The authors employ a style that's nicely suited to the personality of administrators, as well as their job. To satisfy the "job" side of the equation, there are "best practices" sections that recommend how to configure various pieces of the system. For the "personality" side, there's rather a lot of explanatory material to explain why the best practices are what they are, and why they're not without flaw. There's very little step-by-step guidance in these pages. The authors instead prefer to use prose to explain solid thought processes: "This is what we want to accomplish (say, harden a system before it's connected to the network), here are the issues associated with that goal (known openings in default configurations, known techniques that attackers use, and so on), and here are the tools and procedures recommended for combating those problems." It's an excellent approach for administrators who approach their jobs as engineering problems. --David Wall
Topics covered: How to be a Unix system administrator with deep knowledge of all of your machine's critical subsystems. Sections deal with configuring, defending, and performance-optimizing mail services, Web services, authentication, printing, and applications. There is, unfortunately, not enough information on firewalls.
From the Back Cover
The fourth edition of 'Unix Unleashed' will take a different tack from previous editions and other Unix books:It is readable as though it is a series of lectures on individual topics from Unix Wizards. This different approach will take the reader through the following topics:
* Basic operation of the system and system administration in its simplest form: managing users and disks, starting up and shutting down the system, authenticating user connections, and administering the X Window System.
* Common subsystems - the typical day-to-day tasks of system administration: sharing files, providing basic web services, printing, e-mail, and backing up the system.
* The Unix toolset to make system administration more reliable and more powerful, and to administer more complex and important systems running on top of Unix.
* System administration as a profession: much work needs to be done not to do the job in a purely technical sense but in a practical, real-world sense.