Category: Books

In Other BSDs for 2016/11/19

A much more well-rounded crop of BSD links this week.


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In Other BSDs for 2016/11/12

Started out with a short list, but I managed to find some extra links by Friday.

Posted by     Categories: Books, BSD, BUG, NetBSD, OpenBSD, PC-BSD, TrueOS     0 Comments

In Other BSDs for 2016/10/08

This was an easy week to put together; there’s a lot of links this week.  Last week was slow – maybe it was because of EuroBSDCon?

Posted by     Categories: Books, BSD, BUG, FreeBSD, FreeNAS, OpenBSD, pfSense     0 Comments

In Other BSDs for 2016/10/01

A relatively uneventful week, at least for BSD.

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Lazy Reading for 2016/09/11

Happy birthday to my younger daughter.

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Lazy Reading for 2016/09/04

This post fleshed out at the last minute, between road trips.


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In Other BSDs for 2016/09/03

A week of travel didn’t get in the way of links!  RSS feeds are still fantastic tools for those who know how to use them.

Posted by     Categories: Books, BSD, Conventions, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, PC-BSD, TrueOS     0 Comments

In Other BSDs for 2016/07/16

I’m meeeeellllllltttinng!

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Lazy Reading for 2015/05/22

A nice wide range of topics, again!

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Lazy Reading for 2016/04/24

This week filled up fast, despite me having an exam to take in the middle of it.

Your unrelated link of the week: HOW TO OPERATE YOUR FROG.  (via)

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Lazy Reading for 2016/04/10

I’ve finally used up my Lazy Reading links backlog!

Your sort-of off-topic link of the week: Michael W. Lucas’s fiction is, for a short time, part of a larger book bundle which is available for less than the price of buying it all individually.  Buy now if you want a deal/lots of fiction to read.



BSDNow 136: This is GNN

The GNN in the title is George Neville-Neil, interviewed on BSDNow 136 about the TeachBSD project, plus the usual collection of recent BSD news.  The show title comes from this station advert.

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BSDNow 135: Speciality MWL

This week’s BSDNow has an interview with Michael W. Lucas, BSD author.  He often speaks at events, so it should be an enjoyable talk.

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Book sponsorships ending soon

Normally I would save this for a “In Other BSDs” weekend edition, but it would be too late: if you want to get in on a book sponsorship for Michael W. Lucas’s next FreeBSD Mastery book, you have only a few days left to join in.  His last book sponsorship worked out perfectly, timing-wise.

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Lazy Reading for 2016/03/27

This is actually overflow completely from previous weeks.  I am not sure how I am ending up so far ahead on these but not the Saturday BSD items.  As long as it shows up on the expected day, I suppose it works out.

Your kinda-unrelated item for the week: Butterfly Stomp, Michael W. Lucas’s free short story.  He writes fiction when he’s not writing BSD books.



In Other BSDs for 2016/03/19

This time, this was all last-minute.


In Other BSDs for 2016/02/27

Look at the ZFS discussions if you want to feel smug as a BSD user.

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In Other BSDs for 2016/02/13

Several book links this week.

Thing I should link more regularly: Garbage, a podcast that isn’t specifically about BSD but happens to cover it a lot.  I linked to it when it was starting, but didn’t catch new episodes (fixed by finding the RSS feed).  There’s been a bunch since then, so you have plenty of listening material now.

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In Other BSDs for 2016/02/06

Lots and lots this week!



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In Other BSDs for 2016/01/09

I had so many tabs open of things to post that I lost some until the last minute.

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SSH talk very soon

Reminder: Michael W. Lucas’s talk on SSH (based on his recent book) is happening on the 10th, at the Farmington Hills Public Library.

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Lazy Reading for 2015/09/27

For some reason, I had this complete days ago, and I’ve already started on next week’s links.

Your unrelated video link of the week: The Wizard of Speed and Time – Mike Jittlov (1988).

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In Other BSDs for 2015/09/19

Lots of activity; I didn’t even really need to look at source commits.

Posted by     Categories: Books, BSD, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, OPNSense, pkgsrc     1 Comment

BSDTalk 256: Allan Jude

BSDTalk 256 (or as I like to think of it, BSDTalk 16^2) is out with 16 minutes of interview of Allan Jude at vBSDCon, about his work on the FreeBSD Mastery: ZFS book.

