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Linux Quick Fix Notebook (Bruce Perens' Open Source Series)

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Overview

"Where has this book been all my professional life? It is about time someone wrote this book. The author covers many basic, practical issues that other authors omit in a format that makes for a great troubleshooting reference and for casual perusing. There are a lot of books available that give a broad overview of system and network administration, and there are a lot of detailed books on each specific topic covered in this book, but I don't know of any other place where I can get so much useful, practical information on such a wide range of

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Overview

"Where has this book been all my professional life? It is about time someone wrote this book. The author covers many basic, practical issues that other authors omit in a format that makes for a great troubleshooting reference and for casual perusing. There are a lot of books available that give a broad overview of system and network administration, and there are a lot of detailed books on each specific topic covered in this book, but I don't know of any other place where I can get so much useful, practical information on such a wide range of topics in such a concise and readable form. I will highly recommend it to my friends and colleagues who are trying to manage their own systems. I am anxious to show it to our instructors who teach data communications and networks as a possible text or lab manual."

—Ron McCarty, instructor and program chair, Computer Science, Penn State Erie

"This book takes a very unique approach and is very flexible. It offers a great deal to the home user, students, small businesses—all the way to any Linux sys admin that needs a handy reference. I found it very refreshing in terms of style, stated goals, presentation, ease of use, direction, and the "present and future" value of the content. In other words the author is very current and knowledgeable. I would recommend this book to every level from programmer to manager."

—Joe Brazeal, Information Technician III, Southwest Power Pool

"This book is an excellent resource for new Linux administrators. I was impressed with the comprehensive set of 35 topic chapters, making this book a very useful reference. I know of no other work like this."

—George Vish II, Linux curriculum program manager and senior education consultant, Hewlett-Packard Education

"I would recommend this book to novice Linux users and administrators. It covers a lot of topics, and makes it easy for readers to follow along."

—Bret Strong, education consultant, Hewlett-Packard Company

"Linux Quick Fix Notebook is a well-written guide to designing, installing, and maintaining Linux servers. Many Linux reference texts are just simple rewrites of Linux ¨man¨ and ¨info¨ pages, but this book addresses the real issues that systems administrators encounter when working with Linux. The author provides a pedagogical guide to learning Linux server administration. In addition, the book includes step-by-step information so that users can quickly take advantage of the best that open source software has to offer today. I would recommend this book to both beginning and intermediate users of Linux."

—Joseph Naberhaus, Professor of Networking, Universidad Del Mar

An indispensable guide for every Linux administrator

Instant access to precise, step-by-step solutions for every essential Linux administration task

From basic configuration and troubleshooting to advanced security and optimization

If you're responsible for delivering results with Linux, Linux® Quick Fix Notebook brings together all the step-by-step instructions, precise configuration commands, and real-world guidance you need. This distilled, focused, task-centered guide was written for sysadmins, netadmins, consultants, power users...everyone whose livelihood depends on making Linux work, and keeping it working.

This book's handy Q&A format gives you instant access to specific answers, without ever forcing you to wade through theory or jargon. Peter Harrison addresses virtually every aspect of Linux administration, from software installation to security, user management to Internet services—even advanced topics such as software RAID and centralized LDAP authentication. Harrison's proven command-line examples work quickly and efficiently, no matter what Linux distribution you're using. Here's just some of what you'll learn how to do:

  • Build Linux file/print servers and networks from scratch
  • Troubleshoot Linux and interpret system error messages
  • Control every step of the boot process
  • Create, manage, secure, and track user accounts
  • Install, configure, and test Linux-based wireless networks
  • Protect your network with Linux iptables firewalls
  • Set up Web, e-mail, DNS, DHCP, and FTP servers
  • And much more...

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780131861503
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 3/17/2005
  • Series: Bruce Perens' Open Source Series
  • Pages: 651
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.05 (h) x 1.57 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Author

Peter Harrison has been fascinated by computers since the early 1980s. He was the founding president of PCJAM, Jamaica's first computer user group, and was the principal systems engineer responsible for the computerization of the island's tax collection and social security systems.

He then sought new opportunities as the western Caribbean representative for a Fortune 500 pharmaceuticals firm and later became the international sales manager for a West Indian rum company. Before moving to Silicon Valley he ran Trinidad and Tobago's first industrial trade office to Latin America.

