Book cover
Cover image and cartoons by Lisa Haney five star reviewed

“I recommend this book for anyone administering UNIX or Linux systems.”

David  |  15 reviewers made a similar statement

“It's well written, easy to read and very informative.”

Gary L. Roach  |  12 reviewers made a similar statement

“Best Linux book I have purchased ever to date.”

Josh  |  15 reviewers made a similar statement

We are pleased to announce the completely updated twentieth anniversary edition of UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook! The book is published by Prentice Hall and is currently in its sixth printing.

“As an author, editor, and publisher, I never paid much attention to the competition— except in a few cases. This is one of those cases. UNIX System Administration Handbook is one of the few books we ever measured ourselves against.”

  from the Foreword by Tim O'Reilly, founder of O'Reilly Media

“This is a comprehensive guide to the care and feeding of UNIX and Linux systems. The authors present the facts along with seasoned advice and real-world examples. Their perspective on the variations among systems is valuable for anyone who runs a heterogeneous computing facility.”

 Pat Parseghian

About the book

In addition to comprehensive updates and the addition of scores of new topics, this twentieth anniversary edition of the world's best-selling UNIX system administration book has been enhanced with coverage of several leading Linux distributions: Ubuntu, openSUSE, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

This book approaches system administration from a practical perspective and is an invaluable reference for both new administrators and experienced professionals. It details best practices for every facet of system administration, including storage management, network design and administration, email, web hosting, scripting, software configuration management, performance analysis, Windows interoperability, virtualization, DNS, security, management of IT service organizations, and much more.

UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook covers the following operating systems:

Ubuntu® Linux openSUSE® Linux Red Hat® Enterprise Linux®
Oracle America® Solaris™
(formerly Sun Solaris)

News, reviews, and media coverage

Saturday, December 17, 2011

TechSource Selects ULSAH4E as "Most Highly Recommended"

TechSource's Abhishek has named UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook a "most highly recommended" Linux book. You can see the complete list here, along with comments for each entry.

Monday, July 12, 2010 Interview

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to talk with Jonathan Corbet of about our new edition and the state of UNIX and Linux generally. It was an interesting discussion!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Free Software Magazine Reviews Linux Administration Handbook, Second Edition

This review of our previous, Linux-specific, edition describes our general approach to the topic of system administration. Although there are several entirely new chapters in ULSAH4E and several others that have been rewritten from scratch, the general flow and structure remain similar to those of LAH2E.


Errata for UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, 4E

We usually have the opportunity to make corrections before each printing. Therefore, your book's complement of errors may vary depending on its printing. To determine your printing, look at the last line of the copyright page.

Found a problem not listed here? Please let us know.

Updated pages Issues
Page 33

Page 33

The backquoted command wc -l /etc/passwd seen in the page's last command line should actually be wc -l < /etc/passwd.

The issue is that wc -l prints out filenames as well as line counts when filenames are supplied on the command line. Here, only the line count is wanted.

Page 44

Page 44

Contrary to Table 2.2, bash has no string equivalents to the numeric -le and -ge operators. The >= and <= operators listed in Table 2.2 do not exist.

The > and < operators do exist. However, they must be backslash-escaped or double bracketed to prevent them from being interpreted as I/O redirection characters.

Page 45

Page 45

The loop variable in the example for loop is actually called script. The text refers to it as file.

Page 51

Pages 51 and 52

The regular expression shown on pages 51–52 for matching various spellings of Moammar Gadhafi's name is OK as originally printed. However, the accompanying text does not explain why the ([dtz][dhz]?)+ group (a component of the last name match) allows repetition.

The + is there to accommodate variants such as Quadhdhafi. Really, that fragment should be ([dtz][dhz]?){1,2} so that only one or two occurrences are permissible.

More generally, it's worth noting that this regex is permissive. Not every string that it matches is a legitimate spelling of Gadhafi's name. However, it should match all legitimate spellings.

Page 153

Page 153

The cross-reference in the last line of the first paragraph under The setuid and setgid bits points to the wrong place.

The referenced material is on page 105, not page 106.

Page 466

Page 466

The route commands at the bottom of the page are shell commands, not excerpts from a startup script as the surrounding text might imply.

The # character indicates root's shell prompt, not the comment character used in shell scripts.

Page 574

Page 574

DNS Punycode names begin with xn--, not xf-- as stated in the text.

Page 808

Page 808

In addition to having its own conventions, Debian's version of Exim configuration uses the m4 preprocessor.

We don't describe the Debian system in this book.

Page 817

Page 817

There are two errors on this page.

In the sentence "The sender's address is not checked because many user agents get confused by error returns," replace "sender's address" with "recipient's address."

The paragraph that starts "We next check the destination domain..." claims that DKIM verification is not performed during this step. That is incorrect; DKIM is in fact enabled.

Page 821

Page 821

It is not entirely accurate to say that "If a message receives a pass or decline from all the routers in the sequence, it is bounced as an unroutable address."

In fact, Exim may either bounce or reject such messages, depending on the context.

Page 827

Page 827

Contrary to the statement in the Debugging section, exim does fork when given the -d flag. However, it does not detach itself from the control terminal.

Page 852

Page 852

In the configuration file excerpt, the line that sets dkim_selector should do a lookup on $dkim_domain, not $sender_address_domain as shown.

No formal errata are available for this printing yet.
We will update this list after the next printing has been finalized.


Frequently Asked Questions about ULSAH4E

I'm teaching a course that uses UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook as a textbook. Are there slides, outlines, or other materials available for instructors?

Unfortunately, no. This is something we'd like to do, but the scope of the book makes it likely that different courses will choose to focus on different aspects of the material included in the book. If you have specific suggestions for supplementary materials that you would find helpful, please let us know.

Are solutions available for the end-of-chapter exercises?

No. Relatively few of the exercises have a single, clearly-correct answer. They're designed to spark thought and discussion, so evaluating the quality of a particular answer is inherently a bit subjective.

If you'd like to use the exercises in a classroom situation, our advice is to prefer pragmatic responses that demonstrate a grasp of the key technical issues relevant to each question.

I'm interested in translating your book into another language.

Translation and foreign sales rights are handled by Prentice Hall. Please contact us and we will put you in touch with the right people.

Is your book available as an eBook? What formats are available?

ULSAH4E is available as a printed book, a Kindle book, a Nook-compatible ePub book, a DRM-free PDF file, and as an online resource through Safari Books Online. Please see the links on the home page.

Hey! I found a mistake! You suck!

We usually have the opportunity to make corrections before each printing. Please send us a note describing the issue and we will make sure it is addressed. (And thanks for your help!)

There's a problem with my printed copy of the book.

A small number of books were sent into distribution with missing pages or with pages out of order. If you've ended up with one of these copies, please let us know and we will hook you up with a replacement.