book review

Book review: Backup & Recovery by W. Curtis Preston

Linus Torvalds once wrote on linux.dev.kernel, “Only wimps use tape backup: real men just upload their important stuff on ftp, and let the rest of the world mirror it ;)”. While his humorous comment might not be feasible for most, the topic of backing up important files (along with recovering them) is very crucial to any person or business. One excellent book which covers this topic is Backup & Recovery by W. Curtis Preston and published by O’Reilly. The book covers not only specific solutions but methodologies as well. It is a very complete and detailed look at the whole process of data backup and recovery.

Book review: Linux Programming by Example by Arnold Robbins

One positive example of a book that is ageless when measured against internet time is Linux Programming by Example by Arnold Robbins and published by Prentice Hall. Don’t let the 2004 publishing date fool you, the book is just as useful today as it was all those long, long three years ago. A C biased book on the subject of the fundamental core API’s such as file and memory management within GNU/Linux and based on the explanation of free software core commands, this is a powerful and valid helper for needy learners of the fundamentals.

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Book review: Practical Packet Analysis: Using Wireshark to Solve Real-World Network Problems by Chris Sanders

Knowing what information is traveling across your network is what keeps you out of trouble. Are there unknown hosts chatting away with each other? Is my machine talking to strangers? You need a packet sniffer to really find the answers to these questions. Wireshark is one of the best tools to do this job and this book is one of the best ways to learn about that tool. Chris Sanders, the author of this handy book, brings you the information cleanly and clearly. His style is to show you—to walk you through exactly what to do. This method works well and the book is quite readable.

Book review: Qmail Quickstarter by Kyle Wheeler

Qmail is an old, well-written, reliable security friendly email server that has proudly stood the test of time and corrosive use. Architecturally solid, with its components divided across workflow with numerous configuration files, the beginner system administrator needs a gentle push up the slopes of learning. Qmail Quickstarter: Install, Set Up, and Run your own Email Server by Kyle Wheeler and published by PACKT has been concisely written for the learning task at hand.

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Book review: The Definitive Guide to SQLite by Michael Owens

With so many database engine choices, it’s not easy to choose one. For those that choose SQLite, Michael Owens makes it easy to configure and operate. As the original creator of PySQLite, he knows a thing or two about this free and powerful database engine.

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

Setting up an enterprise mail system can be a daunting task for anyone. Curtis Smith shows you how to do it easily.

When you first open this book, you may think it’s merely a software guide. Curtis Smith shows you everything from installing Fedora Core all the way to setting up mailing lists. If you only skim through the book, you’ll think it’s just a software guide. However, if you read through the book, you will find it rich with valuable information. There is history, RFC summaries, server issues, and much more.

Book review: ImageMagick Tricks by Sohail Salehi

ImageMagick, as many would know, is a software suite for image manipulation and display, supporting a wide variety of formats. But, what is less widely known is the many facets it has, and the wide array of things that can be done with it. This book gives you more than a hint of all that’s possible.

Book review: AJAX: Creating Web Pages with Asynchronous JavaScript and XML by Edmond Woychowsky

AJAX is the broadest of broad acronyms for a series of technologies that enable fashionably dynamic Web 2.0 applications. Edmond Woychowsky’s valid, technically correct and humorous book AJAX: Creating Web Pages with Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, published by Prentice Hall, plots a careful and viable path through the underlying complexity and smoke.

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Book review: Beginning Ubuntu Linux by Keir Thomas

I picked up Beginning Ubuntu Linux, Second Edition with a sense of familiarity; I also had the pleasure of reviewing the First Edition and found the experience to be a gentle and very complete introduction to Ubuntu. It’s as though Keir Thomas wants to ensure that anyone starting out with GNU/Linux won’t feel like a worthless newb being thrown to the proverbial geeks, who will guffaw and point and weeze asthmatically and incomprehensibly.

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.

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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

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