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Python for Unix and Linux System Administration [Paperback]

Noah Gift , Jeremy M. Jones

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Price: CDN$ 32.92 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Sept. 1 2008 0596515820 978-0596515829 1

Python is an ideal language for solving problems, especially in Linux and Unix networks. With this pragmatic book, administrators can review various tasks that often occur in the management of these systems, and learn how Python can provide a more efficient and less painful way to handle them.

Each chapter in Python for Unix and Linux System Administration presents a particular administrative issue, such as concurrency or data backup, and presents Python solutions through hands-on examples. Once you finish this book, you'll be able to develop your own set of command-line utilities with Python to tackle a wide range of problems. Discover how this language can help you:

  • Read text files and extract information
  • Run tasks concurrently using the threading and forking options
  • Get information from one process to another using network facilities
  • Create clickable GUIs to handle large and complex utilities
  • Monitor large clusters of machines by interacting with SNMP programmatically
  • Master the IPython Interactive Python shell to replace or augment Bash, Korn, or Z-Shell
  • Integrate Cloud Computing into your infrastructure, and learn to write a Google App Engine Application
  • Solve unique data backup challenges with customized scripts
  • Interact with MySQL, SQLite, Oracle, Postgres, Django ORM, and SQLAlchemy

With this book, you'll learn how to package and deploy your Python applications and libraries, and write code that runs equally well on multiple Unix platforms. You'll also learn about several Python-related technologies that will make your life much easier.


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Product Description

Book Description

Efficient Problem Solving with Python

About the Author

Noah Gift is the co-author of Python For Unix and Linux by O'Reilly. He is an author, speaker, consultant, and community leader, writing for publications such as IBM Developerworks, Red Hat Magazine, O'Reilly, and MacTech, and Manning.

His consulting company is Giftcs, LLC and it provides solutions for Python Development and Systems Engineering. His personal website is www.noahgift.com. Noah is also the former organizer for PyAtl, which is the Python User Group for Atlanta, GA. He has given presentations at PyCon and PyAtl.

He has a Master's degree in CIS from Cal State Los Angeles, B.S. in Nutritional Science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, is an Apple ACSA and LPI certified SysAdmin, as well as a Avid Certified Support Representative. He has worked at companies such as, Caltech, Disney Feature Animation, Sony Imageworks, and Turner Studios, and Weta Digital. You can see all of his film credits at IMBD.

As a teenager he was a freelance television editor for ABC Network News. While at Caltech he worked for the Nobel Prize Winning President as a Mac Expert, and at Disney and Sony worked on the first feature animated films for both companies: Chicken Little, and Surf's Up, respectively. Recently he has worked on Python development projects as diverse as writing an SNMP auto-discovery system, writing a Content Management System from scratch, creating a large scale Web 2.0/Social Networking Application in Django for Turner Studios, to writing IPhone applications that talk to Google App Engine. He is also involved in a new media journalism project, Spotlight on FOSS, that had a kickoff interview of Mark Shuttleworth.

He is currently co-authoring a book on Google App Engine and writing a large Google App Engine Exercise and Nutrition Tracking Application. Most recently, he works as a Python programmer for Weta Digital in New Zealand, which has one of the world's largest render farms/super computer sites.

In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife Leah, and their son Liam, and playing and composing piano music. He is also into exercising religiously, including running in and training for marathons, and blogging about it. When he gets a chance, he likes to write open source software. He is also interested in Artificial Intelligence research and software development.

Jeremy Jones is a software engineer/system administrator who works for Predictix. His weapon of choice is Python but he has done plenty of shell and Perl and a touch of Java.

He is the author of the open source projects Munkware, a multiproducer/multiconsumer, transactional, and persistent queuing mechanism, ediplex, an EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) parsing engine, and podgrabber a podcast downloader. All three projects were written in the Python language.

Jeremy spends his spare time enjoying his family and doing a little writing. He lives in Conyers, Georgia, just east of Atlanta, with his wife, Debra and his two children, Zane and Justus.


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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Title should be "Learning Python..." Oct. 21 2008
By Richard T. Harding - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As a sysadmin and avid Python user I was looking forward to all the cool tricks/hacks I'd pick up from this book. Once I got it, I was a bit disappointed. The title should be "Learning Python for System Admins". It's very much an into to Python itself, and not anything close to a "cookbook" I was expecting. It covers a ton of topics, but all without much depth. It might be useful to some, but definitely not what I was looking for.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book with some typos March 12 2009
By Eric Lake - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I recently got my hands on a copy of "Python for Unix and Linux System Administration". After reading it, I felt the time I've invested in reading it was well spent. The author introduced the reader to many different situations where python would help make their lives as system administrators easier, without confusing the reader with some complex forms or statements. My feeling is that this book is aimed at people who want to use Python to solve their problems quickly and efficiently, but only have a limited experience with the language - and the books fits that purpose well with its rather superficial approach that the reader can later extend later on with various available resources. It would only be fair that I too mention some of the shortcomings that I noticed while reading this book.

