Red Hat Linux Network Toolkit Paperback – Apr 11 2000
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About the Author
About the Author Paul G. Sery is a UNIX systems administrator for Productive Systems, Inc., in support of the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is also the coauthor of Red Hat® Linux® in Small Business and Red Hat Linux For Dummies®.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The key points of setting up a network, DNS, file sharing, email, firewall, backups etc. are all explained and often have supporting scripts or files provided on the CDs. If you are using any flavor of Linux, this book is good. If you are using Redhat (a version is included on a CD with the book), then it is excellent (Redhat has a few file structure differences that are clearly addressed).
The book is organized well too. The first 3 chapters step through installing Linux, connecting a Windows PC and troubleshooting in a way that you are virtually guaranteed to have a network running without fail. It is very cool to have accomplished setting up a network within such a short time. The remainder of the book goes into more detail of various aspects of network/Linux services in order to expand upon the basic network that was built. By the end of the book, I had a fully functional network with all the services I could use. This book was an excellent investment!
Otherwise I find this book pretty good for a beginning understanding of Linux networking.
I made use of a number of the scripts that came on the CD. Being a professional programmer, though, I automatically distrusted them, so I was careful to preserve any scripts already installed on my system by copying them to backup files. Then I reviewed the scripts supplied by Mr. Sery. There are some errors in his scripts for DNS. I believe (without proof) that some of the named scripts supplied are actually for BIND-4 not BIND-8. You cannot have comments in some of the named scripts. They did need changing for my particular system in order to run without error. I heavily modified and tested Mr. Sery's scripts (with the help of 2 other books!) before being satisfied with them. Part of my testing included checks of /var/log/messages to see if named was complaining about the scripts. His scripts, in much changes form, are what I have been running very satisfactorily for about 2 months now.
Mr. Sery has a web site containing errata for this book. I suggest checking the errata before implementing his scripts or any of the examples in the book. I emailed my comments on this book to Mr. Sery some time ago, and he did not reply. This is unusual, most book authors will gladly respond to *polite*, *professional* queries from buyers of their books.
Large portions of the book are devoted to dull stuff such as installing a Red Hat distribution and backup considerations, rather than networking itself. You can find installation advice from other sources. (I admit installing Red Hat Linux is a very tough job to do.) Also please note that the book focuses on Red Hat 6.1. At this time Red Hat 6.2 is the most recent release.
If you have an Offical Red Hat product installed that you are currently entitled to support for from Red Hat, be careful what you install from Mr. Sery's Publisher's Edition of Red Hat Linux. You may not be able to get support for Publisher's Edition packages.
Good points about the book -- it walks the user through networking setup. This is what made the book worth buying for me. This book is like a very small scale Rand McNally road map to networking. I had to get detail stuff from other sources (the detail stuff being equivalent a U. S. Geological Survey map). There are a lot of diagrams and some screen shots. The supplied scripts are valuable guides for proper coding of arcane stuff but contain errors you will have to debug. The book Red Hat Linux 6 Unleashed by Pitts et al actually has a more useful discussion of coding named scripts (even though I severely criticized this book in a separate review.)
If you have a home network containing one Linux machine that you would like to connect to Windows machines, do get this book plus the O'Reilly book Using Samba. Read the Samba book first and closely follow its advice. (But remember Windows 2000 has been released and Milennium Edition is around the corner, and the two may outdate the Samba book fast.) If you have a bunch of Linux boxes you want to network, do get this book but expect to need other books as well.
Of course Mr. Sery is overlooking a small fact -- most home users don't have the money or knowhow to set up a standalone firewall computer, quite separate from their personal work machines.
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