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In Other BSDs for 2015/09/05

Will I need to add a NextBSD tag?  Time will tell.

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In Other BSDs for 2015/05/30

A short but more interesting list this week, I think.


Your Not BSD link of the week: Never fix anything.

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In Other BSDs for 2015/05/23

A calmer week, probably because of the U.S. holiday.

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SSD and book recommendations

Some recent users threads pointed at SSD wear stats, along with what Matthew Dillon has seen on machines, and good filesystem books.

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Tarsnap Mastery book out

Michael W. Lucas’s Tarsnap Mastery book is out, in electronic form.  While not a strictly BSD news items, it’s a service built on BSD, so worth looking at if you care about that – or about encryption.

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Book release party in NYC tomorrow night

NYCBUG is having a book release event for “The Design and Implementation of the FreeBSD Operating System” with George Neville-Neil, one of the authors. It’s happening tomorrow night, at the Stone Creek Bar & Lounge: 140 E 27th St. George Neville-Neil will be talking about DTrace, and there’s copies of the book to buy/win.

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In Other BSDs for 2014/01/24

Short week this week, mostly due to a lack of interesting source changes.

Posted by     Categories: Books, BSD, Conventions, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, PC-BSD, pkgsrc     1 Comment

Book review: FreeBSD Essentials: Storage Mastery

Normally if I talk about a filesystem here, I talk about Hammer, which is not a surprise.  However, I often read and review Michael W. Lucas’s BSD-oriented books, and he has written FreeBSD Mastery: Storage Essentials.  I’m reviewing it here because it’s obviously BSD-related, and some portions are directly relevant for other BSDs.

Disk setup and layout isn’t something that normally consumes much attention past the initial install – until something goes wrong, or until a system needs a new configuration.    Installers tend to hide that initial layout, anyway.

Vendors take advantage of this.  Much of the specialized storage vendors out there are selling you a computer with disks in it – something you can build yourself.  You don’t (or at least I hope you don’t) buy a firewall when you can do the same with pf or ipfw; the same goes for disk management.

There’s plenty of coverage of GEOM, GELI, GDBE, and the other technologies specific to FreeBSD.  I for one did not know how GEOM worked, with its consumer/producer model – and I imagine it’s complex to dive into when you’ve got a broken machine next to you.  If you are administering FreeBSD systems, especially ones that deal with dedicated storage, you will find this useful.  He doesn’t go into ZFS, but he does hint at a book on it later…

If you’re not a FreeBSD user, there’s also material that’s common to any BSD – an explanation of disk architecture, of UFS, RAID, and SMART.  Knowing what SMART is and does is essential, in my opinion.  You may be able to cobble this material together from other sources online, but it’s packaged nicely here, with Lucas’s easy writing style.

It’s a self-published book, and as such the download nets you three different formats.  It’s currently $10 and DRM-free, directly from the author.  You can also order physical versions, if you like paper.

Posted by     Categories: Books, BSD, FreeBSD     4 Comments

Book Review: The Book of PF, 3rd edition

I’m going to dive right in with an anecdote: As is normal for anyone in systems administration, I’m busy at work.  I’ve been short an employee for some time, and I brought in a managed service provider to do some work.  This included a revamping of the network equipment and layout, as it has been growing organically rather than in a planned fashion.

I received the formal assessment from the provider a few weeks ago, and it mentioned that we were using a non ICSA-certified firewall: pf, in the form of pfSense.  This was accompanied by some rather drastic warnings about how open source was targeted by hackers! and implied that ICSA certification was a mark of quality rather than a purchasable certification.  All bogus, of course.

The reason I’m starting this review with this little story is to note that while open source has become well-accepted for system and application software, there’s still a lot of people that expect commercial hardware to be exclusively handling data once it leaves the server.  That’s been valid for a long time, but software like pf represents a realistic option, or even an improvement, over many commercial and proprietary options.  Since pf exists in one form or another on all the BSDs, it’s a tool you should be at least somewhat familiar with.

Peter N. M. Hansteen has written about pf first online, and then in printed form, for some time.  The Book of PF is in its third edition, and that’s what I have to read.  (Disclosure: No Starch Press gave me the book free, without requirements)

The book is excellent, and easier to read than I expected for a book about network processing.  It can be read in linear form, as it takes the reader from simple to more complex network layouts.  It works as a reference book, too, as it focuses on different tools around pf and what they are used for.

