Book Review: Linux System Administration – A User’s Guide

So, you are a Windows user or a not so Unix-oriented person who wants to master the art of administration? Then “Linux System Administration – A User’s Guide” book may be just right for you. And if you are already an admin working somewhere, we are sure you will find in this book something you did not know yet. Read more to see what is included in this comprehensive guide to Linux administration.The book is written by Marcel Gagne, author of the popular LinuxJournal column “Cooking with Linux”. It is written in a simplistic way, which is surely very helpful to understand the inner workings of administration.

The book starts with explaining how to use a unix system in general and only a bit later in the book you will be presented more deeper and advanced techniques. You will learn to how to admin users, groups, security, configuring backups, runlevels, X, CUPS, remote display, samba, kernel, ppp, mailing lists, installing new software and much more. You will find guides to help you get started with Apache, PostgreSQL, Perl and other popular software applications.

The networking explanation about terms regarding BIND, netmask, routing etc and also how to… discover if you got hacked or not is greatly enjoyable. The author does not get into great deal of detail, but exactly because analyzing all these topics into depth would probably take more than a dozen books, the author only gives a good starting point for each and every topic a soon-to-be-advanced Linux person would need to know. For example, you will learn how to configure a firewall, but that does not mean that you will be an expert on firewalling overnight. That is not the aim of the book.

This book is a very good all-in-one starting point. The final goal of the book is mostly how to teach you how to build a network with full internet access, mail, security, etc., in a small to medium sized company, or even in your own house. It even includes two chapters called “proof of concept” where you will see an Intranet built step by step.

For what it is written to be, a comprehensive all-around intro/guide regarding Linux administration that is, I can’t spot anything wrong in this book. Maybe the author could have gone into more depth on how to apply patches into the kernel and how to load modules manually – that would surely have been desirable. But other than that, this book is a must read by any Linux user – from professionals coming from other platforms who want to migrate their servers onto Linux platforms to just simple Windows users who want to switch and begin mastering Linux. And if you are dreaming about becoming a Unix admin one day, this book should be your first book in your journey towards capturing and understanding the knowledge needed to perform in this demanding profession.

Overall: 9.5 / 10

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