Technology Writing

Calling all Unix gurus

Rule number one if you’re taking a break from your weblog: turn off email notification for your comments. I kept responding to the comments rather than working.

Speaking of working, the main reason I was taking the break was to finish my writing on two books for O’Reilly: the Essential Weblogging book and UNIX Power Tools, 3rd edition. I finished the Weblogging book, but am still working on the last chapters of the UNIX book.

I really liked the public review for the Weblogging book. The suggestions were terrific, and the result was very positive. In addition, I also have a group of people from the RDF Interest group who review my RDF book chapters as I finish them. In fact, the best part of the RDF book is the feedback I get from my reviewers.

Well, I want to continue this public process with the UNIX Power Tools book. I’m currently writing chapters covering new book topics and I want to make sure that I’m covering the best tips and tricks. Based on this, I’m asking you my weblog reader, to give me hand.

If you work with Linux (all flavors), Darwin, Solaris, HP UX, FreeBSD, etc. – any version of UNIX – and you have a tip or trick based on the following subjects, could you please send me an email with your suggestion:


SSH, encryption, firewalls, PGP, installing and building software, creating software packages for installation, user and file security, Kerberos, security concepts and tools, preventing security problems, finding security problems


An example of a tip or trick would be describing how to enable root in Darwin or how to set directory permissions to prevent listing of the contents in the directory while allowing reads of individual files – handy little tidbits of information that make working with UNIX easier, more interesting, more fun.

If you’re the first with a tip, I’ll make sure you get credit for it in the book. I need to get these chapters finished next week, so I’m hoping to get tips and tricks this weekend.

Regardless of whether you’re a Unix guru or not, would you do me a kindness, and a huge favor, and help me out by posting a link to this request and pass the word on? Help a fellow weblogger?