on April 21, 2004
Ahem. I know this is only the "pocket" version of this book, but Essential System Administration Pocket Reference is the best system admin book I've seen in a long time. Now, I'm relatively new to Unix system admin, but I've knocked around the industry for over ten years now, so I know a thing or two about sysadmin work. Usually, what I look for in a reference guide is either something quick and simple or with miles and miles of depth. If I'm new to a system, or I only administer it as a backup or "once in a blue moon", the quick guides suit me well. In this case, that was precisely what I was looking for in a Unix system administration guide. Essential System Administration Pocket Reference provides this to a "T".
Without getting bogged down in lengthy descriptions or philosphical discussions of which tool to use when, this pocket reference lists the basic administration commands, beyond GREP (though it lists that, too!), with a short description of what it does. It's easier to read than the MAN file, usually gives me few examples, and I don't have to open a second terminal window to use it! Seriously, I really reccomend this guide to anyone new to Unix, including Linux, system administration. Or, like me, is getting back into it for the first time since, well, since the Dark Ages. It's a great guide or refresher and it literally does fit in your pocket!
on December 20, 2002
This book contains a lot of very useful information for every UNIX admin on very little space. When I bought this book, I thought that I would only use it as an aide-mémoire but a learned a lot of new things while reading this booklet.
The organization of this book into several topics that comprise a certain area of system administration like e.g. "Networking" help, if you want to gain a good overview of the commands, configuration files and specialties (e.g. device files) for this area.
A booklet of this size can of course not replace all the books and UNIX man pages that dig very deeply into each of the subjects mentioned in this book. As an overview book this was not the intention of the author anyway. This is meant as an overview book only that mentions the important details. You will not find many examples in this book (if any). This book is not meant for beginners or for learning the subject of UNIX system administration. If you want to learn this I recommend the big edition of this book as a good starting point.
I especially liked the following about this book:
- The different options for the UNIX derivates (Red Had Linux 8.0, Suse 8.1, Solaris 8 and 9, Free BSD 4.7, AIX 5 and HP-UX 11) can be found next to each other, this is really helpful if you work with more than one version of UNIX at a time
- Not only the commands the but configuration files and the device files on the platforms are covered
- The coverage of commands is surprisingly big (e.g. I did not expect DHCP configuration instructions in the book)
"Essential system admin pocket reference" covers some of the GNU commands. Unfortunately I am missing coverage for the following commands that are very helpful in problem analysis:
- lsof (list open files)
- truss / strace / trace (trace system calls)
- top (CPU and System Monitor)
This book has the perfect size for a reference book to carry around.