Carl is very accurate with his assessment of the text. I found his review refreshing, well-written, and insightful.
No serious FreeBSD user uses /stand/sysinstall for *anything*, much less for package installation!
The port's tree is *so* much more superior, and is as easy as you can get.
And as for the installation, I personally think that FreeBSD's installer sucks(OpenBSD's one is *much* better), but anyone with a IQ > 75 shouldn't need a step-by-step, it's already quite well self documented and you don't need to do much more than follow the configuration screens one after the other.
Nice to see more *BSD books around, now if someone could write a good in depth NetBSD hacking book following the old tradition of God Stevens(RIP)... *sigh*
Uhm, the emphasis here was on NEW USER/ADMINISTRATOR, just in case you found the article too difficult to actually read.
Agreed sysinstall sucks, but it is better than nothing. My IQ is greater than 75 (I think), I have used FreeBSD for several years and I still use sysinstall. An absolute newbie to FreeBSD would be absolutely lost without that minimal help.
I think you're illustrating the point made by the previous post. People who already know FreeBSD mostly want people to write documentation that they would consider "worthy" even though they themselves will probably never buy the book. The market for the book is not people like you, so /stand/sysinstall (as far below you as it may seem) is probably much more easy to swallow than showing a new user how to build software applications. I don't care how easy ports are. They're alien as hell to people who are not used to using Unix or building applications. Ports will scare more new users than it'll impress.
I use FreeBSD, by the way. I think *BSD's ports system (started by NetBSD, I believe) is the best package management system of any Unix, bar none. I'll never sell it to newbies, though.
The plague that is todays technical documentation will continue as long as technical folks continue to write it. I am convinced that there is no such thing as a computer geek that can write documentation for folks that aren't (to some extent) geeks themselves. I can say that because I co-authored a techie Linux book myself and -- although I tried to write my parts of the book to be understandable to new users -- I failed to deliver something Mom could use to learn about Linux. I'll give myself a slap for that one...
Want an understandable techie book for non-techies or new sysadmins? Simple. Have a geek sit down with an author who has little technical savvy but a fair amount of experience *using* Windows (note how I said "using" and not "tweaking". Sorry folks, but that's your primary audience). Have the techie walk the author through the topics the various chapters are supposed to cover, then let the author -- NOT the techie -- write the book. The change in language alone will bring the book light years closer to being acceptable by the target markets.
I'm sure this FreeBSD book has good info in it as I am sure Mr. Lucas knows his subject well. I'm also sure that half of the stuff that's not in this book should be in it, and half of the stuff that's in it should have been cut. That describes most of the Linux and *BSD books I've encountered. Yes, mine too. Hopefully this situation will improve soon.