The OpenSolaris Bible: a review

Today, I just received my copy of the OpenSolaris Bible by Nicolas A. Solter, Gerald Jelinek, and David Miner. While the post office only dropped this off today, I’ve been frequenting my local bookstore to read this book several times over the past week. To be honest, I haven’t yet finished the book’s meaty 971 pages, but I’ve read enough that I feel confident in telling you: I love it.

First, lets start with the facts. The book was released in February 2009, making this the latest book to cover the Solaris family of operating systems. Because of OpenSolaris’ open nature, it has been growing and changing at a rapid rate, making older source materials irrelevant. This book covers the 2008.11 release of OpenSolaris, making it incredibly relevant and up to date. As an example, this book is the only one that covers the new networking stack, Nemo. Interestingly, the book has a cover price of $50, and a mere two-three months later, it has already been reduced to $30 on many reputable online stores. I imagine this may be a result of the Oracle-Sun buyout, but whatever the reason, I do not believe it to be an issue of quality.

This is where you’ll remind me that I said that I love this book. Yes, I do! What makes it so great? Well, quite simply, it is both broad and in-depth. It very much deserves the cover’s label which reads, “Reader Level: Beginning to Advanced”. Starting with basics such as “Discovering the Desktop”, and advancing to topics such as clustering, debugging, and programming DTrace, this book simply could not have provided a perspective more broad than it has. Yet, despite its array of topics, it never fails to provide in-depth knowledge.

My personal background is Linux Systems Administration, and I do feel that this book very much targets my demographic: Linux Systems Administrators looking to make the move to OpenSolaris. However, it makes no assumptions as to existing knowledge and, in my opinion, succeeds in presenting information in a way is likely to neither discourage those new to Unix, nor frustrate those that already have a deep knowledge of other Unix or Linux systems.

If you have any interest in OpenSolaris, no matter what your background and technical level, I trust that you’ll find the OpenSolaris Bible a very good buy. If you can get it as I had, at $30 with shipping, its not just a good buy, it is a steal.

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