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I don't know which should come first -- why you should look at OpenBSD or why you should buy this book, but these questions seem tightly wound around each other.
Lucas and published by no starch press will help you understand, not just those differences, but how to install, deploy, manage, troubleshoot and thrive with an OpenBSD system. To begin with, let's start with the subtitle -- "Unix for the Practical Paranoid". There's a lot in that title. These days, anyone who manages servers that interact in any way with the Internet are probably somewhat paranoid.
In fact, the author says "If you're not paranoid on the Internet, you're in trouble". And why is OpenBSD "for the paranoid"? Its focus on security borders on the fanatical. OpenBSD pays a lot of attention to the "baked in" kind of security -- auditing their source code with a keen eye toward routing out bugs that could represent an eventual compromise, rather than waiting for flaws to be discovered through successful exploits and addressing them then.
OpenBSD also has built-in cryptography, the systrace system call and the pf packet filter. Due to its ground up dedication to security, it is often used as the OS basis for intrusion detection systems, firewalls, VPN gateways and secure web sites. It's open source, yet it touts some of the highest quality documentation.
It was so well thought of that it became something of a collector's edition and a lot of people have been hungrily waiting for this second edition. This book, in its nearly pages, covers nearly everything I can imagine stuffing into a book on OpenBSD and provides nearly a total immersion on the OS. Yet the author is not so arrogant as to presume you won't need to reach out to other information sources as well -- Chapter 1 is actually devoted to additional sources of information.
Even so, you won't get through this book without acquiring a solid grounding in OpenBSD. 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.
There are also chapters on security, and avoiding root. Just look at this list of chapters:. 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. Sandra Henry-Stocker has been administering Unix systems for more than 30 years. She describes herself as "USL" Unix as a second language but remembers enough English to write books and buy groceries.
She lives in the mountains in Virginia where, when not working with or writing about Unix, she's chasing the bears away from her bird feeders. Here are the latest Insider stories. More Insider Sign Out. Sign In Register. Sign Out Sign In Register. Latest Insider. Check out the latest Insider stories here. More from the IDG Network.
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Absolute OpenBSD: Unix for the Practical Paranoid