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Absolute BSD: The Ultimate Guide to FreeBSD [Paperback]

by Michael Lucas, Jordan Hubbard
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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There is a newer edition of this item:
Absolute FreeBSD: The Complete Guide to FreeBSD, 2nd Edition Absolute FreeBSD: The Complete Guide to FreeBSD, 2nd Edition 4.7 out of 5 stars (28)
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Book Description

August 2002 1886411743 978-1886411746 1

FreeBSD is a powerful, flexible, and cost-effective UNIX-based operating system, and the preferred server platform for many enterprises. Includes coverage of installation, networking, add-on software, security, network services, system performance, kernel tweaking, file systems, SCSI & RAID configurations, SMP, upgrading, monitoring, crash debugging, BSD in the office, and emulating other OSs.

Editorial Reviews


"...a practical how-to guide for managing FreeBSD." --

"...a very fine piece of work." -- LOGIN: THE MAGAZINE FOR USENIX AND SAGE

"Great content. Easy to understand. This is a great first book on BSD -- TECHWEEK TV

"Highly practical, and deliberately written to be accessible to users of all skill and experience levels..." -- THE MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW

"packed with a lot of information." -- DAEMON NEWS

About the Author

Author Bio Michael W. Lucas is a network/security engineer with extensiv

Product Details

  • Paperback: 616 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (August 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1886411743
  • ISBN-13: 978-1886411746
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,773,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael W Lucas is from Detroit, Michigan. He's worked as a network engineer, systems administrator, library cataloger, and gerbil wrangler. You can find his Web site at, his blog at, and on Twitter as @mwlauthor.

"Michael Lucas is probably the best system administration author I've read. I am amazed that he can communicate top-notch content with a sense of humor, while not offending the reader or sounding stupid. When was the last time you could physically feel yourself getting smarter while reading a book?" -- Richard Bejtlich, TaoSecurity

"For me, reading this book was like having one of the guys in my company who lives and breathes Cisco sitting down with me for a day and explaining everything I need to know to handle problems or issues likely to come my way. There may be many additional things I could potentially learn about my Cisco switches, but likely few I'm likely to encounter in my environment." -- IT World

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the sort of book I've been waiting for, since reading Annelise Anderson's "FreeBSD" almost one year ago. Michael Lucas is well-known for his articles, and his knowledge and easy conversational style shine in "Absolute BSD." Of the four books I've read with "FreeBSD" in the title, this has been the most helpful -- but not necessarily the most comprehensive.

The strength of "Absolute BSD" lies in Lucas' understanding of what matters most to system administrators. Control of services via scripts, bandwidth throttling, firewalls, networking health monitoring, SCSI, RAID, upgrades -- these are what UNIX sys admins care about. You'll learn the most if you follow along with Lucas' examples. I tweaked, tuned, and typed my way through kernel builds, mergemaster, IPFilter, jails, MRTG, and other processes and tools. Along the way I appreciated Lucas' attention to detail, like pointing out the subtleties of 'top -S', and his knowledge of obscure tools, like 'sockstat' or 'vmstat'.

