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on 5 June 2017
I am happy with this purchase!
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on 13 November 2002
There are people in the industry who won't take a UNIX admin seriously if they've not even heard of this book, commonly known as The Purple Book. It is a fantastic book on how UNIX admin should be done, written by people with very strong views on what is The Right Way to do things. They've written it in such a way that it is a very readable book. Something you can take on the tube in the morning and actually get funny looks because you'll find yourself sniggering out loud.
Covering most flavours of UNIX, with sections detailing the differences between them for each subject, it goes through most of the issues a UNIX admin needs to think about and understand. If you admin, or support UNIX systems in any way, it is an invaluable reference to have and should probably be read, cover to cover, at least once.
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on 3 November 2000
I agree somewhat with dewi.morgan@fullduplex.net that if you have the 2nd ed maybe not worth it. For me the best thing about the book is that I can administer my Linix machine (book's fine for SuSE) and at the same time learn how to do the same task on Solaris or HP-UX - or at least know that the same task is done differently on those platforms.
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on 18 October 2010
I would have liked to know more about the level of detail regarding commands that this book went into, as it doesn't really go into detail with commands. This will be because a certain level of understanding is expected however. This book was on the reading list of a class I am doing at University so I would have bought it either way.

I have found the book to be of considerable use during the course so far and am thoroughly enjoying reading it and learning from it. I would recommend this book to anyone with some past linux experience wishing to enhance their understanding.
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on 9 April 2001
This book has a lot to live up to. Previous editions are almost standard items on sys-admins' shelves. How does this measure up?
It remains a trove on information. Its contents have been updated (Usenet news is far less important, so coverage has contracted, for example.)
Its coverage of security is more thorough, and web serving (very important these days) gets a lot more coverage.
And it has lost the CDROM. How big a loss? In poorer countries, probably considerable. But with the number of security problems found, I wouldn't be happy with old software. Go download the stuff. And get the secure versions. Would you want an old version of SUDO?
BTW, looking back over the 2ed at the weekend, everywhere I looked, they mentioned ftp.uu.net. The world has changed since then.
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on 8 March 2011
A lot of the technical information is hopelessly dated. It covers versions of unix that haven't been common for many years.

But a lot of the advice is just as relevant as it ever was, no matter which version of unix you are using. Ideas on making universal serial cables and on general ideas on how the practice of system administration should be carried out are still worth reading.
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on 13 October 2000
OK, 2nd ed was a classic. It's the only non-O'Reilly book universally posessed by all sysadmins I know. Is 3rd ed as good? If you deal with legacy systems, 2nd Ed deals with them more closely, since it covers Solaris, HP-UK, IRIX, OSF/1, and BSDI, while 3rd Ed deals only with Red Hat Linux, Solaris, HP-UX and FreeBSD. Also, 2nd ed is cheaper, and comes with a CD-ROM. If you don't have 2nd ed, I'd recommend getting that instead. If you already have 2nd Ed, is 3rd Ed worth getting? Well, yes. I think so. But remember, it has no CD-ROM, it costs a bomb, and it's repeating much of what you already have. If you're a sysadmin, it's your job - grin and bear it, buy the book, and enjoy the updated info on OSes, NIS, NFS, etc. Bottom line: 2nd ed gave you a lot more bang for your buck.
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on 19 February 2001
The Unix info in the book itself is readable, relevant and usefull, but the lack of a CD in this edition is made worse by references to resources on their web site, which don't seem to exist yet, months after the book was published. Given the way more and more of such books relate to the web, surely a minimal check by the editors of links given in the book would have been in order.
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