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Perl for System Administration

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The title of David N. Blank-Edelman's new book, Perl for System Administration, is strangely redundant and thankfully misleading. The soul and source of Perl's core competence is Unix system administration, and another O'Reilly tome on Perl tricks for managing backups would not have been welcome. But the subtitle Managing Multiplatform Environments with Perl communicates the essential task: how to administer heterogeneous Unix, Windows NT/2000, and Mac OS systems from the same Perl-based conceptual platform. / Blank-Edelman introduces this diversity of notation to motivate a far-reaching discussion of system internals, and shows how Perl is a natural choice for cross-platform administration. The Unix and Windows "slash" path separators--"/" and "\", respectively--are like crossed swords, where the Mac OS uses the less- generally-known colon (":"). In lesser hands, this treatment still would have been about LAN backups, but Blank-Edelman's familiarity with network imperatives drives the synthesis.

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