Customer Review

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BSD Unix Toolbox, a Worthy Companion, June 1, 2008
This review is from: BSD UNIX Toolbox: 1000+ Commands for FreeBSD, OpenBSD and NetBSD (Paperback)
The meat of this book, like it's Linux counterparts in the series (I read Ubuntu Linux Toolbox: 1000+ Commands for Ubuntu and Debian Power Users), lies in the useful shell commands that even seasoned administrators may have overlooked or useful combinations that never occurred to them. Personally I've used Linux since 1999 and have three or four years of professional administration on Linux, HP-UX, and Solaris. To my surprise I still found one or two new tricks in the Ubuntu book and quite a few more in the BSD book.

A junior administrator or a intermediate hobbyist will find countless pointers, commands, and insight that takes years of reading man pages, web searching, and chatting with other geeks to figure out. I know Francois Caen, one of the writers in this series, and his goal was to bring together all these "tools" he uses every day to accelerate your learning curve. I think he and Negus met that goal.

While I thought this book was good, it was missing a few things I expected to see. It's clearly focused on Linux users who want to put their toe in the BSD pool. That's pretty good for me, primarily a Linux user, but users not coming from a Linux background may be lead slightly astray. Special attention is paid to setting up a FreeBSD system that can play nicely with Linux systems (reading ext2/3 file systems, for example). I feel that the Linux compatibility received a bit too much coverage, but given the popularity of Linux, many will appreciate it.

The book is applicable to all BSD based systems, and even Linux and commercial Unix variants to a lesser extent, but it focuses on the popular FreeBSD variant. Personally I'm exploring OpenBSD for use as routers/firewalls, and I'd say about 80% of the BSD content in this book is applicable to OpenBSD (in my naive viewpoint). I really wished they would have covered the OpenBSD packet filter (PF) more, but with the focus on FreeBSD, IPF is covered instead. I was quite surprised at the easy to use syntax of IPF compared to IPChains in Linux.

As seems to be the trend with recent technical books, there were a couple typos in some of the examples, but a careful reader can catch the gist of what was meant.

All in all BSD Unix Toolbox is a great book for an intermediate Linux or Unix user interested in exploring the FreeBSD command line. I all but guarantee you will find a few new commands to add to your own toolbox.
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N. Webb
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Location: Seattle, WA USA

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