- Paperback: 528 pages
- Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (June 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1886411999
- ISBN-13: 978-1886411999
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Absolute OpenBSD: Unix for the Practical Paranoid 1st Edition
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"People have been clamoring for an OpenBSD-specific book for years. Michael has stepped up to provide one." -- Theo de Raadt, Founder, OpenBSD
I recommend AbsoluteOpenBSD to all programmers and administrators working with the OpenBSD operating system -- UnixReview.com
a broad and mostly gentle introduction into the world of the OpenBSD operating system -- Chris Palmer, San Francisco Open BSD Users Group, August 7, 2003
a well-written book that hits its market squarely on target -- Slashdot.org, August 14, 2003
About the Author
Michael W. Lucas is a network/security engineer with extensive experience working with high-availability systems. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Absolute BSD, Absolute OpenBSD, Cisco Routers for the Desperate, and PGP & GPG, all from No Starch Press.
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Until now, installing and using OpenBSD required reading numerous man pages and online FAQs and tutorials. OpenBSD's documentation is pretty good, but for the average person who just wants to try it out, it's an awful lot to wade through, with few navigational aids available. And the OpenBSD mailing lists are notoriously unforgiving of anyone who asks questions without having read every pertinent document first.
"Absolute OpenBSD" is just what this OS needed to make it more accessible to a wider user base. It takes you step by step through installation, configuration, and implementation, and then covers a number of more advanced topics, including no less than three very comprehensive chapters devoted to pf, OpenBSD's own packet filtering program. (OpenBSD uses this instead of ipchains or iptables, which is what you will find on other BSDs or Linux.) It tells you what every service you might want to run (or not) is, and where they are found and how to configure them. It goes through the contents of OpenBSD's /etc directory, file by file.
The author has a very straightforward yet humorous writing style, and he neither talks down to the reader nor assumes that you are a SysAdmin and networking god. He does assume that you have some familiarity with UNIX-style OSs and basic UNIX/Linux commands. It also helps if you know a little basic networking -- if you have never even configured your TCP/IP settings on your Linux or Windows box, then you may have a steeper learning curve ahead.
If you are completely new to the *NIX world, then starting out with OpenBSD, even using this book as a guide, may be a little too much to take on before you've learned the basics. However, if you are coming from the Linux world, or are familiar with other BSDs (FreeBSD, NetBSD) or UNIX variants, then you will have no trouble learning OpenBSD from this book. If you're a Linux guy who's wondering what's so great about OpenBSD, or a sysadmin thinking of building an OpenBSD firewall, this is the book for you. OpenBSD is not and never will be accessible to the average casual computer user, but if you're not afraid of a command line and willing to learn more about the guts of an operating system, "Absolute OpenBSD" is a fine tutorial and reference guide.
The emphasis in this book is on the OpenBSD operating system itself, and what makes it special and unique. There is very good coverage of OpenBSD's unique security features, and what differentiates it from other BSDs and Linux. If you just want to build a firewall, this book is all you need. If you want an introduction to OpenBSD, because you are thinking about using it for your server or workstation(s), this book will give you what you want. If you want to set up a server, this book will give you enough to get your OpenBSD machine set up and ready to be turned into one, but it does not cover setting up sendmail or DNS or Apache or DHCP or the like in great detail -- only what you need to know about setting those services up on OpenBSD. You'll need to go elsewhere for more detailed instructions on individual services. (If you already know how to set them up on another OS, though, then this book will tell you everything you need to know to get them running on OpenBSD.)
This is absolutely an excellent guide to OpenBSD, and I found nothing that wasn't covered adequately. It allowed me to install and upgrade my own OpenBSD machine and build a custom firewall for my home network, and I was coming from the Linux world with only a small amount of networking experience. While more OpenBSD books would be nice, this is the one that all future books will be compared against.
In summation, Lucas provides a solid introduction and coverage of implementing an OpenBSD system, while some information has become a bit dated, the book overall retains it's value to this day. An updated 2nd edition with some newer topics would be welcomed and purchased by this reader if it ever becomes available.
(Also, as I understand this book has trouble shipping directly from Amazon, I can say that I personally had a good experience with ordering a used copy. The book arrived promptly and in good condition from the distributor which I purchased the book. If you are interested in this book, that may be your best bet as well)
Because of its general nature, the author, Lucas, does not solely focus on pf, but instead adds flair to an extremely hostile operating system environment. I don't recall ever working with a more difficult system from scratch. Lucas really helped in getting me through some of the more cryptic areas of installation and configuration. The book itself is quite basic, so if you need something specific, like a korn shell book, look elsewhere. His style also makes the book itself a fun read, I must admit, because of his colorful presentation.
I've had this book for more than a year now.
This may be the most fun textbook-with-no-pictures I've ever read.
need to know more about securing there Openbsd installation for there servers or any other purpose.
This book is great. Very well explained. For intermidiate and Advance users.