Book Review

The iPhone is an internet-connected multimedia smartphone. Chances are if you own an iPhone (or iPod) , you long to discover its hackability. And a new book from O’Reilly iPhone Hacks can help you do just that. This book covers over 100 tips & tools for unlocking the power of your iPhone / iPod touch. With this book you can pushing the iPhone and iPod touch beyond their limits.
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In a few short years, the Linux operating system has gone from a hobbyist’s power tool to a highly usable, mainstream choice. The most popular version of Linux these days is called Ubuntu. Ubuntu’s rise to power has been rapid, historic and well-deserved. It’s the best Linux distribution ever, still most people only use a fraction of its power.

In Ubuntu Kung Fu: Tips, Tricks, Hints, and Hacks (Pragmatic Bookshelf), award-winning Linux author Keir Thomas gets down and dirty with Ubuntu to provide over 300 concise tips that enhance productivity, avoid annoyances, and simply get the most from Ubuntu. You’ll find many unique tips here that can’t be found anywhere else. You’ll also get a crash course in Ubuntu’s flavor of system administration.

Whether you’re new to Linux or an old hand, you’ll find tips to make your day easier.

Ubuntu builds on a solid base of Debian Linux to create an award-winning operating system that’s light-years ahead of its competitors. Ubuntu consistently tops lists of the most popular Linuxes amongst professionals and enthusiasts; Dell recently embraced Ubuntu in its product lines after a user survey indicated overwhelming public support.

Ubuntu Kung Fu provides hints, hacks, tweaks and tricks for every level of user. Its 300+ concise tips utilize and exploit hidden or lesser-known features to boost day-to-day productivity, and let you have more fun using Ubuntu.

You’ll also find tips on tweaking Ubuntu, wrangling the system into shape, optimizing, enhancing security, and lots more. Learn what extraordinary things can be done with Ubuntu.

If you’re migrating from Windows or Mac OS X, this book is for you. These tips have one aim — to produce results as quickly as possible, in an environment where you can polish your skills as you read.

This is the Linux book for the rest of us.

About author

Keir Thomas is an award-winning author who has been writing about Linux, operating systems and computer hardware for more than a decade. Formerly a computer magazine journalist and editor, working on titles such as Linux User and Developer, Linux Magazine and PC Utilities, his other book titles include Beginning Ubuntu Linux, Third Edition; Beginning Fedora Linux; and Beginning SUSE Linux, Second Edition.

Book Info

  • Title: Ubuntu Kung Fu
  • Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf
  • Author: Keir Thomas
  • ISBN: 9781934356227, 400 pages, $34.95 USD, £21.99 GBP
  • Order Info: order@oreilly.com // 1-800-998-9938 // 1-707-827-7000
  • Support nixCraft order “Ubuntu Kung Fu” book online from Amazon

Nagios is a popular open source computer system and network monitoring application software. You can easily monitor all your hosts, network equipment and services. It can send alert when things go wrong and again when they get better.

The convenience and reliability that monitoring programs offer system administrators is astounding. Whether at home, commuting, or on vacation, admins can continuously monitor their networks, learning of issues long before they become catastrophes.

Nagios, the most popular open source solution for system and network monitoring, is extremely robust, but it’s also intensely complex. This eagerly anticipated revision of the highly acclaimed Nagios: System and Network Monitoring, has been updated to address Nagios 3.0 and will help readers take full advantage of the many powerful features of the new version. Ethan Galstad, the main developer of Nagios, called the first edition of Nagios “incredibly detailed.” He went on to say, “I don’t think I could have gone into that much detail if I wrote a book myself.”

Nagios, which runs on Linux and most *nix variants, can be configured to continuously monitor network services such as SMTP, POP3, HTTP, NNTP, SSH, and FTP. It can also supervise host resources (processor load, disk and memory usage, running processes, log files, and so on) and environmental factors, such as temperature and humidity. Readers of Nagios learn how to:

  • Install and configure the Nagios core, all standard plugins, and selected third-party plugins
  • Configure the notification system
  • Program event handlers to take automatic action when trouble occurs
  • Write Perl plugins to customize Nagios for unique system needs
  • Quickly understand Nagios data using graphing and visualization tools
  • Monitor Windows servers, SAP systems, and databases

This dense, all-inclusive guide to Nagios also contains a chapter that highlights the differences between Nagios versions 2 and 3 and gives practical migration and compatibility tips. Nagios, 2nd Edition is a key resource for any system and network administrator and will ease the pain of network monitoring migraines in no time.

Wolfgang Barth has written several books for professional network administrators, including The Firewall Book (Suse Press), Network Analysis (Suse Press), and Backup Solutions with Linux (Open Source Press). He is a professional system administrator with considerable experience using Nagios.

