By the Book

Book handy tool for mixed environments


There are dozens of “user” handbooks on the market that are intended to help make you a better “user.” However, very few of them go into the depth -this book does. It isn’t going to make you a guru – but it goes a long way to making an extremely competent Unix user and occasional systems administrator.

Like most books of its kind, the basics are covered. In this case, the line commands are more clearly explained than usual and there are excellent pointers to the specific manual pages where you will find additional or more complete information on a specific topic.

Unlike other books of it’s type, Poniatowski covers the major flavours of Unix in useful detail with a lot of emphasis on Linux and gives an excellent introduction to C, C++ and Java Programming. Unix is complex and each flavour has it’s own idiosyncrasies and this makes the book worth its hefty weight.

Unix is really a series of little, highly functional tools that can be used in sequence to perform extremely powerful and complex tasks. How an administrator combines these tools efficiently is one of the criteria of a good network caretaker. The author methodically takes the reader through networking and system administration techniques.

The reality of today’s world of heterogeneous environments is that an administrator will have to take care of Microsoft Windows desktops and probably Unix servers on the backend. The bonus of the book is that it also pays particular attention to Windows Interoperability. There are chapters on the X Window System, services for Unix, Samba and the Windows command line tools.

It’s one thing to get a Unix system up and running, but it’s quite another to keep it tuned for maximum performance. As the author works for HP, it is only natural that several of HP’s performance tools (MeasureWare and PerfView) are covered in detail.

The enclosed CD includes a 60-day trial offering of Hewlett-Packard’s GlancePlus. Part of the overall suite of Hewlett Packard’s system management tools, GlancePlus is extremely powerful. When combined with MeasureWare, and others, the administrator has the tools to maximize uptime of all Unix systems and keep users happy.

In the back is a handy pull out Visual Editor command set. If you are working on multiple systems and non-Unix systems a lot, then it’s useful to have a quick reference such as this.

In summary, this is a useful reference book for any administrator who has to look after multiple forms of Unix in a mixed environment with Microsoft Windows.

– Reviewed by Roger Harmston, who is a managing partner with CHASM Professional Services Group. He has more than 15 years experience with HP, Sun and IBM large-scale systems.