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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
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There is a Linux System Administers' Guide (SAG) book available on the www.tldp.org website. I haven't seen the Unix System Admin. Handbook. Also read through your distro's Administrator's Guide manual. You disto may have certain ways of doing things that might make things easier. If you (or your organization) use the same distro, then managing several servers and many clients may be easier.
Also look at the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard. If the clients mount the static/shareable system partitions read-only from a central server, then you can administer a single administrators client (such as security updates) to update the binaries and libraries in one place.
I think that what I'm getting at is that experience at administering a site is better than any book. You may want to produce your own documentation on how you perform updates, installations & backups and keep it in a 3-ring binder. This could come in handy if you are putting out fires and can reference your notes and instructions while under pressure. Be sure to document items that differ from the admin book you have. For example, suppose that you have RHEL servers. They mount LVM volumes. Make sure you document how you would mount a partition on an LVM volume when using a rescue disk. If you use raid for redundancy, be sure to log which physical drive is which in the array and how to swap out a bad device and make it the new hot spare. Document the exact procedure you need to perform. When you need to do it for real, you will probably be under pressure to get it done quickly so being able to refer to your notes or documentation would be helpful.
Any book is a good book ! The more you read the better of you will be I personally utilize the local library extensively, as they tend to be a little pricey. To be honest alot of these books are gonna say pretty much the same thing , you might end up learning alot more if you focus on the basics and use the man command like jschiwal previously stated.
Actually, a distro's administrator's guide will probably be a pdf or html book at least 200 pages.
However, exploring how your system works and reading the manpages for configuration files (yes, system config files have their own man pages) is a good idea.
I'll often prefer to print out an important man page like this:
man -t topic | lpr
This will print out a PostScript formatted version of the man page which I find much easier to read and remember. Also, for certain packages, I will download the source and run "configure" and then "make pdf" to produce a formatted print worthy version of the info documentation from the .texi docbook source.
On some distro's there is a gawk-doc package. If not downloading the source and producing the documentation will give you the book: "Gawk: Effective Awk Programming" which is excellent. The core-utils package contains a book containing extensive documentation on all of the commands supplied by the coreutils package. Reading this you may discover very handy programs such as "comm" which can make your duties as an admin easier.
Last edited by jschiwal; 07-25-2008 at 06:16 PM.
Reason: removed ill fitting junk
Not to be disagreeable, but I previewed a few dozen Linux and Unix admin books for some courses I taught. There are some real dogs out there. Some books are just a plain waste of time, some giving terrible advice, some showing no understanding or imparting comprehension on how the system works, and still some are nothing more than regurgitated man pages (or worse). As expensive as books are, some are just bad buys.