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Absolute OpenBSD: UNIX for the Practical Paranoid Paperback – Jun 11 2003

4.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (June 11 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1886411999
  • ISBN-13: 978-1886411999
  • Product Dimensions: 18.7 x 2.6 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 880 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,005,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Michael W. Lucas is a network/security engineer who keeps getting stuck with network problems nobody else wants to touch. He is the author of the critically acclaimedAbsolute FreeBSD,Absolute OpenBSD,Cisco Routers for the Desperate, andPGP & GPG, all from No Starch Press.

Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
I am a Sys Admin with 7 years UNIX experience (Solaris 2.6-9, DG-UX, SCO Unixware/Openserver, Red Hat Linux4-Ent3, Nokia IPSO) and have started to move into the BSD realm over the last year. I have always had an interest in OpenBSD because of the security first attitude and I started using FreeBSD on several servers last year.

Now I find myself with several sparc64 machines with nothing to do. Looking over my network, I see that I can use a bridge with pf enabled in a couple of places as well as a Load Balancer or two. So in comes OpenBSD.

This book was a pleasure to read and reference while getting the OpenBSD boxen in line. It covers the basics of installing, upgrading, patching, and other Sys Admin tasks. It also has three chapters on pf (the firewall for openbsd) which is a major strength of this os.
It was a great intro and fun read (my wife thinks I am disturbed for reading it at the pool :-), while then turning to the OpenBSD FAQ for more insight.

I have become a rabid fan of OpenBSD and see it having a larger role in future deployments of mine.
If you are new to OpenBSD with some Unix-type background, this is the book you need to get started with little fuss.
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Format: Paperback
Before reading this book, I had tried out OpenBSD a little, but I was left with many questions, and online documentation can be a bit intimidating at times. So when I found this book at the bookstore, I was thrilled. I am happy to say that this book really did live up to expectation.
The intended audience of this book were people who knew there way around Unix and Linux. One need not be a veteran user, but as the author points out, you are expected to know basic command line stuff. If you are there, you will find this book to be a very easy going, yet thorough introduction to OpenBSD.
This book walks you all the way through the origins of BSD, through installation (an excellent section of the book), to usage, compiling kernels, and so on. You get a well-rounded coverage of a very interesting operating system.
I also really like the author's style of writing. On the one hand, you get a genuine sense of professionalism, but on the other hand, he cracks some good jokes throughout. If you are a system admin of any sort, you will certainly appreciate the humor.
In closing, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who's had some experience with Unix and Linux. OpenBSD is a operating system few have tried, but I think after reading this book, you will definitely want to go out and try it yourself. The book is definitely time and money well spent.
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Format: Paperback
OpenBSD is lauded for its security features -- this is THE OS to use for serious firewalls or secure web servers and the like. However, it is small and obscure compared to the better known, more popular FreeBSD, and of course there are 10 Linux users for every 1 person who has even heard of OpenBSD.
Until now, installing and using OpenBSD required reading numerous man pages and online FAQs and tutorials. OpenBSD's documentation is pretty good, but for the average person who just wants to try it out, it's an awful lot to wade through, with few navigational aids available. And the OpenBSD mailing lists are notoriously unforgiving of anyone who asks questions without having read every pertinent document first.
"Absolute OpenBSD" is just what this OS needed to make it more accessible to a wider user base. It takes you step by step through installation, configuration, and implementation, and then covers a number of more advanced topics, including no less than three very comprehensive chapters devoted to pf, OpenBSD's own packet filtering program. (OpenBSD uses this instead of ipchains or iptables, which is what you will find on other BSDs or Linux.) It tells you what every service you might want to run (or not) is, and where they are found and how to configure them. It goes through the contents of OpenBSD's /etc directory, file by file.
The author has a very straightforward yet humorous writing style, and he neither talks down to the reader nor assumes that you are a SysAdmin and networking god. He does assume that you have some familiarity with UNIX-style OSs and basic UNIX/Linux commands.
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Format: Paperback
Six months ago I was happy to read Michael Lucas' "Absolute BSD," and today I'm glad I read "Absolute OpenBSD." This author knows just what to cover, and to what detail. To test the book's relevance I bought an OpenBSD 3.3 CD-ROM set and installed it, following Lucas' directions. I tried many of the procedures in the book, and found Lucas' instructions to be accurate on the whole. (Right now I'm rebuilding a system to incorporate a security patch that needs certain static binaries to be recompiled from source.)

Lucas provides the background and skills needed to get a working OpenBSD system. Although some of the most basic UNIX-type material appears by necessity in both "Absolute" books (these are both BSDs!), Lucas knows where each OS' strength lies. In his FreeBSD book, he spends more time on general purpose server services. Web, FTP, email, DNS, etc. all get their own chapters. In this OpenBSD book, Lucas devotes multiple chapters to topics that matter most to OpenBSD users -- security and packet filtering. While lots of people run Web, etc. on OpenBSD platforms, OpenBSD offers unique features in its systrace system call access control and PF packet filtering tools. Beyond these OpenBSD strengths, Lucas gives plenty of coverage to the routine yet crucial system administration tasks of adding and removing applications, and upgrading and patching the OS itself.

On the downside, some have commented on "rough editing." While the book has some typos, I didn't find them all that distracting. Beware p. 344, though -- I think "tag=OPENBSD3_2" should read "tag=OPENBSD_3_2". (This is subtle but could be important.) I also found the description of network layers in ch 8 to be perplexing.
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