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Unix Unleashed

© January 2002 Tony Lawrence

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I'm probably going to be in the minority here, but I don't like this book very much.

I don't have any technical gripes, and at over 1100 pages you really shouldn't complain about coverage- and yet that is exactly my gripe.

This book covers Unix by using both Solaris and Red Hat as examples. And that's the problem: this is really two pretty good 500 page books. But the juxtaposition of these two OS'es in one book is confusing even for someone like me who has strong familiarity in both places. More than once I lost track and couldn't decide if what was being said applies to Solaris or Redhat- imagine how confused a neophyte would be!

There's also too much useless junk included. A giant fold out SCSI troubleshooting chart probably seemed like a Good Idea to someone, but it's not of much value. There are pages of "dmesg" output- what for when there isn't deeper explanation of the lines? Why print an entire inetd.conf file or four pages of packet dumps ? There's just too much extraneous garbage- this could be a much smaller and better book (though the only real cure for its problems is to make it two books).

I also have a minor gripe about the use of end-quotes rather than parenthetical notes (like this) or footnotes on the same page. Having end-quotes located at the end of the chapter is annoying- you have to flip to the end to find the reference, and worse, if you are trying to find where an interesting reference was made, you have to search back page by painful page. End-quotes that are simply citation references are appropriate. Comments and the like should be footnotes or parenthetical.

If you happen to run both Red Hat and Solaris, you might find this more to your taste than I did.

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