The Best of Freebsd Basics Paperback – 20 Dec 2007
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About the Author
Dru Lavigne has been using the BSD family of operating systems since the mid- 1990s, and PC-BSD has been her primary desktop since 2006. A network and systems administrator and IT instructor, she has over a decade of experience administering and teaching Netware, Microsoft, Cisco, Checkpoint, SCO, Solaris, Linux, and BSD systems. A prolific author, she is the author of BSD Hacks (O'Reilly, 2004) and The Best of FreeBSD Basics (Reed Media Services, 2007).
Dru is currently the editor-in-chief of the Open Source Business Resource, a free monthly publication covering open source and the commercialization of open source assets. She is founder and current chair of the BSD Certification Group, a non-profit organization with a mission to create the standard for certifying BSD system administrators. She maintains a blog at http: //it.toolbox.com/blogs/bsd-guru.
Greg Lehey is an independent computer consultant specializing in UNIX. Born in Australia, he was educated in Malaysia and England before studying chemistry in Germany and chemical engineering in England. He has spent his professional career in Germany, where he worked for computer manufacturers such as Univac and Tandem, the German space research agency, nameless software houses, and a large user before deciding to work for himself. In the course of over 20 years in the industry he has performed most jobs you can think of, ranging from kernel support to product marketing, systems programming to operating, processing satellite data to programming gasoline pumps. About the only thing he hasn't done is write commercial software. He is currently engaged in the production of CD-ROMs of ported free software, and this book is one result of his experience in this area. He is available for short-term contracts and can be reached by mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Along with Michael Lucas, Dru Lavigne is one of the best FreeBSD authors around. She is very clear and methodically explains material with examples. The format of the book also makes it easy to find relevant material. I will admit to not reading every word, but it's not necessary with TBOFB. For example, I did not spend much time reading about Tcpdump basics. Because all of the commands are bolded, however, I was able to quickly locate syntax of interest to me. If I didn't recognize something I started reading the discussion in depth.
I'd like to highlight some of my favorite parts of the book. If you are a Linux administrator, you will find the "FreeBSD for Linux admins" section in Ch 1 to be helpful. I hadn't heard of bzcat (p 134) or showing control character mappings with stty -e (p 120). I didn't know I could specify a ports tree INDEX file via URL when invoking pkg_version (p 169). I was glad to learn about Porteasy (p 335). I think beginning Unix users will find the material on manipulating the shell to be helpful too. Items like these are not earth-shattering, but they make the administrator's life a little easier.
I have some recommendations for a second edition of TBOFB, which if addressed would result in a five star review. First, the layout of the pages makes some of the text difficult to read. The text is just too wide on the page. Readers have to peer into the binding of the book to see the end of text on the left side of the book. Second, the index could be more complete. I couldn't find some tools I read about in the index. Third, it would be helpful to know what OS was used to demonstrate the examples. For example, Michael Lucas' book Absolute FreeBSD, 2nd Ed, was written using 7-CURRENT. The back of TBOFB states that "many" of the articles were "updated from FreeBSD 4 and 5 to reflect the usage on FreeBSD 6 and 7." Some of the material is essentially timeless (e.g., shell usage) but other elements tend to be tied closely to FreeBSD version. IPSec configuration is one example; some of the syntax on p 356 is not used in FreeBSD 7.x, and new instructions have been added.
Initially I was skeptical about reading TBOFB. After all, hadn't I read most or all of Dru's articles published at O'Reilly during the last several years? After reading TBOFB, I'm thankful for the review copy and I recommend all beginner and intermediate FreeBSD users read the book. TBOFB is a great complement to Lucas' Absolute FreeBSD, 2nd Ed, and I expect the forthcoming Building a Server with FreeBSD 7 by Bryan Hong to fit nicely in this collection.
Make no mistake about it.....Whether you are a novice or a system administrator, you need this book in your library. Unlike other FreeBSD books out there which basically copy the online handbook, Dru Lavigne compiled literally hundreds of FreeBSD tricks in this new book. You won't be disappointed!
I found lots of assorted good information in this book, both by way
of explaining how various things work as well as illustrating how some
obscure command can be used to do something really useful. That being
said, don't expect this book to be a comprehensive treatment of FreeBSD.
It's more like a compendium of interesting little topics.
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