It covers the different pf version in OpenBSD, NetBSD, and FreeBSD, and DragonFly gets at least a partial mention in some portions of the book.  For example, OpenBSD recently removed ALTQ, but the other BSDs still use it.  With- and without-ALTQ scenarios are covered every place it applies.  You’re going to get the most mileage out of an OpenBSD setup with it, though.

The parts where the book shines are the later chapters; the descriptions of greylisting and spamd, the traffic shaping notes, and the information on monitoring pf will be useful for most anyone.  It’s quite readable; similar in tone to Peter’s blog.  If you enjoy his indepth online articles, the book will be a pleasant read.

It’s available now from Amazon and directly from No Starch Press.  It’s linked in the book slider currently running on the right side of this site, too.

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In Other BSDs for 2014/12/20

I sort of lost a day this week because of an accidental 20-hour workday, but I still have the links:

Note: corrected VPS hosting link.

Posted by     Categories: Books, DragonFly, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, PC-BSD, pkgsrc     2 Comments

BSDNow 068: Just the Essentials

BSDNow 068 has a large number video links to various BSD conference videos, a bunch of other article links,, and an interview of Michael W. Lucas about his new FreeBSD Mastery: Storage Essentials book.

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In Other BSDs for 2014/12/06

I have been building up quite the variety this week.

Books books books

I’ve placed an image slider over on the right side of the website; it’s all BSD-related books.  Each image is linked to a page about the book where you can buy it.  It’s not paid advertising, or perhaps advertising at all; there’s no in-kind benefit.  It’s specifically books I think people would find interesting to read, and we’d all benefit by the expansion of the BSD ‘ecosystem’.

The most recent edition added is Michael W. Lucas’s FreeBSD Mastery: Storage Essentials, which is out in ebook form today, and printed form soon.

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In Other BSDs for 2014/11/22

I actually got this started early, for once, instead of completing in a panic on Friday night.

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In Other BSDs for 2014/11/08

Snow finally hit my area yesterday, which makes me happy.


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In Other BSDs for 2014/10/18

Done at the last minute, like always, but surprisingly extensive this week:

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In Other BSDs for 2014/07/26

Part of this was done while traveling, but still a decent week for links.

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Lazy Reading for 2014/07/06

I was out sick for a few days this week (Norwalk virus ain’t fun), and so there’s a whole lot of links to follow.

Your unrelated link of the week: The 1987 Crystal Light National Aerobic Championship.  Imagine there was no Internet access other than what you can telnet to, and nothing on TV other than this.  That’s 1987.

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Books discounted at O’Reilly

O’Reilly is running a 50% off special on a variety of books on electronics, with coupon code WKECTRC.  I’m posting it now because it only lasts for this week.

Update: another offer just popped up in my email – 50% off various “web performance and operations” books with the code CFVLTY4.

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Webcast to catch

Michael W. Lucas is doing a webcast for O’Reilly today, at 1 PM Eastern.  The title is “Beyond Security: Getting to Know OpenBSD’s Real Purpose.  You can also get his “Absolute OpenBSD” book, 2nd edition, for 50% off with the coupon code DEAL.  I think that’s a today-only offer, so jump on it now.

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Book sales today

It’s Day Against DRM, and O’Reilly and No Starch Press are having significant sales on – of course – DRM-free ebooks.  That represents a good slice of the BSD-centric books out there.

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In Other BSDs for 2014/02/15

Lots of links, yet again.

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eBook sale for 48 hours

Michael W. Lucas is selling his work at a temporary discount during NYCBSDCon, which means you have today and tomorrow to get 3 books (Sudo Mastery, DNSSEC Mastery, and SSH Mastery) for $20 total, $7 less than normal.  Head to his site to get the coupon code.  He’s speaking at NYCBSDCon tomorrow, too – you should go.


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Book Review: Perl One-Liners

No Starch Press noticed that I keep talking about Michael W. Lucas’s BSD-related books, and I’ve linked to Peteris Krumins’s catonmat site before, so they sent a copy of Krumins’s new “Perl One-Liners” book to me.

Stole image right from the site.


Here’s the hook for me: Perl was the first language I wrote a program of any real use in.  Years ago, I had the Perl Cookbook.  It was a pretty simple formula, where I’d have a problem.  I’d look it up in the Perl Cookbook.  If there was already a recipe that matched what I needed, I was set.  I ended up having to stuff the book into a binder because the spine broke.

