We review three out of the eight books in the Craig Hunt
Linux Library series published by Sybex Inc. The first book
is the second edition of "Linux Apache Web Server
Administration" by Charles Aulds, followed by the second
edition of "Linux System Administration" by Vicki Stanfield,
and Roderick W. Smith. Both books were published in September
2002 and reviewed by Craig Hunt. The third book is
"Linux Network Servers" written by Craig Hunt himself
published in August 2002.
"Linux Apache Web Server Administration" is written for
well-versed Linux administrators who use Apache as their web
servers in a small to medium-sized company. It provides a
good coverage of the necessary topics to arm an administrator
with sufficient knowledge to get the Apache web server up and
running, and also administer and maintain it. Its
table of contents
lists four appendices, and fifteen chapters that are
categorised under four main parts.
Part 1: "How Things Work" has two chapters that introduces
the Web and compares Apache with various free and commercial
web servers. The next four chapters under Part 2: "Essential
Configuration" cover installing Apache 2.0.36 from source,
the binary distribution of Apache 2.0.35, and Apache using
an RPM, configuring some general directives, installing
third-party modules as dynamic shared object (DSO) modules
using the apxs utility, and setting up IP-based and
name-based dynamic virtual hosts. The third part which
comprises Chapters 7 to 10 moves on to the advanced
configuration options, namely how to implement Server-Side
Includes (SSI), Common Gateway Interface (CGI) scripts,
FastCGI, a simple MySQL web query,
mod_perl, PHP, Active Server Pages (ASP),
Tomcat, Resin, mod_alias,
mod_rewrite, and GUI configuration tools
such as Comanche and Webmin.
Part 4: "Maintaining a Healthy Server" together with the remaining
five chapters teaches you how to create your own Apache logs,
track user sessions using mod_usertrack,
rotate and analyse logs, tweak the performance, use
mod_proxy, implement various authentication
and authorisation methods, install mod_ssl,
be your own Certificate Authority (CA), negotiate content
based on meta-information, and set up the Red Hat Content
Accelerator. Appendix A lists all the standard Apache
directives for version 2.0.39 while the three remaining
appendices supply the online references for more
information and teach you how to use them effectively, and
talk about using Samba, FTP, mod_put,
Frontpage Extensions, and mod_dav to
transfer files to Apache.
Although this second edition has been updated to include
Apache 2.0, it is not the definitive guide to Apache 2.0
because it does not focus on the new features of Apache 2.0 or
the differences between Apache 1.3 and 2.0. This book is therefore
not for experienced Apache web server administrators who are
seeking guidance in migrating from Apache 1.3 to version 2.0.
However, it will suit experienced Linux system
administrators who are new to Apache to a tee as it is easy
to understand, starts from the basics, and walks you through
step-by-step instructions to ensure that you are well equipped
to setup and maintain your very first Apache web server.
Now, on to our next book, the updated second edition of
"Linux System Administration" is aimed at Linux server
administrators who are already familiar with Unix or
slightly knowledgeable about Linux. It is not for beginners,
desk-top Linux users, or Windows users wishing to migrate
Its eighteen chapters are divided into four parts and there
is no appendix as per its
table of contents.
This book is applicable to all major Linux distributions
although when specific examples are needed, Red Hat Linux
7.3 is used.
Once you have finished reading this book, you are well on
your way to maintain a Linux server confidently. It covers
everything you need to know from setting up user accounts,
implementing a backup and recovery strategy, to
troubleshooting problems on your system.
Our last book on the list, "Linux Network Servers", targets
Linux administrators who want to build a Linux server that
provides network services such as Login, Mail, Printer,
Network Gateway, and Web Services. As it does not include
information for you to revise the basics of Linux, readers
need to possess a fundamental understanding of IP networks,
Linux commands, and Linux system administration.
Please refer to its
table of contents
on how the thirteen chapters are organised under four sections.
Red Hat Linux 7.2 is used in most of the examples in this book
although you should be able to apply the information to other
Linux distributions as well with slight adjustments.
Each chapter in Part 2 and 3 is dedicated to one service.
Chapter 6 is about the Apache web server. It shows you how
to install Apache 1.3.20 using an RPM, configure some
general directives, fine-tune its performance, define
name-based virtual hosts, implement access controls,
configure SSL, and monitor the logs. Basically you will be
able to maintain a basic Apache web server after this.
As a new Linux administrator without much experience, this
is a good reference guide to start you off implementing
standard network services. It is not enough to provide you
with a more complex setup of an individual service so you
will need to have another book solely on each specific
service that requires more advanced configuration. For
example, to implement an elaborate setup of Apache web
server, you will require the "Linux Apache Web Server