Monday, November 21, 2005

Book Review: Linux Debugging and Performance Tuning

I guess someone appreciated the book review the other month, because very shortly after the column was published, I received a request to review another book. This time the book was "Linux Performance Tuning, Open Source" . I'm sure you're shocked to learn that I said yes, accepted delivery of another free new book a few days later, and read the book during my seemingly endless hours on airplanes these days. My assessment is that, in short, this is another good book that is very much worth a look. This time it took until about three-quarters of the way through before the concepts got too abstract and/or technical for my rather limited Linux background, but once again I put the book down wondering where it was in 2001 when I was trying to configure Linux servers on my own instead of bribing my office-buddy with more beer to do it for me.

As I read, I jotted the following notes:

  • The style of the text is rather abrupt as opposed to conversational.
  • I'd like to have seen more answers to the "why?" questions I always seem to ask when I read.
  • It seems to oscilate between assuming the reader already knows how to do what is being discussed and giving step by step instructions to accomplish the task.
  • Fantastic referencees!!
  • The information and instructions are useful and "spot-on"
  • I don't always agree with preliminary discussions, but enough technical information is provided for me to make my own decisions.
  • I wish there were a URL or CD with the referenced sample programs.
  • Tips and techniques for using tools = Good, for debugging = Not as good.
  • Real life anecdotes make the book real.
  • Where was this book in '99 when I *really* needed it?!?
  • I'm glad I have this book now.
Other items worthy of note:
  • I did not get an opportunity to test out the techniques.
  • By Chapter 11, I was pretty lost. I think that would have been different had I been sitting in front of a Linux box trying stuff rather than on an Airplane reading straight through.
  • This is *not* an exciting cover-to-cover read & the chapters seem to stand alone well enough that it doesn't have to be.
Scott Barber
President & Chief Technologist, PerfTestPlus, Inc.

Co-Author, Performance Testing Guidance for Web Applications
Author, Web Load Testing for Dummies
Contributing Author, Beautiful Testing, & How To Reduce the Cost of Testing

"If you can see it in your mind...
     you will find it in your life."