PfSense 2 Cookbook




  • Netgate Administrator

    Yes I saw that book the other day and wondered about it.
    Who is the author? Anything to do with the pfSense team?
    Should I be holding out for the updated definitive guide? (quite a wait as I understand it)

    Steve


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    The author of that book isn't a part of the project, it was someone that Packt found to write the book. I have a copy of it, but since I'm one of the authors of the "competition" to that book, anything I say about it would be biased so I'll just stick to objective facts :-)

    First thing I noticed is that it's half as long as our book and even more expensive, but that's not too surprising.

    We are working on a version of the book for 2.0, it will be a while before it is ready though. Sometime after the 2.0 release. We want to be sure not only that the book's content will be accurate for 2.0 (some things are still changing!) but also it's hard to find time to write it while working actively on getting 2.0 out.


  • Netgate Administrator

    I'd much rather my money went to you guys than a random publisher so I guess I'll wait.

    Steve



  • Download the 1st chapter and table of contents and evaluate for yourself.



  • Packt came to us first after the success of our book to try to get us to write that one. Their royalties don't come close to what we get with Reed Media and since we can do our own promotion there isn't any benefit to going with a bigger publisher, so we declined. They came again asking for a technical review, but they don't offer enough to make that worthwhile either.

    I've skimmed the entire book and read good chunks of it, and am on the ropes on how to approach it. I was hoping it would be well done so I could leave a positive review of it with the disclaimer that people please buy the official book (and/or other sources of documentation to come soon) first, as that's a good chunk of how some of us make a full time living working on the project, but that's not exactly the case. Also having been involved in multiple published books, I know how much effort is involved and hate to criticize. Or at least how much effort is involved to do it great, it's clear some shortcuts were taken here given the number of screenshots that were clearly just "fill in some stuff here, take some screenshots, and write around it" even though what's in the screenshots isn't going to work as described in the text at times. Packt is willing to offer us a chunk of the money if we heavily promote it, but it's not even remotely close to what we get from sales of our book, and most importantly I'm not going to recommend something if I don't think it's at least moderately well done. Still not sure how we're going to handle that.

    This book is about what I would expect for something written by someone who has no involvement with the project, and technical reviewed by people who have minimal experience with the project. The author and all the reviewers seem to have solid experience and qualifications, just not the level of expertise with pfSense and the amount of knowledge of its development needed to write or properly technical review a really well done book. Some of the features are described completely wrong, it lists at least one feature that doesn't actually exist (wasn't finished, was removed months ago), it shows examples that simply won't work, and throws in a whole lot of screenshots of various things with accompanying description that's frequently little or nothing more than paraphrasing the description in the GUI (see the sample chapter for instance).

    That's my initial review, without having read it cover to cover but having read enough to get the above. Could it be useful for some people? Possibly, until I read it cover to cover I won't comment, and maybe not even then. I may put out something with more specifics later. If I wasn't the author of the competing book I would definitely put out a complete review on Amazon and elsewhere, but being in the position I'm in I don't know that I will anywhere outside of random forum threads like this.


  • Netgate Administrator

    That's quite disappointing however you look at it. I assume that at least portions of this book must have been writen before RC1 even came out.

    On the up side it must be quite gratifying to know that pfSense has reached a point that others are writing books about it!  ;D

    Steve

    Edit: Having read the sample chapter I can say I've read much worse books.



  • I've definitely seen worse books.  :)  No question.

    Success breeds competition for sure, when our book hit Amazon's top 10 best selling of all books for an hour on launch day, top 100 of all books for a day, and stayed in the top 10-25 of all computer security books up to now, it caught publishers' attention. Unfortunately it takes a surprisingly small number of sales to hit top 100 levels for short periods so we missed out on fame and fortune, by a LONG shot.  ;D



  • As a side note… Does anything in your current book cover logging? I have my server dumping all of the information to a syslog server, but I'm not really sure where to even begin to make that information useful. That is one of the biggest features that seems to be somewhat missing IMO. That could definitely be a whole different beast to try to tame, but it would be nice to have a way to search logs that are integrated into PFSense.


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    It covers a bit of info about logging, but if you're already pushing those logs off to another server that's about as far as the book goes. Beyond that you'd have to feed the logs into something else if you don't want to look them over manually. Something such as splunk or another log parsing utility. What you (can) do really depends on what you're hoping to get from the logs. But that's a topic for its own thread.



  • Okay thanks. Created another thread so I don't muck this one up.



  • I was one of the technical reviewers of this book–I was asked to review it not only because of my background with pfsense (I run it in production, and have blogged about it), but my network security background also....

    This was my first time being the technical editor of a book, and I have to say that I am also a little disappointed with the outcome, as it seems that alot of my corrections & suggestions didn't seem to make it to the final product.  I also commented to packt that I was disappointed that they seemed to be trying to meet there page quota by throwing in random screenshots.

    -Josh



  • @jimp:

    The author of that book isn't a part of the project, it was someone that Packt found to write the book. I have a copy of it, but since I'm one of the authors of the "competition" to that book, anything I say about it would be biased so I'll just stick to objective facts :-)

    First thing I noticed is that it's half as long as our book and even more expensive, but that's not too surprising.

    We are working on a version of the book for 2.0, it will be a while before it is ready though. Sometime after the 2.0 release. We want to be sure not only that the book's content will be accurate for 2.0 (some things are still changing!) but also it's hard to find time to write it while working actively on getting 2.0 out.

    Hi, I was wondering how the version 2 book is going? Will it be out soon? Can I get on a mailing list to be notified?


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    We will announce it on the blog when it's out. We're making progress on it, but not as much as we'd like. It will be out sometime this year, hopefully sooner rather than later, but finding time to update the content (and write all new stuff for IPv6) is a lot of work.



  • @jimp:

    We will announce it on the blog when it's out. We're making progress on it, but not as much as we'd like. It will be out sometime this year, hopefully sooner rather than later, but finding time to update the content (and write all new stuff for IPv6) is a lot of work.

    Ok I look forward to it, Thank you for your time.


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