Customer Reviews for

A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted May 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Pretty close to a perfect starter book

    Sobell is very good at guiding the reader through the use of the command line. The text is clear and provides many good examples to help the reader see exactly what he is talking about. The chapter exercises are helpful and directly complement the material. The only issue I have with the book is the constant reference to the man pages. If I wanted to learn from the man pages, I wouldn't have bought the book. It does a have a good section that covers specific commands. Some of the documentation is actually much better than the man pages. Overall, this is a great book to get the Linux newcomer using a shell and understanding what is going on.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2005

    Book Review: A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming

    I recently was fortunate enough to receive a review copy of this book from Prentice Hall publishers, and am happy to submit this review. I found this very large volume (1008 pages!) to be quite interesting and a valuable source of information for both Linux beginners and veterans alike. As the title may suggest, it covers some of the most commonly used Linux commands, the two main editors (Vim and Emacs), and some shell programming techniques with the Bash and tcsh shells. I found it to be quite ¿distro-neutral¿, as the material presented should be available on virtually any Linux system, and does not reference distro-specific tools. The book seems very well organized into Parts and Chapters, and there are also some excellent appendices and additional matter at the end of the book, which I¿ll discuss later in this review. Part I is entitled ¿The Linux Operating System¿, and starts out with some introductory ¿welcome¿ and ¿getting started¿ material which is good reading for newbies but can easily be skipped by others. The next chapter in this part covers how to use the more commonly used commands such as ls, cp, rm, and tar. This is followed up by a chapter on the Linux filesystem, including the hierarchical layout, directories, pathnames, permissions, and file links. There is a nice section in this chapter which describes what is found in nearly all of the standard directories such as /boot, /etc, /home, /usr, and so on. Also notable here was an excellent description of how to set (and understand!) file and directory permissions. The final chapter in this part provides an introduction to the shell and command line. It covers standard input/output, redirection, pipes, and backgrounding of commands. Most of the information in these first 5 chapters will probably be a review for more experienced Linux users, but they are outstanding reading for newcomers. One thing I did notice as a great feature of the book is that there is a ¿Chapter Summary¿ at the end of each chapter which is really excellent, and a list of ¿Exercises¿ to help you see and use the information in a more hands-on way. Part II is called simply ¿The Editors¿, and devotes about 60 pages each to Vim and Emacs. A brief history of each is provided, and a pretty good tutorial of basic usage is walked through. Both chapters include a command referance/summary, and some customization tips. Even the well known ¿debate¿ about which editor to use is mentioned, although no preference is indicated. For the record, this writer prefers Vim¿ J There are more in-depth books available to explain each editor in greater detail, but these chapters provide a good introductory lesson. Part III contains two chapters, one each on the ¿bash¿ shell and the ¿tcsh¿ shell. Some of the procedures and concepts in this part may well be more information than is desired by many Linux users, but command-line types will want to read all of this material. The differences between these two shells are discussed, and the fact that most users will only need to learn about ¿bash¿, as it is normally the default shell on most modern Linux distributions. I found some good information on customizing your shell, and using the ¿dot files¿ such as .bash_profile and .bashrc to control things like aliases and your environment variables. Part IV covers ¿Programming Tools¿. The first chapter here discusses programming in C, including the basics of the gcc compiler, using shared libraries, debugging procedures, system calls, and source code management (CVS). It should be noted that this chapter describes the process of writing and compiling programs with C, but is not intended to teach C programming if you don¿t already understand most of it. The next chapter (11) is a quite extensive (about 100 pages) discussion of programming with the Bash shell. It covers control structures, parameters, variables, loops, arrays, expressions, functions, and builtin commands. Numerous examples a

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2006

    Very easy to understand.

    If you have never programmed before, this is for you. The time I installed Linux, and realized that if u want to learn how to use linux, is though CLI, i realized I had to get a book. This is a great book, because unlike other books, all, and I mean all the codes are fully functional. (yea, I once bought a C++ book with codes that missed quotes and prentecies). Linux CLI = this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2005

    within linux, the book doesn't take sides

    Sobell expands on his earlier books to give us this latest offering. Somewhat monumental in scope. Basically because the intended audience is quite diverse. He suggests that you could fall into any of these categories - system administrator, programmer, or new Linux user. And if you are a sysadmin or programmer, your prior experience with Linux might vary from none to considerable. The book also attempts not to play favourites concerning the various Linux distributions that exist - from Red Hat, Novell/SUSE, Debian, Knoppix and others. These essentially have a commonality of functionality which the book documents. This approach may be better than trying to discern the comparative advantages of each distribution. He also follows this when describing the two most common shells used in Linux - the Bourne shell and the T shell. Each is considered important enough to warrant its own chapter. You can take your pick as to which you prefer. Yet again, this is done with the two text editors, vim and emacs. In the unix world, the debate between their proponents has spawned innumerable threads in newsgroups. Basically, vim is simpler to use but emacs is more powerful. Anyway, he gives each editor its own chapter, with enough details in both so that you can decide according to your own preferences. If you really can't decide, just plump for one at random and stick to it. Both are good enough that you won't go wrong.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2006

    Great!

    If you are beginner, this is for you. I've just installed Linux SuSE 10.1 and this book even stated how to access bash! It even explains how vi(m) and emacs work - a lot of functions! The shortcuts and other cuts. I'm half done and really feel like an experienced programmer. Now I even run a command-line only server on my old 600mhz sony, even though it is not explained how to do so, 90% came out of the book - how to access specific directory, how to write index.html file, and many other things. I still going to go through set of chapters of shell programming and I can't wait. Like I've stated, this is a great book if youre a starter with Linux!

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    Posted April 25, 2010

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