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Universal Command Guide: For Operating…

Universal Command Guide: For Operating Systems

by Guy Lotgering

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0764548336, Hardcover)

Networks just aren't homogeneous anymore, despite the best efforts of operating system vendors to bring about the contrary. Many network administrators need to know how to get around in half a dozen operating systems or more; itinerant consultants find themselves in the same boat. Universal Command Guide for Operating Systems breaks new ground in the technical-book industry by documenting the interfaces--graphical as well as textual--of eight popular operating systems in one (large) volume. It's a great resource for people who have to hop from Red Hat Linux to AIX Unix (among others) frequently, or who want to use their knowledge of one operating system to help them learn another. In table after table and entry after entry, this book explains how almost every operating system you're likely to find in a modern data center exposes its functions to users and administrators.

It's hardly possible to commend the authorial team enough for the empirical research they did in compiling this book (and it is a tabular compilation, not a tutorial or prose volume of any kind). Over three years they installed all of the covered operating systems on test servers and used custom software to scan the machines for executable commands. They admit to excluding games, device drivers, and a small number of very obsolete commands from their coverage, but issue (in the preface) a challenge to all readers to find a useful command they haven't included. That kind of warranty is very rare in the technical-book industry, and it appears that this book lives up to its authors' boast of true universality.

How does the Universal Command Guide work? Say you know Microsoft Windows, and know that MSCDEX.EXE is key to making a CD-ROM drive accessible. What commands are equivalent in other operating systems? A scan of the cross-reference that opens this book (it lists every command available in every covered operating system next to its parallels in other environments) reveals what the Unixes and NetWare use, and that the Macintosh requires no special command for the purpose at all. If you want to know more about a NetWare 4.11 command, you can flip to the chapter on that operating system for complete coverage of syntax and parameters.

This is a big, supremely useful book, backed by diligent and extensive research. The only way to make it better would be to cover more operating systems (a couple more Linuxes, HP-UX, and Mac OS X would be nice), but that's a feeble criticism. If you understood the point of this book when you read the title, you'll be pleased. It'll satisfy your expectations. --David Wall

Topics covered: Every administrative command in Sun Solaris 7 and 8; IBM AIX 4.3.3; OpenBSD 2.7; Red Hat Linux 7; Novell NetWare 3.12, 4.11, 5.1, and 6; Mac OS 9.1; MS-DOS 6.22; and Microsoft Windows 95 through XP. Every command-line command and many graphical command sequences are covered fully, with information on every parameter and command variation.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:41 -0400)

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