REVIEW - Using and Managing UUCP

Title:

Using and Managing UUCP

Author:

Ed Ravin

ISBN:

1565921534

Publisher:

O'Reilly ()

Pages:

401pp

Reviewer:

Joe McCool

Reviewed:

October 1999

Rating:

★★★★★

'A Godsend. A Godsend I tell you.' Well, that's what I'm tempted to write.

'A Godsend. A Godsend I tell you.' Well, that's what I'm tempted to write. But it would be too dramatic and Francis might get upset! However, this really is a good buy, right up to the usual ORA standards. It appeals to me and it will appeal to people like me because it really is down to earth practical stuff covering areas that we meet every day of the week. Only now do I understand the limitations of the

cu
command for transferring files. How much money is wasted buying dial back modems, when
ct
can do the same job for free?

A lot of my time is spent configuring Unix systems; dealing with

inittab
and
gettydef
; the files Systems and Devices; dialling and chat scripts etc. Prior to reading this book I really thought of
uucp
(unix to unix copy) as a very complex area. (Even the name sounded complex.) Now a lot of the mystery has been removed. In Dos/Windows dealing with modems is quite simple. After all it is unlikely that one will have more than a single modem connected. Normally one has two serial ports at most. But in Unix life is not that simple. Unix would not dare make such restrictive assumptions. Unix is big league, where a machine might be equipped with a barrage of modems, with different speeds and configurations. Indeed the comms device might not be a modem at all. It could be a direct serial line or a terminal adapter or some other device.

In some senses the authors do themselves a disservice. They admit that many of the

uucp
facilities have been made redundant by TCP/IP and Internet technology, yet I find a lot of the material still very relevant. Their treatment of dial out connections is very pertinent to the setting up of Internet connections from SCO Unix using Morning Star. Here I would disagree with their claim that modern telecomms have left dialler files redundant. (Recent discussions onnews:comp.unix.sco.miscwould confirm this.) Readers need to be careful that their particular Unix variant is covered by the text, but I think the authors have made a good effort to cover as many variants as is practical.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.