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Absolute BSD: The Ultimate Guide to FreeBSD 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 068-9145117431
ISBN-10: 1886411743
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Editorial Reviews


"...a practical how-to guide for managing FreeBSD." -- SOUTHPOINT.com

"...a very fine piece of work." -- LOGIN: THE MAGAZINE FOR USENIX AND SAGE

"Great content. Easy to understand. This is a great first book on BSD -- TECHWEEK TV

"Highly practical, and deliberately written to be accessible to users of all skill and experience levels..." -- THE MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW

"packed with a lot of information." -- DAEMON NEWS

About the Author

Author Bio Michael W. Lucas is a network/security engineer with extensiv


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 616 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (August 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1886411743
  • ISBN-13: 978-1886411746
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,781,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the sort of book I've been waiting for, since reading Annelise Anderson's "FreeBSD" almost one year ago. Michael Lucas is well-known for his articles, and his knowledge and easy conversational style shine in "Absolute BSD." Of the four books I've read with "FreeBSD" in the title, this has been the most helpful -- but not necessarily the most comprehensive.

The strength of "Absolute BSD" lies in Lucas' understanding of what matters most to system administrators. Control of services via scripts, bandwidth throttling, firewalls, networking health monitoring, SCSI, RAID, upgrades -- these are what UNIX sys admins care about. You'll learn the most if you follow along with Lucas' examples. I tweaked, tuned, and typed my way through kernel builds, mergemaster, IPFilter, jails, MRTG, and other processes and tools. Along the way I appreciated Lucas' attention to detail, like pointing out the subtleties of 'top -S', and his knowledge of obscure tools, like 'sockstat' or 'vmstat'.

"Absolute BSD" does have a few flaws, and I almost gave it four stars. I was sad to see no coverage of 'portupgrade' (though Lucas wrote about it in Nov 01) or using RSA/DSA authentication with OpenSSH. While his instructions for Apache were sufficient to get a basic installation running, I didn't feel BIND was covered adequately. I would trade the talk about these applications for more FreeBSD-specific material, like the excellent and unique chapters on "Making Your System Useful" (ch 10) and "System Performance" (ch 18). Beware errors in crontab entries (pp 190-1) and probably omissions in OpenSSL (pp 313-4). Overall, the quality of the material Lucas included in his book far outweighed my concerns.
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Format: Paperback
This book is by far the most useful and helpful book I've read for setting up a *NIX server (and as my husband and I have set up several dozen Linux boxes, a couple of SGIs, and an HP-UX machine, believe me when I say I've read several). The author uses a light, humorous and conversational tone throughout, making the book an easy read even for newbies, but that doesn't mean it's lacking in technical information-- just reading Chapter 9 (Too Much Information About /etc) is enough to make your head spin.
Mr. Lucas starts from the beginning with installing FreeBSD (a chapter that I admit I skipped at first, and I ended up reinstalling because of it), and goes all the way up through such non-trivial events as system panics and how to respond to them (unfortunately, most of the best options require some proactive configuring, so the bulk of the people who need the information will be unprepared. But that is hardly the author's fault). In between, he spends several chapters discussing how to secure your system, which is probably the single most important element to setting up any computer for any use, and also the most ignored.
The book is, admittedly, a little light in X11 and other desktop-machine elements (a mere 14 pages are devoted to the entire subject), and is more suited to those wishing to set up a server.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a book for people who want to use FreeBSD as a server -- for mail, web services, DNS, etc. It's not a book for those who want to use FreeBSD as a desktop machine. FreeBSD makes a perfectly good desktop OS, but Absolute BSD includes very little information about setting up X or installing and using desktop applications. If you want to try out FreeBSD as an alternative to your Linux desktop, look elsewhere. But if you want to build a server, and learn an awful lot of incredibly useful bits about basic systems administration tasks (much of which is applicable to any other *nix system, including Linux), then I haven't found a better book for this purpose.
I bought this book because I liked Lucas's more recent book, Absolute OpenBSD, so much, and he covers FreeBSD at least as well, if not better. His writing style is humorous and very readable while still conveying a lot of technical information, and you not only learn what you need to type on the command line to accomplish a particular task, but also how a SysAdmin thinks.
Being more familiar with Linux, only somewhat familiar with BSD in general, I have gone from chapter to chapter and this book has guided me through installing FreeBSD both from CDs and over the network, upgrading it, and recompiling a more optimized kernel (which turns out to be a fairly painless process, if you follow the instructions in this book, for those of you who believe, as I did, that recompiling kernels is a big hassle, messing with the guts of your machine and likely to kill it if you make one stupid mistake). He explains every configuration file, how to set up (or turn off!
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