Customer Review

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good information, but not without its own set of problems..., September 27, 2006
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This review is from: The Debian System: Concepts and Techniques (Paperback)
The book provides a great deal of detailed information that is difficult to find other places. For that reason alone, it belongs on any Debian administrators bookshelf. However, it has some problems in the way the author orders things: He'll often list steps out of order, a cooking parody might read like this:

1. Add ingredient A to the mixture.

2. Add ingredient B.

3. Before you add ingredient B, be sure to let the mixture sit for 10 minutes!

4. By the way, ingredient B should be added before ingredient A for best results.

Here is are two short exerps as examples:

"When init is invoked by the kernel, it reads /etc/inittab and processes the file top to bottom, according to the rules described in inittab (5). Before anything else, init calls /etc/init.d/rcS..."

"...Before iterating through the files, the /etc/default/rcS file is sourced; the file parameterizes some aspects of the boot process. The files in /etc/rcS.d are actually just symlinks to corresponding files in /etc/init.d"

This kind of writing makes it very unclear what the actual process order is, to readers not already familiar with it.

In places he also states, in a 'by the way' style, critical information you could have used half a chapter ago. In other places he'll give you just enough information on a topic to get yourself into trouble only to inform you that "we'll cover this in a later chapter." While some of this is to be expected, it happens quite frequently.

The book packs a great deal of useful information, if you have the patience to break it down and re-construct it into a more logical order or are already familiar with the topics being covered. Due to these shortcomings, the book reads extremely slowly; Don't expect to whip through it in a week.

-Modulok-
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