy" class at the UC Berekely Extension. Two thumbs up!

Now if we can just get John to write a book on system administration...

A reader from Boston, USA , June 3, 1999 *****
This is 'thee' book for readers who are Jynxed about Unix.

I was really against learning Unix, when I came across this book. This book was easy to understand, and made me a master of Unix within no time. Now, I feel more comfortable with Unix than anything else.

A reader from Seattle, WA , March 27, 1999 *****
One of the best Unix books for beginners!!!

I'm new to Unix and this book was easy to understand and navigate. This is the first book that walked me through Unix without making me feel like I needed a degree in computer science as a prerequisite . THANK YOU UNIX MADE EASY!!!


Administration

See also Perl books

Essential System Administration, Third Edition by Aeleen Frisch

***** This is the clear leader, a very solid book, probably the best introductory sysadmin book on the market. I definitely prefer it to Evi Nemeth's book although they are to certain extent complementary . Unlike Evi Nemeth book Frish's book contain a lot of examples, some in Perl. It also pack a lot of material devoted to major Unix paltforms including Linux, Solaris HP-UX and AIX. It's interesting to note that although Frish is mentioned as a sole author this book is based on earlier system administration manual published by O'Reilly. Many authors contributed to the text.

Note. AEleen Frisch also written a Essential Windows NT System Administration and Windows NT Desktop Reference. So she really have a cross platform perspective. After reading the interview (see AEleen Frisch on System Administration An Interview by Allen Noren) I became a little bit skeptical about her latest books. But this one is really good.

5 of 5 stars The New Edition is Great, September 13, 2002
Reviewer: phillguy (see more about me) from Ann Arbor, MI USA
Well, it was a long wait, but the new third edition is great. Covers a couple of Linux distro's, FreeBSD, and your standard Unix platforms. More complete coverage of networking and security. More readable than the previous edition. Good for anyone with minimal Unix experience or those who have worked with it for years.
5 out of 5 stars A must-have, and NOT just for admins., October 2, 2001

5 out of 5 stars THE Unix/Linux Book to Have, January 23, 2003
Reviewer: A reader from Columbia, SC United States

This book should be called Indispensable and Complete System Administration. Ok, that's an exaggeration, but not by much. No book will ever be the complete book on Unix or Linux admin, but this one has so much material in it, it will be quite some time before I start looking for material not in the book. Every aspect of System Administration is covered in this book. The material goes into details as necessary, but the author does a good job of not getting bogged down in the details or overwhelming the reader with irrelevant or arcane knowledge that only a handful of people will use. What you will find is broad and thorough coverage of the material in an accessible, easy to read style.
One of the things I appreciate most about this book is the organization. Rather than listing out a bunch of technical information, each chapter deals with a specific task that a sysadmin needs to be able to do, and the information to carry out that task is contained within the chapter, rather than making references to other chapters or appendices, as is common practice.
This is another book that delivers the excellence I've come to expect from O'Reilly.

Reviewer: John Brewer (see more about me) from Los Angeles, CA USA

Did you know the "-p" option of "mkdir" can create several directory levels at once: "mkdir -p all/these/at/once" ? Or that you can use "cp -p" to preserve the modification times of the original file? Ever use "man -k <keyword>"? After thirteen years of Unix, I learned many new tricks including commands I never used before but now can't live without, like xargs. I now have a 100% rock-solid understanding of Unix file system permissions, including SUID, SGID, sticky bit, etc. Many formerly nebulous areas are now crystal clear.

Someone criticized this book for harping too much on SCO, a less popular version of Unix. It's true, but those parts are well-marked and quickly skipped.