Peter has since worked extensively in the Internet sector deploying large-scale data centers and Web sites. Extensive use of Linux in this environment combined with his varied business background has helped him create this highly readable book for the newbie, the techie, and their bosses.

In his quieter moments, Peter enjoys the art and literature of the Caribbean and Latin America. Long rides on his bicycle provide another guilty pleasure. Peter likes to relax with his family on short weekend trips to the many attractions of the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Read an Excerpt

PrefacePreface

Without question, Linux is rapidly becoming the operating system of choice in many core areas of business. It is transforming information technology in many exciting ways, from being used in products ranging from cell phones and PDAs to cars and mainframe computers.

Like its many uses, Linux has a variety of printed and electronic guides to show you what to do. The specialist guides are highly detailed, focusing on narrow areas of excellence. The encyclopedic guides for beginners focus on Linux fundamentals and only then introduce you to more specialized topics. Unfortunately, there are few practical texts in between that help you to make the transition from being a beginner to having the confidence of an expert.Why Is This Book Necessary?

Most Linux "encyclopedias" are split in three sections: an introductory section covering topics such as CD-based Linux installation, GUI interfaces, and text editors; an intermediate section covering Microsoft Office clone productivity suites; and an advanced section covering the topics most nondesktop-support IT professionals use on a day-to-day basis. Unfortunately the "advanced sections" in these guides cover the underlying theory reasonably well, but often are short on space to adequately cover detailed configuration instructions. IT professionals frequently have to purchase additional specialist books on each topic.

Linux® Quick Fix Notebook takes these "advanced sections" and expands them sufficiently to provide a practical tutorial guide on how to do basic configuration of many popular Linux back-office applications with command-by-command instructions.

To avoidconfusion between the many flavors of Linux, each with its own GUI interface, this guide exclusively uses the command line to illustrate the tasks needed to be done. It provides all the expected screen output when configuring the most commonly used Linux applications to help assure readers that they are doing the right thing. The notebook also includes many of the most commonly encountered errors with explanations of their causes and how to fix them. Prerequisites

The book's format is aimed at proficient beginners, students, and IT professionals who often have to do advanced tasks in which the underlying theory is understood, but the commands to do it are forgotten or at the tips of their tongues. To maintain its appeal as a compact guide, only the essential supporting theory is provided to help end users implement their projects under budget and ahead of schedule.

A great deal of attention has been paid to troubleshooting techniques that are often needed to remedy unexpected behavior, and every chapter has real-world practical examples in the form of tutorials.

Because the readers are assumed to be exposed to the theory of Linux, many of the introductory topics are not covered, which provides room for much more coverage of the steps needed to get the more difficult jobs done. Two to three months of hands-on Linux experience is an ideal prerequisite. Additionally, basic Windows exposure to the concept of sharing directories between servers is needed. Approach

With this in mind, the persons most likely to be interested in this book would be IT professionals and consultants, power users, computer literate business owners, community college and trade school professors and students, and SOHO workers.

The book creates a typical departmental, small-office, or home network and shows you how to set up the Linux servers most businesses need. Three sections have been created to make this process easier. The first starts as an introduction to networking and extends into using Linux as a main departmental server. The next section expands on this knowledge to show you how to create, manage, and monitor your own Linux-based Web site running on a simple DSL or cable modem line. Finally, the third section covers more advanced topics that will become invaluable as your Linux administration role expands

Explanations are given not as a lecturer, but as a trusted and experienced coworker. The chapters have a logical flow of information starting with concise backgrounders and ending with a troubleshooting section. They cover these essential topics:

Software installation

Networking setup and troubleshooting

Samba for Windows files on Linux servers

Linux-to-Linux file sharing with NFS

Simple MySQL database administration

LDAP and NIS for centralized logins

FTP and SCP file transfers

Disk drive redundancy with software RAID

Wireless Linux networks

MRTG server performance monitoring

Linux firewalls and VPNs

Squid for Web access control

Mail, Web, and DNS server setup

Web sites on DHCP Internet links

Time synchronization with NTP

Error reporting with syslog

Restricting users' disk space usage with quotas

Many of the topics are covered in Linux certification exams making the book a valuable study guide for those seeking new areas of professional development.

