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The Book of PF: A No-Nonsense Guide to the OpenBSD Firewall Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-1593272746 ISBN-10: 159327274X Edition: Second Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; Second Edition edition (November 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159327274X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593272746
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Peter N. M. Hansteen is a consultant, writer and sysadmin based in Bergen, Norway. A longtime Freenix advocate, Hansteen is a frequent lecturer on FreeBSD and OpenBSD topics, an occasional contributor to BSD Magazine and writes a frequently slashdotted blog at http://bsdly.blogspot.com. Hansteen was a participant in the original RFC 1149 implementation team. The Book of PF is an expanded follow up to his very popular online PF tutorial (http://home.nuug.no/~peter/pf/).


More About the Author

Peter N. M. Hansteen is a consultant, sysadmin and writer from Bergen,Norway. Realizing that his rock'n'roll career was going nowhere, he started tinkering with computers in the mid 1980s, and rediscovered Unixes about the time 386BSD appeared. By a natural progression of real-world challenges and a need to find useful solutions, he ended up with a strong preference for open source in general and OpenBSD in particular. A longtime freenix advocate, he is a member of the BLUG (Bergen (BSD and) Linux User Group) core group and a former vice president of NUUG (the Norwegian Unix User Group, the local USENIX sister organization).

During recent years he has been a frequent lecturer and tutor with emphasis on OpenBSD and FreeBSD, author of several articles and The Book of PF (No Starch Press 2007, 2nd edition November 2010).

He writes an occasionally slashdotted blog at bsdly.blogspot.com centering on sanity in IT (or really the lack of it) and works with the Unix and infrastructure team at Evry ASA, Norway's and Scandinavia's dominant IT services company.

Customer Reviews

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The example rule sets are simple to follow and very thoroughly documented.
Dave Walz-Burkett
With everything you need to know to succeed, "The Book of PF" is an invaluable tool, and highly recommended.
Midwest Book Review
For a curious audience that would like to learn more about the PF, it is an ideal book.
Samir Faci

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Henrik Lund Kramshøj on January 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
Biased review ahead
This review is going to be biased. First of all I love OpenBSD, I love PF and I have meet Peter who is a nice guy to talk to.

But we are getting ahead here. This book is obviously about PF, what is that? PF is the Packet Filter developed for OpenBSD and then ported to several other BSD systems. PF is a modern firewall system which performs great, like many others, but which has a built-in language which makes it very easy to understand the ruleset and create a better firewall.

Note:
To be fair the filtering language of PF was in the first versions very similar to the IP Filter by Darren Reed. Credit goes to him for making IP Filter in the first place, I learnt a lot about firewalls from using it. As explained in the book PF was actually the child of need when IP Filter was removed from OpenBSD.

So PF was invented and at some time Peter Hansteen wrote his famous web page "Firewalling with OpenBSD's PF packet filter". From this source he has then managed with help from No Starch Press to produce an important book about the best firewall for Open Source systems.

Compared to web page version
With this source the first question from a potential reader might be, how does it compare to the web page. Why should I buy this when I can download and print.

The content of the book is arranged similarly to the web page, but better. The layout is better since the people at No Starch knows how to layout pages and the typography which makes reading a pleasure. Peter has also written new paragraphs and introductory sections which are much better and makes the overall reading from cover to cover better.

So to answer the question: the book is way better than the web page and easier to read.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Richard Bejtlich on December 31, 2007
Format: Paperback
I was excited to see a new book on Pf on the market. Three years ago I read and reviewed Building Firewalls with OpenBSD and PF (BFWOAP) by Jacek Artymiak and gave it five stars. I hoped The Book of Pf (TBOP) would acknowledge the best ideas in BFWOAP and expand into Pf developments of the last three years. TBOP is strong when it addresses how to install or use Pf on operating systems other than OpenBSD. Elsewhere, the book is too weak to merit more than three stars.

Let me start with the positive aspects of TBOP. First, it appears to be technically correct. I am not a Pf expert, but the recommendations made sense. The technical editor is an OpenBSD expert and Pf developer, so I am confident the text is accurate! Second, the author did an excellent job explaining how to install and use Pf on OpenBSD, FreeBSD, and NetBSD. I use FreeBSD extensively on servers, and I did not feel left out at all. The author was quick to point out quirks affecting Pf on non-OpenBSD platforms. Third, I liked the chapter on Pf monitoring (Ch 8) but thought it was way too brief.

Turning to the negative side, the first problem involves introducing technical concepts. One of the major rules governing book-writing is to properly explain technical items before including them. For example, p 39 includes the term "static-port" in a configuration. This is not explained anywhere. On p 43 we see "OS = OpenBSD", again with no explanation. On p 65 "set skip" is used, but at least there is some mention of it again on p 123. If you tell me to read the man pages to figure out what these terms mean, why should anyone read this book? The author should examine how Michael Lucas or Mike Rash describe technical details.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dave Walz-Burkett on October 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you're looking for information about the OpenBSD packet filter program "pf", you may have noticed a gaping hole on bookstore shelves. Two books that I have read on pf are "Building Firewalls with OpenBSD and PF, 2nd Edition" by Jacek Artymiak and the No Starch Press title, "The Book of PF", by Peter N.M. Hansteen.

"The Book of PF" is by far the easier of the two books to digest and will help you get up to speed very quickly. It's a short book, weighing in at 145 pages. The example rule sets are simple to follow and very thoroughly documented.

Hansteen helps you navigate through pf's basic configuration and then takes you through more advanced topics like wireless networks and how to deal with 'bigger or trickier networks'. There is also a treatment of OpenBSD's spamd program, designed to help you combat spam on your network.

You'll find a chapter on Alternate Queuing (ALTQ) and Common Address Redundancy Protocol (CARP). ALTQ provides a way to shape the traffic on your network and was integrated into pf for the OpenBSD 3.3 release. CARP was added to OpenBSD in release 3.5 to address the issue of high availability and uninterrupted service.

A chapter covering Logging, Monitoring, and Statistics helps bring it all together for the network administrator. Hansteen closes out the text with a chapter titled "Getting Your Setup Just Right" that provides a last-minute review of some of the most important configuration options.

If you're interested in "The Book of PF", most likely you're already familiar with OpenBSD - one of the most secure operating systems available today. If you're ready to enhance OpenBSD's default security, pick up a copy of this book and spend some time with the pf program.
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