I have bought some mediocre O'Reilly books, but this is an *old-fashioned* one, i.e., it's chock-full of precious tidbits and lucid explanations. It's a major confidence-booster, mandatory for aspiring power users and developers. (If you are really doing system administration then the Nemeth, et. al. book is also a must-have; it's more pure admin. If you feel you must choose between the two books, get off it and buy both!) This will give you some knowledge your local admins don't have. If you work in a competitive environment, this is some serious armament. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

1 out of 5 stars Crucial topic severely misses the target!, January 15, 2001

Reviewer: A reader from Mass, US

Upon configuring a Solaris Box I referenced this book to, what I thought would, clarify some questions I had regarding system initialization/start-up. Specifically, the section titled "Connecting to the Network" on pg 105 was the material I referenced. This section, which should have been given a lot of detail and attention, due to its importance in a book such as this one, was given only the most superficial treatment! The author starts by mentioning some rather useless information about "ifconfig", continues on for a few sentences, then abruptly, in the same paragraph, jumps to the topic of static routes and the route command!

We are left learning almost nothing about the importance of "ifconfig" and its role in configuring networking on a real system. A paragraph before this the author states "The script that starts networking at boottime..." but fails to mention exactly what script(s) he is referring to. These are examples of the poor quality material that the reader is subjected to. To make matters worse he ends these miserable two paragraphs with "Networking is discussed in detail in Chapter 13...".

Upon perusing the indicated chapter, I was dismayed at the yet- again poor presentation. The section "Configuring the Network Interface with ifconfig" is given a half of page of almost useless rhetoric. Nothing is mentioned in this section pertaining to system init, which is what the author implicitly promises from the earlier chapter. And where is the "detail" the author states? Networking is an important and crucial part of a sys admin's role. In this book the author gives only the most superficial treatment of any system administration which pertains to networking. Instead he covers things like the, already tired, 7 layer OSI data networking model. Upon closing this book I sit here, my questions remain, and I am off to the man pages and other more useful references...

Unix Unleashed : System Administrator's Edition

***+ e-text available from www.informit.com

Robin Burk, et al / Hardcover / Published 1997
Amazon Price: $41.99(30% off)
Hardcover - 1400 pages 2nd Bk&Cd- edition (October 1, 1997)
Sams Publishing; ISBN: 0672309521 ; Dimensions (in inches): 2.46 x 9.44 x 7.73
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 44,693

UNIX Unleashed: System Administrator's Edition is one of the best introductions to UNIX system administration that I have ever seen. From fundamental topics such as "What is UNIX?" to advanced system administration procedures, this book covers the entire range of technical information. Moreover, the book includes technical details specific to several major UNIX implementations including HP-UX, AIX, and Solaris.

***** This is an overall good book for beginning sysadmins.
Reviewer: chris@chocolate.ms.linden.k12.mi.us from Michigan, USA March 3, 1998
This is a good book for beginning systems administrators. This is a good book if you plan to skim the chapters for a specific topic. A few of the chapters could have been easier to read (Including chapters about the different shells). This is not a good book for absolute beginners at UNIX because of the difficulty in the shell chapters.

Unix System Administration Handbook

***+  Overpriced and overhyped. The book is also rather dull. Evi Nemeth is a representative of the old school of sysadmin and she does not like/know Perl. The author's approach is strangely tools agnostic. A proper subtitle might be Unix tools hater book ;-). As for the price actually you are paying twice as much -- for most people only 50% of its content makes sense. Most topics are better covered in other books (and you can buy two books for the price of this one: for example Frisch + a good networking book, for example Hunt Linux Network Servers 24*Seven)

by Evi Nemeth, Garth Snyder, Scott Seebass, Trent R. Hein
Amazon Price: $68.00
Paperback - 853 pages 3nd edition (August 2000)
Prentice Hall PTR; ISBN: 0130206016 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.30 x 9.23 x 7.06
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 1,028
Avg. Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Number of Reviews: 6
TOC.

The third edition focuses only on Solaris, HP-UX, FreeBSD, and RedHat Linux. For some strange reason no AIX. A more complete table of contents is at the publisher's site here. It's got a breakdown of the topics in each chapter. Also the preface ; and the sample chapter (pdf) which is pretty useless Chapter 1 (Where to Start).

Might be attractive only for people who have several different flavor of UNIX installed but even for them Frisch book is a better choice. Probably not so good for Solaris users and Linux users -- better books can be found if you use exclusively one of these OSes. Contains a pretty useless CD.

