The Best of Hack and /: Linux Admin Crash Course is published!

This book doesn't aim to be an exhaustive guide to everything you need to know to be a system administrator. Instead, this book allows me to act as a remote mentor to someone starting out in IT or system administration whether as a full-time job or as a full stack developer.

It's available in premium hardcover, paperback, and ebook forms here:

If you have questions about my new book, bought it and wants to send me feedback, or if you are a tech book reviewer and want to see about a review copy, please email me at

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Thanks to the excellent suggestion from @agx, I have created a sample chapter for the book. A link is available on the product page for each version of the book, or you can check it out directly here:

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@kyle Renaming the downloaded pdf (which comes with an unhelpful number name) does pose some difficulties on the commandline: Do I 'escape' the slash with a backslash or should I call it fully using 'slash'? 😂

@triantares Hah! I ran into the same issue when writing this book! I ended up settling on "best_of_hack_and_slash" for the directory name.

@kyle I did the same. It's the most logical thing to do but does sort of degrade the wittiness of the title.

@kyle 🎉 Congratulations to getting this out!

Is there a "sample chapter" for people to peek at? So one can get a feel about the text to example ratio, typeface, how distro agnostic it is, etc.

@agx Thank you. That's a great point about the sample chapter. I will get one together and update my timeline here when it's ready (shouldn't take too long).

@kyle All the thanks go to you, Kyle. Not just the years at LJ, but then all the help you gave me at Librem, as well. Speaking of which. Although my Librem 13v4 just sits in an office, the hinges are completely shot. With great trepidation do I dare move, open and close it. I have been in touch with customer support, but alas it seems there aren't any spare shells.

@cavaughan Hmmm, if it's been awhile since you checked, check in with support again. We recently went through a lot of old stock of parts that couldn't be used for refurbs and it's possible we might have something.

@kyle @jebba nice, my book is using emacs (ooh err editor wars) and LaTeX.

You really cannot go wrong with just how beautifully LaTeX can lay things out.

@ljs @kyle

LaTeX is the greatest.

I did a LaTeX template that tries to incorporate every section you could want in a technical book.

SNOUG is a text I am working on using LaTeX and vim. :)

@jebba @kyle nice!

I'm currently using a fairly default article layout for mine, with plans to fiddle with layout later (because it'll probably drop my page count lol) though I'm happy with how I have code laid out.

Might take a look at that then!

@ljs @jebba With the help of a few macros (which I'm sure you also set up in EMACS), it is *very* fast to format a book compared to GUI tools or Word/LibreOffice templates. Most of the text for this book was already written other than some front material and chapter intros. Learning LaTex, iterating through formatting, editing, indexing, and waiting for page proofs to arrive took less than 4 weeks from start to book launch.

@kyle @jebba oh yeah it's massively better than trying to fiddle with a WYSIWYG setup.

My only issue is that if a chapter drags on in size build times get silly, but I split the chapters up and just \input them.

Oh and TikZ is fab. Have a bunch of diagrams that look nice and you can represent basically anything.

I have set things up so it has links to code throughout but also generates a list of source code at the end for a possible print edition.

At ~660 pages now and no signs of any issues (though FULL BOOK build times long lol)
@kyle @jebba God I hate pasting stuff here because I instantly see things that could be tweaked 🤣

The editing phase of this is going to be fun... another year of writing first though pretty much.

@ljs @kyle

Heh, I go to different computers in different rooms and use different viewers (and different colored glasses!) to check things. Pasting it in a browser does that too. ;)

@jebba @kyle key (and hardest) thing is just writing the damn thing. Tweaks can come later.

Ultimately by its nature a lonely process

@ljs @jebba This is why I like the LaTeX workflow. If you are using a publisher's Word/LibreOffice template, the temptation is to write the book directly in the formatting tool, so your writing ends up being interrupted by formatting.

With $text_editor + LaTeX, I can focus on the writing first (I do basic formatting hints in markdown). This lets me write the full draft and keep my focus on the writing before I worry about layout and formatting.

@kyle @jebba exactly.

And there's a thousands ways to procrastinate anyway, you don't need more.

@ljs @jebba Tell me about it. I'm chatting here instead of working on my new book right now!

@kyle On Lulu, for some reason, the hardcover does not have ISBN, while e and softcover have. Mostly an observation, only a bit curious of reason.

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