Pros:
1) The author introduces the reader to ways that Python can be used.
2) Most of the time there will be more than one way to accomplish a task. The author at times presents a scenario and showed the reader how to do the same task with different modules. This places the choice of which to use back where it belongs, with the reader.
3) The book has a website (most do these days) where the code examples can be downloaded. [...]

Cons:
1) More time was spent on iPython than was really needed.
2) The case of a word is important in Python. For instance "import Sys" and "import sys" are two completely different things. There were quite a few occasions where a module name was used as the first word in the sentence and because of that it was capitalized.
3) There was once instance that I saw where a script example had no indentation at all. Trying to run it would have resulted in complete failure.
4) It would have been nice if the script examples were named instead of leaving it to the reader to figure it out based on the imports used in another example.

When all is said and done I think I would recommend the book to others if I knew that they had at least some background with Python. And I would highly recommend that they check the addendum and errata pages.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could be better, but still useful Dec 18 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Flicking through the table of contents, there seems to be a lot of promise in Python for Unix and Linux System Administration. The book seems targeted specifically for Unix admins, touching on actual problems and providing actual solutions. On the face of it, it looks to be Programming Python with an OS-specific slant.

Unfortunately, the execution here just doesn't seem to be on a par with that of other O'Reilly books. There is useful information to be had in this text, to be sure, but it's at times difficult to extract.

Perhaps my view of this book is tainted by my recent experience with The Ruby Programming Language, one of the most enjoyable technical reference books I've ever encountered. I'll spare you the details (I have a full review on that product page), but rarely have I felt such joy in reading about code.

I do not feel such joy when slogging through Python for Unix and Linux System Administration. I get the impression, at times, that the author should have simply let the code speak for itself, and spared us his narration entirely.

For example, here is a snippet from Chapter 3, on text manipulation:

"The final file method that we will discuss for getting text out of a file is readlines(). Readlines() is not a typo, nor is it a cut-and-paste error from the previous example. Readlines() reads in all of the lines of a file. Well, that is almost true."

This text feels horribly labored to me. He's telling us what readlines() is not, and it takes him a while to tell us what it actually is. Also, note that Readlines() (with the capital "R") is not valid; despite its use in the beginning of a sentence, the author should always use the proper capitalization of the method to avoid confusion. Nitpick, perhaps, but this could catch somebody off guard.

Contrast this with the pydoc description of readlines():

"Call readline() repeatedly and return a list of the lines so read. The optional size argument, if given, is an approximate bound on the total number of bytes in the lines returned."

Clear, concise, and much more legible. When I want to know about readlines(), I want to know what it does and what it is, not what it *doesn't* do and *almost* is.

This is just an example. There are others, but I think you get the idea: it's not a book you'll want to curl up with in front of the fire for a pleasant read. Instead, this is a book that does have useful information in it, but you'll have to force yourself to dig it out.

The book does provide some useful examples for addressing specific problems, and if you have such a problem this might be exactly what you need. Do not mistake this for a cookbook, though; it's a lengthy tutorial with real world examples, not a tome of useful hacks that you will be constantly calling upon.

In short: a workable introduction to a variety of useful techniques, though lacking a bit in quality compared to other O'Reilly books. Unless you're really interested in some of the OS-specific topics covered in this book, the more general (and much more comprehensive) Programming Python will probably serve you better.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Got me hooked on Python March 23 2009
By skippylou - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I felt this was a much better book for me than two other Oreilly titles for picking up Python. That being said, I do believe having a background in another language (Perl/Bash/etc.) and being a Linux/*nix admin is required to get the most from it.

It gave great examples that made practical sense and covered a ton of topics.

My only knocks would be I wish the iPython chapter was not included and the final chapter "Pragmatic Examples" was extended.

If you have never used Perl, or another language, the intro section may not be enough to get you to follow along - that being said, most admins I'm sure have already been exposed to a language of some sort.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Covers right topics, writing could be better Sept. 23 2008
By Timothy Bower - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a sys-admin who has used Python, I couldn't wait for this text to come out. It certainly fills a need and contains useful insights on how to get the job done faster.

The writing could be better though. The conversational writing style causes the book to take a while to say simple things. It also rambles a bit. I've noticed a couple times that it introduces a topic, goes off on one or two tangents and then gets back to the original topic. I've also noticed more than a few grammar and spelling errors.

Because of the value of the material covered, it is still well worth reading.

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