There seem to be zillions of mediocre to downright bad books on this subject. There is also one glittering jewel:
Unix System Administration Handbook: Unix System Administration Made Difficult, by Nemeth, Snyder and Seebass. Prentice-Hall 1989, ISBN 0-13-933441-6.
These folks have been there, seen it, fixed it, and survived to tell the tale. With gusto! The cartoons are as priceless as the advice.
If you're on the way to becoming a unix sysadmin, from choice or necessity, full or parttime, you shouldn't pass up this book.
No single volume can begin to cover everything a unix sysadmin might want or need to know, however. The de facto standard reference shelf for unix is O'Reilly series. Examples:
sendmail, by Bryan Costales with Eric Allman & Reil Rickert. O'Reilly & Associates 1993, ISBN 1-56592-056-2
If you know who Eric Allman is, you won't need to hear more. If you don't know who Eric Allman is, and are doing anything involving sendmail, you need this book!
Programming perl, by Larry Wall and Randal L Schwartz. O'Reilly & Associates 1991, ISBN 0-937175-64-1.
Larry is one of the alltime top unix programmers and sysadmins, and perl is his personal tool for getting sysadminish tasks done with a minimum of time and fuss. perl has all the grace and charm of a Mac truck, and gets the job done with comparable dispatch. perl is a net freebie (jpl-devvax.jpl.nasa.gov) with a self-install script so incredibly thorough it leaves many people in fits of giggles.
As you might or might not expect, the nutshell books can be ordered directly via internet email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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