This reference is essentially what the Perl One-Liners book is, though this is less about  programming and more about the solution you need right now. The book realizes this and it’s laid out like a menu.  Flip through the index to find your problem, and then type the answer.  The book even includes a link to a text file that you can copy down and grep for answers – I won’t link to it because it’s not mentioned on the author’s page, though he does include example chapters.

It’s not about learning Perl, and it’s not about technique – these are one-liners, after all.  If you are doing the sort of thing Perl excels at, like text mangling, this will be a book full of tools for you.  I think the author is going to continue in this style; he’s done a lot of one-liner articles and even some previous e-books.

Probably a good idea to make this disclaimer: As with other books, I get no reward for this review, unless you count me having another book in the house.  That’s more of a problem than a benefit for me.

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OpenBSD talk at Michigan User Group

This appears to be all audiovisual media week, because author Michael W. Lucas gave a talk at the Michigan Users Group about OpenBSD (he’s qualified), and it’s up now in two parts.  He describes it as:

“Among other things, I compare OpenBSD to Richard Stallman and physically assault an audience member.”

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Book review: Sudo Mastery

If you’ve seen my previous two reviews of Michael W. Lucas’s ‘Mastery’ books – DNSSEC Mastery and SSH Mastery – then you can guess what this will be: his newest book, focusing on a single software topic.  This time it’s sudo.


The one downside of reading this book: I now am aware I’m using sudo wrong.  Perhaps not wrong, but not anywhere near its potential.  Sudo – and I’m not the only person who has experienced this – is used as a “Let’s install sudo so we don’t have to tell anyone the root password”.  Sudo works for that sort of thing, but there’s a lot more possibilities.

Sudo is designed to be deployable across multiple systems, as part of a security policy.  It’s an easy way to create purpose-shaped roles with different users, especially with users that have specialized skills and tasks, like database maintenance.

Obviously I think better of sudo after reading the book; there’s a lot of program capabilities of which I was unaware, but it’s the book that sells them.  Michael W. Lucas’s humor is on display again, to break up some very technical material.  Here’s some bits, pulled out.

Remember that “syntactically valid” is not the same as “does what you want.”

Pressing Q tells visudo to break sudo until you log in as root and fix it. Do not press this button. You won’t like it.

Here I create the TAPEMONKEYS alias for the people who manage backups.

And if Carl tries to configure Oracle on the PostgreSQL server, senior sysadmin Thea needs to have sharp words with him. Probably involving a tire iron.

The book is in-depth enough to cover more complex topics like using sudo and Active Directory, and sudo as an intrusion detection tool, of all things.

The usual reasons to buy a Mastery book are all still there: it specifically mentions working on BSD systems instead of pretending Linux is the only system out there.  It’s available through a DRM-free seller (Smashwords) in addition to Amazon.  It’s a self-published effort, not shovelware.  It’s available now as an ebook, and in physical form soon.  Lucas talks about it on BSDNow 010, too.

I have one last nontechnical note.  Since these Mastery books are working into a series, I’d like to see a whole printed run of visually matching books.  Something with the equivalent of the O’Reilly animals or the Pelican or even Little Blue Books common look and feel.

You know the look even if you don't know the publisher

The takeaway: You should be reading this book if you plan to use sudo in any sort of multiuser environment.  It’s available as an e-book direct from the author, via Amazon, via Smashwords, and possibly Barnes & Noble at some point in the near future.  Physical books are available, and you can buy both forms together, apparently.

And of course this sudo joke.

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BSDNow 10: Year of the BSD Desktop

The 10th BSDNow episode is out, with the ambitious title, “Year of the BSD Desktop”.  As you can guess from the title, a PC-BSD desktop gets set up as part of the episode, and as you might not guess from the title, they interview Michael W. Lucas.

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Lazy Reading for 2013/10/13

This week just built up and built up.

Your unrelated comic link of the week: Nimona.

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Lazy Reading for 2013/09/29

Moved 20 servers to new hardware this week.  Normally my workplace doesn’t get very active until snow hits.  Normally.  Anyway, going for the long sentences this week.

Your unrelated link of the week: Proper Opossum Massage.  Yes, it’s a serious video, but it shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Posted by     Categories: Books, Lazy Reading     2 Comments

Do you know sudo?

