Unix and Linux System Administration Handbook

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Publisher: Pearson Education

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Earlier in my career, when I was doing system administration, it was Evi Nemeth's System Administration Handbooks. I had no shortage of formal reference documentation, namely man pages and vendor manuals. For some systems (VAX VMS), these could be measured by their shelf space in feet, or weight in pounds. For a senior system administrator, such documentation was great for the few times they needed it, where they could quickly locate the relevant pages. But for a junior administrator, it was intimidating and laborious. Evi Nemeth helped me understand the field, in a way that hundreds of pounds of vendor docs couldn't. She brought experience and expertise, shared opinions, selected the most important topics, and wrote in an accessible style. It was like having a mentor. You might say that this isn't really surprising, since vendors were expected to document everything formally -- which they are. But there isn't a rule to say they can't write such handbooks as well. They just generally didn't. Evi, meanwhile, did a great job.

-- Brendan Gregg

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