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Continued Analysis - Administration

We have all heard that the vast majority of computer users still associate working with UNIX-like operating systems with some kind of black art. Others know the basics, but are afraid to endeavor into areas that look tremendously advanced. Today we are going to review the book Network Administration with FreeBSD 7. Itís all about building, securing, and maintaining networks with the FreeBSD operating system.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. Network Administration with FreeBSD 7
  2. General Overview
  3. Continued Analysis
  4. Conclusions
By: Barzan "Tony" Antal
Rating: starstarstarstarstar / 4
June 10, 2008

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First of all, the book follows a set of conventions. There are clear distinctions between blocks of code, code words, or just bold highlighting whenever the author wants to draw attention to a specific part or line within a code snippet. Screenshots are also attached in order to visually exemplify the output of some application or utility. This is useful because you know what to expect beforehand.

The average paragraph length is around four or five lines. This is one of those parts that should always be taken into consideration when reviewing a book. This is the ideal amount. Usually when there are more lines within a paragraph (imagine eight or more), the readerís attention span drops drastically. And no, that doesnít mean we donít care about the content, or that it is boring to us; itís entirely psychological.

The appropriate line spacing is also respected. Reading the book will not tire your eyes. I myself have the printed edition of this book, so I can also say that the contrast of the black/white (text color/backgroundópaper) is acceptable. The font is either Garamond or some other particular copyrighted font that resembles it.

Additionally, there are quite a few diagrams and sketches that are pretty simplistic, but offer a great deal of help when you need to imagine a specific scenario. For example, the following diagram can be found on the bottom of page 166. It is a sample network that is coupled with its configuration file. It is crucial to let the reader fully visualize the network so that the structure of the config file will make sense.

In terms of content validity and accuracy, I must admit that I did not try each and every code sample, suggestion, or tip that was presented in the book. I wish I could have, but there are hundreds of them, so it was quite impossible, especially considering everything in my hectic schedule. However, Iíve tried quite a few, mostly those that are important to my specific setup and to my infrastructure. Needless to say, they all worked like a charm.

As a result, I drew the conclusion that the content presented in this book is very accurate and valid. It applies to FreeBSD 7, as its title suggests, but not just that. You will find that most of the things that you can learn from Babak Farrokhi are applicable pretty much anywhere in the real world, including all flavors of UNIX-like operating systems; FreeBSD is just an open source and free variation of BSD.

Furthermore, the fact that the author totally focuses on open source and free solutions should be appreciated. For example, for both OSPFD and BGPD protocols, there are OpenOSPFD and OpenBGPD, and they are both covered in the book. These are daemons that you can set up and configure to run on your server. All free solutions are readily available to anyone free of charge. Many of todayís businesses opt for open source platforms.

This means that you can apply anything that you are able to learn from this book right away without having to shell out hundreds of dollars on various software licenses. That is, as long as you are willing to invest the necessary amount of energy (time and mental capability) and practice. Practice as much as you can.

(Back cover of the book)

In short, letís sum it all up again:

ō        Monitor system performance and security;

ō        Virtualization with FreeBSD Jails;

ō        Tweak parameters to overcome bottlenecks;

ō        Configure interfaces with ifconfig;

ō        Keep your installation up-to-date;

ō        Configure PPP networking;

ō        Control IP and IPv6 routing with routed and route6d;

ō        Run OSPF and BGP with OpenOSPFD and OpenBGPD;

ō        Configure an IPFW firewall and PF packet filtering;

ō        Set up Internet services on your FreeBSD server;

ō        Configuring IPSec and Tunneling, and much, much more.



 
 
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