Michael W. Lucas needs tehcnical reviewers for his first draft of ‘Sudo Mastery’.  If you know sudo, and know how to criticize (and who doesn’t, for this is the Internet), look at what you’d have to do.

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Lazy Reading for 2013/09/15

I think I’m finally catching up on the backlog.

Your unrelated link of the week: The Alan Lomax recordings.

Lazy Reading for 2013/08/25

This week, I’m opinionated on every link.

  • An 80s computer ad that got almost everything correct.  It used to be sci-fi environments were super-clean – now they’re dirty, with ubiquitous electronics.  That’s something that could be picture-blogged to prove, but I ain’t doing it.
  • Bunnie Huang does “exit interviews” when he stops using equipment.  Given his electronics knowledge, he goes into a lot of detail, including pictures through a microscope.  Speaking of this, how has my ancient HTC Incredible survived 3 years of trips into a salt mine?  I don’t know.
  • InterTwinkles, open source group decision making software.  Don’t know how well it works, but it certainly seems like the right idea.  (via)
  • Turning the Apple //e into a Lisp machine, part 1.  They don’t actually get to the Lisp machine part, but it talks about how Apple computers could load data through the audio jack.  I remember doing that with a tape player, too.  It sucked.  (via)
  • kOS.  It’s so minimal that I am not sure what it can do or how to use it, but it’s also so minimal that I’m sure there must be something to it.  (via)
  • Building a Chording Keyboard.  I’ve mentioned the Microwriter and Twiddler before, but this article goes into a lot of detail about the actual construction of a home-made unit.  (also via)
  • Book review: The Healthy Programmer.  It may or may not make you exercise, but it will make you feel a little guilty about sitting and reading the web like you are doing right now.
  • Hyphen, en dash, em dash, minus.  So few people know there’s a difference.  (via)
  • ASCII Art.  History of, examples, and so on.  (via, with video)
  • Five Useful Git Tips.  Git tips come up all the time, but this one is interesting because it’s using “showterm“, which lets you make text-based animations?  movies? to show a work process in a terminal.  I think I may have linked to something similar before, but this is good.
  • How to Avoid the Emacs Pinky Problem.  A neat idea, but some of the suggestions are actually going to make it worse.  (via)
  • Vim: revisited.  Decent ideas, and the links at the end are good further reading.  There, I’ve posted on both sides of the editor issue.  (via)
  • The problem with Vim.  (via)

Your unrelated link of the week: the Scary Godmother Doll.  One of my favorite illustrators, building a doll.  I met the creator years ago in Pittsburgh; she is an astonishingly energetic person.


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A book review somewhere else: Network Security Monitoring

Michael W. Lucas has a review up of Richard Bejtlich’s “The Practice of Network Security Monitoring“.  Both of them are long-term BSD users, and Bejtlich, if I remember correctly, was part of the design of Capsicum, the security framework that is serving as a Summer of Code project for DragonFly right now.  So it’s worth looking at his book.  And/or looking at his blog, for those who want more.

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Do you sudo?

Maybe the title of this post doesn’t rhyme, but it does in my head.  Michael W. Lucas is looking for people with interesting sudo setups, for his upcoming book.

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DNSSEC talk, recorded

If you missed Michael W. Lucas’s talk about DNSSEC, it’s recorded and available on Youtube.  Or buy his book.

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Next Mastery book: Sudo Mastery

Michael W. Lucas’s next topic in his Mastery series is ‘Sudo‘.

Posted by     Categories: Books     1 Comment

BSDTalk 228: Michael W. Lucas

BSDTalk 228 has a nearly half-hour chat with Michael W. Lucas at BSDCan 2013.

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Getting developer notes, handwritten

Michael W. Lucas auctioned off his first copy of Absolute OpenBSD, 2nd Edition some time ago, with the proceeds going to the OpenBSD Foundation.  It was to be signed by OpenBSD developers – which is neat enough, but apparently it was annotated by the developers, too.

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Sales stats and books

While these aren’t his BSD books, Michael W. Lucas has an interesting post up about the sales on his two recent books, SSH Mastery and DNSSEC Mastery.  I’m always interested in seeing how self-publishing models work, whether it’s software or books or music.  He points out that the point of his DNSSEC book is to see if a very difficult subject can be covered in a book like that – which it is.  There’s very few published books that go that in-depth.

(I’m hoping for a whole “Mastery” series covering topics other writers don’t, especially in a BSD-friendly way.)

