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Unix System Administration Handbook 3RD Edition


Unix System Administration Handbook 3RD Edition Cover





When we were writing the first edition of this book in the mid-1980s, we were eager to compare our manuscript with other books about UNIX system administration. To our delight, we could find only three. These days, you have your choice of at least fifty. Here are the features that distinguish our book:

  • We take a practical approach. Our purpose is not to restate the contents of your manuals but rather to give you the benefit of our collective experience in system administration. This book contains numerous war stories and a wealth of pragmatic advice.
  • We cover UNIX networking in detail. It is the most difficult aspect of UNIX system administration, and the area in which we think we can most likely be of help to you.
  • We do not oversimplify the material. Our examples reflect true-life situations, with all their warts and unsightly complications. In most cases, the examples have been taken directly from production systems.
  • We emphasize the use of software tools. Every piece of software mentioned in the text is either a standard UNIX tool or is freely available from the Internet—sometimes both, since many vendors don't do a perfect job of keeping up with new releases.
  • We cover all the major variants of UNIX.

Our four example systems

There have historically been two main flavors of UNIX: one from AT&T (known generically as System V) and one from the University of California, Berkeley (known as BSD). Neither AT&T nor Berkeley is still active in the UNIX marketplace, but the terms "AT&T UNIX" and "Berkeley UNIX" live on.This book covers four different operating systems:

  • Solaris 2.7
  • HP-UX 11.00
  • Red Hat Linux 6.2
  • FreeBSD 3.4 (and bits of 4.0)

We chose these systems because they are among the most popular and because they illustrate a broad range of approaches to UNIX administration. The first two systems are similar to AT&T UNIX, FreeBSD is a direct descendant of Berkeley UNIX, and Red Hat Linux is something of a mix.

We provide detailed information about each of these example systems for every topic that we discuss. Comments specific to a particular operating system are marked with the manufacturer's logo.

There are many other versions of UNIX. Most fall within the range of variation defined by these four systems, but a few (such as AIX and SCO) are so beautifully strange that they must be taken on their own terms.

The organization of this book

This book is divided into three large chunks: Basic Administration, Networking, and Bunch o' Stuff.

Basic Administration provides a broad overview of UNIX from a system administrator's perspective. The chapters in this section cover most of the facts and techniques needed to run a stand-alone UNIX system.

The Networking section describes the protocols used on UNIX systems and the techniques used to set up, extend, and maintain networks. High-level network software is also covered here. Among the featured topics are the Domain Name System, the Network File System, routing, sendmail, and network management.

Bunch o' Stuff includes a variety of supplemental information. Some chapters discuss optional software packages such as the UNIX printing system (or more accurately, systems ). Others give advice on topics ranging from hardware maintenance to the politics of running a UNIX installation.

Contact information

In this edition, we're pleased to welcome Adam Boggs, Rob Braun, Dan Crawl, Ned McClain, Lynda McGinley, and Todd Miller as contributing authors. We've turned to them for their deep knowledge in a variety of areas (and also for their ability to function amid the shifting sands of this book and its temperamental parents). Their contributions have greatly enriched the overall content of the book and the collective experience that we're able to share with you.

Please send suggestions, comments, typos, and bug reports to sa-book@admin.com. We answer all mail, but please be patient; it is sometimes a few days before one of us is able to respond. To get a copy of our current bug list and other late-breaking information, visit our web site at www.admin.com.

We hope you enjoy this book, and we wish you the best of luck with your adventures in system administration!

Evi Nemeth

Garth Snyder

Scott Seebass

Trent R. Hein

June, 2000

Product Details

Nemeth, Evi
Hein, Trent R.
Seebass, Scott
Hein, Trent
Whaley, Ben
Snyder, Garth
Hein, Trent H.
Snynder, Garth
Prentice Hall
Upper Saddle River, NJ
Operating Systems - UNIX
Operating Systems - General
Operating systems
Edition Number:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
August 2000
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
9.23x7.06x1.30 in. 2.70 lbs.

