Sams Publishing sent us in “UNIX Unleashed“, Fourth Edition, by Robin Anderson and Andy Johnston. Read further, for our review of this very interesting 1150-page book.For starters, the book is huge. Heavy. But this also means that the book has a lot of information in it.
The book starts with the “basic” operation, explaining how to… compile your kernel, how to administer users, filesystems, networks etc. As you can easily understand, this book is clearly not for newbies. It is for people who are already pretty familiar with Unix and Linux. If you are able to use Red Hat Linux, Debian, FreeBSD with some ease, even if you do not consider yourself a Unix wiz, then this book should be fully comprehensible. If you occasionally have trouble using even… Lycoris or Mandrake, you better check elsewhere.
The book will introduce you to the inner workings of Unix, how it really works, and most importantly, how you can administer it. You will learn how to partition and install both Red Hat and Solaris, learn to put up a small network, printing, file sharing, mail, apache, make backups and use the “hidden” features of X11. You will learn to write and use Cron scripts, databases, how to secure and detect hackers, and even a whole chapter how to interact with other administrators and users!
I am very satisfied by this book’s depth, level and way of writting and explaining things. You will learn how things are working from the inside out.
There is only a single thing that I found dissapointing with the book: It is centralizing itself on Solaris and Red Hat, without talking about FreeBSD or BSD in detail. In my opinion, this is a huge left-out, as BSD is one of the two big Unix implementations surviving today and a lot of Unices are based on it like IRIX, QNX, OSX, BSDi, all the free BSDs and more. To be more precise, BSD had the right to be in this book, in the place of Linux (in case there was not enough space for all), as Linux is not officially a “Unix”, while BSD is.
Other than that, I can’t spot problems with this book. If you are into Solaris and/or Linux, this is definately the book you need to become that Unix wiz you were always dreaming about. Highly recommended. On the other hand, if you are mostly a BSD person, you might want to look at the “FreeBSD Unleashed” book.
Overall: 8.5 / 10
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I seen a second hand copy of the third edition, and I realise theres possibly alot of new info in the current edition, but do you know if it covers most of what you mentioned?
I do not have the Third Edition, so I do not know about the changes made since then. I recommend you either get to Amazon and check the whole listing of chapters and then compare with the third edition, or you buy the Fourth Edition altogether.
I would think that a book entitled UNIX Unleashed would cover the major System V flavors as well as BSD. My list would include HP-UX, Solaris, AIX, and BSD. If the book is so heavily slanted toward Solaris and Linux, I would have come up with a new title for the book something more descriptive of the books content. Linux and Solaris Unleashed perhaps? Just some thoughts.
Proud HP-UX Administrator
Proud BeOS User
For those wondering, the Fourth edition of UU is *all* new content. So getting UU3 will not get you anything that is in the edition reviewed here.
I remember looking on some “Unix unleashed” book, don’t remember edition (it was about 4 years ago) – it was a big disapointment. So far “… unleashed” books are on the bottom of my list – I have yet to see a good one. Usually they are big, pretending to cover it all but I’ve seen enough incorrect statements there to trust the content.
When you look on “… unleashed” think about “Dog unleashed” – it runs away, mates with whatever it find, gets some fleas and you need to get lots of time and effort to bring it back under control. That’s what may happen with your Unix box if your sysadmin uses this book.
I’d recommend “Unix System Administrator handbook” by gang of 4 instead.