Linux Cookbook Paperback – 9 Dec 2004
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Practical Advice for Linux System Administrators
From the Publisher
Linux information can be found scattered in man pages, texinfo files, and source code comments, but the best source is the experts who have built up a working knowledge of managing Linux systems. The Linux Cookbook's tested techniques distill years of hard-won experience into practical cut-and-paste solutions to everyday Linux dilemmas. Use just one recipe from this collection of real-world solutions, and the hours of tedious trial-and-error saved will more than pay for the cost of the book. It's more than a time-saver; it's a sanity saver.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
This book is the pinnacle of O'Reilly's skill at publishing "just damn useful books".
PS Thanks to Dawn Marie for giving Carla the time to write this book.
The writing style is clearly aimed at beginners. However,
I find it a curious mix of beginners' topics and Systems Administration material. It may be the ideal manual for someone just starting in a company were Unix/Linux based systems are the default development /deployment and testing environments. It may not get you to advanced-super-guru status but it would be a reasonable introduction.
There's less here for the user of a personal Linux system. A substantial amount of the material is never likely to be useful at home except to the most serious of hobbyists or perhaps comp-sci students. I'd advise all those considering the purchase of a Linux reference to examine the Table of Contents thoroughly.
From a professional point of view I found the material simplistic but generally clear. It's enough to get you up and running in areas were you have little or no experience. It's a useful, but by no means complete reference.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I am not even sure where to begin with my praise of this book, it's got over a dozen sticky notes marking key sections that I find useful. I guess I can start by saying that the author is deeply involved with doing system administration via the command line, which is fantastic news for me! There are plenty of decent GUI tools out there, but when x dies and you're stuck at a command line, using them isn't an option. I feel that if you don't have the knowledge to fix things yourself, at least have a book by your side that offers you some tips, and that is what this book is for. And some people just prefer doing administration via the command line all the time, myself included.
The time I most often pull out this book, however, is not when I run into a problem, but when I'm setting up a new system. I don't reinstall often, but when I do there are little things that I often forget how to do, since I do them so infrequently. Things like setting up ssh keys, setting up users and groups, setting up NTP, setting up new fstab.
I also found this book useful when I wanted a quick and clean explaination of different filesystems and more information about command line options for CD burning. Also I got some good ideas for backups and local file transfer methods from the chapter on Backup and Recover.
Best of all, this book contains a great chapter on kernels. So many books and online how-tos I've seen give you the steps of compiling a kernel, but don't explain what is going on. This always left me feeling like I had no clue what I was doing, and if there was an error I'd have no idea where I'd begin fixing it, since I didn't really know what "make mrproper," for instance, means (side note, she even quickly explains "according to Linux lore" the reasoning behind the name Mr. Proper, a delightful bit of trivia). Now that I've read this chapter on kernels I'm much more comfortable recompiling and customizing my own. She also talks about patching a kernel, which is something I had trouble with for a while, since so much documentation I found and people I asked said "just use patch" which meant nothing to me.
An excellent book for the linux user who wants to move away from the GUI and learn more about core, command-line administration. I love it.
Take for example the chapter on CD and DVD recording or copying. All sorts of guidance on using DVDs for data or audio. Linux has powerful but obscure commands for these tasks. But they are run at the command line. Often with many input arguments. Not the easiest of things for someone to remember. Linux lacks a nice UI to take some of this burden off you.
Some of you should check out the chapter on Knoppix. There is an allure about making a bootable version of linux on a CD or DVD that you can then run on an arbitrary Intel or AMD machine.
The chapter on managing spam has a very limited discussion on using a blacklist. It talks about how it's used to block incoming messages from addresses on the list. No mention about using the list against domains from hyperlinks in the message body.
Chapter List: Finding Documentation; Installing and Managing Software on RPM-Based Systems; Installing and Managing Software on Debian-Based Systems; Installing Programs from Source Code; Discovering Hardware from Outside the Box; Editing Text Files with JOE and Vim; Starting and Stopping Linux; Managing Users and Groups; Managing Files and Partitions; Patching, Customizing, and Upgrading Kernels; CD and DVD Recording; Managing the Bootloader and Multi-Booting; System Rescue and Recovery with Knoppix; Printing and CUPS; Configuring Video and Managing X Windows; Backup and Recovery; Remote Access; Version Control; Keeping Time with NTP; Building a Postfix Mail Server; Managing Spam and Malware; Running an Apache Web Server; File and Printer Sharing, and Domain Authentication with Samba; Managing Name Resolution; Finding Linux Documentation; On-line References; Microsoft File Types; Init Script for CVSD; Index
The standard "Cookbook" format has a problem (such as "Installing YUM"), a solution, a discussion of the problem and solution, as well as additional reference material (either other cookbook items or external sources). The focus is less on theory and more on practicality. The author wants to help you learn to do something without necessarily understanding every little nuance or subtle effect. Because one of the primary target audiences is Linux administrators, there's a strong emphasis on command line techniques. For instance, there's a "recipe" for password-protecting LILO. All the things you do involve entering command line statements at prompts.
This wouldn't be the type of book you'd buy if you're looking for things you can do from the KDE or GNOME desktop environment. You'd walk away with very little, if any, value. But if you're an administrator who wants to tap into the full power of the command line server interface, this will be an interesting book for you...
I have already lost my copy of this excellent book to my coworkers. This is another great entry to O'Reilly's "Cookbook" series. I have been running and administering Linux for 10 years and I didn't expect too much from this book. I was wrong. It is packed full of useful recipes that are the kind of thing I can never remember and spend ages digging out of documentation when I need them. Two of my favourites so far are how to use Grub to boot your machine when you have toasted your Master Boot Record, and a script to create a "phantom rpm package" that reflects all those libraries on your system that you have compiled and installed from source so that RPM knows about them.
The author has clearly had to make some hard decisions about what information to include in here and she has done a great job. The recipes cover the full spectrum of common administrative tasks that have details which are hard to remember. They include tasks such as configuring Samba, Apache, NTP, DNS, printing, mail servers, backups, and user accounts. There is information on installing software for both Debian and RPM based systems, and on rebuilding the kernel and how to patch it. The list goes on; you'll just have to read the book.
In short, there are lots of great tips in here that are easy to find and use. Keep this book at hand for all those times when you are asking yourself, "now how do I ... ?"
It is organized in such a way that it is easy to get to do what you want/need and, what's better, the explanations provided give you insights on how UNIX works. After a while, you will find yourself doing new stuff on your own.
If you want to get into UNIX but knows little about it my advice for you is: get this book and jump into LINUX - it is worth it!
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