reviews

Reviews

Book review: Using Samba, Third Edition by Gerald Carter, Jay Ts and Robert Eckstein

Dedicated to UNIX system managers, the book covers all there is to know about Samba (as of version 3.0.22), how it relates to Microsoft’s Active Directory networking (shares, accounts, printing) and to UNIX’s networking.

Samba itself started in 1991 as a reimplementation of SMB by Andrew Tridgell. The project is under the GNU GPL and now allows any POSIX system out there to behave as a Windows machine in pretty much any role it would play on a network: from Active Directory domain controller to simple client, with all kinds of shares: per user, per group, files, printers...

Book review: Linux Administration Handbook Second Edition by Evi Nemeth, Garth Snyder, Trent R. Hein, et al

In my geek career, I have been many things: DBA, programmer, help-desk, engineer, systems administrator. I have worked with VMS, MS-DOS, various flavors of UNIX, MS-Windows of all sorts, OS/2, and MPE/iX. I have had a wide and various and satisfying career.

I can tell you without reservation, systems administration was the hardest and most demanding of all those jobs.

Book review: Practical Subversion, Second Edition by Daniel Berlin and Garrett Rooney

Subversion is a modern free software Revision Control System (RCS) that the Subversion community’s developers have designed from the bottom up to be more efficient in form than CVS. Subversion has a structured architecture and has other notable advantages such as the ability to function efficiently with binary files and the relatively low cost of tagging and branching. Yet thankfully, Subversion still manages to maintain a workflow similar to CVS, thus potentially simplifying the learning curve.

Book review: Pro Open Source Mail: Building an Enterprise Mail Solution by Curtis Smith

If you want to build a realistic mail infrastructure with strengthened defenses against the highly selfish spammer, then Pro Open Source Mail: Building an Enterprise Mail Solution, written by Curtis Smith and published by Apress, provids a free software approach to get you there. Based on a Red Hat platform using well-known and reliable free software, this book offers a well-rounded recipe for success. If you want Webmail, Virus checking, mailing lists, content filtering and a host of other related services for your enterprise then this is most likely the book for you.

Book review: Open Source Security Tools: Practical Guide to Security by Tony Howlett

Back in my system administration days, which were pre-broadband I set up a home network with my link to the outside world being through an ISDN router. One of my co-workers came over to the house and I showed him my network, which consisted of Unix machines (Solaris, HP-UX, Linux) and Windows (NT & 98), and a Mac, to which he remarked, “You have all the cool toys, Frankie!”

Book review: Wicked Cool Java by Brian D. Eubanks

The range of Java related libraries and frameworks are immense. It is a challenge for motivated Java practitioners to keep in contact with this constantly varying and exponentially increasing landscape. Challenging oneself with the new freshens one’s own ideas and helps the everyday programmer or hobbyist to adopt the right pose and attitude to constant learning. Wicked Cool Java, code bits, open-source libraries, and project ideas authored by Brian D.

Book review: Bounty Hunters (Metaphors for Fair Intellectual Property Laws) by Greg London

Greg London is an author and a frequent contributor to the Creative Commons licensing mailing list. In Bounty Hunters, he attempts to reinvent the metaphors we use to talk about the ethics and law of copyright.

Bounty HuntersBounty Hunters

Book review: Design Concepts with Code: An Approach for Developers by Stanko Blatnik and Kelly Carey

A bit of a departure from our usual fare, Design Concepts with Code is an artistically focused book which talks about the problem of designing the look and feel of websites (or web applications). It’s free software friendly in that it focuses on code and standards rather than specific design applications.

Design Concepts with CodeDesign Concepts with Code

One message that came through very strongly was that if you rely too closely on the tools, they will stunt your creativity

The contents

Book review: BIRT: A Field Guide to Reporting by Diana Peh, Alethea Hannemann, Nola Haque

The creation and generation of well presented and delivered reports is a specialized profession that requires the correct skills, mentality and tools. An excellent free software example of such a tool set is the Eclipse-based Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) system for web applications.

