Unix: Book Review -- Absolute OpenBSD: Unix for the Practical Paranoid by Michael W. Lucas, Open Starch Press, 2013

BSD -- the Berkeley Software Distribution flavor of Unix -- is alive and well and thriving on a remarkably secure system near you. And the second edition of Absolute OpenBSD (Michael W. Lucas, 2013, no starch press) is ready to teach you all about it.

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It's thorough -- full of practical no nonsense information and just enough humor to make it a fun read.

Absolute OpenBSD takes you through a logical progression of stages -- such as installation, configuration and implementation of various features -- and then covers the more advanced topics in sufficient detail that you can tackle them and make them work for you.

Topics include installing OpenBSD -- with excellent guidance on partitioning, the boot process, managing users, disks and file systems, a great overview of TCP/IP and networking, software management. network servers, desktops, configuring kernels, upgrading, packet filtering, and customization. There are also chapters on security, and avoiding root. Just look at this list of chapters:

Chapter 1: Getting Additional Help
Chapter 2: Installation Preparations
Chapter 3: Installation Walk-Through
Chapter 4: Post-Install Setup
Chapter 5: The Boot Process
Chapter 6: User Management
Chapter 7: Root, and How to Avoid It
Chapter 8: Disks and Filesystems
Chapter 9: More Filesystems
Chapter 10: Securing Your System
Chapter 11: Overview of TCP/IP
Chapter 12: Connecting to the Network
Chapter 13: Software Management
Chapter 14: Everything /etc
Chapter 15: System Maintenance
Chapter 16: Network Servers
Chapter 17: Desktop OpenBSD
Chapter 18: Kernel Configuration
Chapter 19: Building Custom Kernels
Chapter 20: Upgrading
Chapter 21: Packet Filtering
Chapter 22: Advanced PF
Chapter 23: Customizing OpenBSD

This is truly an excellent book. It's full of essential material on OpenBSD presented with a sense of humor and an obvious deep knowledge of how this OS works. If you're coming to this book from a Unix background of any kind, you're going to find what you need to quickly become fluent in OpenBSD -- both how it works and how to manage it with expertise. I doubt that a better book on OpenBSD could be written.

Read more of Sandra Henry-Stocker's Unix as a Second Language blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld, Twitter and Facebook.

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