I’ve reviewed Michael Lucas’s book here before, so when he offered a chance to read his newest, SSH Mastery, I jumped at the chance. Michael Lucas has published a number of technical books through No Starch Press, and started wondering out loud about self-publishing. This is, I think, his first self-published technical volume.
It’s a very straightforward book. The introduction opens with a promise not to waste space showing how to compile OpenSSH in text. Chapter 2 ends with the sentence, “Now that you understand how SSH encryption works, leave the encryption settings alone.” This stripping-down of the usual tech-book explanations gives it the immediacy of extended documentation on the Internet. Not the multipage how-to articles used as vehicles for advertising, but an in-depth presentation from someone who used OpenSSH to do a number of things, and paid attention while doing it.
It’s a fun read, and there’s a good chance it covers an aspect of SSH that you didn’t know. In my case, it’s the ability to attach a command to a public key used for login. It even covers complex-but-oh-so-useful VPN setups via SSH.
If you’re looking for philosophical reasons to buy it, how about the lack of DRM?
The physical version is not available yet, but the electronic version is available at Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), or from Smashwords (every other format ever, including .txt). The Smashwords variety of formats means that you’ll be able to read it on your phone, one way or another; I’d like to see more books that way in the future.