Book Info

  • Title: Nagios: System and Network Monitoring, 2nd Edition
  • Author: Wolfgang Barth
  • Pub Date: October 2008, 720 pp
  • ISBN 9781593271794, $59.95 USD
  • Download free chapter 18: “NagVis” (PDF)
  • Order info: order@oreilly.com // 1-800-998-9938 // 1-707-827-7000
  • Support nixCraft: Order Nagios: System and Network Monitoring from Amazon.

Mac OS X is the successor to the original Mac OS, which had been Apple’s primary operating system since 1984. Unlike its predecessors, Mac OS X is a Unix-based operating system built on technology that had been developed at NeXT through the second half of the 1980s until Apple purchased the company in early 1996.
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A debugger is a computer program that is used to test and debug other programs. Both sys admin and developers may use debugger to examine code or halt instructions when specific conditions are encountered using an instruction set simulator (ISS).

The GNU Debugger (GDB) is used as debugger for the GNU software. It is a portable debugger that runs on many Unix-like systems and works for many programming languages, including Ada, C, and C++.

Debugging, the demanding process of finding and fixing programming errors, is fundamental to successful software development. But even many experienced programmers find debugging a challenge.

The Art of Debugging with GDB, DDD, and Eclipse (No Starch Press, September 2008, 280 pp, ISBN 9781593271749) teaches readers how to effectively use the three most popular open source debugging tools:

  • GDB
  • DDD
  • Eclipse

The text-command based GDB is included with most Linux distributions. DDD is a popular GUI front end for GDB, while Eclipse provides a complete integrated development environment.

In the book, readers learn how to:

  • Inspect variables and data structures
  • Understand segmentation faults and core dumps
  • Use features like catchpoints, convenience variables, and artificial arrays
  • Avoid common debugging pitfalls
  • Prevent errors in the first place by making the best usage of editors, compilers, and static code checkers

The book also includes coverage of advanced topics like thread, client-server, GUI, and parallel programming. Whether readers dread the thought of debugging programs or simply want to improve their current debugging efforts, they’ll find a valuable ally in The Art of Debugging with GDB, DDD, and Eclipse.

The book is written by Norman Matloff – a computer science professor at UC Davis and Peter Jay Salzman who is currently a programmer with a Wall Street financial firm. The authors are well-known for their popular online debugging tutorials, and a printed book is long overdue.

The Art of Debugging offers readers specific advice for debugging with each tool and explains general debugging strategies. Real world examples of coding errors help to clarify the authors’ guiding principles, and readers will quickly understand why their programs crash or throw exceptions.

Book Information

  • Publisher: No Starch Press
  • Pub date: September 2008, 280 pp
  • ISBN: 9781593271749
  • Price: $39.95 USD
  • Order Info: order@oreilly.com / 1-800-998-9938 / 1-707-827-7000 / Oreilly web store
  • Support nixcraft: Order book from Amazon

Apple has released 230 page guide for securing and safeguarding Mac OS X system from the hackers and crackers. The Security Configuration Guides provide an overview of features in Mac OS X that can be used to enhance security, known as hardening your computer. Using this guide you can:

=> Lock down the system.
=> Protect Mac OS x from external attackers.
=> Avoid unauthorized access
=> Secure Mac by hardening your computer.
=> Mac OS X security and much more.

However, guide is heavily depend upon shell prompt (read as terminal) to perform recommended tasks. So you need to have some basic knowledge of terminal. From the Apple site:

Certain instructions in the guides are complex, and deviation could result in serious adverse effects on the computer and its security. The guides should only be used by experienced Mac OS X users, and any changes made to your settings should be thoroughly tested.

Download Mac OS X Security Configuration Guides

Download guide for Mac OS X v10.5 (Leopard) / Mac OS X v10.4 (Tiger) / Mac OS X v10.3 (Panther):

Linux networking cookbook is a book for a seasoned Linux network administrator. The book attempts to describe day-to-day networking administration, maintenance and advanced issues commonly faced by us. Book covers wild verity of topics or so called recipes for Linux networking such as:

=> Building Custom Gateways using Soekris 4521 embedded board
=> Linux Firewall
=> Linux based wireless access point
=> Building a VoIP servr with Asterisk
=> Linux Routing
=> Secure remote administration with OpenSSH
=> Setting up VPNs with OpenVPN and PPTP VPN server

Book Review: Linux Networking Cookbook

=> Linux IPv6 Configurations
=> Single sign-on with Samba for nixed Linux/Windows LANs
=> Setting up centralized network directory with OpenLDAP
=> Network Monitoring with Nagios
=> Network Monitoring with MRTG
=> Setting up Linux Dial up server
=> Setting up central Linux network installation server for on demand os reload and much more

I must say Carla has done an astonishing work to put together Linux networking cookbook.

