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Perl for System Administration: Managing multi-platform environments with Perl Paperback – 21 Jul 2000

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Product details

  • Paperback: 446 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (21 July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565926099
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565926097
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.3 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,499,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Amazon Review

Perl's cross-platform compatibility is less of an advantage to sysadmins than you might think. Most useful Perl programs need to access files and file access conventions are quite different across Unix/Windows/Mac platforms. The author deals with such issues early along with the oddities of installing Perl on different platforms and the need for sysadmins to write clean, robust and secure programs. Recent Net exploits underline the last point.

The content is, though, far from theoretical. One of the first script examples shows how to recursively walk a file tree using Perl alone and then an even better way using Perl's File:Find module. Having created a filewalking script, Blank-Edelman then explains the various platform gotchas you need to consider when filewalking on different platforms because of differences in the way each file system works.

This relentless attention to the underpinnings of different operating systems is the real strength of Blank-Edelman's book. He writes as someone who not only does this stuff every day but likes getting his hands dirty, and--unlike the famous fictional sysadmin, BOFH--enjoys explaining how it all works.

His approach is especially valuable when dealing with the complexities of database management, e-mail and security. For example, in the latter section, to locate a misbehaving user, the author uses Perl to interrogate a Cisco Catalyst 5500 switch though the story following - a strange but amusing partial routing failure - hammers home Perl's flexibility and development speed.

Blank-Edelman assumes you already know Perl, but once you've read Perl for System Administrators you'll know enough about the glistening innards of network OSs to use it reliably and securely for network admininstration. It helps that it's also a great read. --Steve Patient


This book should be on the bookshelf, if open on the desk, of any cross-platform system administrator. -- Wayne Graham, Williamsburg Macromedia User's Group, Feb 2003

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mr T Clark on 10 Nov. 2000
Format: Paperback
As a systems administrator managing many thousands machines in a network - I though this book would be helpful to some 'maybe' unknown system administration duties.
The scripts published incorprorate no design framework, nor larger code reuse concepts for the admin to use at a later date. Concentrates on CPAN modules, when most sites are behind firewalls - some modules don't really help.
No use of -w or -T. No clever use of perl to aid the systems administrator - the book is really for the 'noddy' user with a UNIX workstation at home to play around with (linux/bsd). Don't even expect the book to be full or useful system administrator tips/scripts.
I must add that its sections on SQL and LDAP were useful.
Generally a very poor offering.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Hutchinson VINE VOICE on 7 Aug. 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As the administrator of 3 web servers, I need to automate admin as much as possible. This book really helped me to script common admin tasks, and introduced me to some really useful concepts I hadn't considered (like using XML and LDAP for example). Bristling with readable code examples, and serving the Unix and NT communities alike, this book fills a gap on my Perl book shelf.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book. When I bought it I expected just another perl book about this or that topic, instead I got a book packed with excellent tutorials covering everything I need and more. I have not finished reading it yet and I keep going back to old chapters just to remind myself that this and that is possible. Also has the best SQL tutorial I have ever saw. BUY IT!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 13 reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
System administration with CPAN modules 22 Oct. 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book focuses on using CPAN modules for system administration. This is not always done in practice, because one has to deal with systems behind firewalls and at most a halfway new perl installation. But once one has the choice, it's good to go for the CPAN modules. The book selects a few of those to demonstrate the case. The author is meticulous in explaining the examples. But he is not a perl hacker, so he does things of the sort: $x = $x ? $x : $y; where one would use: $x ||= $y; and many other things which twist a perl hackers brain. But by the choice of the topics including SQL and LDAP etc. he will help a lot of sysadmins.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Buy it for the apendicies! 27 Nov. 2000
By S. Brown - Published on
Format: Paperback
Heck, i haven't even looked at the main part of this book, but the appendicies are priceless. A fifteen minute crash course on SQL? An 8 minute crash course on XML? Like treatment is given to RCS, LDAP, and SNMP. I've used this book for less than an hour of my life, and it's been a terriffic investment.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Multiplatform SysAdmin Perl Tools 16 Nov. 2001
By David H. Hoover - Published on
Format: Paperback
The biggest asset of this book is the author's expert knowledge of the three platforms (Unix, Windows NT/2000, Mac) and the in-depth coverage he gives to each. With almost every Perl sysadmin tool he covers, he outlines the OS-specific Perl modules necessary to make the tool work on any of the platforms. This book is truly unique in that regard.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Good for admins considering learning Perl 20 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've been wondering what programming language I wanted to get involved with. At first I decided that it was going to be C since I could do a lot more stuff with it, or so I thought. I had been reading up on Perl and how it is basically the scripting language that ends all scripting languages. So I decided to get this book before actually getting a How-To Perl book to see if it was as usefull as I thought it might be. Oh yes, was it ever. Needless to say I promptly went and bought Learning Perl 2nd Edition from my favorite publisher O'Reilly and am about to dive into it. Highly recommended book for anyone who's not sure if they want to get into Perl or not.
18 of 25 people found the following review helpful
suitable for beginner level 28 July 2000
By Slappy - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you already use Perl for system administration you don't need this book.
If you understand Perl, but are interested in learning more about system administration you might enjoy this book.
If you're a sysadmin who doesn't know Perl (is there such an animal?), you should read this book.
Fairly even coverage of Unix and Windows. Even a few Mac items thrown in. I was disappointed that this book didn't cover more advanced subjects.
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