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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Professional Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 (Wrox Professional Guides)
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Kapil Sharma, Mohammed J. Kabir, Nathan Good, Tony Steidler-Dennison
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A Good Book On What To Do Next With Your RHEL 3 System


I can recommend this book for those, who have just installed Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 (aka RHEL 3) and
are wondering what to do next with it; but have no significant Linux/Unix experience to fall back on.
For the more seasoned RHEL 3 SysAdmin, you'll probably want to thumb through it before deciding to buy it.
This book is notch or two above a starter book on RHEL 3. There are not that many books like this out
there, so for this reason alone it may be worth the purchase.

I read this book back in January 2005. Writing a review about it was easy. Why? Because the authors
repeatedly state throughout their book, what it is they are trying to cover in RHEL 3 and what they
are NOT going to cover. They do a very good job of sticking to their objectives.

The authors cover many of the services and applications which are commonly configured on RHEL 3. They
admit it is not a comprehensive coverage, nor is meant to be. {SysAdmins will have varied opinions on
what should and shouldn't be included in this book. SysAdmins having opinions is a given. :) }
The authors selections are as good as any. They are also trying to deal with keeping the book down to a
readable size, i.e., less than 700 pages. Many of the chapters and topics in this book, are already
separate books unto themselves.

Each chapter is a survey of one or more solutions/services/applications. The authors forewarn you,
these are not all the possible combinations of the same. The authors pick one example and work
through an implementation of it. The examples are a good mix of Command Line (CLI) and Graphic User
Interface (GUI). Most of the time further references, usually URLs are included in each chapter.

I personally liked chapters 4 - 6 on Storage Management, HA (Clustering) and Red Hat's WAF (Web
Application Framework). Storage Mgmt and HA/Clustering are of particular interest to me and the
Red Hat WAF stuff was new for me.

The authors covered NFS and automounting (autofs), but omitted NIS. {Remember SysAdmins' have
opinions.} Manually doing NFS mounts is fine, if you have just a few systems. Once you get over a
couple of dozen systems requiring NFS mounts, then automounting is the next logical step. Its also
equally common to do automounting in conjunction with NIS. Yes, I know NIS is going to be replaced
by LDAP and NIS+ is dead. But using NIS and NFS automounting together is still quite common and
will continue to be for some time. (Security-wise; NIS & NFS are only done inside the firewall.)
The authors also covered file sharing via Samba. But LDAP just got a skimpy couple of pages.
Authors' choice, I guess?

My other curious observations was their coverage of LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and Python, Perl, PHP...).
They covered LAMP pieces in the book and in the last chapter without actually using the word "LAMP".
One of the authors is involved with LAMP through his company. So why not use the word? To quote
John Madden, "What was that all about?". I just thought it a strange omission, considering...

Red Hat has just recently released RHEL 4. So how long will this book on RHEL 3 be relevant?
Probably at least through this year (2005) and longer and/or until someone writes the RHEL 4 version.
Note, there are still folks out there running RHEL 2.1.

My background is, I've been in IT for over 20 yrs as a IT Mgr, SysAdm, System Architect and System
Engineer. I worked with various flavors of Unix since 1985 and with Red Hat since version 3.0.3
back in 1996. My current Linux flavor of choice is Fedora Core 2 (soon to be 3).



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Java for the Web with Servlets, JSP, and EJB: A Developer's Guide to J2EE Solutions
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Budi Kurniawan
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Must read fo Java beginner


This book is well explained step by step. You do not need deep knowledge of web programming or Java to start reading this book. Examples are excelent and most off all, it covers all Java's web programming technologies in one book!



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Fuel Cell Systems Explained
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Authors: James Larminie, Andrew Dicks
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
excellent starting point, but use with care


Fuel cells is a very difficult topic to write about because of the interdisciplinary nature of the subject. I am using the book to learn about Fuel Cells myself and my feelings are mixed. While this book is an excellent starting point, there are some over simplifications and errors. As a Mechanical engineer, some descriptions in the text made me cringe. Watch out for errors in some equations.

Excellent resource for someone with a technical background and general interest in fuel cells. For more serious users, recommend using in conjunction with maybe the DOE fuel cell handbook available from NETL or from OSTI.GOV



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition with CD-ROM and Online Subscription
Publisher: Merriam-Webster
Authors: Merriam-Webster
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
I don't understand


This book has got me stumped. Being a huge Webster fan I couldn't be more disappointed. Not a single picture of my little man. The book doesn't even talk about him. No pictures - nothing. Not even a mention Alex Karras (George). "Merriam Webster"?? What's that? Is it like some caveman speak for "Webster's happy"? And what does he have to be happy about? - he's surely gets minimal exposure from this publication. Apart from my initial disappointment this book doesn't even make sense. I couldn't follow the plot and trying to read all the many sub-chapters aloud is a futile exercise in alliteration.