Mstation Book Reviews
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Fri, 29 Apr 2005

Linux Quick Fix Notebook

Peter Harrison, Linux Quick Fix Notebook, Bruce Perens Open Source Series, Prentice Hall

The idea of this book is that it's an expansion of the advanced sections in more user level books. It's also all command line which neatly skips past the different GUI's employed by distro's.

An underlying idea is that you might want to set up a Linux system for a website or similar while already running some proprietary OS. As well as that, the book suggests it might be useful for certification purposes.

As such the book could be pretty useful. There are a number of situations outlined within logical divisions: website project, RAID, kernel mods, VPN's and many more. There's an explanation of what's going on, and how to make things happen as well as examples of console output.

Random access to solutions is always a bit difficult on paper. The key is a really good index that maybe includes things under different headings according to which way different people might be heading into a problem. The index in this book is quite good, but not inspired. On paper it's hard to match a set of flat files on a computer which you grep ... and then there's the web. The advantage of a book is that a cohesive collection of information is right there in your hand.

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Linux Networks

Bautts, Dawson, Purdy, Linux Network and Adminsrators Guide, 3rd Edition, O'Reilly

These days a lot more people have something to do with sitting up networks than they used to and so something like this book will have more use than the days when it was mostly on the shelves of people doing this sort of thing for a living.

The aim of the book "is to provide a single reference for network administration in a Linux environment" and this it does in a very complete sort of way. On the way through it also looks at various security issues.

You get an introduction to networking, a closer look at TCP/IP and then get on to configure it. DNS, PPP, firewalls, IP Masquerade, email, IPv6, Apache, IMAP, Samba, wifi -- all these and more get sections that will enable the reader to be more clueful in getting things done and in helping prevent nasties from living in your network.

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Firefox Hacks

Nigel McFarlane, Firefox Hacks: Tips and Tricks for Next-Generation
Web Browsing, O'Reilly

Another in O'Reilly's useful Hacks series: this book takes us through aspects of Firefox that many might not be aware of. It also has fairly sizable chunks which are aimed specifically at developers.

First up, might I say that if you're using IE, you should maybe enhance your browsing experience and lower your bad-things-might-happen exposure by using firefox. It is free and comes from

This book starts off with the basics (ways to display a webpage, how to get there etc), looks at security issues, and then goes along through surfing enhancements, tools for web developers, power xml, mucking with the chrome, and how to deal with bugs and support issues.

After doing some random dipping I'd have to say that if you're not a developer you might find choosing your section as a better way to go. Ten random dips produced ten developer-related hacks.

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