This is not your Linux networking from scratch guide. Linux networking cookbook is a task-oriented book intended to offer solutions to the daily Linux networking problems and goals the Linux networking admin faces. You may be aware of that Linux networking is a complex subject. So if you need one central reference book along with examples, this book is a must for you. Each small how to (read as recipe) comes with a nice example and sample configuration / commands to carry out a task. I’m sure this book will save your precious time and energy.

Summary

Sure you will find most of the information mentioned in this book throughout mailing lists, forums, blogs, and discussion groups but not in one handy guide. Overall, a great book that touches all important Linux networking aspects. This book is highly recommended to all Linux networking admins / MCSEs / RHCEs / UNIX admins:

Pros:

    + Easy of use – Gain new skills
    + Time saving tips
    + Enhance your knowledge
    + Practical advice with tons of working examples

Cons:

     N/A
=> Book title: Linux Networking Cookbook (Linux) [ILLUSTRATED] (Paperback)
=> Author: Carla Schroder
=> Publisher: O’Reilly Media, Inc.
=> Pub Date: November 26, 2007
=> ISBN: ISBN-10: 0596102488 / ISBN-13: 978-0596102487
=> Pages: 638 pages
=> Level of experience needed: New – Intermediate user
=> Who will find useful: UNIX/Linux network admin / IDC Tech support staff
=> Additional goodies included (such as CDROM) : No
=> Book ratings: 4/5
=> Purchase online @ Amazon

Shell Script Pearls is designed to provide information about shell scripting. The book is collection with all tips and code sample you need to learn about shell scripting. Author has clearly demonstrated unique tools and script samples that go beyond the level of basic scripting. The book is useful for geeks, hackers, sys admin and advanced users. The book doesn’t explain basic programming structure and syntax. If you are the beginner get some basic book or start with our own tutorial.

You will find lots of useful collection of a shell scripts and practical examples that can be used in day today life.

Chapter 1: Shell script Debugging – You learn about manual and automated shell scripting debug techniques.

Book Review: Shell Script Pearls

Chapter 2: Standard Functions Library – You will learn how to create a library for common task.

Chapter 3: Date and time Manipulation – Many administrative tasks such as backup heavily depends upon date and time. This chapter explains date and time calculations.

Chapter 4: Comparison and tests – Learn how to write and use the comparison and test using conditional statements and loops.

Chapter 5: Accepting Command Line Options and Parameters – Learn how to pass optional parameters to you script to provide more customization.

Chapter 6: Testing Variables and Assigning Defaults – Learn about setting default variables or input parameters for a script. This will help you write customized and configurable shell script.

Chapter 7: Indirect Reference Variables – Learn how create indirect variable names (ability to generate variable names on fly)

Chapter 8: Shell process tree – You will learn about creating a shell process tree script for the currently running or all process.

Chapter 9: Data Redirection – If you get confused with output redirection or I/O redirection, this chapter provides the better understanding about redirection.

Chapter 10: Piping Input to read – Learn about pipes and related gotcha that came across while writing a portable script.

Chapter 11: Math from the shell – Learn how to use expr, bc and other tools to perform mathematical calculations from a shell.

Chapter 12: Cron – Learn how to create complex cron jobs and schedule jobs.
Chapter 13: Self-Linked Scripts – This is one my favorite technique – for example a shell script called backup can be called in several different names to make a backup to ftp server, tape or another server.

Chapter 14: Throttling Parallel Processes – Learn how to run a shell script more efficiently in large multi-user environments.

Chapter 15: Command Line Editing and History – Learn how to set various command line editing mode to save time.

Chapter 16: Scripting from the command line – Learn how to write quick and dirty one liners from a command prompt.

Chapter 17: Automating User Input with expect – Learn how to provide password / username and other parameters using expect tool.

Chapter 18: User Input Timeout – Learn how to write more advanced scripts. If the user doesn’t provide input in a specified time the script should continue running with a default input.

Chapter 19: Instant keyboard Response – Learn how to write a key press detection shell script. For example detect keys pressed by end user and take an action.

Chapter 20: Directory Copying – Learn how to copy all sort of files using various tools.

Chapter 21 and 22: A brief tour of the X Display environment – Learn basic usage of X windows system.

Chapter 23: Command line email attachments – Learn how to send emails from a command line.

Chapter 24: Text processing one – liners: Learn basic usage of common tools such as awk, expr, sed and many others.

Chapter 25: Editing Files in Place – Learn how to use ed to edit text file and perform search and replace operations.

Chapter 26 to 42 provides advanced code examples and techniques such as:

  • Reading variables from a flat text file
  • Automating ftp task
  • Automating email with procmail
  • Automating RCS
  • Writing a process management
  • Running process from inittab file
  • Password aging notification
  • System snapshots
  • Rotating log files etc

Summery

You will find shell man pages difficult to use and w/ examples. Ron has done good job explaining and providing valuable shell script code. You can use samples in your own projects. I recommend this book for every Linux / UNIX geek and System Administrator.

