This page offers reviews of Building Linux Virtual Private Networks from various sources. If
you know of a review that we don't know about, drop us
a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will reprint or link to every review
we know of, even if they think our book sucks.
Full length reviews available online:
Inside Cover Quote:
"This is the VPN book I wish I'd written. It explains enough about the
protocols and issues to clarify the difficulties for the novice, and
supplies page after page of clearly-commented examples -- the only way
to learn how to make a virtual private network work! Building Linux
Private Networks will be top of my list when people ask what they
should read about this complex networking topic."
-- Tina Bird, Security Architect,
Counterpane Internet Security,
Moderator of the
Other Online Quotes:
"This book so thoroughly covers its general field, in this case virtual
private networks (VPNs), that it is useful to security people
regardless of whether or not they use Linux. There are abundant
practical considerations in this work that other volumes ignore.
I have not found, to date, a book that does a better job of explaining
the concepts and operations of virtual private networks. This should
become the classic text.
-- Robert M. Slade in his review for the Internet Review Project.
"I have had an interest in VPNs for quite some time; however, finding information on VPNs that is easily digestible is difficult. I have looked at several books on the subject and most of them are written in a manner that lends more to confusion than enlightenment (IMHO). Recently I bought a book regarding VPNs that was earning rave reviews: "Building Linux Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)" by Oleg Kolesnikov and Bri Hatch. You may recognize Bri Hatch from his book "Hacking Linux Exposed"-- another title I would recommend for those interested in security.
Don't let the title throw you off. The first few chapters of the book discuss VPNs in general terms so that you understand the basic functionality of them. Discussions about the OSI model and basic networking have been graciously omitted, as it is assumed the reader will already know these things. This is a very easy to read book that I would highly recommend to *anyone* considering implementing a VPN on their network, regardless of whether you intend to use Linux to do it or not. This book is that good."
--Jay Fougere, SecurityProNews, in his VPN 101 tutorial.
Step by step instructions that WORK!, 29-Jul-2003
Building Linux VPNs is the first book I've bought in the last three years that has the right balance between theory and practice. The first two chapters let you know everything you need to know about VPNs and network topologies and 'gotcha's (where should the DNS server go? How should I route?)
They get all this out of the way quickly. Many books that are dedicated to VPNs only talk about this part of the equation, and do so for hundreds of pages. Oleg and Brian get it all down so you can digest it in a sitting and have everything you need to know.
The remaining chapters cover specific VPN protocols. I needed to support PPTP for the majority of my windows clients, and IPSec for my remote offices and more recent laptops that suppported it. I literally built these VPNs by reading and copying in text (yes, I could have got the code off the web page, but nothing is better than doing it yourself) as I went along. Not a single problem, it was smoother than smooth.
I can't recommend this book enough. If you want a VPN on Linux (or other Unix for that matter) then this is the book for you.
Aaron Zajac, Oviedo, Florida United States.
A virtual private network (VPN) enables computers to
access remote resources--like the mail store on another
office's mail server--from a geographically remote
location. Rather than access the files over a private
(and expensive) wide area network (WAN) link, however, a
VPN makes its data transmissions across the open
Internet. The magic is in making the communications
secure, a critical job that requires a tunneling protocol
that implements encryption. Building Linux Virtual
Private Networks shows you how to set up VPNs without
spending a lot of money, and without compromising ease of
use or security. Oleg Kolesnikov and Bri Hatch
emphasize network-to-network connectivity--fixed links
between sites--rather than network-to-client connections.
They show you how to use Linux to build a secure system
of permanent--yet virtual--data links. There's coverage,
for example, of the PoPToP daemon for handling Point-to-
Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), but there's no coverage
of non-Linux clients with which to connect it.
There's a nice balance of managerial information (useful
for justifying a VPN, and a Linux one in particular, to
your boss) and technical details in these pages. Each of
the covered packages gets nice documentation, complete
with listings of configuration files and explicit
statements of console input and output.
I am so disapointed, 15-April-2003
I don't know what is hapening with this people...
I buy this book based in that reviews (all 5 stars) and
when I open the book I am totaly disapointed. About
the book: The examples is not complete and the text is confused. I do not recomend.
MAURICIO GOMES, Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo Brazil.
(As I said, we'd even post the ones that say it sucks.)
A Must Have for your library, 4-Apr-2002
I've been struggling with PPTP and FreeS/WAN for years
now and the hardest task I now have to deal with is
teaching others the intricate nature of VPN's, tunneling,
masq'ing connections and linking private LANs together.
This book has been an excellent resource to intruct
others on how to administer our tangle of connections and
taught me a few nifty tricks in the process.
jtellis, Fishers, IN United States.
Clear and concise, a very well written book on Linux VPNs, 4-Apr-2002
Building Linux Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) from New Rider is a must
have book for anyone interested in the topic. Not only does it do a great
job providing useful and current information for setting up common ssh/ppp,
ssl/ppp, PPTP and IPSec configurations, it covers some more exotic VPN
applications using VTun, cIPe and tinc. The book is very well organized and
extremely readable for a person that is comfortable with networking and
linux. The authors cover the design and implementations of the mentioned
VPN technologies with ample diagrams and example configuration material.
They, also, provide many pros and cons for each of the technologies.
The authors did a great job of covering a large number of applications in
a very clear and concise fashion.
Anthony Kolasny, Columbia, Maryland USA.
If Linux VPNs are your problem, this book is the solution, 2002-Mar-23
"Building Linux VPNs" (BLVPN) succeeds on multiple levels. It's lively,
wise, practical, and thorough. With a minor exception, BLVPN is
an unqualified triumph.