Related Subjects

Computers and Internet » Operating Systems » General
Computers and Internet » Operating Systems » Unix » Unix Administration
Engineering » Civil Engineering » General

Unix System Administration Handbook 3RD Edition
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 896 pages Prentice Hall PTR - English 9780130206015 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,

“As an author, editor, and publisher, I never paid much attention to the competition–except in a few cases. This is one of those cases. The UNIX System Administration Handbook is one of the few books we ever measured ourselves against.”   

–From the Foreword by Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media


“This book is fun and functional as a desktop reference. If you use UNIX and Linux systems, you need this book in your short-reach library. It covers a bit of the systems’ history but doesn’t bloviate. It’s just straightfoward information delivered in colorful and memorable fashion.”  

–Jason A. Nunnelley

“This is a comprehensive guide to the care and feeding of UNIX and Linux systems. The authors present the facts along with seasoned advice and real-world examples. Their perspective on the variations among systems is valuable for anyone who runs a heterogeneous computing facility.”  

–Pat Parseghian

The twentieth anniversary edition of the world’s best-selling UNIX system administration book has been made even better by adding coverage of the leading Linux distributions: Ubuntu, openSUSE, and RHEL.  


This book approaches system administration in a practical way and is an invaluable reference for both new administrators and experienced professionals. It details best practices for every facet of system administration, including storage management, network design and administration, email, web hosting, scripting, software configuration management, performance analysis, Windows interoperability, virtualization, DNS, security, management of IT service organizations, and much more. UNIX® and Linux® System Administration Handbook, Fourth Edition, reflects the current versions of these operating systems:

Ubuntu® Linux

openSUSE® Linux

Red Hat® Enterprise Linux®

Oracle America® Solaris™ (formerly Sun Solaris)



"Synopsis" by ,

Now covers Red Hat Linux!

Written by Evi Nemeth, Garth Snyder, Scott Seebass, and Trent R. Hein with Adam Boggs, Rob Braun, Ned McClain, Dan Crawl, Lynda McGinley, and Todd Miller

"This is not a nice, neat book for a nice, clean world. It's a nasty book for a nasty world. This is a book for the rest of us."

–Eric Allman and Marshall Kirk McKusick

"I am pleased to welcome Linux to the UNIX System Administration Handbook!"

–Linus Torvalds, Transmeta

"This book is most welcome!"

–Dennis Ritchie, AT&T Bell Laboratories

This new edition of the world's most comprehensive guide to UNIX system administration is an ideal tutorial for those new to administration and an invaluable reference for experienced professionals. The third edition has been expanded to include "direct from the frontlines" coverage of Red Hat Linux. UNIX System Administration Handbook describes every aspect of system administration–from basic topics to UNIX esoterica–and provides explicit coverage of four popular UNIX systems:

This book stresses a practical approach to system administration. It's packed with war stories and pragmatic advice, not just theory and watered-down restatements of the manuals. Difficult subjects such as sendmail, kernel building, and DNS configuration are tackled head-on. Examples are provided for all four versions of UNIX and are drawn from real-life systems–warts and all.

"This book is where I turn first when I have system administration questions. It is truly a wonderful resource and always within reach of my terminal."

–W. Richard Stevens, author of numerous books on UNIX and TCP/IP

"This is a comprehensive guide to the care and feeding of UNIX systems. The authors present the facts along with seasoned advice and numerous real-world examples. Their perspective on the variations among systems is valuable for anyone who runs a heterogeneous computing facility."

–Pat Parseghian, Transmeta

"We noticed your book on the staff recommendations shelf at our local bookstore: 'Very clear, a masterful interpretation of the subject.' We were most impressed, until we noticed that the same staff member had also recommended Aunt Bea's Mayberry Cookbook."

–Shannon Bloomstran, history teacher

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