  • Book title: Shell Script Pearls (Paperback)
  • Author: Ron Peters
  • Publisher: 16 Ton Press
  • Pub Date: 11-May-2007
  • ISBN 10:0615141056
  • Pages: 320
  • Level of experience needed: Intermediate Linux / UNIX sys admin
  • Who will find useful: Linux/UNIX sys admin / Geeks
  • Additional goodies included (such as CDROM) …? : No
  • Ratings : 4/5
  • Purchase online @ Amazon

FreeBSD is one of the fastest, secure and widely UNIX-like operating system. Some of the biggest internet sites on earth powered by FreeBSD like Yahoo. I’ve been using FreeBSD in production environments since 1998. People often ask me about FreeBSD books. So the main aim of this post is to document all free resources, books and recommended books.

List of Free FreeBSD books and Guides

Following books are available online in HTML or PDF format free of charge.

FreeBSD Handbook

This is the number 1 book from freebsd documentation team. This handbook covers the installation and day to day use of FreeBSD 5.5-RELEASE and FreeBSD 6.2-RELEASE. All new FreeBSD admin and users will find this book quite useful. It covers installation, introduction to FreeBSD, UNIX concepts, networking and many more topics. A must have for all FreeBSD users.

The Complete FreeBSD

Greg Lehey’s The Complete FreeBSD is ultimate book if you would like to learn FreeBSD on your home or business computer. It is an eminently practical guidebook that explains not only how to get a computer up and running with the FreeBSD operating system, but also how to turn it into a highly functional and secure server that can host large numbers of users and disks, support remote access, and provide web service, mail service, and other key parts of the Internet infrastructure.

Html Version (N/A) | Download tar ball/pdf version [size 5M ] | Author website

A Comprehensive Guide to FreeBSD

As name suggests it is an absolute beginners guide to FreeBSD os.This book is designed for the new user and new system administrator of FreeBSD. This was written to help those who have no real UNIX background easily get started using FreeBSD. No matter what application, whether as a desktop system, or installed as a Internet server, FreeBSD has the power and the flexibility required to meet even the most demanding situations.

Other online resources

  1. Frequently Asked Questions – for FreeBSD 4.X, 5.X, and 6.X
  2. The FreeBSD Diary – a collection of how-to guides for FreeBSD operating system.
  3. FreeBSD howtos – Documentation for FreeBSD on how to set up all kinds of services and daemons in easy step-by-step documents.
  4. FreeBSD Desktop Guide – An in-depth guide to getting started installing and using FreeBSD as a client (desktop) OS!
  5. FreeBSD articles – from FreeBSD project.
  6. BSD Guides – Lots of guides for FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, & Mac OS X

Books from O’reilly and other publishers

Nothing beats well written books. Following are my personal recommendation:

  • Building an Internet Server with FreeBSD 6 : “Building an Internet Server with FreeBSD 6” is the ultimate resource on the installation and configuration of open source server software with FreeBSD 6. This book contains step-by-step guides on building some of the most popular and powerful server applications available. To name a few: Apache HTTP (webserver), Courier-IMAP (IMAP server), CUPS (print server), BIND (DNS server), MySQL (database server), Postfix (mail server), and more. This book is an essential resource for new and experienced users deploying Internet servers with FreeBSD.
  • Absolute BSD : Your guide to FreeBSD,the powerful, flexible, and cost-effective UNIX-based operating system. Includes coverage of installation, networking, add-on software, security, network services, system performance, kernel tweaking, file systems, SCSI & RAID configurations, SMP, upgrading, monitoring, crash debugging, BSD in the office, and emulating other OSs. Michael Lucas is a FreeBSD committer.
  • BSD Hacks : Looking for a unique set of practical tips, tricks, and tools for administrators and power users of BSD systems? From hacks to customize the user environment to networking, securing the system, and optimization, BSD Hacks takes a creative approach to saving time and accomplishing more with fewer resources. If you want more than the average BSD user–to explore and experiment, unearth shortcuts, create useful tools–this book is a must-have.
  • Mastering FreeBSD and OpenBSD Security : Mastering FreeBSD and OpenBSD Security is the only book currently on the market devoted completely to BSD security. Dozens of practical examples help administrators of all stripes select, configure, and deploy these operating systems. By describing security solutions for real-life scenarios, this convenient guide lets administrators push their server’s security to the next level.

Hopefully, with these resources you will be able to master FreeBSD. If you know any other good resources or books, please add them in comments!

Linux System Administration is a book for a seasoned Linux or UNIX administrator. The book attempts to describe day-to-day administration, maintenance and advanced issues commonly faced by Linux system administrator. Book covers wild verity of topics.
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