Absolute FreeBSD

Barnaby Scott bds at waywood.co.uk
Fri Dec 14 07:22:45 PST 2007

cpghost wrote:
> On Fri, 14 Dec 2007 00:48:19 -0800
> "Ted Mittelstaedt" <tedm at toybox.placo.com> wrote:
>>> [mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at freebsd.org]On Behalf Of Joshua Isom
>>> Although I haven't looked much into any FreeBSD book, I wouldn't be
>>> surprised at all if FreeBSD's documentation combined with
>>> freebsd-questions would outweigh it.
>> It's not the raw knowledge that is the power.  It's the presentation.
>> Newbies cannot digest the FreeBSD docs since the docs assume the
>> user isn't a newbie.
> Right! One can't emphasize this enough.
> IMHO, computer books should be time savers, i.e. a guide highlighting
> the most important aspects of some topic in a unique way. Authors of
> such books shouldn't be afraid to tell readers to go RTFM after
> presenting an overview... unless it's a very narrowly focused book.
> A good tutorial beats a 350 pages book anytime; and a 350 pages
> book with the right mix of selected topics beats an 800+ pages
> "reference-style" all-rounder book as well, most of the time.
> -cpghost.
I wasn't going to reply to this thread because I cannot answer the 
specific question - i.e. is this book worth it for someone who has read 
the first one - because I haven't read the first one. However, since 
no-one who has read the new one seems to have given an opinion of the 
book, I can at least do that.

I have just finished it and I would say it does exactly what what Ted 
and cpghost suggests it should - there are plenty of sections where the 
author introduces what can be done with a particular tool or part of the 
OS, and suggests to the reader to investigate further options in the 
approriate manuals. It also quite openly acknowledges that there is 
plenty that is not covered at all.

As someone with very limited experience (I'm not sure if I still 
classify as a *complete* newbie) I found the book an excellent and even 
entertaining read, which serves it purpose extremely well: to give an 
overview and introduction, but with enough detail in relevant places to 
be able to get real, useful stuff done.

The detail is important because it provides enough 'immersion' in actual 
  configurations, commands, protocols etc to begin to see patterns 
emerging, and to start to develop an instinct for how something you 
haven't seen yet is likely to hang together. However the overview aspect 
is also vital - I have always found it much easier to unearth detailed 
how-tos than to know which direction to go in in the first place! I 
would say he had the balance just about right.

It is aimed pretty squarely at budding sysadmins, not desktop users (X 
is hardly even mentioned), but managed to be far from stodgy. As for the 
version covered, there are a few bits that explicitly mention version 7, 
but everything else seemed totally relevant to me on 6.2.

Barnaby Scott

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list