Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fairly thorough Unix-like sys admin book, July 6, 2008
This review is from: BSD UNIX Toolbox: 1000+ Commands for FreeBSD, OpenBSD and NetBSD (Paperback)
BSD Unix Toolbox (BUT) is a straightforward system administration book that could apply to many Unix-like operating systems. The title mentions "BSD" but the BSD-specific material is FreeBSD-oriented. The non-FreeBSD sections (such as using a shell) could apply to any Unix-like OS, so in that sense other BSDs like OpenBSD or NetBSD are "covered." However, sections like Ch 2 (Installing FreeBSD and Adding Software) have no OpenBSD or NetBSD equivalents. Nevertheless, I recommend BUT for anyone looking for a rapid introduction to BSD system administration.

BUT is thorough but fast and dry. Michael Lucas' Absolute FreeBSD is still my favorite FreeBSD book, and you're more likely to find neat aspects of the OS in a book by Dru Lavigne. Bryan Hong's recent book is place to find recipes for installing popular open source applications on FreeBSD. The people who will like BUT the most are those with little to no BSD experience, or those with some Linux experience looking to transition to FreeBSD.

BUT will probably fill a lot of knowledge gaps in the intended audience. I really liked the book's style, whereby it introduces a task and shows command-line examples. Everything uses this approach, which is a winning formula. The vast majority of the book is command line-oriented, with no apologies. If you're using FreeBSD this is probably what you're looking for anyway. I also liked the reference tables, especially in the appendices.

One caution: if you own one or more of the other "Toolbox" books, there's probably a decent amount of overlap. There's only so much to say about using Samba, or checking process listings, or running backups, when the underlying applications are all the same.

Years ago the Unix System Administration Handbook was a one-stop shop for comparative system administration commands, with coverage of Red Hat Linux, Solaris, and FreeBSD. Unfortunately no single modern book includes commands for common tasks for all three major operating systems, although the Linux Administration Handbook (3rd Ed) serves that purpose. I commend Wiley for publishing modern books on system administration like this.
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