Books: A User's Report
Once again there were too many excellent books debuting
I chose some superb examples for this month's column.
The first is
the only book on "sendmail," by Bryan Costales
with Eric Allman
and Neil Rickert and published by O'Reilly & Associates,
"first" is a system administration book intended
Hewlett-Packard administrators, written by Marty Poniatowski
by Prentice Hall. Smoot Carl-Mitchell and John S. Quarterman
efforts to produce Practical Internetworking with TCP/IP
published by Addison-Wesley and Randal L. Schwartz introduced
Perl, by O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. for the beginning
I have also attempted to review interviews presented
on the Internet
and available on audio tape from O'Reilly.
FYI: Internet: Getting Started (ISBN 0-13-327933-2)
Mailing Lists 1993 Edition (ISBN 0-13-327941-3), formerly
by SRI are now distributed by Prentice Hall in a new
Both of these books were previously reviewed in this
by Bryan Costales with Eric Allman and Neil Rickert
O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
Costales, Allman, and Rickert have produced the most
published on sendmail. Although sendmail is widely
used, the only attempts at documentation appear in either
or TCP/IP books. The authors organized this book into
Part one features a tutorial, part two describes general
and part three provides a reference section. In addition,
part examines error messages, the complete client.cf
file developed in the tutorial, V8 and IDA macros, and
Before reading the book, the user should be familiar
with the concepts
of sendmail. Basically, sendmail will transfer a message
between two networks, whether the formats required by
are the same or not. Many users don't realize that they
sendmail, depending instead upon a mail user interface
such as /bin/mail or mailx(1).
The tutorial introduces sendmail in a very practical
The authors examine the capabilities of sendmail and
them for both the novice and the experienced user. They
a configuration file, slowly making it more complex.
tutorial explains the format of the sendmail.cf file
its purpose. Although it is not easy to read, the sendmail.cf
configuration file is easy to parse and contains the
important files plus their respective default permissions.
file also includes the instructions needed for rewriting
Among other topics, the tutorial discusses rules, rule
options, and headers.
The administration section addresses more experienced
users and introduces
DNS and sendmail, security, the queue, aliases, mailing
and statistics. Costales, Allman, and Rickert focus
on the more advanced
aspects of these topics. To help you choose which version
better on your system, they analyze the strengths and
the new Version 8 Berkeley sendmail and the IDA (Institutionen
for Datavetenskap) sendmail, a European version that
a very readable configuration file. In addition, the
how to obtain and install the source. This section answers
commonly asked by UNIX system administrators.
Perhaps the most useful part of the book is the reference
It concentrates on how sendmail works and is divided
topics, each of which is covered in a separate chapter.
rules, rule sets, delivery agents, defined macros, options,
More advanced topics, including database macros, the
and debugging, are also examined.
The very fact that this book exists merits a round of
Costales, the primary author, has produced an excellent
the aid of contributing authors Eric Allman, sendmail's
and Neil Rickert, IDA specialist. The book is well organized
chapter closes with either "Things To Try"
or "Pitfalls." The writing style is clear
and the charts presented
illustrate the text well. This long-awaited volume should
be on every
system administrator's desk and should be required reading
The HP-UX System Administrator's "How To" Book
by Marty Poniatowski
Hewlett-Packard Professional Books
Marty Poniatowski has written the first system administration
intended solely for Hewlett-Packard's version of the
system. He makes this very clear in the first paragraph
of the preface.
He declares what the book is not (BSD or UNIX System
V) and what it
contains (HP-UX system administration). Over the years,
has developed a design for the installation and maintenance
systems. The HP-UX System Administrator's "How
presents these guidelines.
Poniatowski has divided the book into five sections.
The first chapter
addresses setting up a system, and here the author stresses
must plan prior to the system setup. Some of the systems
ignition, a preloaded HP-UX operating system. However,
describes how to install and update your system, with
or without the
benefit of instant ignition. It also provides a table
of HP-UX filesets,
their uses, and the size of each to help you decide
whether you need
to load it or not. It describes some post-installation
then explains how to set up and run networking, using
The second chapter discusses everyday system administration
and how to perform them. Here Poniatowski also describes
Administration Manager (SAM), a tool which provides
menus for different
system administration tasks. SAM can access "Printers
"Disk and File Systems," or "Peripheral
will first present your current configuration. Using
author shows how to accomplish a task with SAM, then
provides an alternative
method to the pull-down menus that uses HP-UX commands.
Throughout, Poniatowski emphasizes how important it
is to know your
system. Nowhere is this more evident than in the third
the author discusses "system resource utilization
monitoring." He presents several HP-UX commands
that display information
about system resources and explains how to interpret
HP-UX accounting can also monitor "system performance
consumption." Poniatowski both demonstrates how
to produce the
reports and explains how to read them. He points out,
HP-UX also possesses a tool, HP GlancePlus/UX which
combines the best
features of the command and accounting methods while
Poniatowski also examines some topics not usually covered
administration books. He analyzes the two steps required
boot ROM startup and HP-UX startup. As an example, he
and displays the format for each entry in the file.
HP-UX system administrators
often find themselves making HP-UX systems co-exist
systems, such as MS-DOS. One way to accomplish this
is to use SoftPC,
"a DOS emulation product that runs under HP-UX."
also discusses the HP Visual User Environment (HP VUE)
and how to
customize it. The last section of this chapter presents
of information about HP-UX.
The last chapter of The HP-UX System Administrator's
To" Book features shell programming for the system
It focuses not only on how to program in the UNIX shell,
on why a system administrator would choose this method
The chapter describes HP-UX programming tools, including
library management, the "xdb" source code
debugger, and make.