One of the book's amazing features is its willingness to not
rehash "common knowledge." In other words, BLVPN assumes people
who read books on Linux VPNs know something about two subjects:
(1) Linux and (2) networking. Therefore, BLVPN doesn't waste
time teaching the reader how to use the command line, and it
doesn't include yet another boring description of the OSI
model. Instead, BLVPN launches straight into practical,
operational instructions for creating virtual private
networks. I would like to see other authors adopt this approach!
Some of the book's key strengths include troubleshooting
hints, clear diagrams, directory listings for key files,
complete sample configuration scripts, and discussions
of advantages and disadvantages of various VPN solutions.
Furthermore, the text is supported by a web site with
copies of the scripts available for download.
Because each chapter is a self-contained unit for each
VPN technology, readers can pick a solution and begin
immediate implementation. No other VPN book delivers
implementation-grade advice like this.
My only regret was a failure to mention interoperability
with BSD-based IPSec implementations. I would have loved
to see a chapter on matching FreeS/WAN for Linux with
KAME/racoon for FreeBSD. The authors should also consider
describing how to configure Windows 2000/XP in IPSec tunnel
mode to interoperate with IPSec on Linux and/or FreeBSD.
Additionally, I believe I found typos in the figures
on pages 168-9. I expect the book's web site errata
page to publish a correction, if necessary.
If you need to build host-host, host-network, or
network-network VPNs using Linux (or really any open
source platform), "Building Linux VPNs" is your book.
I recommend "Virtual Private Networks" by Yuan and
Strayer as a complementary volume for those needing
additional material on VPN theory and protocol encapsulation.
Richard Bejtlich, Texas, USA.
Really Great, 18-Mar-2002
I was trying to get an unsniffable connection so I couldn't
be snooped on, but was having a devil of a time. I'd tried
a combo of ssh portforward and other tunnels, but couldn't
get the damn things to work right. Got this book and was
able to set up an actual VPN between my machines, and am
happily cryptoed from end to end. Was really simple if
you follow the instructions here.
The VPN book I wish I'd written, 27-Feb-2002
I moderate the Virtual Private Networks mailing list on SecurityFocus.
There aren't very many good books on VPNs, and those that are reasonable
tend to be more focused on protocols and specifications, and less on
how to get the darn things up and running. Oleg and Brian lay out the
different choices in terms of technical architectures, helping the
readers pick which solution is best for their needs. They provide
great info on getting things up and working -- lots of examples --
and hurrah, lots of tips for troubleshooting. If you have to deploy
a VPN and you want to do it quickly, inexpensively and securely, BUY THIS BOOK.
A reader from Campbell, CA, United States.
Finally someone wrote this book!, 25-Feb-2002
I am the main network IT guy for a small firm,
and was told a year ago that we needed to get
remote access ability for our employees when they're
home, and get a VPN set up between our main office
and the one downtown. I've been putting this off
for about a year now because I never felt like
I would be able to figure it all out on my own.
I've read pretty much every VPN book out there,
and have been dissapointed at every turn. Even
the one by O'Reilly, normally a really great
publisher, didn't have actual implementation
details that are necessary.
Building Linux Vpns gives you a great introduction
in the first two chapters to get you up to speed,
teaches you all the right terminology, possible
network layouts, and stuff, and then dedicates
the rest of the book to easy-to-follow step-by-step
After reading the book it took 2 hours from start to
finish for me to get our two offices connected via
VPN (I went with IPSec / Freeswan), simply following
the instructions. I'm in the middle of testing the
PPTP setup for home access for those PC folks, and
it is working exactly as promised.
If you actually need to understand vpn ideas and be able
to build one, this is the book for you.
Clyde Sanston, Phoenix, AZ.
Barnes and Noble
Excellent VPN reading, 28-Feb-2002
Have bought a lot of dissapointing VPN books
in the past. Was given a copy of Building
Linux VPNs at RSA 2002 in San Jose, and
it did everything right.
If you need to get a SECURE vpn up and
running, this is the book for you.
Also recommended: Recent picks have included
Linux Exposed (same author), Writing Secure Software.
Nick Kennedy, a security freak.
Excellent Book!, 27-Feb-2002
I met the author at the RSA conference in the USA this
year, and bought his Hacking Linux Exposed book, and
he gave me a gratis copy of Building Linux VPNs. I've
started on the VPN book because it's more pressing right now.
So far I am amazed. It really has all the setup I needed
to get 2 different VPN variants working between my three
offices. Two use Linux firewalls, and one uses
OpenBSD. I really recommend this book.
John Ritchie, London.
Shows you the money, 2-Apr-2002
I hate to quote an overused and tired line, but this
book really does exactly what no other VPN books manage:
show you what to do. I'm tired of pages upon pages of
descriptions of TCP vs UDP vs IP, physical layer vs
application layer, and all that junk. What I need is a
book that says "In order to set up FreeS/WAN, follow
these steps: Step one: install software like this. Step
two: create keys as follows. Step three: ..."
This book finally shows you exactly what you need to do
to make VPNs work. So many authors out there should take
this book home with them and learn how to write to their
audience without needlessly filling their books with four
chapters of repetative cruft. Kudos to Kolesnikov and
Andrew Dornenburg, Silver Spring, MD.
Really excellent VPN book., 28-Feb-2002
I administer a website with 25 Linux machines. When we were
hacked a year back, I bought Hacking Linux Exposed to help
secure things, and we haven't had problems since. (Whoops,
time to update PHP today... Security is a process, not a product.)
When I saw on the hacking linux page that the author had
another book coming out, I preordered it, and am glad I
did. This book is equally readable, technically accurate,
engaging, and instantly usable in the real world.
I've read up to chapter 8 so far, and it's written in a
very consistant voice. Kolesnikov and Hatch did a great job
of putting this book together. I look forward to any books
they put out in the future.
Paula Berman, Cumberland, ME, USA..