REVIEW - Solaris 8 - The Complete Reference


Solaris 8

The Complete Reference


Paul A. Watters, Sriranga Veeraraghavan



McGraw-Hill Osborne Media (2000)




Joe McCool


April 2001



A great tome of a book this 678 pages and 46mm. I received it with some excitement. Not many readers here may realise that Solaris 8 is, in effect, free. It costs only $75 to order from Sun, plus the shipping. It is hard to say what effect this will have on the various Linuxii out there. No Solaris sys admin will install free Linux when he can install free Solaris. My understanding is that Solaris source is now also free.

Having said that, Solaris is much more fussy about the Intel hardware on which it is asked to run and there is a lot more support for free software from the Linux community.

My experience is that Solaris on Intel is more stable than Linux. I invested my $75 about 12 months ago and I have no regrets, hence my excitement. However, my coronary palpitations were unjustified. While this is a useful collection of material, it offers little above the UNIX man pages. The difficulties of installing on typical low cost clones are skipped over and one cannot fail to assume that the authors are resting on the comforts of Sparc. Text is clear and well written; visually impaired readers will be happy with the type sizes, but little thought is given to the rain forests; half a page on page 15 showing a terminal login! Pages 209-217 show a sysdef listing, quite unnecessary. The treatment of ip filtering and firewalls is light, as is that on Apache and Netscape (as it has to be in a book of this type, the words 'Complete Reference' in the title is an over statement). There is no treatment of the sticky bit. CDE gets some treatment, but not KDE or Gnome. Windows connectivity (SAMBA) is covered quite well, with SCO's excellent VisionFS (now also free) at least getting a mention.

So, should one buy it? For beginners 'yes', for anyone with experience 'no'. My biggest worry for beginners is that the installation on Intel is glossed over and that beginners might be confused by the claims like that on page 16 that the use of dumb terminals represented 'traditional client-server' technology! I find that Sun's on-line documentation is of high quality, but inclined to be disjointed. It is good to have printed text to hand.

An alternative (canned) review of this book can be read in the November 2000 issue of Sys Admin, pg 61.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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