Book review: Agile Java Development with Spring, Hibernate and Eclipse by Anil Hemrajani

The book Agile Java Development with Spring, Hibernate and Eclipse by Anil Hemrajani is a book for developers which effectively weaves an understandable lesson based on a realistic, but imaginary timesheet project. This book describes the combination of agile project mentality and Java programming and is a welcome addition to my personal library and the Java biased development audience as a whole.

Book review: Red Hat Fedora Core 6 Unleashed by Andrew Hudson, Paul Hudson

Red Hat Fedora Core currently at version 6 is a popular GNU/Linux distribution competing with the likes of Ubuntu, Knoppix and Mandrivia. With a large, active and well publicized development community via the Red Hat-sponsored Fedora project, the distribution is well balanced and user friendly with the expected applications and polish with graphically intuitive helper tools. The book Red Hat Fedora Core 6 Unleashed published by Sams and authored by Andrew and Paul Hudson reflects the many aspects of this rich platform in a grandiose 1100 pages, DVD included.

Book review: Beginning GIMP - From Novice To Professional by Akkana Peck

So, you want a free software image manipulation program? You’ve always wanted to be able to smooth out your own photos? You’ve downloaded the GIMP, but when you open the program to have a go you just get intimidated? You can work out some of it, but you really want to optimise your use, and feel like you aren’t just wandering about in the dark? Where should you turn in this situation? Well your first stop should definitely be Beginning GIMP, From Novice to Professional by Akkana Peck.

The book’s cover The book’s cover

Book review: Pro Apache XML by Poornachandra Sarang, Ph.D.

Pro Apache XML, authored by Poornachandra Sarang, PhD, and published by Apress, clearly explains XML, and, in specific, the Apache Software Foundation-related projects. eXtensible Markup Language (XML) is a human readable, machine-understandable text format. Web services send XML messages and XML acts as the underlying structure in configuration files for many modern frameworks and thus applications. In fact, the next quality-jump in the office suite is XML (zip compressed) document formats that are, in theory, easily translatable into other formats.

Book review: The Definitive Guide to GCC, Second Edition by William von Hagen

Without the GNU Compiler collection GCC it would be difficult to imagine that free software would have had such a rapid penetration into the market place. Historically speaking, having a free high quality set of compilers acted as a bootstrap for the highly active GNU project and beyond and was thus an important, the important, winning factor. If you want to use GCC (including version 4) to its utmost, The Definitive Guide to GCC, Second Edition, written by William von Hagen and published by Apress, is almost certainly for you.

The book’s coverThe book’s cover

Book review: Embedded Linux Primer by Christopher Hallinan

Embedded Linux sits in telephones, cookers, cars, and best of all in my camera and wireless router. I have no real idea of how many pieces of hardware sit under Linux’s careful and motherly control, but it must be quite dominant and I’m sure would easily be in the hundreds of millions and yes, I hear you shout that I underestimate.

Book review: Self service Linux by Mark Wilding, Dan Behman

Linux is by reputation and in reality a highly stable platform. Being free software means that you can see its inner actions without the lead coat of proprietary license shielding. Problem determination with transparent source, if mastered within the Linux environment, enables the problem solver to focus efficiently on the issues at hand. New administrators tend to take longer to solve the more horribly tricky and very infrequent issues than those that have burnt their wizened fingers on the obtuse over the course of long years.

Book review: Ubuntu Hacks by Jonathan Oxer, Kyle Rankin and Bill Childers

I want to tell you a little story. One that involves: love, greed, selfishness, guilt, shame and finally—confession. A torrid little story this is. It revolves around a geek and his love for free software. Not just free as in freedom, we’re talking free as in “keep my cash in my wallet” free! I’ll be playing the part of the geek, Ubuntu will play the part of free software.

Book review: Linux Server Hacks, Volume Two Bill von Hagen and Brian K. Jones

I’ve been reading through this book for a few days now. It has some good tips and it is very well written. But that is not what attracts me to O’Reilly’s “hacks” series. No, the truth is that I consider these books to be valuable treasure!

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