A reader from USA November 6, 1999
** questionable content

I don't know why this book received such high ratings. As someone with little unix knowledge, but an earnest desire to learn, I found the book lacking in details, superficial, and generally useless. This book will not teach you how to become a systems administrator. It's probably an amusing book to read if you're already experienced in systems administration, but then what's the point?

Unix System Administrator's Bible  by Yves Lepage

Paperback / Published 1998

Paperback - 900 pages 2nd edition (November 2000)
Hungry Minds, Inc; ISBN: 0764546872 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.89 x 9.19 x 7.39

My review:

Second edition does not show substantial improvements over the first :-(

It's impossible to cover everything about Unix in one book. And this book should not be you the first or the only Unix sysadmin book (I thing that book devoted to a particular flavor of Unix that one is using should be the first one). But this is a good general book it does contain information that other books often miss to cover. IMHO the book is slightly biased toward Solaris. And the authors really know this stuff. A couple of chapters would be interesting for a professional of any level. The only one chapter still is attractive Ch.7 (Administration Roles and Strategies).. Your mileage may vary.

I think the biggest success of the book is Chapter 7: Administration Roles and Strategies. Other interesting part of the book is a very educating case study (a non-trivial POP client troubleshooting case) in the chapter 13. That chapter is a must for a novice sysadmin and is very useful for professionals too.

The table of contents also include:

Chapter 9: Managing Login Servers
Chapter 10: Database Engines
Part III: Getting and Managing Information
Chapter 11: Collecting Information
Chapter 12: Digesting and Summarizing Information
Chapter 13: Proactive Administration -- pretty interesting chapter
Part IV: Systems Administration
Chapter 14: Managing Standard Services
Chapter 15: Forestalling Catastrophes
Chapter 16: Systems Integration
Chapter 17: UNIX Security
Part V: UNIX and the Internet
Chapter 18: Administering Internet Servers
Chapter 19: Setting Up and Maintaining a DNS Server (very good introduction is just 37 pages (430-467))
Chapter 20: E-mail Servers
Chapter 21: Transferring Files
Chapter 22: Web Servers
Chapter 23: News Servers

3 of 5 stars Basic system administration introduction, November 21, 2000
Reviewer: konstan (see more about me) from Omaha, NE USA

The book does a good job of introducing the main UNIX concepts such as filesystems, shells, processes, inodes, etc. It also covers TCP/IP basics, network security, a little bit of everything. The book's focus is mainly on system administration (although an introduction to shell script programming is given), so if you are looking for programming information, you won't find much here. And if you are looking for advanced topics, you would likely be better off getting a specialized book on whatever subject you are looking for: on many subjects the coverage in this book ends just "when it gets interesting".


Programming

See also Perl books

Linux Application Development

***** Great book. IMHO the best on the topic.

Michael K. Johnson, Erik W. Troan / Hardcover / Published 1998 / $32.17

Publisher WEB page: Linux Application Development and Red Hat mirror

I would not agree that the fact that the authors skipped X windows programming is a problem, but generally would agree with the Amazon reviewer other statements:

5 out of 5 stars Enlightening Introduction plus Excellent Reference Book, July 3, 1999
Reviewer: A reader from Ontario, Canada

This book was written with an easy to read style, and the content is excellent. I'll forgive them for not including anything related to X11 programming, but they mention that their reason was that X Windows programming is not specific to Linux, and this is a *LINUX* programming book. Well fine, but I still have to find a book on X Programming. Imagine a book on Windows NT Programming that skipped all the GUI parts. I guess the Unix crowd is 10 years behind the NT crowd in acceptance of GUIs.

Reading this book made many of the arcane details of Unix architecture make sense, finally. I have read many Linux books, and most are long on technical drivel and short on enlightenment. If you are enlightened, you don't need the drivel, because the technical details are easy to absorbe and remember once they make sense.

This book excels at making sense of Linux. It should have been called "Making Sense of Linux Application Development", because that's what it is. You could probably get a lot out of it, even if you don't know C very well or you aren't all that interested in C programming in Linux. The explanations are clearly presented, and the chapters stand alone, and are a great reference material, as well as interesting general reading for those interested in the internals of Linux.

This book explains a lot of services that the kernel provides, especially in regards to the Linux process model and unix filesystems, as well as interprocess communications (Unix domain sockets) and network programming (TCP/IP sockets).

