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Pro Linux System Administration Paperback – 2009
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From the Back Cover
Implement a SOHO or SMB Linux infrastructure to expand your business and associated IT capabilities. Backed by the expertise and experienced guidance of the authors, this book provides everything you need to move your business forward.
Pro Linux System Administration makes it easy for small- to medium–sized businesses to enter the world of zero–cost software running on Linux and covers all the distros you might want to use, including Red Hat, Ubuntu, Debian, and CentOS. Pro Linux System Administration takes a layered, component–based approach to open source business systems, while training system administrators as the builders of business infrastructure.Completely updated for this second edition, Dennis Matotek takes you through an infrastructure-as-code approach, seamlessly taking you through steps along the journey of Linux administration with all you need to master complex systems. This edition now includes Jenkins, Ansible, Logstash and more. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
He is a contributor to a number of open source projects and regularly speaks on topics related to writing, systems administration, and open source technologies. He is the author of three books, Pulling Strings with Puppet: Systems Administration Made Easy (Apress, 2008), Hardening Linux (Apress, 2008), and Pro Nagios 2.0 (Apress, 2006).
Peter Lieverdink was born in a small Dutch country town. He owns a pair of clogs, but has never eaten tulips or lived in a windmill. On his 22nd birthday, Peter moved to Australia and briefly worked in an office cubicle. He now runs his own business, Creative Contingencies Pty, Ltd. The business depends on open source software for infrastructure and development as well as daily office tasks.
Peter specializes in web application development and helping other businesses implement open source solutions using Linux on both desktops and servers.
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1) A lot of "entry level" stuff that takes at least 15%-20% of the book. You just do not call the book "Pro" and show "grep localhost /etc/*" on page 97. All previous pages are written about history of Linux, why you need a Linux server, blah-blah - that can be easily skipped. Just randomly opened a page .. page 358 - how to use "df -h" command and what it does. What a revelation! IMHO, a book called "pro" need to spend a lot of time dealing with nitty -gritty stuff - like building HA systems, integration of Spamassassin+postfix+clamav, integration of SVN+Wiki+Bugzilla+Apache - we have built a similar system here, but I would love to read more from authors who know how to architect a scalable solution for 200+ servers. That would be "Pro"
2) The second drawback is very selective choice of applications at hand. I know that Puppet, for example, is an excellent package and has plenty of features - but would you mention at least Cfengine that been long enough and has a huge installation base?! Give a half of page explaining pros/cons Cfengine vs Puppet - and explain your choice for Puppet (Chapter 19) - yet give people an option to explore Cfengine. Or Chapter 10 gives a verdict to Postfix - "postfix is much easier to understand, configure and troubleshoot" - so no reference to Sendmail!!! OK, I agree with you - but can you give a half-page reference list to Sendmail choices?
Now lets suppose I managed to liquid-paper those three words from the cover: I have got the BEST RH/Ubuntu_LTS beginners administration and setup book available; do mind that before purchasing this title. By the way, those are the only two flavors of Linux Server covered in the book which is very fine to me: One paid one free.
In my case I did my homework while looking to replace my previous Linux books: Red Hat Bible and Amazon's bestselling Linux Server book (titles and authors intentionally incomplete.) I have read both of them AND 80% of this one so far.
What I am surprised about is the fact that I did not know there was a student course in Linux book writing, complete with a very strict TOC and Topic coverage. I have come to believe that ALL THE authors of Linux books, at least those available at my local book store, did attend. If you read most Linux Server books or at least browse through their TOC-even regular Linux flavor titles-they cover THE SAME TOPICS: Firewalls, DHCP/DNS/Apache, Networks, SSH, OpenLDAP, etc. I spent a couple of afternoons flipping through pages of these titles and I was very surprised that the topics were not really similiar; THEY WERE THE SAME. My question at that point was: Is there any difference in the book you buy besides the amount of coverage to each topic?
Then I found this book which is not at first sight much more different than the rest. But what sets this title apart is the fact that apparently Mr. Turnbull & company did go to my imaginary Linux Book Writting 101 crash course, but decided to attend some advance courses as well. I found that, at least in the relevant chapters, this book goes the extra mile and provides some fairly interesting material related to it. Chapters like MySql/Ldap/Apache/Mail servers, among others provide interesting examples and sometimes complete follow through of real life applications you can use. The book finally hits a nail in this 'plus' thing with a complete chapter on a collaborative Open Source suite (Zimbra) which was the main reason I was setting up Linux in the first place. After a quick look up, there are no other books that cover this and in my limited knowledge open source groupware is very limited.
I ended up with a server that provides local secure IMAP/Groupware/Time Server services all using this book with minimal references to other books or the internet. For a beginner Linux user setting up and even connecting to the box remotely that IS a big deal.
The errors on the book are very scarce (at least in the relevant chapters I used) but by no means is the book perfect. The utility that is supposed to update the free Antivirus engine still has not updated anything (no coverage on how to check this either), the ClamAV file checker for some reason started to work after a couple of days (it was written by Mr. Turnbull himself??), and for God's sake; WHAT IS IT with these Linux authors that cannot EXPLAIN IN SIMPLE WORDS how to setup remote GUI access? Please! Enough with SSH, half the setups in Linux CAN be done via GNOME or other! Me to ALL Linux Authors: INCLUDE A CHAPTER ON VNC SERVER, NOMACHINE, OR ANYTHING that begins with an X and comes free; PLEASE.
I guess references on the internet were more common that I care to recall.
Anyhow very good book, I'll try and revise this review when done with the book, and thanks for reading this review. If you want to set up a box for home/small or even medium size server load, for nothing more than the cost of the box AND this book, this will get you a pat in the back from your users.