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New Edition of "Essential System Administration" Covers All the Fundamentals of Running Unix and Linux Systems, and More

September 9, 2002

Sebastopol, CA--At the heart of every smoothly operating shared computer system or network is a system administrator whose job it is to keep things going. It can be a lonely job as the system administrator strives to achieve the balance between being accessible to users and their needs while still maintaining his or her authority and sticking to the policies that have been put in place for the overall system welfare. AEleen Frisch, author of Essential System Administration, 3rd Edition (O'Reilly, US $54.95), says that for her, "the goal of system administration is to provide an environment where users can get done what they need to, in as easy and efficient a manner as possible, given the demands of security, other users' needs, the inherent capabilities of the system, and the realities and constraints of the human community in which they are all located." With that goal in mind, she has thoroughly revised her definitive, practical guide for Unix and Linux system administrators to once more provide them with all the information they need to get their jobs done.

"Essential System Administration" approaches system administration from a task-oriented perspective, so it is organized around various facets of the system administrator's job, rather than around the features of the Unix operating system, or the workings of the hardware subsystems in a typical system, or some designated group of administrative commands. In the third edition, Frisch covers all the fundamental and essential tasks required to run such divergent Unix systems as AIX, FreeBSD, HP-UX, Linux, Solaris, Tru64, and more.

The new edition includes expanded coverage of networking, electronic mail, security, and kernel configuration--topics of increasing importance to administrators. It also covers services such as LDAP, PAM, DHCP, and DNS, and discussions of many important open source tools, including SSH, Cfengine, Amanda, RRDTool, and Cricket.

Written for full- or part-time administrators of Unix systems, the book includes help for both Unix users who are new to system administration and for experienced system administrators who are new to Unix. As Frisch says, the primary goal of her book is to make system administration straightforward. "As I see it, this means finding a middle ground between a general overview that is just too simple to be of much use to anyone but a complete novice, and a slog through all of the obscurities and eccentricities that only a fanatic could love," she explains. "In other words, I won't leave you hanging when the first complication arrives, and I also won't make you wade though a lot of extraneous information in order to find what exactly matters."

Whether readers use a standalone Unix system, routinely provide administrative support for a larger shared system, or just want an understanding of basic administrative functions, they can rely on "Essential System Administration, 3rd Edition." The foundation volume for O'Reilly's system administration series, this comprehensive and invaluable book combines the author's years of practical experience with technical expertise to help administrators manage their Unix systems as productively and painlessly as possible.

What the critics say about this book:

"AEleen is a master at teaching system administration. The third edition of 'Essential System Administration' covers the bases of administering the many flavors of Unix and Linux. If your site is one of the many non-vanilla shops, you really need this book."
--Tina Darmohray, Information Warehouse, Inc. (Current edition)

"This book is essential in more ways than one. For system administrators looking to bring Linux into a Unix environment (or to migrate from Unix to Linux), the details are all there. It is equally a great book for those thinking about becoming system administrators. But perhaps most impressively, it is an accessible book for people who use Unix or Linux and want to learn how to get the most out of their system. A true example of what great technical writing can be, and the standard that O'Reilly sets as a publisher."
--Michael Tiemann, Chief Information Officer, Red Hat, Inc. (Current edition)

"This update of a classic is a great introduction to the Unix attitude, the system administrator's attitude, and the practical details of managing Unix systems of a wide variety of types. It's a great introduction if you're new to Unix or to system administration, and a great reference if you've been around a while and just want to look up a few details."
--Elizabeth Zwicky, Consultant and former president of SAGE (Current edition)

"...the most direct and comprehensive explanation of LVMs that I've read. 'Essential System Administration' is an extraordinary book that every system administrator needs, for installation, configuration, troubleshooting, or just understanding the processes that are involved."
--Elizabeth Zinkann, Sys Admin, June 2001 (Second edition)

"The best general Unix system administration book I have seen...extremely helpful...this is a hands-on, how-to book, with concise, clear instructions for most Unix flavors. It covers the core tasks in a no B.S., real-world way...this is a wealth of experience on tap, and that is hard to beat."
--J. Gentry, swcp.com, February 2000 (Second edition)

Additional resources:

Essential System Administration, 3rd Edition
AEleen Frisch
ISBN 0-596-00343-9, 1176 pages, $54.95 (US), $85.95 (CAN)
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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