CAVEAT: This shouldn't be your *first* Linux book. There's a lot of material besides the writing of the code that you need to cover first. To get you comfy in the classic Unix shell environment read Hands On Unix, by Mark Sobell.

Beginning Linux Programming

Neil Matthew and Richard Stones / Paperback, 980 pp/ Published 1999, second edition Wrox Press Inc; ISBN: 1861002971 /$31.99
Source code available from the http://www.wrox.com;

Publisher page: Wrox Press Inc.

Paperback - 980 pages 2nd edition (September 1999)
Wrox Press Inc; ISBN: 1861002971 ; Dimensions (in inches): 2.08 x 9.17 x 7.26
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 2,256
Avg. Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Number of Reviews: 46

Table of contents

I did not read the second edition, but many Amazon readers suggest that the authors managed to improve the book. Still the main problem is that you need to be very careful in selecting topics for the beginning programming course and not to overload the boat.

I do not recommend this book to be used in the introductory course and I would agree with one of Slashdot readers -- "Beginning Linux Programming" tries to cover way too much in too small of a space. It is actually an intermediate book that tries to cover everything from shell scripting to X11 programming (but tells you it's a waste of time and you should use a toolkit) to Tcl/Tk. It covers just about everything, but covers nothing well. See SlashdotReviewBeginning Linux Programming.

The main problem for authors of "Beginning" books is to decide on a minimal subset of topics they should cover. The authors seems decided to avoid this hard decision by including as much as possible. But it can be considered as a decent "Tools" book. Here is another comment from Amazon reader that address the same problem:

3 out of 5 stars good book - could be great, July 13, 2000
Reviewer: jk_ny (see more about me) from Poughkeepsie, NY United States
This book will bring you up to speed on the Linux API. My only complaint is that it skims the surfaces. Take out the sections on Tcl, HTML, Perl, and CGI; they are so basic that they are useless anyway, and they don't fit in here. "Beginning Linux Programming" has the potential be the master of all of the Linux books if they would cut out these non-Linux topics and replace them with more Linux information.

For example, I loved the compiler section but it stopped short on shared libraries to save room for Perl and CGI later in the book. If the authors are listening: the cover of the book says Linux programming, not web programming.

As for the presentation of the book: Great examples, great explanations, and very clear.

Linux Socket Programming by Example (By Example) by Warren W. Gay


Amazon price: $29.99
Paperback - 576 pages 1 edition (April 18, 2000)
Que Education & Training; ISBN: 0789722410 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.38 x 9.21 x 7.47
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 8,798
Avg. Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Number of Reviews: 3

Linux Programming by Example (By Example) by Kurt Wall

Paperback - 560 pages 1 edition (December 3, 1999)
Que Education & Training; ISBN: 0789722151 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.29 x 9.06 x 7.34
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 28,612
Avg. Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Number of Reviews: 4

Linux Programming Unleashed 2nd Edition (Unleashed) by Kurt Wall

First edition was average. It looks like Linux Programming by Example (By Example) by the same author is a better (and cheaper) book.

Paperback - 817 pages (August 1999)
Sams; ISBN: 0672316072 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.88 x 9.10 x 7.34
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 75,109
Avg. Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
Number of Reviews: 11

Unix: Network Programming - W. Richard Stevens; Hardcover

see also: W. Richard Stevens' FAQ
A classic book.

Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment (Addison-Wesley Professional Computing Series) - W. Richard Stevens; Hardcover

The author page: W. Richard Stevens' Home Page

Practical Unix Programming : A Guide to Concurrency, Communication, and Multithreading

Kay A. Robbins, et al / Hardcover / Published 1996
$49.00

Programming With Curses (A Nutshell Handbook)

John Strang / Paperback / Published 1986

Programming With Gnu Software (Nutshell Handbook)

