Python for Unix and Linux System Administration
Efficient Problem Solving with Python
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: August 2008
Pages: 458

Python is an ideal language for solving problems, especially in Linux and Unix networks. With this pragmatic book, administrators can review various tasks that often occur in the management of these systems, and learn how Python can provide a more efficient and less painful way to handle them.

Each chapter in Python for Unix and Linux System Administration presents a particular administrative issue, such as concurrency or data backup, and presents Python solutions through hands-on examples. Once you finish this book, you'll be able to develop your own set of command-line utilities with Python to tackle a wide range of problems. Discover how this language can help you:

  • Read text files and extract information
  • Run tasks concurrently using the threading and forking options
  • Get information from one process to another using network facilities
  • Create clickable GUIs to handle large and complex utilities
  • Monitor large clusters of machines by interacting with SNMP programmatically
  • Master the IPython Interactive Python shell to replace or augment Bash, Korn, or Z-Shell
  • Integrate Cloud Computing into your infrastructure, and learn to write a Google App Engine Application
  • Solve unique data backup challenges with customized scripts
  • Interact with MySQL, SQLite, Oracle, Postgres, Django ORM, and SQLAlchemy

With this book, you'll learn how to package and deploy your Python applications and libraries, and write code that runs equally well on multiple Unix platforms. You'll also learn about several Python-related technologies that will make your life much easier.

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oreillyPython for Unix and Linux System Administration
 
2.3

(based on 9 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (5)

14%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

    Cons

    • Too many errors (5)

    Best Uses

        • Reviewer Profile:
        • Sys admin (3)

      Reviewed by 9 customers

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      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Works for me

      By Robert M. Koretsky

      from Portland, Oregon

      About Me Educator

      Pros

      • Accurate
      • Concise
      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples
      • Well-written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Intermediate
        • Novice
        • Student

        Comments about oreilly Python for Unix and Linux System Administration:

        Pros: All code I tested at the book website works, granted I did not test everything. Clear, articulate style of writing for a beginner, as well as an advanced NIX user. Covers a wide range of examples, both short and sweet, and long and involved. Comparison at the start to bash excellent. Overall, a very good book in an area that needs more documentation and writing on in the NIX community.
        Cons: I would have liked to see more of a variety of Sys Admin tasks covered with python , such as account creation and maintenance, disk maintenance, security, etc.. I don't see the value of ipython, just another fancy wrapper on top of python that you have to deal with. I use vim, sometimes emacs, and a terminal window.

        (3 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

         
        1.0

        No redeeming features at all

        By David Lomax

        from Sweden

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

          Cons

          • Immature Childish Style
          • Too many errors
          • Wildly Inaccurate

          Best Uses

          • None

          Comments about oreilly Python for Unix and Linux System Administration:

          This book reads as if it were written for primary school children in the 5-7 age group. Lots of ego-stroking, pats on the head and 'there, good boy, well done' style phrasing which is completely inappropriate for a technical publication intended for a professional audience.

          Technical Content:

          It is fairly obvious that neither of the two authors have more than a passing familiarity with either *nix style operating systems, bash, perl or python.

          They give overly complicated explanations of simple tasks which *any* system administrator should be completely familiar with, e.g. Listing files and directories, and simplistic explanations of more complicated tasks.

          Many of the comparisons made between bash, perl and python are inappropriate or just plain wrong. A brief internet search revealed a distinct lack of originality in many of the examples.

          Too much time is wasted on a single interactive programming environment with little or no mention of alternatives. Particularly as most of the target audience will already have their own preferred and/or company mandated alternative.

          Far too many factual, spelling and grammatical errors to list.

          Conclusion:

          These guys should stick to scamming gullible self-help junkies.

          (6 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

           
          1.0

          Line a birdcage with the pages

          By Polis

          from Penobscot lake

          About Me Sys Admin

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • It Is Shaped Like A Book

          Cons

          • Difficult to understand
          • Not comprehensive enough
          • Too many errors

          Best Uses

          • I Killed A Spider With It

          Comments about oreilly Python for Unix and Linux System Administration:

          Unfortunately, I cannot give zero stars or negative ones, or I would for this piece of garbage. The examples don't work half the time, with no explanation of any difficulties one might encounter. There are typos, indentation errors (that I, as a beginner, can't even begin to troubleshoot), modules to be imported that are simply not there, and again, no explanation of where to obtain them if they're not part of the standard python 2.7 distribution. I can't believe I wasted $12 on this piece of garbage(bought used). Keep your money, go spend it on sliding naked down a hill of broken glass into a pool of gin. It would be a lot less painful than this has been for me.

          (7 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

           
          1.0

          Don't waste your money!

          By Simon Dax

          from Folkstone, UK

          About Me EXPERIENCED Sys-Admin

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

            Cons

            • Mostly nonsense
            • Too many errors

            Best Uses

            • Instrument of Torture
            • Temporary Doorstop

            Comments about oreilly Python for Unix and Linux System Administration:

            Very strange. Reads more like a pop-psychology self-help book than a technical work.

            Lots of 'this is very difficult but don't worry you CAN DO IT!' style phrasing.