In the past, administrators of Hewlett-Packard systems
often had to
learn from books intended for the BSD or UNIX System
Finally, there is a book specifically for them. It addresses
the novice and the expert, presents a number of easily
flowcharts and tables, and is written in a lucid and
The HP-UX System Administrator's "How To"
be welcomed by Hewlett-Packard UNIX system administrators
Practical Internetworking with TCP/IP and UNIX
by Smoot Carl-Mitchell and John S. Quarterman
Addison-Wesley Publishing Company
The third book in the "UNIX and Open Systems Series,"
text addresses TCP/IP and UNIX. Carl-Mitchell and Quarterman
how the two topics work together. They have divided
the book into
three sections: theory, practice, and advanced topics.
examines the TCP/IP protocol suite, "Practice"
through examples the way that UNIX and TCP/IP interact,
Topics" discusses different aspects of networking.
Since TCP/IP is the most popular protocol suite used
on the Internet,
it is essential that system administrators understand
how it operates.
To address this need, Carl-Mitchell and Quarterman describe
and its services. In chapter one, they compare it to
the OSI (Open
Systems Interconnection) Basic Reference Model. Chapter
the concept of IP and discusses how it works. Following
layers, the transport protocols TCP and UDP are examined.
four also presents two interprocess communications facilities
BSD Sockets and TLI. The description of the BSD Socket
one of the clearest that I have encountered. The final
the theory segment focuses on naming conventions and
the DNS (Domain
The second segment of the book "examines how UNIX
of the TCP/IP protocols actually work." This includes
different hardware that can be used in a network, the
and how to create both the IP address assignment and
naming system. As an example of TCP/IP capabilities,
the authors discuss
the TCP/IP electronic mail service. This includes the
Transfer Protocol (SMTP), the RFC-822 message format,
and the sendmail
architecture and configuration.
With the Advanced Topics section of the book, Carl-Mitchell
introduce personal computers into the TCP/IP network
describe how to integrate both IBM-compatible PCs and
into the TCP/IP network. Practical Internetworking with
and UNIX also explains how to manage a network. The
issues concerning management rather than those dealing
with networking. They also explore UNIX network management
network debugging. The book concludes with two helpful
and a definitive glossary.
Carl-Mitchell and Quarterman address complex topics
clearly and comprehensively.
The text is accompanied by figures, tables, and code
applicable. The writing style is clear and precise.
Each concept is
presented, described, and followed by an example when
book merits inspection by anyone involved with TCP/IP,
UNIX, or networking.
With the Internet and new superhighways in the news,
this is a book
you cannot afford to overlook. The references at the
end of each chapter
make this book a valuable addition to any library.
by Randal L. Schwartz
O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
Developed by Larry Wall, perl is an acronym for "Practical
and Report Language." Perl can manipulate text,
files, and processes
that are too complex for the UNIX shell, but do not
require the structure
of the C programming language. The difficulties encountered
C, sed, awk, and UNIX shell programs prompted Wall
to replace some of these programs with perl and one
Programming Perl, written by Larry Wall and Randal L.
and better known as "the camel book" because
of the cover,
addressed the programmer already familiar with perl.
Perl introduces the language to the novice. The book
an introduction to the capabilities of the perl programming
The concepts discussed in this chapter are explained
in detail later
in the book.
The rest of the book is presented in classroom format.
There are approximately
sixteen additional lectures with accompanying exercises
for the student.
The answers to the exercises appear in one of the appendices.
of this the book can be used in either a classroom or
a private setting.
Perl itself is free. It can be obtained from a number
of places, including
Unix Power Tools by Jerry Peek, Tim O'Reilly, and Mike
Learning Perl also gives the reader the name of a Usenet
newsgroup and an alternative way to contact the group.
to perl is its high portability, and Schwartz devotes
a chapter to
procedures for converting awk, sed, and UNIX shell
scripts to perl programs. Perl is not only for UNIX
machines: it has
been run on machines using VMS, OS/2, and MS-DOS operating
as well as Macintoshes. Schwartz provides an excellent
for the beginner interested in perl. He explains perl's
before presenting examples which embody the concepts.
He also gives
readers a glimpse of version 5.0, which Larry Wall is
Learning Perl not only clarifies what perl is, but also
Security & Networks
Carl Malamud with Jeff Schiller and John Romkey
O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
It is now possible to hear programs produced on the
a workstation with speakers and audio software. O'Reilly
Inc. and Sun Microsystems are currently sponsoring a
"Geek of the Week," featuring interviews with
members of the
Internet community and hosted by Carl Malamud.
Since one of the precious commodities today is time,
O'Reilly & Associates,
Inc. has also decided to make these programs available
on audio tape.
In this way, anyone who commutes can benefit during
rush hours and
still be up-to-date on the Internet.
Each tape contains two interviews. As I listened to
& Networks," several of Jeff Schiller's points
impressed me, from how to make a system secure to whose
job it is
to ensure that the security for the system works. His
-- that there are only two kinds of security "very
none" -- is not only convincing but also worthy
of the evening
news. In the second interview, John Romkey's ToasterNet
of the computer in the movie Electric Dreams. On a more
note, his conceptions of tools and adding his structure
data were most thought-provoking. Malamud is an excellent
His questions are pertinent and the pace of the interviews
Currently, there are three tapes available in audio
format. In addition
to "Security & Networks," the listener
can also obtain:
by Carl Malamud with Glenn Kowack and Rob Blokzijl
O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
"Networked Information & Online Libraries"
by Carl Malamud with Peter Deutsch and Clifford
O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
About the Author
Elizabeth Zinkann has been involved in the UNIX and
C environments for the past
11 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.