Archive for the 'review' category

Book review: O’Reilly’s Python for Unix and Linux System Administrators


The title alone is a mouthful, but you have to love a book that knows what it’s about.

‘Unix and Linux Systems Administration’. We all know what that is. Balding, bearded, bespectacled wizards wearing t-shirts, nestled deep in a corporate office, on a floor the CEO and VP’s never visit, tapping out incantations day and night, feeding the temperamental beasts caged in the data center.

No? What about a growing group of dedicated, professional, hard-working experts who keep servers–and consequently the rest of the business–running smoothly? Sure, some of them may have less than a full head of hair, or wear the occasional t-shirt to work, but if your job (which you only call ‘System Administrator’ on your resume) involves monitoring and maintaining expensive hardware that performs critical business functions, and if the CEO only notices you or your group when things have going horribly, horribly wrong… then this is the book for you.

Back up a bit. How did ‘Python’ sneak into the title? This is a book for System Administrators–I mean, sysadmins. These guys write bash scripts to do their laundry. Sure, some of them may have joined the cult of Perl, and what proper Linux shop doesn’t have a zsh fanatic locked in the supply closet (in case of emergency)?

Unless you’ve been asleep at the keyboard for a few years, it’s hard to miss the rise of Python as a language of choice among web developers–along with old favorites Perl, PHP, and Java, and the new kid on the block, Ruby.

Perl is an old standby for many sysadmins, especially in those moments when you realize there’s a CPAN module that does 90% of what you need, or you’re tired of guessing whether brackets should go around the test condition in an ‘if’ statement. Is Python ready to take it’s place alongside Perl in a sysadmin’s toolbox? The authors of this book make an excellent case that yes, it is. » Read more

Book review: Patent Failure

Authors: James Bessen and Michael J. Meurer
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: March 2008

Patent Failure examines the current state of the American patent system based on the way it has traditionally been treated–as a type of property system. Using the yardstick of property rights and the economics they influence, Bessen and Meurer analyze the costs and benefits of patents to innovators. Their qualification: “If the estimated costs of the patent system to an innovator exceed the estimated benefits, then patents fail as property.”

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Friday Fedora reviews wrap-up

Fedora 9 was released last week, and in the wake of it, the Internet has been full of reviews. What’s even more exciting is that the vast majority of the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. So to celebrate the release, the hard work of all the contributors, and the fantastic welcome that it’s received, we thought we’d share some of the best of the reviews with you. » Read more

JBoss Seam book treat in time for JBoss World

JBoss Seam developers and authors Jacob Orshalick and Michael Yuan have just released some chapters from their upcoming second edition to JBoss Seam: Simplicity and Power Beyond Java(TM) EE to coincide with JBoss World. Jacob has an announcement here with more details about the second edition, and the chapters are available here.

Michael and Jacob have written Seam articles for Dev Fu (Michael’s and Jacob’s), and I’m looking forward to doing a full review of their book when it comes out. Now I just need to find someone who understands Seam well enough to write that review. :)

Book review: Fedora Linux Toolbox


Christopher Negus is responsible for some of the most widely-read and well-respected mass-market books on Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. You may already know of, or own, Linux Toys, its sequel Linux Toys II, or one of his miraculously up-to-the-minute Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Bible books.

Negus has an uncanny ability to keep up with the rapid pace of development in the innovative Fedora distribution that, among other functions, serves as an upstream source for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, One Laptop Per Child, and other notable projects. If you’ve ever attended a Red Hat Summit or a Fedora Users and Developers Conference (FUDCon), you’ll undoubtedly find him circulating through the many interesting leading-edge seminars, picking up information for the next edition of the popular Bible series. » Read more

Hardware review: TuxBox Computers SportCoat M750 Laptop

It’s been almost seven years since I stopped buying desktops for personal computing, and since then, I am always under the impression that buying a new laptop to run Linux on is a bigger challenge that it needs to be. » Read more

Book review: Fedora 7 Unleashed


Have you ever had deja vu? I re-read books on occasion, because I like them, and every once in a while I’ll re-read a book that I think I’m reading for the first time. Then I’ll sit there with this twisted-up look on my face, wondering why all the words seem so familiar. Then I remember when and where I saw them last.

I’ve been reading the new Fedora™ 7 Unleashed book by Andrew and Paul Hudson, and I’ve had that feeling several times. So I’ve made my face and wracked my brain, trying to figure out how I’ve read this before. The answer? I read Fedora Core 6 Unleashed and Fedora Core 5 Unleashed before that. » Read more

Creative Commons Artist Spotlight: Philippe Mangold

In this week’s Creative Commons Artist Spotlight, we interview French artist Philippe Mangold about his CC-licensed work available at

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Creative Commons Artist Spotlight: Monsieur Madame

In this week’s Creative Commons Artist Spotlight, we interview French artists Monsieur Madame about their CC-licensed album Et Maintenant, available at

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Creative Commons Artist Spotlight: Convey

Today we’re proud to introduce a new feature: Creative Commons Artist Spotlight, which Red Hat Magazine will be producing in association with Every week, we will introduce our readers to emerging musical artists who choose to release their work under Creative Commons licenses.

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