Unlike a 1000+ page Unix/Linux admin guide that will take you hours to find the most basic thing, this text is easy to follow, read and find quick relevant information about the following set of topics:
- And most importantly, "Things to check"
The topic list is not that long and why should it be? If you are a part-time administrator, or you have a couple of Linux boxes at home, such as me, you do not need to spend hours figuring out how much disk space I have available, for example, or how you configure the Linux firewall. Don't make any mistake about it, the author explains each topic very well and thoroughly, but he has chosen a set of relevant topics to cover, rather "everything under the sun" approach like other texts.
The first chapter of this book covers the basic. Not the good old "what is Unix?" topic, but a quick chapter of "things to check". In about 20 or so pages, the authors teaches you how to find out everything you wanted to know about your system. One point that is made throughout the book is automation. Writing scripts that can save you time in the long run. If you are not a script writing person, then you are in luck. Every command, every procedure, every configuration, etc, is scripted by the author, and what's great is that all the scripts are included in the CD-ROM that comes with the text. Especially when the author is talking about Maintenance of your system, these scripts become very useful. Whether you are stuck with a number of systems that you need to administrator, or you are trying to make sense out of the Linux box you just have setup at home, system Maintenance is a big concern. Much of the text is dedicated to the topic of maintenance, and rightly so, updates, upgrades, installs, or status checks occupy most of the administrator's job. Scripting to the rescue! As I mentioned, automation is the key focus of this text, and there are scripts wherever possible to ease the task an administrator.
When was the last time you came across an administration book that did not cover the topic of Security? When was the last time that you actually read that chapter? You are in luck, since this book covers security rather quickly and to the point. Much of the guess work is taken away, and short sections cover File Security, System Security and Network Security. Network security, rightfully so, is covered more thoroughly. Right of the bat, the author suggests the use of SSH, and goes on by showing you how to turn off as many ports as possible. If you have only a couple of ports that are open, your job of securing becomes simpler. Simplicity is the key here. If your job is made simply, it does not mean that you are leaving things out, and this fact is demonstrated throughout the book.
I loved this book. In a couple of hundred pages, the author has covered 99% of what administrators do on a day to day basis. That 1% I can live without! Simple, to the point, focused and easy to read - not to mention the scripts that come with the text make this book a great buy.