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© October 2001 Tony Lawrence

All-In-One Sair Linux and GNU Certified Administrator Exam Guide

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The cover of this book proclaims "All-in-One is All You Need". It surely is not. In fact, if you were to rely upon this as "both a study guide and an on-the-job reference" (as the cover blurb suggests), you'd probably flunk the certification exam and not last long at your job.

The first thing that pops out is that this book is badly edited. Early on there is a reference to the "Intel 80 by 86 family of CPU's"- a sure sign of either automated editing or editing by a completely non-technical person. I don't know which is worse; frankly I'd rather no editing at all if those are the only choices.

In general, this is a confused work. It jumps around from subject to subject, with only the loosest thread of continuity. Unexplained references to material not yet covered are too common. But that's not the worst of it: there is a tremendous amount of misleading or just plain wrong information. For example, Run level "s" is explained as:

Run level s is a single user state that enables the use of the system by only one user. This should be used when you want all other users off the system or you have a single-user personal system. (emphasis mine)

A section on POP and IMAP completely fails to explain the most important difference (that IMAP allows the download of headers only), the TCP/IP section does a particularly poor job of explaining routing, and so on.

There's too much of that sort of thing. On the other hand, there actually is good information to be had here, which makes it all the more sad that so much of it is badly done. Some chapters are actually very good, and there are a number of useful tips that I haven't seen in other places. That makes me suspect that at least one of the authors is the problem here.

The chapter exam questions are generally of poor quality, and the answers are often as misleading or wrong as the text. The enclosed CD is (of course) a Windows-only program that amazingly requires two reboots to install. On my system, it crashed before it actually completed the install, so I never did find out if the CD was worth anything.

© October 2001 Tony Lawrence All rights reserved

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-> All-In-One Sair Linux and GNU Certified Administrator ExamGuide

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