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Books: A User's Report

Elizabeth Zinkann

My August column contained a review of the first edition of Networking: A Beginner's Guide, which coincided with the release of Networking: A Beginner's Guide, Second Edition. The latest release modifies numerous topics and adds a very important chapter on Disaster Recovery. I have included a review of the second edition in this column, in addition to reviews of the new Perl Bookshelf and a certification guidebook. The book titles, authors, and publishers of this month's selections include: SAIR Linux/GNU Installation and Configuration Exam Cram by Michael Jang (Coriolis); The Perl CD Bookshelf; Version 2.0 (O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.); and Networking: A Beginner's Guide, Second Edition by Bruce Hallberg (Osborne McGraw-Hill).

SAIR Linux/GNU Installation and Configuration Exam Cram,
Michael Jang
The Coriolis Group
ISBN 1-57610-953-4
351 Pages
Reference Card Included

Certification acknowledges the achievement of a recognized level of expertise, whether attained through study, experience, or a combination of the two. In this Coriolis Exam Cram book, author Michael Jang demonstrates the structures and procedures of the SAIR Linux/GNU certification tests and examines the content of the Installation and Configuration Level One Exam 3X0-101. The Introduction, Self-Assessment, and Chapter 1 (Sair Linux/GNU Certification Exams) provide the reader with fundamental information about the certification process, how to prepare for the exam, the best way to use this book, and the mechanics of the Sair Linux/GNU test administration. The author also examines the subjects that this test includes.

In Chapters 2 through 14, Jang addresses the following topics: A Short History of Linux, Linux Structure, Hardware Configuration, Installation Options, Startup and Shutdown, Commanding the Shell, Using the Shell, Managing Printers, The X Window, System Administration, Network Configuration, Applications, and Troubleshooting. The concluding chapters contain a Sample Test and Answer Key, and the Appendix reprints the GNU General Public License followed by a detailed 23-page Glossary and the Index.

As Jang presents each aspect of the test subjects, he explains the underlying concept, outlines its implementation, and demonstrates its use through numerous examples. The descriptions and explanations are effectively discussed and clearly illustrated. This Exam Cram book furnishes the reader with several aids and resources for certification testing: a four-sided reference card, a specialized Web site (, an optional newsletter from, sample questions and answers, and the author's tips and alerts, which are highlighted throughout the book.

The beginning of the book helps the reader establish his or her individual status, what to expect during the test, and how to prepare for testing. The format of each chapter begins with "Terms you'll need to understand" and "Techniques you'll need to master", followed by a short introduction and chapter overview. The chapters end with Practice Questions, thorough answers that explain why each of the multiple choice answers is right or wrong, and additional references. The Practice Questions and Answers not only give the reader a feel for the exam, but also emphasize the importance of carefully reading each question and answer. The SAIR Linux/GNU Installation and Configuration Exam Cram by Michael Jang is an informative and well-written guide to the Sair Linux/GNU Installation and Configuration exam. It is an excellent preparation tool and also a superb Linux reference.

The Perl CD Bookshelf
Version 2.0
O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
ISBN 0-596-00164-9
Book Included

Most new revisions or editions contain modifications to reflect changes in software or hardware. The latest release of The Perl Bookshelf changed the book selections on the CD-ROM. The original version included both the hard copy and the electronic versions of Perl in a Nutshell, Programming Perl Second Edition, the Perl Cookbook, Advanced Perl Programming, Learning Perl Second Edition, and Learning Perl on Win32 Systems. That selection addressed Perl Programmers, novices, systems administrators, and users on several platforms and varied levels of expertise.

The new, improved release contains: hard copy and electronic versions of Perl in a Nutshell (by Ellen Siever, Stephen Spainhour, and Nathan Patwardhan, ISBN 1-56592-286-7, $29.95); Programming Perl, Third Edition (by Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen, and Jon Orwant, ISBN 0-596-00027-8, $49.95); the Perl Cookbook (by Tom Christiansen and Nathan Torkington, ISBN 1-56592-243-3, $39.95); Advanced Perl Programming (by Sriram Srinivasan, ISBN 1-56592-220-4, $34.95); and Perl for System Administration (by David N. Blank-Edelman, ISBN 1-56592-609-9, $34.95). This substitution effectively transforms The Perl CD Bookshelf from a reference for all levels to a resource and utility for Perl programmers and systems administrators.

The easily transportable CD-ROM can be used on any Web browser software with Java Version 1.1.2 or later. Users can search through any of the five books separately or all of them simultaneously, either by using the Table of Contents to find the section and chapter or by entering a search term. The user can then choose to read the answer, the section in which the answer appears, the entire chapter, or any cross-references that may apply. The Perl CD Bookshelf's interface is easy to navigate and provides a quick method to finding that elusive phrase or solution. It is an ideal way to access several resources from a remote location without carrying ten pounds of books to the site. The Perl CD Bookshelf is an excellent utility for anyone who uses Perl.

Networking: A Beginner's Guide
Second Edition
Bruce Hallberg
Osborne McGraw-Hill
ISBN 0-07-213231-0
432 Pages

The fundamentals of network implementation and configuration have become essential tools for computer professionals and hobbyists alike. Whether you are a systems administrator, a programmer, a certification student, or a user setting up a home network, you utilize the same networking concepts and procedures. Hallberg's second edition of Networking: A Beginner's Guide demonstrates both the abstract principles and the practical techniques required to design and establish a network. Three completely new chapters stand out among the numerous modifications and additions within the second edition: The Business of Networking, Laying the Foundation, and Network Disaster Recovery.

The first of the new chapters, The Business of Networking, describes a company network from a corporate viewpoint and defines some of the network-related positions within the business framework and their respective job descriptions. In Laying the Foundation, Hallberg briefly explains the different numbering systems (binary, octal, and hexadecimal) used in networking plus bandwidth terminology. The most technically oriented of the recent additions is the Network Disaster Recovery chapter. It analyzes Disaster Recovery Plans and Network Backup and Restore contingencies; technical editor Tony Ryan contributed a valuable section describing the Seattle 2001 earthquake and the recovery that followed it. The NetWare chapters (Installing and Setting Up NetWare 5.1, Administering NetWare: The Basics, and Understanding Other NetWare Services) have been revised. NetWare 5.1 replaces the NetWare 5.0 procedures described in the original version. Linux users will notice that Hallberg uses Red Hat 7.0 and the accompanying figures display the 7.0 screens. (Red Hat 7.1 processes basically remain the same, although some of the GUI screens and menus differ.)

Hallberg's Networking: A Beginner's Guide, Second Edition is an excellent selection for anyone interested or involved with the design and configuration of a network. The author discusses the essential components, policies, and plans for consideration, and features unique to the most popular operating systems. The result is an informative guide and reference for the experienced computer user.

Elizabeth Zinkann has been involved in the UNIX and C environment for the past 15 years. She is currently a UNIX and C consultant, and one of her specialties is UNIX education. In addition to her computer science background, she also has a degree in English. Her writing has also appeared in Linux Magazine, Performance Computing, and Network Administrator. Elizabeth can be reached at: