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A New TCP/IP Classic

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

Book Reviews 97

FrazzledDad writes "Network geeks and developers working in the TCP/IP domain are most likely familiar with Douglas Comer's Internetworking With TCP/IP Vol.1. Comer's book was central for my understanding of how things really worked in the small corner of a world-wide network I use to manage. Charles Kozierok's The TCP/IP Guide has knocked Comer's book off my shelf. Kozierok's weighty book (1600 pages!) does a terrific job both as a reference and as a learning aid." Read on for Jim's review.

Kozierok spent at least four years working full-time on this book, according to the dedication, and it shows. He covers everything from networking fundamentals to individual application protocols such as Gopher.

Do you need to familiarize yourself with Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) routing protocol basics? It's covered. Do you need to understand the pros and cons of Network Address Translation, and how static and dynamic mappings work? It's covered. Do you want the nitty gritty of how message formats are laid out? It's covered.

Kozierok also presents several chapters specifically on IPv6, laying out changes in the new version before diving into the nuts and bolts of it. He discusses the major additions, and dedicates an entire chapter to the new addressing scheme. The transition from IPv4 to IPv6 is a well-written section talking about the difficult conversion between the two versions.

THE BOOK AS A LEARNING GUIDE

TCP/IP can be a rather dry topic to read about when trying to learn portions of it. Let's face it: reading about BOOTP's messaging over UDP is not something most folks will give up a Friday night on the town for. OK, Kozierok's writing style won't make that happen, but he does keep things interesting and flowing well enough that working one's way through such topics is actually entertaining instead of torture.

For example, Chapter 18's discussion of subnetting concepts lays out the fundamentals in clear order without sliding into unfathomable academic blabberspeak. His use of "Key Concept" boxes throughout the book helps point out important items.

Just as important to the book's clarity and usefulness are the amazing graphics. In the Acknowledgments Kozierok specifically thanks the folks at SmartDraw.com for their illustrating package. He's put the tool to fantastic use for everything from breaking out the control bits from a TCP segment header to showing how iterative DNS name resolution works.

THE BOOK AS A REFERENCE

The level of detail in the book makes it a valuable reference in addition to its role as a learning guide. For example, readers can find specifics on details of SNMP data types, NFS server procedures, or TCP segment format layout. Additionally, Kozierok discusses many of the various TCP/IP utilities, such as using "netstat" for troubleshooting with a detailed discussion of various outputs.

Kozierok must have spent a lot of time figuring out how to best lay out the book, and it pays off with sensible organization. Two tables of content, one brief and one detailed (32 pages!), help one to get to the right spot to look up needed information. The index is nearly 50 pages and seems to be quite exhaustive; another great tool for getting to the right spot. There are also comprehensive lists of Figures and Tables if you're trying to access something via that route.

WHAT IT DOESN'T COVER

Kozierok is upfront about things he's left out of the book. You'll need to look elsewhere (back to Comer's book, perhaps) for details on TCP/IP in ATM networks, security and firewall design, and the lower levels of socket usage.

CONCLUSION

To me, a significant advantage of this book is No Starch's binding system that they make so much hay about. I can open this massive book to any point and leave it flat on the table. Pretty impressive!

Kozierok also has a companion website (www.TCPIPGuide.com) with errata, a FAQ, and various other areas. You can also purchase an electronic copy of the book.

The TCP/IP Guide is a tremendous work, and it's a significant resource for anyone working with TCP/IP."


You can purchase The TCP/IP Guide: A Comprehensive, Illustrated Internet Protocols Reference from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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Been done before (5, Insightful)

eneville (745111) | more than 8 years ago | (#14257922)

Whats wrong with TCP/IP illustrated, 1,2 and 3?

Theres only so many books you can read on the subject - no matter how hard core you are.

And the number of those books is... (1)

Poromenos1 (830658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14257952)

4.

Re:Been done before (3, Insightful)

creativity (885623) | more than 8 years ago | (#14257974)

I agree, the new updated version of TCP/IP Illustrated covers everything from IPv4 to the latest and greatest TCP newReno and Vegas.Combine this with Design and Implementation of FreeBSD and the 2 Unix Systems Programming book from Richard Stevens, you have the most comprehensive book collection on networks. Want a slightly more hands on approach, look at the source code for the TCP stack in FreeBSD. If you wanted a more general approach pick up any networks book from Kurose, tanenbaum etc. Now if somebody will write such a book for wireless and 802.11 or Kernel Hacking, I am all ears, till then no more TCP books for me.

Mmmm... domains (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258204)

That's very logical

Re:Been done before (4, Insightful)

mikeborella (118715) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258264)

TCP/IP Illustrated is a classic but is out of date (CIDR anyone)?

This book is pretty good. I'll be using it to teach a class in the spring. Its not perfect but the best I've found.

Re:Been done before (1)

endtroducing (939366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14354440)

No Strach my a$$. Bed time stories it is.

The transition from IPv4 to IPv6 (-1)

sulli (195030) | more than 8 years ago | (#14257923)

Let me sum it up for you:

1. IPv4

2. ???

3. IPv6 !!!

The Underpants Gnomes would be proud.

Re:The transition from IPv4 to IPv6 (1)

Ponga (934481) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258003)

I thought it was

1. Read books about IP on Friday nights
2. ???
3. Profit!

I'd think this was obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258052)

2. IPv5

you are wrong (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14257945)

> Network geeks and developers working in the TCP/IP domain are most likely > familiar with Douglas Comer's Internetworking With TCP/IP Vol.1

No, dude. We read "TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1" by Richard Stevens. The bible.

Re:you are wrong (1)

keith.gillum (460244) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258037)

... and Let's not forget Radia Perlman's "Interconnections" :)

Re:you are wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258181)

Comer is popular in academic circles.

Re:you are wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258339)

No, we read Vol 2. With the =code=.

Re:you are wrong (1)

w1r3sp33d (593084) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258432)

Doyle 1&2.

I think I see a /. poll coming...

Conclusion (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14257947)

So, given that I should read a conclusion to see a succint wrapup of all the material covered in the overall work, this review primarily focuses on a webpage and a binding system?

Save THIRTY ($30) BUCKS! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258019)

Save yourself almost THIRTY ($30) BUCKS by buying the book here: The TCP/IP Guide: A Comprehensive, Illustrated Internet Protocols Reference [amazon.com] . And if you use the "secret" A9.com discount [amazon.com] , you can save an extra 1.57%!

Re:Save THIRTY ($30) BUCKS! (1)

MikeURL (890801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258781)

This is NOT a troll. AC is dead on correct and if /. insists on posting paid links to bn.com then we should point out Amazon is considerably cheaper. I'd like to know who modded parent down and why.

Bookpool has it for $49.95 (1)

SoTuA (683507) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258918)

Check it out [bookpool.com]

Re:Save THIRTY ($30) BUCKS! (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258974)

To paraphrase the slashdot FAQ:
Q: Do the slashdot mods have infinite mod points?
A: Yes, and they're not afraid of using them

Re:Save THIRTY ($30) BUCKS! (1)

MikeURL (890801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14259122)

True. It is the "all your karma are belonging to us" aspect of slash based forums that bugs me. So far it has not seemed heavyhanded enough to send me back to sifting through the volumes of crap on Usenet to try to find anything valuable.

Re:Save THIRTY ($30) BUCKS! (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 8 years ago | (#14259972)

I'm with you. I am entirely serious when I say the slashdot M1 system, and the fact that some people think it's working are more of a source of amusement to me.

It's not that the most of the moderators are shit, either - I'm sure that's not the case.

I believe it's because the whole M1 system is fundamentally fucked up. The most boring of points go from Score 1 to Score 5 immediately due to people looking at pages that are 30 seconds old, and moderating them. Then the "Underrateds" hit and drive things back down. Things see-saw back and forth until the article reaches the bottom of the front page.

Metamoderating properly is annoying and takes a lot of time, I'd can't imagine many people actually bother to get some context first, then read the entire comment before deciding whether the moderation is fair or not.

When I get mod points, the first thing I do is look for five places where I'll get away with it, and use the most ironic moderation for the comment at hand. I get through M2 no worries, because people don't bother checking context or reading posts, and piss myself laughing while doing it.

I can't believe at one time I used to spend my mod points carefully and for the good of slashdot. It's a waste of time and not worth taking seriously. Slashdot is a big joke. That doesn't stop me coming here, there's good disucussions to be had. And teh funay. Anything to do with the actual editorial and website is pretty crappy, and totally braindead in parts.

But is Comer actually that good? (3, Insightful)

whitroth (9367) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258055)

Now, I always heard that Comer was the last word, and I picked up the three volumes years ago, and on and off have worked at them.

However, in a phone interview recently, I was told that the tear-down on a TCP/IP session was a four-way handshake. Websites I was pointed also said this. But when I go to the Comer, Vol. 1, it says that it's actually a six-way: a three-way from the originator, and a three-way from the recipient.

Which, of course, leads me to wonder about his accuracy.

      mark "and the O'Reilly TCP/IP book says three-way...."

Re:But is Comer actually that good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258111)

I call BS. Edition and page number?

Re:But is Comer actually that good? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258423)

Look at the TCP state diagram in the rfc. It's either 3 or 4 ways depending upon whether the recipient sends a FIN with an ACK for the original FIN or ACKs it later.

It's a one-way reach around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14259406)

Not a three-man grease party

IPv6 ??? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258056)

IPv6??? WTF???
We just finished upgrading to IPv5, and it cost us nearly $1.2 million
That's the last time we hire "Dogbert IT Services"

RIP Jon Postel (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258068)

The best documentation on TCP/IP is the RFCs themselves, especially anything written or edited by Jon Postel [postel.org] .

Why wade through someone else's interpretation when the specifications themselves are so good and freely available?

Re:RIP Jon Postel (4, Funny)

scovetta (632629) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258256)

Agreed. Real men don't need to read a sissy book with non-ASCII-art pictures and diagrams. Especially none with obscure animals on the cover. Real men have the RFC printed out and bound with a big black clip.

Re:RIP Jon Postel (1)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258658)

Are these the same real men with the long beards,
big bellies, living in their mothers basements ?

Re:RIP Jon Postel (1)

ENOENT (25325) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258707)

*Looks around sheepishly at printouts of RFCs bound with big black clips, flexes muscles, faints.*

... and RIP W. Richard Stevens. (1)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | more than 8 years ago | (#14260428)

No tech books were ever as clear as A.P.U.E and the Networking books from Stevens. There were giants in the earth in those days.

Save $20 (4, Informative)

splante (187185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258077)

It's twenty bucks cheaper on Amazon [amazon.com]

Re:Save $20 (1)

Like2Byte (542992) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258342)

Well, that's $30.00 cheaper than what I paid for it at Border's. However, I found the book so captivating I picked it up right then and there. I've been looking for a comprehensive book that explains the nitty-gritty of TCP/IP and this is it! The author uses many illustrations to solidify his book's textual content where mere text will not suffice. I'm not more then 10% into the book, yet, and already it's become one of my most treasured books in my library.

Re:Save $20 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258524)

It's a little cheaper than Amazon at Bookpool.com, and you can get Free Shipping currently. Sadly, it's marked Out-Of-Stock at the moment.

Buy direct from the guy (4, Interesting)

crush (19364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258629)

He makes the material available gratis on his website and if you buy direct from him [tcpipguide.com] you pay only $5 more than amazon and you get a CD of the PDFs and he'll autograph it on request.

Why not kick back a few bucks his way to reward him for his good work?

Mod parent up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14260073)

The above is absolutely true, and a great point. You'll likely spend LESS than with Amazon (the item is above $25, yet not eligible for Super Saver shipping AND they will slap a surcharge of almost $2 on it too, because the book is so heavy -- but the author will include shipping). Make sure to mod parent up so more people can take advantage of this offer and reward the little guy for his hard work, for a change.

Or Free Online! (2, Informative)

gnuber (605327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258660)

It is worth mentioning (since the reviewer didn't) that the book is available free online in HTML format. Start with the table of contents [tcpipguide.com] . He also sells (erm, "licenses") PDFs for $35, though I'd rather buy the book itself for $50 at Amazon. The HTML version has those annoying fake-link ads that pop up sundry advertisements when you mouse over them, but I still commend him for posting the book. I have bookmarked it for future reference, and I'll likely buy the book if it proves more useful than the RFCs next time I need it.

1600 pages? (5, Funny)

cianduffy (742890) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258086)

I didn't knock only one book off my shelf, it knocked all of them off - when it pulled the entire bookcase off the wall...

Re:1600 pages? (5, Funny)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258163)

At least it's not as bad as the Unix manual we had in one of the CS labs. It was mounted on rails and bolted to the table (taking up 90% of the length of the table).

My theory was that it wasn't bolted to the table to keep people from taking it, but rather to keep it from falling off and killing someone when it landed on them. I can just picture the legs of some poor freshman sticking out from under that paper monster, the rest of him having been squished into jelly from the book's sheer weight...

Re:1600 pages? (3, Funny)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258453)

Nope it was only there to make sure that business majors would be scared of UNIX and pay UNIX admins a lot more money.

Re:1600 pages? (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258502)

Business majors would have to be pretty far out of their normal stomping grounds to see it. It was on a floor with almost nothing but unix and matlab labs in a building that most business majors never saw more than the first two floors of if they saw it at all :P

If it were closer to the business majors, I might have had the theory that the book was bolted to the table to make it more difficult to beat MBA's with =]

several linear feet? big deal (2, Informative)

Roadkills-R-Us (122219) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258791)

The VAX/VMS Orange books used to fill an entire bookcase.

Now *those* were manuals.

Danged useful, too.

Still the standard, in my book.

As much as I love *nix, it still falls way short
of VMS in a couple of areas, and one is good documentation.

Re:several linear feet? big deal (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258838)

We had a VAX donated to us a little while ago. This wasn't a MicroVax, but it was one of the smaller ones - about the size of small fridge. Along with it came a couple of dumb terminals, and the documentation. In spite of the size of the machine, the documentation that came with it took up more space.

Oh, and saying *nix falls short of VMS in a couple of areas is like saying DOS falls short of *nix in a couple of areas...

Re:several linear feet? big deal (1)

emmons (94632) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262156)

At 23 I'm just a youngin' so please excuse my ignorance. Aside from seemingly exhaustive documentation, what made VMS so great?

Re:several linear feet? big deal (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262861)

Off the top of my head, some nice features were:
  • Automatic versioning in the FS.
  • Support for structured files.
  • A well-defined ABI that allowed code written in any (procedural) language to call libraries written in any other.
  • Great clustering support.
  • The kind of storage pooling that *NIX is only now getting with Sun's ZFS.
  • A real security model (fine grained access control everywhere).
  • Fine-grained control over more-or-less everything (e.g. you can set the maximum real memory usage of an individual process in VMS).
A lot of features that *NIX is now getting, and describing as new and shiny were in VMS from the start.

Re:1600 pages? (1)

TheDauthi (219285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258806)

"emacs - volume 2"?

RoR (3, Funny)

Pseudonymus Bosch (3479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14260204)

It was mounted on rails

From what I have read around, the Ruby manual is so hefty that lots of people have Ruby on rails.

1600 pages? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258108)

I think I'll wait for the abridged audio book version.

/The last time I read over a 1,000 pages from one author, it wasn't worth it.

Re:1600 pages? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258319)

Well then stop reading Danielle Steel.

Re:1600 pages? (2, Funny)

SiO2 (124860) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258859)

I think I'll wait for the abridged audio book version...as read by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen.

SiO2

Re:1600 pages? (1)

Slashcrap (869349) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262872)

/The last time I read over a 1,000 pages from one author, it wasn't worth it.

That's a shame. I quite enjoyed the Baroque Cycle.

In case you missed the first 10 comments (0, Redundant)

defile (1059) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258109)

Skip the foreplay.

THE TCP/IP bible is TCP/IP Illustrated Volume 2 [amazon.com] by the late W. Richard Stevens [wikipedia.org] .

Re:In case you missed the first 10 comments (1)

codeonezero (540302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258664)

I'll agree, I thought it was a great book to read about TCP/IP. A lot of very good information in my opinion. Just at the time I picked it up it was as a loaner from the public library, so didn't get a chance to get as involved with it as I would have liked to. Been too lazy to pick up my own copy.

better- Stevens...Unix Network Programming Vol.1 ? (1)

acomj (20611) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258891)

Steven;s books are good. I thnk he's UNIX NETWORK Programming volume 1 is newer the the tcp book and has UDP and other good stuff. Vol 2 in Interprocess Communication. Invaluable.

My main complaint with those books the example code uses his own libraries. Which is fine for brevity but can be a little confusing. Also not the easiest to learn from, but great when you know enough.

Re:In case you missed the first 10 comments (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258926)

Interesting that the Wikipedia entry misses the Second Edition of Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment [amazon.co.uk] - my own personal favourite reference book. This is the book to read for cross-platform programming - it covers POSIX and SUS standards as well as giving details on the implementation of these standards on Linux, FreeBSD, OS X and Solaris. It covers pretty much everything that a low-level (userspace) coder needs to know for writing code on *NIX.

Gopher?!?! Now there's ancient history... (3, Funny)

adrenaline_junky (243428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258175)

He covers everything from networking fundamentals to individual application protocols such as Gopher.

And is coverage of Gopher supposed to be a selling point for this book??

I haven't used Gopher since... well, actually, I never used Gopher for anything other than idle curiousity to see what the hell it was. The Web made Gopher completely obsolescent.

Talk about a way to pigeonhole your book as "old news".

Coverage of bittorrent would be far more interesting and relevant.

Re:Gopher?!?! Now there's ancient history... (1)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | more than 8 years ago | (#14260423)

When i was in college, TCP/IP was just starting to get big. we were moving from Novel and BITNET (we were even a major BITNET to TCP/IP gateway). At first, i played with ftp sites, found ARCHIE. Then gopher, followed very quickly by the WWW. I played with gopher a bit, but being exposed to it around the same time as the WWW, it's limitations were very obvious. Eventually, gopher servers went away and the gopher protocol became nothing more than a way to DOS Netscape (gopher has no concept of content-type, so you can feed a huge pipe of junk to netscape, i remember gopher://machinename:19/ [machinename] URLs for a while). Someone even came out witha 3D gopher. It was pure eye candy, a way of viewing a 2D (at best) topology in #D and waste processor cycles. And it crashed a lot.

I assume he took gopher as a moderately complicated protocol, something with meat on it, with real world implementations, but small enough to cover as chapters in a book rather thana volume in itself. HTTP 1.1 is way too complicated for a teaching tome now. Probably should have looked at HTTP 1.0, somewhat useful as both a building bridge to 1.1, and even today most servers and clients can back rev to HTTP 1.0.

Re:Gopher?!?! Now there's ancient history... (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262653)

If only someone else mentioned Veronica, the trilogy would be complete. Oh, wait...
 

Re:Gopher?!?! Now there's ancient history... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262268)

Mmmm nitpick time. You mean obsolete, rather than obsolescent [tiscali.co.uk] .

tcp/ip is a Good Thing (-1, Offtopic)

Douglas Simmons (628988) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258229)

Because I have things to do that involve tcp/ip, I'm going to skip reading the review and just ask if anybody knows of a wifi PDA that uses tcp/ip, because I'd really like to telnet around and configure it to use my server's MTA and what not.
And could you mods cut me some slack and wait a few seconds to mod this down so there's time for someone to answer me? A lot of lamers don't read at -1.

Re:tcp/ip is a Good Thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258355)

There are no WiFi PDA's that use TCP/IP. They all use either UDP or ATM. Maybe some will come out in 2006 but I am not holding my breath!

Re:tcp/ip is a Good Thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258480)

uhm, any pda with wifi capabilities can be used to 'telnet around'. What you need to do is find an application that will allow you to do that.
For PocketPC and WindowsMobile devices, try looking for PocketPutty on google. It does telnet, ssh1, and ssh2.

Re:tcp/ip is a Good Thing (1)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258882)

the only PDA with a proper networking stack that you can actually control is one running linux... see www.handhelds.org

the only one commonly available off the shelf is the not-so-humble Sharp Zaurus.

www.oesf.org for more information

Re:tcp/ip is a Good Thing (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258961)

Although not technically a PDA (it's an Internet Tablet - a PDA without PIM functions), the Nokia 770 is a fun toy. I got one on the developers program, and have been playing with it for about a month. The screen is gorgeous and it runs Linux/X11. They have 802.11g support as well as bluetooth for connecting via a mobile 'phone.

as in beer (3, Informative)

lukOh (930297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258284)

And the full contents of this book, including BOOTP Client/Server Messaging and Addressing [tcpipguide.com] are really entirely available on its ADdicting website as it seems to claim!?!

Re:as in beer (2, Interesting)

lukOh (930297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258314)

well, as it really is so, it might be too much flashing all around or all those subpages, but the contents doesn't look to me half as complete as a handful of other books I've seen on the matter; very good to have a web reference when needed (I'll remember to follow some ads), but I personally wouldn't buy the book based on a first sight on the website.

Not only that, he answers his own email. (4, Interesting)

Bob_Robertson (454888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258360)

I wrote to him to discuss something I'd noticed in the IPv6 sections, and he wrote back. It was very nice to discuss it with him directly, and I'll gladly echo the fact that his work is both easy to read and informative.

I've read a LOT of networking crap over the 25 years I've been doing computer networking, this ease of reading is not common to the genre.

His work is also online:

http://www.tcpipguide.com/free/index.htm [tcpipguide.com]

Bob-

Gopher! (0, Flamebait)

s1ashd0twh0r3 (936321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258376)

Wow, he covers Gopher? That might be a little too bleeding-edge for this crowd...

Why do I need a book? (2, Interesting)

wrook (134116) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258395)

Just curious... Why does one need a book (especially 1600 pages long)? Does it cover something that's not in the RFCs?

I guess what I'm thinking is that TCP/IP networking is hardly rocket science. Surely the basics can be described in just a few pages. For everything else, you're going to have to look at specs anyway.

Am I missing something? Or are network prototcol programmers jealous of the multi-thousand-page-red-softcover-with-the-author' s-face-on the-cover books that the MSofties have on their desks collecting dust?

Re:Why do I need a book? (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258484)

I can think of 3 reasons to make a book this big

1. 1600 page books look impressive.
2. Keep the information hidden. bury it in useless data and it is hidden in plane site.
3. Make TCP/IP look 1000x more complicated than it is. Network Engineers get paid more.

1600 pages for something that would have to have a lot of fluff to fill half that and could probably be covered really well in 1-200 pages.

ok smart guy, let's see it (1)

EllynGeek (824747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14259054)

I love it when dolts who have never done anything criticize folks with actual achievements. Talk is cheap- I challenge you to write a 200-page book that covers the same material thoroughly. Tell ya what- I don't feel like waiting, 'cause even 200 pages takes time. I challenge you to authoritatively teach one thing, like the snm protocol, in 1000 words, or whatever you think you need. Post a link to it here, I'll check back. you won't, and you'll make excuses is my prediction.

Re:ok smart guy, let's see it (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 8 years ago | (#14259169)

SNMP is a protocol that allows the communication of various statuses or other arbitrary informations about one machine or network to another.

SNMP data is organized in a tree-like hierarchy with numbers assigned by company, type, and sub-types as necessary.

Examples: ...

Well, that's a good chunk of what you need to know. Examples would deal with the rest practically. PS, like a previous poster said, the excessively detailed stuff belongs to the RFCs.

Re:ok smart guy, let's see it (1)

EllynGeek (824747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14260036)

In other words, you have no idea how to write a book either. Nor have either of you read the review book to see if it offers any value beyond re-hashing the RFCs. Yeah I know, this is Slashdot, what do I expect.

Re:ok smart guy, let's see it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14261520)

The trick to writing a good tech book is having half yourself know all there is to know, and have the other half forget everything. These two parts then work together, asking questions and explaining in a logical manner, the subject matter. You clearly don't have the half who has forgotten everything working, so your write-up sounds terrible to me, someone who doesn't know the subject.

Re:Why do I need a book? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14259343)

Whatever be the reasons, I think you have to understand the difference between "plane site" as you say and "plain sight" and i bet you don't know the difference between to and too either.

Re:Why do I need a book? (3, Insightful)

CrayzyJ (222675) | more than 8 years ago | (#14259002)

The basics of anything can be described in a few pages for some level of "basic".

For my thesis I described the basics of TCP/IP in about 20 pages; however, when onse is making changes to the TCP stack itself, the basics just will NOT do. I have hit several of the in-dept chapters of the Steven's volumes multiple times. Some times I find those books lacking in the detail I need.

These are not "admin" style books. Most TCP/IP protocol suite implementations are very large and complex.

28.8kbps modem? (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258503)

"How long does it take to download The TCP/IP Guide?
About 2.5 hours using a 28.8kbps dialup modem; about 1.3 hours at 50kbps; about 8 minutes with 500kbps broadband." (http://www.tcpipguide.com/faq.htm [tcpipguide.com] )

Has anyone seen a 28.8kbps modem lately? I thought they were extinct.

Re:28.8kbps modem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258874)

You'd be surprised, not everyone lives in the city and has the latest and greatest cable highspeed. It's amazing how many city people assume dial up internet is completely outdated and no one would ever consider using it (after all it's everywhere right?).

Re:28.8kbps modem? (1)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258912)

There are a few isolated spots in the world where they're in use; I talked to someone from rural Australia not long ago who was using one.

I also "see" them a lot on older computers here, technically...But I'm guessing you meant see them being used.

Re:28.8kbps modem? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14259014)

A lot of people in the UK who still use modems do so because they live too far away from the exchanges to get a real Internet connection. People in these situations are likely to be using lines that are multiplexed to the hilt. In my parents' last house, it was impossible to connect at more than 28.8, and 26.4 was more usual. For these people, 28.8kbps is a good indication. Mind you, I get a faster connection via my mobile 'phone these days...

Re:28.8kbps modem? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 8 years ago | (#14264155)

try forcing 33.6, if the line has been DACSed then apparently it often confuses 56K modems and makes them slow down more than they really need to.

Re:28.8kbps modem? (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 8 years ago | (#14260443)

I use older slower modems during storms all the time. They'll stay online when a 56k craps out from line noise., plus, if they get fried, meh, another thriftstore, another 50 cents.

Oh ya, if you live rural, it's a real bother to try and find "broadband" in the US. It just ain't happening except for very expensive and very limited satellite "service". Cable is unobtanium and DSL means you have to be two miles or less from a telco box, which barely qualifies as suburban, let alone "rural". I think when/if WiMax ever gets deployed they'll be another wave of broadband adoption across the US. WiFi don't cut it either with trees and hills, etc.

Re:28.8kbps modem? (1)

ItMustBeEsoteric (732632) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262024)

No, but I have plenty of friends (okay, only a handful, really) who live in rural areas that connect at such a rate. It's pretty typical in BFE.

TCP/IP Illustrated has been a de facto reference (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14258530)

"Internetworking with TCP/IP" is good, but "TCP/IP Illustrated v.1" is outstanding.

For many years until a RFC was published, the "official" reference (for example, to quote in an article or book) about TCP's fast retransmit and fast recovery was Stevens' book, unless you wanted to quote the original Usenet post for Van Jacobson.

the nerdiness of this article amazes me (1)

smithcl8 (738234) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258541)

I realize that Slashdot is "News for Nerds," but calling any TCP/IP book a "classic" is where I draw the line. Now, back to NOVA....

Did this book cover QoS (1)

grnrckt94 (932158) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258783)

Did this book cover QoS? What about SIP? Any good recommendations on books that cover those two areas?

Free IBM redbook is great (4, Informative)

daveb (4522) | more than 8 years ago | (#14258879)

I used Comer & Stevens to learn about TCP/IP. along with Postal (ie the RFC's). But a hidden gem is the IBM Redbook "TCP/IP Tutorial and Technical Overview" [ibm.com] . From that link you can download the PDF of the 980 page book - all for free. or you can order the hard copy book

thank you IBM - its a fantastic resource and reference.

