Review of “Python for Unix and Linux System Administration”

I first got introduced to Python a few years go. Between now and then I mostly did some hackish scripts solving various small problems that me or my colleagues had. It has not been until recently that I started writing something that can remotely be called serious stuff that often makes its way to production environment.

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.

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  1. #1 by nixternal on March 12, 2009 - 12:25 pm

    Interesting, you and I both felt pretty much the same way about this book, however I am not sure if I would recommend it. I did not get much out of this book in the ways that I thought I would. Don’t get me wrong, it might be a good book for way newer users maybe, but I was hoping to learn some really good admin features with Python, and I didn’t.

  2. #2 by niskotink0 on June 9, 2009 - 11:44 am

    good book
    I have been studying python and now I read it ..

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