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The Accidental Administrator: Linux Server Step-by-Step Configuration Guide Paperback – October 27, 2010

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The Accidental Administrator: Linux Server Step-by-Step Configuration Guide + The Accidental Administrator: Cisco Router Step-by-Step Configuration Guide (Volume 1) + The Accidental Administrator:  Cisco ASA Security Appliance: A Step-by-Step Configuration Guide
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Product Details

  • Series: Accidental Administrator
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1453689923
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453689929
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

This edition of the Linux Server configuration guide is the result of listening to reader and student feedback on previous editions, combined with many hours of research and testing. Like its predecessor, it is based on training materials I developed for my Linux server workshops. I specialize in accelerated training and this book reflects that approach to learning:  lots of material, delivered in a short amount of time.  I rewrote the training materials to create this book with the idea of giving you a lot of hands-on exercises and only the essential bits of theory and background information.  I tried to include lots of tips and shortcuts that I've learned and used in managing Linux servers.  (We use Linux servers exclusively in my business and I'm the guy who manages them!)  Whether you're brand new to Linux in general or new to Red Hat/CentOS, My goal is that you'll find this book helpful in learning the basics and even some of the more advanced concepts of Linux configuration and administration.

About the Author

Don R. Crawley, Linux+ and IPv6 Silver Engineer, invested his nearly 40 years of workplace technology experience and nearly 20 years as a technical trainer in the Accidental Administrator book series. He is also the author of The Compassionate Geek and has spoken worldwide to IT audiences on both technical topics and customer service. Don is also President and Chief Technologist at, the Seattle-based provider of learning resources for IT professionals.

More About the Author

Don R. Crawley, Linux+ and IPv6 Silver Engineer, is a lifetime geek, plus speaker and author of six books ranging in subject from Cisco to Linux to Compassionate Communication. His focus is on helping IT and other technical staff to master the arts of customer service and communication. He is also President/Chief Technologist of the Seattle-based IT training company, He has more than four decades experience working with workplace technology and automation and holds multiple technical certifications. In addition to being a best-selling author, he has spoken before audiences in all 50 states and Canada, plus the United Kingdom and Australia. In his spare time, he plays the pipe organ, watches the ships on Puget Sound, and laughs with his family.

Customer Reviews

Thank You Don!
Dennis E. Pillow
I recommend it to the Linux user who wants to expand their skills.
Ray M
Very good practical book.
John F. Hoye

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tyler Deweese on December 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
As a student of Don's, I can see how his logical, easy-to-follow and hands-on teaching style have made their way to his book. My biggest complaint with tech books is the huge amount of raw data (not fun) you must deal with before actually working on the items you want to learn (fun). This is a non-issue in Don's book. He has you on your first task, installing the operating system, almost immediately in the first chapter (seriously, it's like the third page).

This step-by-step method continues throughout the book. You can pick almost any task that you may be charged with (configuring an NFS server, for example) and find detailed, yet simple, directions on how to finish the job. During this process, you can't help but retain the information you've just worked with; it just makes sense.

I can honestly say I've learned more from this book than I have from various classes (not referencing Don's classes in this case, obviously) I've taken in the past. It's a fantastic read, and it will easily benefit people of all skill levels.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Clarke on November 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up not because I needed it for work, but because I was personally curious about the inner workings of Linux. When they say there is very little theory and mostly interactive examples, they mean it, and if that is how your brain functions you will feel right at home with this book. I feel much more confident in my Linux skills now and may be investigating further for my own personal gain.

The book takes you through a fresh Linux install, to understanding the filesystem and command line, to getting the system online and hosting your email and web site (and everything in between). You can even learn how to turn your Linux computer into a router and firewall! Now I can get rid of that router I have to restart once a day.

One part that stood out to me was the sections on getting your Linux machine to talk with the other machines in your house. I was able to connect to both my Mac and Windows boxes with ease, and can even control them straight from the Linux machine.

If you suddenly find yourself as an "Accidental Administrator" and need (or want!) to use Linux, I would definitely suggest picking up this book. The step-by-step instructions alone can get you set up with everything you need for a functioning network or server.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By W. Wiencke on November 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book opens with a terrific description of installing CENTOS. Step-by-step. A real confidence builder.

But then it starts shrugging off things like DNS, focusing only on a local network configuration apparently used by the author.

To the author's credit he explains that the book is derived from a workbook he uses in his oft cited training courses. But in the end it comes off as something of a promotion for his courses where it quite conceivably could be useful.

There are pearls in this book and while terse it has a consistent style that makes it quite readable.

Consider this as perhaps a "first book" before you wade into the thicket of setting up a CENTOS/Apache server.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Somerville on September 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are two primary benefits of this book, in my opinion:
1) Concise (180 pages). You can actually finish it, rather than just having it sit on the shelf like the typical 700+ page tech book monster. I have used it as a broad overview to then search the internet for the exact steps I need in real situations.

2) Hands-on. It's clearly a training course material, but can stand on its own. You can install a free virtualization software on your PC (e.g. VMWare Player) and have CentOS running in under an hour. Plus, you can test some of the networking and file sharing with other machines (your actual desktop or laptop) this way.

I have done some Windows Server administration for several years, and needed/wanted to branch out. If you have some understanding of server management and just need an overview of how to do it on CentOS/Red Hat, then this book is excellent. If you are new to server administration, then I recommend starting with a community college course or two that has GOOD instructors. If you have knowledge of Linux already, then this book probably isn't needed for you.

With that said, here are my critiques for improvement:
a) Needs to be updated to CentOS 6.x. Some of the Linux packages used in the book don't pertain any longer.
b) Genericize the networking exercises (as much as possible) for stand-alone readers who are not in a training course. Perhaps leverage a virtualization software in the book for these purposes.
c) Some key concepts are not covered sufficiently, in my opinion: IP tables and package management pop into mind. Others could be removed (e.g. printing).
d) Give a short description for parameters in the command line. Student Exercise 16.6, number 4, is a perfect example. I debate about this one, as it could lengthen the book too much.

Overall, nicely done, and useful.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Andrew on March 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are too many authors who think that once they've gone through installing linux, the next step, obviously, is to introduce the newcomer to bash, sed, and awk. The lessons often involve creating, saving, copying, arranging, renaming, listing, and moving stupid lists (States, fruits, vegetables, friends, etc). This must all be done using vi, by the way. Yes folks, that what's the fuss is all about. Let the loser non-geeks waste time doing productive things on Window$ while you impress yourself with stupid linux tricks using a 70's era text editor.

This book is the perfect antidote to such foolishness. It gets you up and running from installation to administration to networking. It's about getting linux to work in an actual job environment. There are no pointless cookbook style tips, tricks, and workarounds, and no time wasting lessons on obscure commands and utilities.

I hope the next books in this series (Bind and Apache Web Server) are published soon.
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