In summary, this book

  • Shows how to expand inexpensively an existing IT investment in Windows using Linux as the anchor of a network and Web site

  • Shows how to do this command by command

  • Is highly focused on being task-oriented

  • Illustrates how to create a simple network for small business, corporate departments, and homes

  • Provides an excellent networking familiarization and troubleshooting guide

As the line between power users and administrators continues to blur, as computers move from the data center to the desktop, and as Linux and Windows gain equal footing in business, it becomes harder to remember and do it all. This is the guide that will give you enough time to eat lunch.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

Preface.

Acknowledgments.

About the Author.

I. THE LINUX FILE SERVER PROJECT.

1. Why Host Your Own Site?

2. Introduction to Networking.

3. Linux Networking.

4. Simple Network Troubleshooting.

5. Troubleshooting Linux with syslog.

6. Installing RPM Software.

7. The Linux Boot Process.

8. Configuring the DHCP Server.

9. Linux Users and sudo.

10. Windows, Linux, and Samba.

11. Sharing Resources Using Samba.

12. Samba Security and Troubleshooting.

13. Linux Wireless Networking.

II. THE LINUX WEB SITE PROJECT

14. Linux Firewalls Using iptables.

15. Linux FTP Server Setup.

16. Telnet, TFTP, and xinetd.

17. Secure Remote Logins and File Copying.

18. Configuring DNS.

19. Dynamic DNS.

20. The Apache Web Server.

21. Configuring Linux Mail Servers.

22. Monitoring Server Performance.

23. Advanced MRTG for Linux.

24. The NTP Server.

III. ADVANCED TOPICS.

25. Network-Based Linux Installation.

26. Linux Software RAID.

27. Expanding Disk Capacity.

28. Managing Disk Usage with Quotas.

29. Remote Disk Access With NFS.

30. Centralized Logins Using NIS .

31. Centralized Logins Using LDAP and RADIUS.

32. Controlling Web Access with Squid.

33. Modifying the Linux Kernel to Improve Performance.

34. Basic MySQL Configuration.

35. Configuring Linux VPNs.

Appendix I. Miscellaneous Linux Topics.

Appendix II. Codes, Scripts, and Configurations.

Appendix III. Fedora Version Differences.

Appendix IV. syslog Configuration and Cisco Devices.

Index.

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Preface

Preface

Without question, Linux is rapidly becoming the operating system of choice in many core areas of business. It is transforming information technology in many exciting ways, from being used in products ranging from cell phones and PDAs to cars and mainframe computers.

Like its many uses, Linux has a variety of printed and electronic guides to show you what to do. The specialist guides are highly detailed, focusing on narrow areas of excellence. The encyclopedic guides for beginners focus on Linux fundamentals and only then introduce you to more specialized topics. Unfortunately, there are few practical texts in between that help you to make the transition from being a beginner to having the confidence of an expert.

Why Is This Book Necessary?

Most Linux "encyclopedias" are split in three sections: an introductory section covering topics such as CD-based Linux installation, GUI interfaces, and text editors; an intermediate section covering Microsoft Office clone productivity suites; and an advanced section covering the topics most nondesktop-support IT professionals use on a day-to-day basis. Unfortunately the "advanced sections" in these guides cover the underlying theory reasonably well, but often are short on space to adequately cover detailed configuration instructions. IT professionals frequently have to purchase additional specialist books on each topic.

Linux® Quick Fix Notebook takes these "advanced sections" and expands them sufficiently to provide a practical tutorial guide on how to do basic configuration of many popular Linux back-office applications with command-by-command instructions.

To avoid confusion between the many flavors of Linux, each with its own GUI interface, this guide exclusively uses the command line to illustrate the tasks needed to be done. It provides all the expected screen output when configuring the most commonly used Linux applications to help assure readers that they are doing the right thing. The notebook also includes many of the most commonly encountered errors with explanations of their causes and how to fix them.

Prerequisites

The book's format is aimed at proficient beginners, students, and IT professionals who often have to do advanced tasks in which the underlying theory is understood, but the commands to do it are forgotten or at the tips of their tongues. To maintain its appeal as a compact guide, only the essential supporting theory is provided to help end users implement their projects under budget and ahead of schedule.

A great deal of attention has been paid to troubleshooting techniques that are often needed to remedy unexpected behavior, and every chapter has real-world practical examples in the form of tutorials.

