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A mediocre book which panders to Microsoft
on September 6, 2004
As a PC Assembly book, this is modestly useful, but there are a lot of PC assembly books out there. (Incidentally, I have not found a current title as concise and well written as "PC Hardware Configuration Guide : For DOS and Solaris" by Ledesma, which is ten years old and therefore of historical interest only.) It's expensive and there is very little difference between building a commodity Wintel PC for server, workstation, home PC or Gaming use other than which specific components to choose.)
Where it falls apart is its complete dependence on, and unsupportable and flatly wrong statements urging the user to use, Microsoft Server software. Usually, a legal copy of Windows Server and associated software client licenses and applications will exceed the cost of the hardware in a low end server installation, and it will usually use those resources far less efficiently and securely than will a Unix-based operating system. I suspect this is simply because he is lazy or because he wishes to curry favor with Microsoft-aligned organizations, although he well may believe that the average reader is just too dumb to learn Unix.
In this era, no one without basic Unix skills can consider themselves legitimately fit for any type of IT professional status. While I do not believe that Unix operating systems are always the best choice for server service-AS/400, VMS, and several others in addition to Microsoft Windows have legitimate places in many business environments-if one is seeking to minimize total costs and use low-cost commodity hardware efficiently with "Sweat equity" over expensive consultants or spending a large amount of time learning arcane skills-Unix-based Open Source operating systems and applications (such as Apache) are the legitimate default, not Windows Server. The only advantage of Windows Server over Unix-based NOSes,in fact, is in its ability to provide certain services to Windows clients: it is never easier to _correctly_ and _securely_ deploy. And it almost always requires substantially greater hardware resources.
In short, there are better PC hardware books and, if you really do need Microsoft NOS, better Microsoft books. And there's probably a better than even chance, if you are inclined to read this book, that in fact you don't need Microsoft.