"Absolute BSD" does have a few flaws, and I almost gave it four stars. I was sad to see no coverage of 'portupgrade' (though Lucas wrote about it in Nov 01) or using RSA/DSA authentication with OpenSSH. While his instructions for Apache were sufficient to get a basic installation running, I didn't feel BIND was covered adequately. I would trade the talk about these applications for more FreeBSD-specific material, like the excellent and unique chapters on "Making Your System Useful" (ch 10) and "System Performance" (ch 18). Beware errors in crontab entries (pp 190-1) and probably omissions in OpenSSL (pp 313-4). Overall, the quality of the material Lucas included in his book far outweighed my concerns.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly helpful February 5, 2003
This book is by far the most useful and helpful book I've read for setting up a *NIX server (and as my husband and I have set up several dozen Linux boxes, a couple of SGIs, and an HP-UX machine, believe me when I say I've read several). The author uses a light, humorous and conversational tone throughout, making the book an easy read even for newbies, but that doesn't mean it's lacking in technical information-- just reading Chapter 9 (Too Much Information About /etc) is enough to make your head spin.
Mr. Lucas starts from the beginning with installing FreeBSD (a chapter that I admit I skipped at first, and I ended up reinstalling because of it), and goes all the way up through such non-trivial events as system panics and how to respond to them (unfortunately, most of the best options require some proactive configuring, so the bulk of the people who need the information will be unprepared. But that is hardly the author's fault). In between, he spends several chapters discussing how to secure your system, which is probably the single most important element to setting up any computer for any use, and also the most ignored.
The book is, admittedly, a little light in X11 and other desktop-machine elements (a mere 14 pages are devoted to the entire subject), and is more suited to those wishing to set up a server.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For new SysAdmins or those who want to build a server December 9, 2003
By David
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a book for people who want to use FreeBSD as a server -- for mail, web services, DNS, etc. It's not a book for those who want to use FreeBSD as a desktop machine. FreeBSD makes a perfectly good desktop OS, but Absolute BSD includes very little information about setting up X or installing and using desktop applications. If you want to try out FreeBSD as an alternative to your Linux desktop, look elsewhere. But if you want to build a server, and learn an awful lot of incredibly useful bits about basic systems administration tasks (much of which is applicable to any other *nix system, including Linux), then I haven't found a better book for this purpose.
I bought this book because I liked Lucas's more recent book, Absolute OpenBSD, so much, and he covers FreeBSD at least as well, if not better. His writing style is humorous and very readable while still conveying a lot of technical information, and you not only learn what you need to type on the command line to accomplish a particular task, but also how a SysAdmin thinks.
Being more familiar with Linux, only somewhat familiar with BSD in general, I have gone from chapter to chapter and this book has guided me through installing FreeBSD both from CDs and over the network, upgrading it, and recompiling a more optimized kernel (which turns out to be a fairly painless process, if you follow the instructions in this book, for those of you who believe, as I did, that recompiling kernels is a big hassle, messing with the guts of your machine and likely to kill it if you make one stupid mistake). He explains every configuration file, how to set up (or turn off!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Way to Start With FreeBSD
Absolute BSD is an excellent ride into the amazing operating system of BSD. Strait forward with clear instruction into the workings of this great operating system. Read more
Published on December 2, 2010 by Anthony V. Ranieri
5.0 out of 5 stars Its good
It is crazy helpful. Tells you how to do things (w/ the CLI) and explains what will happen after a change has been made (or tells you what it can affect). Read more
Published on April 14, 2010 by Jeffery Page
3.0 out of 5 stars Good - but hope the Author reads our comments as well
I just browsed through this book. Being tired of "that other OS out there" (no, not Apple ;-)) I desperately want to switch to FBSD. Read more
Published on May 25, 2007 by Ton
5.0 out of 5 stars Recomended
Buying a good book specific to FreeBSD is not a simple task.

There are dozens of books about FreeBSD but all of them are just some sort of copy of the HandBook. Read more
Published on August 26, 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Recomended
Jimmy M. Fernández
San José CR

Buying a good book specific to FreeBSD is not a simple task. Read more
Published on August 26, 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Very Very Good
A lot of effort went into compiling this book, and it shows. Virtually all aspects of FreeBSD administration are touched on. It is well written and concise (no fluff). Read more
Published on April 1, 2004 by Matthew C. Hersant
5.0 out of 5 stars ABSOLUTEly amazing.
My work requires me to read alot of technical books. I am so full of praise of this book that I am actually at a loss of words right at this moment. Read more
Published on January 21, 2004 by Edward Lim
5.0 out of 5 stars The introduction says it all... (Updated)
The introductions explains the scope of the book and who it is for:

***Welcome to Absolute BSD! Read more
Published on September 25, 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute BSD.
This book is great. I've been using FreeBSD for 4 years and it helped me brush up on some stuff i had forgot. Teaches you about system crashes and how to check core dumps. Read more
Published on July 31, 2003 by Thomas Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars definately worth the purchase
Out of the BSD books I've purchased .... while most are aimed at first timers .... this one jumps straight into the Kernel && buildworld -- and that's the best way / approach for... Read more
Published on July 16, 2003 by "mass_nerder"
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