Because the readers are assumed to be exposed to the theory of Linux, many of the introductory topics are not covered, which provides room for much more coverage of the steps needed to get the more difficult jobs done. Two to three months of hands-on Linux experience is an ideal prerequisite. Additionally, basic Windows exposure to the concept of sharing directories between servers is needed.

Approach

With this in mind, the persons most likely to be interested in this book would be IT professionals and consultants, power users, computer literate business owners, community college and trade school professors and students, and SOHO workers.

The book creates a typical departmental, small-office, or home network and shows you how to set up the Linux servers most businesses need. Three sections have been created to make this process easier. The first starts as an introduction to networking and extends into using Linux as a main departmental server. The next section expands on this knowledge to show you how to create, manage, and monitor your own Linux-based Web site running on a simple DSL or cable modem line. Finally, the third section covers more advanced topics that will become invaluable as your Linux administration role expands

Explanations are given not as a lecturer, but as a trusted and experienced coworker. The chapters have a logical flow of information starting with concise backgrounders and ending with a troubleshooting section. They cover these essential topics:

Software installation

Networking setup and troubleshooting

Samba for Windows files on Linux servers

Linux-to-Linux file sharing with NFS

Simple MySQL database administration

LDAP and NIS for centralized logins

FTP and SCP file transfers

Disk drive redundancy with software RAID

Wireless Linux networks

MRTG server performance monitoring

Linux firewalls and VPNs

Squid for Web access control

Mail, Web, and DNS server setup

Web sites on DHCP Internet links

Time synchronization with NTP

Error reporting with syslog

Restricting users' disk space usage with quotas

Many of the topics are covered in Linux certification exams making the book a valuable study guide for those seeking new areas of professional development.

In summary, this book

  • Shows how to expand inexpensively an existing IT investment in Windows using Linux as the anchor of a network and Web site
  • Shows how to do this command by command
  • Is highly focused on being task-oriented
  • Illustrates how to create a simple network for small business, corporate departments, and homes
  • Provides an excellent networking familiarization and troubleshooting guide

As the line between power users and administrators continues to blur, as computers move from the data center to the desktop, and as Linux and Windows gain equal footing in business, it becomes harder to remember and do it all. This is the guide that will give you enough time to eat lunch.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2006

    Great cookbook style linux admin book

    I'm a big fan of the cookbook approach to tech books. I usually don't have time to read a book to get a broad and general understanding of a topic. I'm usually after what this book promises: a quick fix. I want answers to discrete problems. That's what _Linux(R) Quick Fix Notebook_ delivers. When I did have time to read an entire chapter, I learned a lot. When I flipped to random pages, there was a good chance I learned something. It's full of gold nuggets. I work in IT, and I often show someone something that, to me, is pretty basic. But it saves them a lot of time. This book addresses those gaps in my own knowledge: the basic stuff I never happened to pick up. Sometimes it's so basic nobody bothers to write about it. Unfortunately, I couldn't hold on to the review copy long enough to finish it. But I'm buying a copy for myself. That should tell you something! Especially when I have about a dozen books on linux and unix system administration already. This approach works for me, and this book implements that approach really well.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2005

    should mention Knoppix

    Unlike other books on linux that might stick strictly to technical issues, Harrison leads off his book with a discussion on web hosting. Whether to do this on your own servers or to use an external provider. A nice and distinctive way to get a linux sysadmin's attention. The rest of the book then goes into the details of many linux and networking issues. The latter is covered because you are not assumed to be running just one machine. In general, you have several, often on a private net that is connected to the Internet. So, if you are looking for advice on configuring firewalls, for example, then it is provided here. Given the importance of email, there is a chapter on running a mail server - usually sendmail. My speciality is antispam, so I looked with interest on the details furnished here. But antispam measures are only briefly covered. It talks of using blacklists of spammers in sendmail, but only applied against mail relays connecting to the machine. No mention of using a Milter filter that pulls out domains from links in the message body, and checking these against the blacklist. Which has emerged as a key antispam method. The book also completely ignores Knoppix. This is a valuable tool for sysadmins. You make a bootable linux CD. For diagnosis of a machine if it crashes. Or if you think it has been subverted by malware. Knoppix has gotten a nice uptake from some sysadmins and you should know about it.

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