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Python for Unix and Linux System Administration

I have four Python books on my shelf. I like the language, at least in theory. It is easy to read, clear, and powerful. In practice, I really don’t program much. I was hoping that this book might push me over the edge from writing shell and PHP scripts for my simple needs into Python land. So many of my friends love the language.

I read the book this week. There are a lot of great ideas in there that would be useful for a sysadmin. The examples chosen are generally practical and useful. I was a bit disappointed by the occasional typographical or capitalization error, especially in code examples and discussion, which are not uncommon in first edition books, but are generally uncommon from O’Reilly books. I also found the early emphasis on iPython to be a bit excessive.

This is a bit shorter than my usual review, mainly because I can’t think of much else to say about the text. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t great. A sysadmin who is motivated to use Python will find it useful as a foundation. A veteran Python programmer who wants to use the language for systems administration will probably find the book filled with stuff they could have figured out anyway. I wanted to love the book, but I didn’t. I didn’t hate the book, either. I just feel a bit “meh” about it.


  1. mattbd

    I found that Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner 2nd Edition has been working well for me as an introduction to Python. It finally got me learning a programming language properly for the first time since I was a kid, and in a fun and easy-to-understand way.
    Only downside is the final two chapters rely on a modified version of the Livewires module, which is only provided as a Windows installer.

  2. That is actually one of the Python books I already have on my shelf. I agree that it is a good one.

  3. Rothgar

    Any recommendations for a python book that you like? I have dabbled in the language for a while (and really like the cross platform aspect of it) but never finished a book because I never stayed interested. That and I don’t seem to program enough.

  4. Hopefully someone who uses it more will chime in. I liked Mark Lutz’s two books, Learning Python and Programming Python, but I really don’t use Python (yet…well, we can keep hoping anyway).

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