            Seemingly endless succession of typos, errors, poor explanations, bad examples and even worse english!

            (6 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

             
            1.0

            Appalling waste of my limited T/P budget

            By Jonathan

            from London, England

            About Me Tech Services Manager

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • None

            Cons

            • Too many to list

            Best Uses

            • Recycling into compost

            Comments about oreilly Python for Unix and Linux System Administration:

            This book is very poorly structured and has a rambling, chaotic, self-congratulatory style better suited to a fashionable self-help guide that a technical publication from a respected publisher.

            It spends more time stroking the reader's ego than imparting information, useful or otherwise, and is overloaded with trivial, pointless warnings that even an inexperienced *nix system administrator would find difficult to stomach.

            It evangelizes the IPython shell exclusively without any regard for task suitability, company standards or even simple personal preference.

            The list of technical errors, inaccurate or inappropriate bash-perl-python comparisons, badly worded 'explanations' and plain, simple bad or inappropriate use of the English language would fill several pages.

            I bought three copies of this on the recommendation of my usual supplier and was absolutely appalled. These have been returned to him with a request for a full refund.

            (2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

             
            2.0

            Useful despite multiple problems

            By Michael Mayer

            from Undisclosed

            About Me Designer, Sys Admin

            Pros

            • Easy to understand
            • Helpful examples

            Cons

            • Formatting problems
            • Poorly structured
            • Too many errors

            Best Uses

            • Expert
            • Intermediate

            Comments about oreilly Python for Unix and Linux System Administration:

            Buried within this book is a good introduction to the wide variety of fields that the target audience will need. A number of the scripts would be starting points for the read.

            Many of the problems are identified in the reported errata:

            - technically significant errors in the example scripts
            - sentence structure leading to capitalisation errors in library & function names
            - problems with cross-references.

            The flow of the book is broken by putting an introduction to iPython as Chapter 2. This material is useful but should be in an appendix.

            None of these problems is major but when combined they become annoying.

            (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

             
            1.0

            Not quite the worst book ever

            By Sam the builder

            from New Mexico

            About Me Developer, Educator, Programmer, Sys Admin

            Pros

              Cons

              • Difficult to understand
              • Not comprehensive enough
              • Off topic
              • Too many errors

              Best Uses

                Comments about oreilly Python for Unix and Linux System Administration:

                The book has no structure, is completely anecdotal, and no one has edited the wastefully dense rambling style. There are many typos and gross inaccuracies in both text and examples.

                Half the book uses iPython, but often it is not clear that that shell is being used. Even a poor editor should have removed three fourths of the text which often wastes two paragraphs with warning statements. E.g.,"you will find this hard to understand" or "this will be confusing at first". A system manager will already know how to list files or directories. Most of the comparisons to bash or other languages are inept or inappropriate. The index is worse than useless.

                I foolishly assumed that an O'reilly book would not be as sophomoric as this one is.

                (8 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                Good book with a few typos

                By Eric Lake (etank)

                from Undisclosed

                Comments about oreilly Python for Unix and Linux System Administration:

                I recently got my hands on a copy of "Python for Unix and Linux System Administration". After reading it, I felt the time I've invested in reading it was well spent. The author introduced the reader to many different situations where python would help make their lives as system administrators easier, without confusing the reader with some complex forms or statements. My feeling is that this book is aimed at people who want to use Python to solve their problems quickly and efficiently, but only have a limited experience with the language - and the books fits that purpose well with its rather superficial approach that the reader can later extend later on with various available resources. It would only be fair that I too mention some of the shortcomings that I noticed while reading this book.

                Pros:

                * The author introduces the reader to ways that Python can be used.

                * Most of the time there will be more than one way to accomplish a task. The author at times presents a scenario and showed the reader how to do the same task with different modules. This places the choice of which to use back where it belongs, with the reader.

                * The book has a website (most do these days) where the code examples can be downloaded. http://py4sa.appspot.com/

                Cons:

                * More time was spent on iPython than was really needed.

                * The case of a word is important in Python. For instance "import Sys" and "import sys" are two completely different things. There were quite a few occasions where a module name was used as the first word in the sentence and because of that it was capitalized.

                * There was once instance that I saw where a script example had no indentation at all. Trying to run it would have resulted in complete failure.

                * It would have been nice if the script examples were named instead of leaving it to the reader to figure it out based on the imports used in another example.

                When all is said and done I think I would recommend the book to others if I knew that they had at least some background with Python. And I would highly recommend that they check the addendum and errata pages.

                (3 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Great Book for SysAdmins

                By Alfredo Deza

                from Undisclosed

                Comments about oreilly Python for Unix and Linux System Administration:

                When I got this book, I was just starting to use Python as a solution to everyday problems as a Sys Admin.

                Although it has some advanced sections, I was able to put in place a lot of the examples right away.

                This is probably one of the best books I have used to solve system administration issues regarding a programming language (After the Bash Cookbook).

                Log files, automated configuration updates, parsing for information and even a new shell (ipython), are some of the cool stuff these guys deliver.

                I have even recommended the book to non system administrators as it doesn't assume you know the language inside out.

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