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Reviewed by Major Keary
An Australian production, Pro Linux System Administration is the work of James Turnbull, Peter Lieverdink, and Dennis Matotek (all Oz notables on the Linux scene). It is a very big book (1052 pp.), which—along with the term Pro in the title—might discourage users who feel they don't have sufficient knowledge. The primary audience is users who are running a 'system' (a set-up that involves two or more computers on a network involving print sharing and common access to the Internet) that uses a Microsoft Windows operating system. The book sets out to explain the FOSS (free open source software) alternative, which includes the Linux operating system.
The book is not intended for novices or single-desktop users, but does not expect the reader to have more than a basic knowledge of an operating system, such as MS Windows. The authors explain:
We wrote Pro Linux System Administration to help small and medium-sized businesses break the shackles of commercial software and to show how easy it is to implement free software alternatives. In this book we demonstrate how Linux and open source software helps business better control their technical direction and reduce their costs.
No special background is required, and one does not even have to be Linux-literate: Pro Linux System Administration walks the reader through a Linux installation, including all the software necessary for networking.
There is no padding here—the book is large because it addresses in detail all the significant aspects of Linux system administration. Like Goldilock's porridge, the balance is just right; on the one hand it avoids patronising hand-holding and, on the other hand, it does not drown the reader in techspeak. Pro Linux System Administration is not for professional Linux system administrators, but is aimed at providing professional-level 'sysadmin' skills using open source software. In their introduction the authors say,
This book is not about running your business; it is about running the computer systems that will support your business by helping you manage the information flow that is unique to your enterprise.
E-mail, web, and file servers as well as desktop computers and printers are essential tools for business. Open source software gives small businesses the opportunity to turn those tools into an efficient business system, not just a jumble of techno-tools.
Pro Linux System Administration uses a tutorial-style to present a thorough, well-written coverage of the installation and application of free open-source software required for professional-level system administration under Linux. The text is well-supported by example code, graphics, and screen-shots, and there are plenty of references to further resources. Exceptional value. Highly recommended.
Turnbull, Lieverdink, and Matotek: Pro Linux System Administration
Published by Apress, 1 pp., RRP AU$ 79.95
The Australian distributor is Woodslane <www.woodslane.com.au>