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UNIX Hints and Hacks Paperback – July 15, 1999


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Product Details

  • Series: Hints and Hacks
  • Paperback: 479 pages
  • Publisher: Que; 1st edition (July 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789719274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789719270
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,130,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Unix Hints & Hacks covers the science and art of Unix system administration comprehensively. While its title implies that this is a how-to recipe book for running and maintaining Unix machines--and you will find a lot of shell trickery detailed here--there's much more to this book than commands and procedures.

Much of Unix Hints & Hacks contains explicit solutions to problems that pop up on Unix machines. (Waingrow covers AT&T- and BSD-derivative kernels, along with several shells.) For each of the scores of situations he covers, such as those in sections like "Moving and Renaming Groups of Files" and "Troubleshooting ASCII Terminals," Waingrow presents a handful of solutions and explains scenarios in which each works best. Where appropriate, he provides listings of command shell scripts and explains how they work. Coverage includes user administration, file management, networking, resource monitoring, and security.

On top of his technical coverage, Waingrow includes generally ignored insights that concern the human side of administering systems. He offers advice on working with users who are experiencing trouble, suggestions for getting approval from managers for the equipment you want, and hints for developing healthy relationships with vendors' representatives.

He also presents his thoughts on applying for employment as a Unix administrator. You'll find hints on preparing a résumé that adequately represents your skill set, and the book gives you a feel for the kinds of technical stumpers you might be asked in an interview. --David Wall

About the Author

Kirk Waingrow currently runs the largest Unix resource on the Internet — The Unix Guru Universe (ugu). Over the last 4 years, Kirk has worked with over 17,000 unix administrators —learning what their needs and wants in resource material is. This book is put together from data Kirk compiled over the years that typically isn't available to the average Unix Administrator. Recently, Kirk installed a 1.5 Terabyte server system for Disney.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 24 customer reviews
The writing style is exceptional.
Boris Strokopytov
If you're a Junior/Intermediate system administrator this book is an excellent value!
R. EARLS
I would buy this book again and would recommend it to friends and family.
Jason Sheets

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Azar on August 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a great book. Its pages contain plenty of useful information for the aspiring Sys Admin. Experienced Unix administrators probably should look elsewhere, since a good majority of the material is stuff that they should already know. The book starts with hands-on "Hints and Hacks" and slowly gets more and more general (i.e. Handling Irate Users, Finding a job as a Unix System Administrator, Interviewing new Sys Admins, etc). Overall, I feel this book is well worth what you pay for it.
My only real complaint about the book is the sometimes annoying typos. Some of them can be easily overlooked and the authors desired meaning can be understood. But sometimes it gets a little ridiculous.
The author showing some hints on the VI editor:
"When you go into the command line mode, you can execute the command and write the results out to a file such as
:!date > /tmp/date.tmp
...Then position the cursor where you want the results of date command to go.
:r /temp/foo
Execute the read (r) command on /tmp/dat.tmp and the data is read..."
Errors like this can be annoying and detract from an overall great book. A couple of other similar errors, plus general typos, is why this book lost a star. Otherwise, grab this book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. EARLS on July 22, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I caught this book on sale at Amazon.com and I decided to check it out. If you're a Junior/Intermediate system administrator this book is an excellent value! Waingrow's book isn't platform specific and it doesn't re-hash simple unix commands like other books. He expects that you are mildly experienced in UNIX and gives system administration examples based on real-world experience. It would take me years of trial-and-error to learn what Waingrow packs into this book. However, good Senior administrators would probably find the book less useful.
One of the best chapters is "System Administration: The Occupation". It covers everything from creating your resume and preparing for an interview to finding other experienced administrators. I've never read another book that put as much thought into the "career" of system administration rather than the day-to-day tasks.
The only problem I have with this book is that I can't keep my co-workers from stealing it off my desk! Well worth the money.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Boris Strokopytov on October 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
I think Kirk has achieved his goal. The book is really quite non-standard and entertaining. The writing style is exceptional. I could not stop reading this book during two days. Unix is not a dry subject for me anymore. The book is filled with good examples and real world situations from top to the bottom. Junior system administrators should sleep with this book. The book doesn't stick to any particular Unix platform which makes it even more valuable. I don't think that there are too many typo's in the book. You, guys, simply should adjust hints by Mr. Waingrow to your particular platform. Moreover, if you really love Unix it's really fun to find so-called "error" or "typo". I can only hope that this is not the last book from Mr. Waingrow. I consider this book as a superb achievement superior to many O'Reilly books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By turtlex on April 1, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm the admin for a primarily HP-UX 10.20 shop ( yes, we'e upgrading to 11.0 soon ) and I find this book quite helpful. It's not an introductory guide or a basic book - it's definitely for the UNIX "tricks" that might not be readily known.
I usually pick it up if a user stumps me with a "can I?" or "how can I?" type of question. It's like a mentor in a book form. I haven't found any of these items in the standard documentation.
For instance, ever wonder how to direct a users temporary area away from /var so if they vi a huge file /var doesn't fill...those type of things are here. Tricks and hints..hacks if you will.
It's a very helpful book.
Best Regards, turtlex.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael B. on February 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
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.
Michael B., a Unix Sys Admin
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jane Avriette on September 18, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most of the reviews of this product have been spot-on. I have been doing unix for quite some time now and I am an accomplished perl hacker. I picked this book up after reading the reviews, thinking that it belonged in my library, even if I wasnt going to learn too much from it (I often wind up scouring my library looking for references so I can explain something to a friend or co-worker).
I was pleasantly surprised to learn several new things after only reading a few pages of this book. I didn't pick it up and read it front to back, I just looked at the index and started poking around at things I knew I could "brush up on." Well, I learned that I could be using vi macros to save myself time when coding.
Many of the hints and hacks in this book are old Unix advice. This is a good thing for any unix hacker to re-read and re-visit. I definitely recommend this book.
One final note. It is published by Que, and Que normally sucks. I was really disappointed after purchasing it to see that it was a Que book. This book really is a good one, and worth even an Accomplished OReilly snob's reading.
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