Books: A User's Report
This issue's reviews include a look at a compact book
on the Internet
by Tracy LaQuey and Jeanne C. Ryer, entitled The Internet
an intriguing book, Modern UNIX, by Alan Southerton;
first guide in the Prentice Hall Open Systems Library,
System V Print Service Administration, edited by Sally
The Internet Companion
A Beginner's Guide to Global Networking
by Tracy LaQuey with Jeanne C. Ryer
Foreword by Senator Al Gore
This new book by LaQuey and Ryer, written for the beginner
as an introduction
to the Internet, provides some information overlooked
by other Internet
books. The authors begin with a description of the Internet.
the description, they focus on the reasons for Internet's
and discuss how this particular network functions. They
concepts and acronyms that the user needs to know.
In addition to chapters on sending electronic mail,
and some advanced Internet topics, there is also a chapter
ways to get connected to the Internet. An excellent
the text, along with an appendix that lists available
I liked The Internet Companion for several reasons.
It is a
compact, almost pocket-sized, volume and it discusses
commands, such as reply, that are not covered in many
other Internet books available. It includes many historical
that describe events related to the Internet and gives
a sense of how long contributors have been working on
to have come this far. The Foreword by then-Senator,
Al Gore is in itself a nice historical touch. In all,
LaQuey and Ryer
have produced a readable book which progresses in an
by Alan Southerton
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Modern UNIX has evolved as a mixture of UNIX's original
its newer applications. In this book, Alan Southerton
traces the transition
from early UNIX through the beginning of UNIX commands
and on to the
X Window System.
Southerton begins with an historical perspective on
of UNIX drawn from several different sources. He includes
which outlines the evolution of UNIX as well as the
major UNIX vendors.
The author assumes that the reader has some knowledge
of basic UNIX.
To help the beginner, however, he covers several of
the more complex
subjects, such as startup files, file systems, and inodes.
As he explains
these topics, Southerton includes examples of the more
in the UNIX world, such as the dfspace program, the
file system, and X.desktop's File Properties Window.
The subject of shells often gives rise to some confusion,
so basic a level as the proper name (in addition to
in shell terms, shell programs have also been called
addresses both the types of shells and when the programmer
to use which shell. He provides examples of each type
of shell and
includes excellent descriptions of the examples.
The author goes on to explain networking and X. He presents
topics in modules that allow the UNIX user without X
to focus on networking
and the X user on a standalone system to focus on X.
With UNIX, as with Apple and MS-DOS, the most modern
look is windows.
However, where Apple and MS-DOS have a standard for
does not. Whether the windowing environment is OpenWindows,
or OSF Motif does make a difference, depending on the
In Modern UNIX, Southerton lists the different products
comprise the X market and explains the procedures used
the individual X product.
Still in the windows area, the UNIX user can choose
from more than
one interface. Southerton describes what he considers
to be the basic
components of a window manager. He clarifies the differences
Motif and Open Look GUIs by examining the basics of
both. After reading
this chapter, the user will know the strengths and weaknesses
Motif and Open Look and which GUI he/she would prefer.
Southerton also raises the question of the "obsoleting"
previous UNIX knowledge. If the user updates to a new
type of application
in UNIX, does that necessarily void any previous knowledge?
words, are the older shell scripts (and the manner in
which they were
coded) now extinct? Southerton maintains that older
UNIX tools are
needed in order to customize a desktop manager, and
he lists the minimum
tools required to become a "power desktop manager
Southerton also introduces the reader to MetaCard, a
language," that is object-oriented, portable, and
of GUI methods. The author illustrates MetaCard by providing
examples, and includes an email address for more information
The last section of Modern UNIX covers system administration.
While much of this material has been covered in other
texts, the advent of "modern UNIX" means that
names and even
procedures may have changed. In any case, different
systems have different
names for the same command. Southerton's chapter on
is well-written and comprehensive -- perhaps especially
the user who has never had to be a system administrator.
Southerton supplements Modern UNIX with five appendices.
first covers man and Xman pages; the second is a "Beginner's
Guide to Perl," a mixture of "awk, sed and
the C shell";
the third and fourth are references for vi and emacs,
respectively; and the fifth is a collection of commands
When I opened this book, I expected an introductory
book on UNIX. What I discovered was a unique guide to
types of UNIX available in the 90s. Southerton has written
book for all levels of UNIX users.
UNIX System V Print Service Administration
Prentice Hall Open Systems Library
Edited by Sally A. Browning
This book, the first volume in the Prentice Hall Open
focuses on the "installation, configuration, and
of the UNIX System V LP print services. It addresses
administrator, as well as intermediate and advanced
and system programmers.
Browning begins with an overview of the LP print service,
what the print service hardware and software are and
what the software
does. She also considers different types of printing
such as distributed, print server, and network printing.
provides installation information and tells how to support
Particularly valuable is the section on printer configuration.
section defines both optional and required parameters,
individually in its introductory overview, which also
the full discussion of each parameter can be found.
for each parameter includes pertinent "Notes"
help you decide whether or not the parameter is needed.
-- including how to enable and disable printers and
about the lpadmin -- are also covered. Finally, Browning
shows how to configure printers by using menus.
In most instances, the LP print service provides enough
for users' printing needs. In the cases where it is
it is possible to customize the print service. Browning
ways to accomplish this, including altering the "printer
characteristics," using terminfo, creating an interface
program, and using a filter. Her discussion of the different
of customizing the print service is complemented by
diagram explaining "How LP Processes the Print
As with most software and hardware, there are related
chores and troubleshooting techniques. Browning explains
LP print service may have to be disabled and why, and
the administrator can do in the meantime to avoid the
wrath of users.
The book provides a comprehensive discussion of the
use of preprinted
forms with the LP print service. Topics include how
or add a form, whether through commands or menu selection;
remove a form; how to display the form description;
and how to restrict
access to the form, through either user or printer access.
Although the concept of filters is well-known in UNIX
it is not always defined in terms of printer faults.
on three uses of filters -- data conversion, varied
and the detection of printer faults, plus the resulting
providing examples, filter guidelines, and templates.
She also devotes
a section to displaying, modifying, removing, and creating
With the increasing emphasis on fonts, PostScript printers
in demand. And, since PostScript is a programming language,
the programmer to "specify the appearance of both
text and graphics
on a page." Browning describes the installation
of a PostScript
printer, what the administrator's responsibilities are,
and how to
use filters with PostScript printers to produce the
The last chapter -- my favorite -- deals with troubleshooting.
It describes a problem with the printer, then presents
solutions. The book doesn't answer every question, nor
does it claim
that it can. However, it does identify enough issues
to start the
administrator thinking in the right direction.
As I read this book, I realized that it was written
in a sort of chronological
order. A beginner could follow it from start to finish,
while a more
experienced user could use the chapter descriptions
in the preface,
along with the quick reference card at the end, to pick
Browning's writing style is clear and very readable,
and she documents
her sources as she uses them. This book would be a worthwhile
to any UNIX user's library and an excellent complement
to the UNIX
System Laboratories volumes.
About the Author
Elizabeth Zinkann has been involved in the UNIX and
C environments for the past
10 years. She is currently a UNIX and C consultant,
and one of her specialities
is UNIX education. In addition to her computer science
background, she also has a
degree in English.