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Lazy reading for 2013/06/30

Some of the links this week go pretty in-depth.  Enjoy!

Your unrelated link(s) of the week: Candy Box and A Dark Room.  Both are text-only games, but they use HTML5 for animation.  They start minimal, and build up – be patient; there’s a lot of gameplay in there.  These minimal  games fascinate me.  It’s like reading a book, where it goes from just static text to an entire world being built.  (somewhat via)

Your bonus unrelated comics link of the week: Jack Kirby double-page spreads.  It’s not an exaggeration to say this artwork crackles.  (via I forget)


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Book review: Absolute OpenBSD, 2nd Edition

Michael W. Lucas wrote a new edition to his Absolute OpenBSD book, and that second edition was published relatively recently.  It’s a hefty book, nearly 500 pages in length, and I’ve needed to write a review for some time now.  Not-necessarily-relevant-disclaimer: I contributed the IPv6 haiku/joke at the start of Chapter 12.  

If you’re interested in OpenBSD, it’s an obvious purchase.  It goes into detail for all aspects of OpenBSD, starting with a very detailed conversation about installation, then disk setup, and so on. This is not going to surprise anyone, of course.  Past the initial overview, the book starts with a chapter that talks about nothing else but locating other resources to help learn OpenBSD. It seems a little counter-intuitive to start a book with advice on how to look somewhere else, but it makes sense in light of the topic.

What if you aren’t using OpenBSD, at least not right now?  Something I didn’t realize until I had chewed my way through most of the book was that there’s several smaller books hidden inside.  The book goes very far into individual utilities.  So far, in fact, that it ends up creating mini-guides about the topics within the chapters.  (or entire chapters, in the case of pf.)

There’s in fact 2 chapters for pf, initial and advanced.  TCP/IP gets close to 30 pages just to itself, and topics like snmpd or chroot get an introductory section that assumes nothing about your prior knowledge.  These are technologies you’re using already, no matter which BSD flavor you’re dealing with.

It works as a reference.  I’m going to show the aforementioned chapter 11, on TCP/IP, to my coworker who makes a confused face every time I say “link-layer protocol.”  I don’t know if he’ll make it from one end to the other, but it’s a lot better than waving a hand in the air and mumbling “You should look that up on the Internet sometime.”  There’s enough detail that some of the smaller sections could probably be broken out into individual books, and I daresay that’s what is happening with Lucas’s Mastery series.

It’s comprehensive, it’s readable, and you’ll find something useful in it no matter your experience level.  The book is available in printed and eBook form, from the usual online stores linked at Michael W. Lucas’s site, or directly from the publisher.  It’s also available through the OpenBSD Project, which then gets a cut towards development.


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Lazy Reading for 2013/05/26

A really packed week, this week.

Your unrelated link of the week: Superman’s Ultimate Crotch Kick.

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DNSSEC Mastery in print, and Absolute FreeBSD 3 status

Michael W. Lucas has two bits of mostly-BSD-centric publishing news.  One is that a physical version of his DNSSEC Mastery book is now available through Amazon.

The other bit is that, having just released an Absolute OpenBSD update, his Absolute FreeBSD book will not see an update… until the FreeBSD installer gets more coherent.

(If you manage DNS in any fashion, buy DNSSEC Mastery.)

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Book review: DNSSEC Mastery

Michael W. Lucas recently wrote and self-published a new book, DNSSEC Mastery.  He asked me to review it, and I’ve been reading it in bits and starts over the past few very busy weeks.

First, the background: If you’re not familiar with the acronym, it’s a method of securing DNS information so that you can trust that domain name information is actually from the machine that’s supposed to provide it.  DNS information is basic to Internet operation, but it traditionally has been provided without any mechanisms to deal with misinformation or malicious use.  This seems to happen with protocols that have been around for many years, as any mail administrator can tell you…

In any case, ‘DNS poisoning’ (or as Wikipedia calls it, ‘DNS Spoofing‘) attacks such a basic part of how the Internet works that it will completely bypass any security methods that assume name information is correct.  DNSSEC is a way to deal with that.  It introduces public-key encryption into the process of sharing and updating DNS information.  The idea has been around for a while, but it’s only been completely implemented recently.

