OpenBSD Journal

Review of Absolute OpenBSD by Michael Lucas

Contributed by jose on from the bookreviews dept.

Chris Palmer writes: "No Starch Press sent me a review copy of Michael Lucas' new book, Absolute OpenBSD . my review is now complete and you can read it at .Basically, it's a gentle and fairly complete introduction to OpenBSD systems administration for those who already know something about Unix."

I'm hearing good things about this book, and this review should help you evaluate it for your needs.

(Comments are closed)

  1. By Yves () on

    Its a good review and the book can be recommended. However, I don't think its worth mentioning the typographic errors as I have only found a couple so far and it really isn't an issue. I suspect it has been mentioned as it was raised in the OpenBSD misc@ list and the topic was flogged to death there as there were several proof-readers on that list and they all felt guilty in varying degrees. It would seem that these proof-readers considered the technical content and thought someone else would be checking the grammar/spelling; nobody did!

    Even though my basic knowledge of OpenBSD is reasonable, I enjoyed reading the book and learnt a few interesting tips.

    1. By Michael Lucas () on

      I make it a point to not comment on reviews of my own books, but this one bit I must say something on:

      The OpenBSD community proofreaders were asked to check for *technical correctness*, not typos. I wanted them to spend their time on stuff only they could do, not on grunt work any grammar monkey could churn through. Apparently, next time I need to beat the aforementioned grammar monkey a little harder. :-)

      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

        I bought the book. What I liked most about it was the networking coverage/explanations.

        Lots of folks like me, a developer, who come to *nix don't have a networking background. Lots of folks apparently picked it up in school classes.

        I didn't. Wasn't central in my day -- programming and system analysis were.

        Since *nix is a network OS, I think more -- and complete -- coverage like Mr Lucas did in his book on networking WILL GO FAR in expanding the user base of people who use, know and love *nix.

        Lots of senior (35+ year old) programmer/technical folks like me are very light on networking, since they didn't teach that when the school was geared to the mainframe era.

        Helping us to come up to speed will help make us contributers to *nix.

      2. By Christopher D. Palmer () on

        Thanks Mike for writing the book!

    2. By Shane J Pearson () on

      I don't think it is worth mentioning the typographic errors as I have only found a couple so far and it really isn't an issue.

      I'm only 77 pages into the book, yet I have found many typographical errors. I've even found a glaring mistake in one of the chapter introduction pages with the large type. It seems that I'm finding some typo which annoys me at least once every few pages.

      I have no doubt that Michaels work will be helpful to me (I haven't found much yet, since I'm only a short way in and have been using OpenBSD since 2.5), but he needs some proof readers who will actually proof read for real.

      It is worth mentioning. The number of errors are extraordinary. In fact, around page 50, I was so annoyed that I considered going back to the start to note every occurance that I find, to send to Michael for the next printing.

      Having a quick flick back...

      Page 71, beginning of chapter 4 "MULTIBOOT INSTALLATION": (Large font) "Sharing a disk between operating has two distinct problems."

      Page 54, describing the hardware info displayed by disklabel : "All of the above cannot be changed without changing the underlying hardware." , then on page 59, "You remember all that stuff at the top of the disklabel that recorded basic physical characteristics of the drive? You can change all that."

      While explaining the difficulties of having multiple network cards of the same type, the text claims, on page 62, "There is no way to look at the hardware and identify which is which." and then goes on to describe the usage of ifconfig , with MAC addresses clearly displayed in the relevant figure. Every NIC I've ever had to deal with, has had the MAC address printed somewhere on the card, including fxp's.

      I'm glad I have "Absolute OpenBSD", but I wish it were written and proofread with a lot more care.

  2. By Dunceor () on

    As an not so experiences OpenBSD user I most say it's a great introduction to OpenBSD and I really liked it.
    I'll probobly buy his Absolute BSD and commin Absolute NetBSD also...

  3. By Anonymous () on

    I just bought this book, and while I haven't finished it yet, it is a great intro to OpenBSD for those with some Unix experience. I'm finding it was worth the money and time to read.

    I would like to have read more about security and what makes OpenBSD unique in this area. Some of this is handled by the PF chapters, but OpenBSD is more than a firewall...

    This book is full of great ideas, in fact, I'm also thinking of getting a Chainsaw to handle those pesky administrative problems...

  4. By Dunceor () on

    another thing, the mail links in the post is mailto: just so you know...

    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      As far as I remember that has been always the case, even in older stories. :-)

  5. By Wim () on

    Shameless plug (just got back from OpenBSD Summercamp 2003, covered in fairy dust ;-)

    You can order this book in Europe from:


  6. By Anonymous Coward () on

    no matter what anyone does, no matter how great it is. someone will always cry about it.

    critics... someone that cannot or has not done waht you have did, but is a 'professional' onhouw you fuxxored up.

    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      sorry for bad english.

    2. By Shane J Pearson () on

      I'm enjoying the book and I'm thankful for it.

      But the typos are annoying and they are absolutely unnecessary. Proof readers are supposed to catch this stuff.

      someone that cannot or has not done waht you have did

      You assume a lot.

      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

        I thought it was a great book, especially the chapters on PF. It explained things that I didn't know from the FAQ even.


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