Hypertext learning. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14259469)

Well considering the time (and space) based nature of networking. Getting away from books (and their limitations) and towards a more dynamic form of presentation would be best. We already try for this by buying all this hardware, and downloading lots of software. All so we can sit with our networking books propped right next to it.

Re:Hypertext learning. (1)

daveb (4522) | more than 8 years ago | (#14260565)

Well considering the time (and space) based nature of networking. Getting away from books (and their limitations) and towards a more dynamic form of presentation would be best. We already try for this by buying all this hardware, and downloading lots of software. All so we can sit with our networking books propped right next to it.

Yup - we do. And only time will tell us whether ink on pulped wood is a better medium for reference than electronic media, or whether us old-timers just like it by habit

an interesting side-note (well i think it's interesting): I teach the Cisco Network Academy CCNA programme. Students have free access to the learning material online. About 1/2 the students shell out a significant amount of money for the printed version. One student said that he finds it easier to read the printed version in the bath (students are strange - what can I say). Another pointed out that perhaps there's something physically difficult about reading from something is a light source rather than using reflective light ... I dunno but at least SOME people simply seem to prefer bound paper.

knocked Comer's book off my shelf - why? (1)

BACbKA (534028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14259076)

I haven't seen this book, but I did like the Comer's one, and personally I don't like the Stevens' one -- mostly because it's too thick. With the technical books like these it is very easy to stray away from concepts explanation into dull recital of RFCs/manpages/etc. growing your book's pages count, but making it less useful. From the review, I understand that this new one has a similar tendency. Did it knock the Comer's book of your shelf just because it had a heavier weight then? Or for some other reason? If you mention Comer, I'd like you to compare this book to his; and also (for those Stevens' fans) to the TCP/IP illustrated as well.

Oxymoron? (1)

SirBeck (96677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14259145)

A New Classic?

From the Oxford American Dictionary:
classic |klasik| adjective judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind.

Heck, it has been almost 3 months.

As opposed to that old TCP-IP classic (2, Funny)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 8 years ago | (#14259297)

Darn. As useful as this looks, I was hoping that we'd finally have an update of that famous TCP-IP classic, Ping the Duck [amazon.com] . (Hint: read the top-rated review)

No, network professionals are (or should be) (2, Informative)

hkb (777908) | more than 8 years ago | (#14259321)

No, network professionals are (or should be) familiar with W. Richard Stevens' "TCP/IP Illustrated" and "UNIX Network Programming" books and Cisco's "Routing TCP/IP" book.

Re:No, network professionals are (or should be) (2, Informative)

Mateito (746185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14260995)

Cisco's "Routing TCP/IP"

The second edition of Volume 1 has just been released.

Volume 1, and do more than cover just TCP/IP standards, they also have a practical implementation aspect. Of course, its all Cisco based, but given a huge whack of the networking is as well, that's not as big a disadvantage as you'd expect. For BGP (especially Cisco's implementation of BGP), look to the CiscoPress "Internet Routing Architectures". I prefer it to the coverage in Volume II of Routing TCP/IP.

However, you will be getting the reviewed book as well. CiscoPress stuff is food, but after a while you get sick of reading the same coverage in several different books, and there is more than one way to design a network other than the ECNM.

Since when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14260201)

did the number of pages in a book tell a person that the book is good?

Read it (1)

blofeld42 (854237) | more than 8 years ago | (#14300204)

Well, I scanned it in depth.

The gold standard is still "TCP/IP Illustrated", Stevens, even though it is getting somewhat long in the tooth. The Kozierok book is essentially all prose descriptions of how the TCP/IP stack works, no code. There is simply no replacement for Stevens if you need to figure out how the stack is dealing with multicast packets or dozens of other situations.

There are some questionable organizational choices, such as starting of with SLIP and PPP in the first chapters. And gopher is pretty quaint these days.

The Kozierok book is probably a better choice for undergrads and people new to networking. The Stevens book is for crusty, bearded, rainbow-suspenders wearing Unix guys, or those who want to be.

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