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Linux System Administration will give you the tools you need to become a better administrator.

Book Review – Linux System Administration by Tom Adelstein & Bill Lubanovic

Geared for the Linux pro or UNIX administrator, Linux System Administration was written to provide advice to manage a complete range of systems and servers. The authors were amazed at how many Linux users, for example, could not write a configuration file. Thinking there were many people who might want to learn of the extensive capabilities of Linux as an application platform, they wrote this book.

Linux System Administration is divided into 11 chapters and an appendix. Each chapter is a module in and of itself so that if you want to learn how to accomplish a specific task such as administering Apache, you can jump into chapter 6 and get going without having to muddle through the first five chapters.

Chapter 1, "Requirements for a Linux System Administrator," lays out the goals for the book and what you will accomplish by reading it. You will learn where to start, who needs you, and what system managers should know about Linux. Chapter 2, "Setting up a Linux Multifunction Server," will guide you through the system requirements, installation, how to login remotely, and how to configure the network. You will also learn how to configure mail, FTP services, and set up MySQL server.

Chapter 3, "The Domain Name System," gives you all the information on setting up the DNS server. By the time you are done with this chapter, you will understand installation, configuration, as well as be able to maintain and trouble shoot a server for any domain that you register. Chapter 4, "An Initial Internet-Ready Environment," will show you how to, by using ISPConfig, build a multifunctional, working internet server from a single, downloadable application. This will allow you to manage websites, perform email and file transfers all from a graphical interface.

Chapter 5, "Mail," explores how to build an email service for small to medium sites. You will use the Postfix server as the SMTP mail transfer agent, POP and IMAP to deliver your mail, and SASL for authenticating you mail. Chapter 6, "Administering Apache," introduces the Apache web server. You will learn how to install, configure, and administer Apache, PHP, and MySql server, as well as how to manage multiple websites, test for performance, and monitor statistics.

Chapter 7, "Load-Balanced Clusters," teaches you how, by using a group of loosely coupled computers that work together closely as though they are a single computer, you can improve speed, reliability, and scalability at a reasonable price. Chapter 8, "Local Network Services," gives you the information you will need to manage a host behind a firewall or gateway of a company. This will help you fix the things critical to your organization that really matter.

Chapter 9, "Virtualization in the Modern Enterprise," addresses an explosive growth area within the Linux community. It refers to one piece of hardware running multiple kernels on top of a lower layer of software which manages the access to the hardware. Chapter 10, "Scripting," shows you the ropes around creating and running scripts. These are the little time saver programs that you will create to perfume mundane repetitive tasks for things like service and processor management.

Finally, Chapter 11 finishes up with "Backing up Data." This is all about the things that you need to do when your system crashes. It will happen, and you will be prepared by using the tools provided here.

What I personally like about this book is that it can be digested a chapter at a time. Granted you need to be somewhat versed in Linux, UNIX, or even Windows Server background; that said, Linux System Administration will give you the tools you need to become a better administrator.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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