Michael Kosta Loukides, et al / Paperback / Published 1997

Programming With Threads

Steve Kleiman, et al / Paperback / Published 1995

Programming With Unix Threads

Charles J. Northrup, Charles Northrup / Paperback / Published 1996

Pthreads Programming

Bradford Nichols, et al / Paperback / Published 1996

Termcap and Terminfo

John Strang, et al / Paperback / Published 1991

Panic! : Unix System Crash Dump Analysis

Chris Drake, et al / Paperback / Published 1995

Advanced Topics in Unix

Ronald J. Leach / Paperback / Published 1994

Applying Rcs and Sccs : From Source Control to Project Control (Nutshell Handbook)

Don Bolinger, Tan Bronson / Paperback / Published 1995

Adventures in Unix Network Applications Programming (Wiley Professional Computing)

Bill Rieken, Lyle Wieman / Paperback / Published 1992

Unix System V Network Programming (Addison-Wesley Professional Computing)

Stephen A. Rago, Rago Stevens / Hardcover / Published 1993

Power Programming with RPC


Unix emulation on Win95/NT

Linux, DOS and Windows: . . . How to build a 95/NT Clone

Reginald P. Burgess / CD-ROM / Published 1997


Reference books

UNIX Power Tools

**** e-book is available on one of the O'Reilly CD: Unix Cd Bookshelf (Contains 6 books and software)

Jerry D. Peek, et al / Paperback / Published 1997
Good collection of reference material on various Unix utilities and some useful tips. Bad index. Slightly outdated. 20% of material is no longer relevant, but the book is still has great value as a reference. Make most sense on CD (see Unix CD from O'Reilly).

UNIX Hints & Hacks

*** e-text is available from www.informit.com

Kirk Waingrow / Paperback / Published 1999
Amazon price: $15.99 ~ You Save: $4.00 (20%)

This decent book. some parts of it (User classification(9.1), how to write your resume(10.4), etc) are unique. Generally just those two chapters(Ch.9 and 10) worth the price of the book. Here is the review that catch the essence but put it in a negative way because reviewer did not understand the fact that this is a reference book. In certain aspects this book competes with Unix Tools.

** Watching another admin's work
Reviewer: Michael B. 1_stripes from Los Angeles, CA (USA) February 27, 2000
My statistics: out of 36 topics in the first 3 chapters 22 are covered superficially or wrongly in my view; 11 I would label "OK", out of which 6 were completely new for me; I stopped counting after that. This book offers a "How-To" rather than systematic approach; the scripts are mostly shells with some occasional perl. One more frustration - given as generic, commands are very often platform-specific without mentioning the platform. The general impression is that most of this knowledge is approx. pre-1995 (the year when the crowd noticed the Internet) - however it does include still relevant ideas; the chapter on security looks especially shallow in the year 2000. In brief, it is as interesting and as frustrating as watching another sysadmin working. After copying a few tips, I will not keep it.

Unix in a Nutshell : A Desktop Quick Reference for System V Release 4 and Solaris 7 (Nutshell Handbook) by Arnold Robbins(Preface) (Paperback - September 1999)

Average and grossly overpriced. Very poor index. Also the stuff on troff, mm, etc., is just a waste. I haven't seen anyone use those dinosaurs in a while. Perl is absent. Never buy this book for $20. The main problem is that there are not that many good examples. Even in comparison with Solaris man pages it does not shine ;-) In 1994 such a book (for $10) was half decent. Now it's simply junk. Here is one review from Amazon with which I agree:

Paperback - 598 pages 3rd edition (September 1999)
O'Reilly & Associates; ISBN: 1565924274 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.16 x 8.99 x 6.03
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 1,566

Average Customer Review: ****

A reader from midwest us April 19, 1999

*** If you're a beginner, don't buy this.....yet.

If you're a beginner or even casual user of Unix then steer clear of this book. While the information contained within is excellent, it's more suited towards experienced users as it's not very well explained.

Also a major fault is the incredibly poor index. Frankly, it's one of the worst I've ever seen in any computer book. Pathetic. Instead of just indexing the terms, the descriptives should be listed as well.

... ... ...

Databases

See also Perl books

Configuring and Tuning Databases on the Solaris Platform by Allan N. Packer


Etc

Unix for DOS Users by Martin R. Arick

Very decent coverage of mapping of DOS commands into Unix.

Paperback / Published 1995

 



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