DNSSEC Mastery goes over this history, and through the setup required to get (recent) BIND working with DNSSEC.  Lucas seems to be starting a series of ‘Mastery’ books, where he covers all the territory around a specific topic.  This one, like his previous title, is exactly what it says.  As long as you have some existing clue around zone files and DNS, the book will take you from no DNSSEC at all to fully implemented in less than 100 pages.  (well, at least in the PDF version, but that gives you an idea of the size.)

Use it to learn, or use it as a quick reference – either way will work.  If you have any DNS server(s) to manage, you’re the target audience.  I expect DNS without these security extensions will go the way of telnet vs. ssh.

A book covering things like new encrypted hash zone record types is going to be a bit dry, but there’s an appropriate sprinkling of humor through the book.  I’ve reviewed other Lucas books before, and I’ve got another on my plate right now, but this is the same: there’s plenty of funny to make the lessons go down easier.

DNSSEC Mastery: Securing the Domain Name System with BIND is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleSmashwords, and his self-publishing site.  Also see Peter N. M. Hansteen’s review of the book.


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Absolute OpenBSD: super-short sale

As seen on Author Michael W. Lucas’s blog: Absolute OpenBSD 2nd edition is 50% off in a sort of ‘flash deal’.  Grab it today if you are interested, cause I think it’s only for today.

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Reading about booting and BSD

Ivan Uemlianin expressed a desire to read about the boot process, and how BSD works in general.  I made a short list of suggestions.

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Book publishing experiences

Michael W. Lucas posted about his results selling an early edition of his recent DNSSEC book through Leanpub.  He lays out all the numbers in detail, the sort of thing I love to see.  The idea of self-publishing and open source go hand in hand, but the idea of that selling is often talked about in speculative terms rather than concrete.  He’s now opening his own direct sales store, which hopefully means more direct BSD material.

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Pentest ebook for sale

If you are a BSD Magazine subscriber (meaning you provided your email to download a free issue), you can get a 20% discount on a security e-book from Craig Wright.  As the promtional email said, ‘Write to with “BSD ebook” in the title of message to get the special code’. I have no idea of the contents; just the existence of the sale.

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Absolute publishing dates

Michael W. Lucas has announced his next two books are coming out in April: Absolute OpenBSD 2nd Edition, from No Starch Press, and DNSSEC Mastery, self published.

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DNS(SEC)administrators needed

Michael W. Lucas needs people who know DNSSEC, BIND, have some time, and are willing to criticize him.  He’s finished his first draft of DNSSEC Mastery, and needs  reviewers.

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Some book statuses

Or is it ‘statii’?  English is wonderfully inconsistent.  Anyway, Michael W. Lucas has posted an update on his two upcoming publications: the second edition of Absolute OpenBSD and DNSSEC Mastery.  Both are in progress, and you can download the ‘pre-release’ version of DNSSEC Mastery now.

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Lazy Reading for 2013/02/03

No theme evolved this week, but that’s OK.

Your unrelated link of the week: MeTube: August sings Carmen ‘Habanera’.  Might be NSFW, probably will make you mildly confused or uncomfortable.  Here’s the ‘making of’ video which is all in German, I think.  If that’s too much, try a recent Cyriak-animated video.  I never thought I’d recommend a Cyriak video as the less disturbing thing to watch.

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A book in beta

Michael W. Lucas is working on a DNSSEC book that he’s self-publishing, similar to SSH Mastery.  He’s making an early draft available for purchase, at a discount.  You get access to the updates, so you effectively get the book for less, plus you can offer feedback before the publishing date.

This is a familiar concept for software, where early purchasers get access to a ‘beta’ version of software for testing…  It’ll be interesting to see how it works for a book.

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Lazy Reading for 2013/01/27


Your unrelated comics link of the week: Kyle Baker comics, available as PDFs for free.  Go, read.

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Absolute OpenBSD, 2nd Edition preorders

Michael W. Lucas has a coupon code for his new edition of Absolute OpenBSD, so jump on it now.  I haven’t read his first edition, but his other books are certainly good.

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New book forthcoming on DNSSec

Michael W. Lucas announced his next book will be about DNSSec, which is good.  It’s also self-published, which I like to see.  I don’t know if it necessarily makes him more money, but I like to see more exploration of this new way of publishing.

If you look at his announcement, there’s a link to something else: vendor-free SSL certificates.  These are possible?  That’s one of those things I didn’t even realize I wanted; having to deal with a certification authority is annoying.

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