The Linux Command Line: A Complete Introduction

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Overview

You've experienced the shiny, point-and-click surface of your Linux computer—now dive below and explore its depths with the power of the command line.

The Linux Command Line takes you from your very first terminal keystrokes to writing full programs in Bash, the most popular Linux shell. Along the way you'll learn the timeless skills handed down by generations of gray-bearded, mouse-shunning gurus: file navigation, environment configuration, ...

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Linux Command Line: A Complete Introduction

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Overview

You've experienced the shiny, point-and-click surface of your Linux computer—now dive below and explore its depths with the power of the command line.

The Linux Command Line takes you from your very first terminal keystrokes to writing full programs in Bash, the most popular Linux shell. Along the way you'll learn the timeless skills handed down by generations of gray-bearded, mouse-shunning gurus: file navigation, environment configuration, command chaining, pattern matching with regular expressions, and more.

In addition to that practical knowledge, author William Shotts reveals the philosophy behind these tools and the rich heritage that your desktop Linux machine has inherited from Unix supercomputers of yore.

As you make your way through the book's short, easily-digestible chapters, you'll learn how to:

  • Create and delete files, directories, and symlinks
  • Administer your system, including networking, package installation, and process management
  • Use standard input and output, redirection, and pipelines
  • Edit files with Vi, the world's most popular text editor
  • Write shell scripts to automate common or boring tasks
  • Slice and dice text files with cut, paste, grep, patch, and sed

Once you overcome your initial "shell shock," you'll find that the command line is a natural and expressive way to communicate with your computer. Just don't be surprised if your mouse starts to gather dust.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593273897
  • Publisher: No Starch Press San Francisco, CA
  • Publication date: 1/22/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 101,808
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

William E. Shotts, Jr. has been a software professional and avid Linux user for more than 15 years. He has an extensive background in software development, including technical support, quality assurance, and documentation. He is also the creator of LinuxCommand.org, a Linux education and advocacy site featuring news, reviews, and extensive support for using the Linux command line.

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Table of Contents

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Learning the Shell

Chapter 1: What Is the Shell?

Chapter 2: Navigation

Chapter 3: Exploring the System

Chapter 4: Manipulating Files and Directories

Chapter 5: Working with Commands

Chapter 6: Redirection

Chapter 7: Seeing the World as the Shell Sees It

Chapter 8: Advanced Keyboard Tricks

Chapter 9: Permissions

Chapter 10: Processes

Configuration and the Environment

Chapter 11: The Environment

Chapter 12: A Gentle Introduction to vi

Chapter 13: Customizing the Prompt

Common Tasks and Essential Tools

Chapter 14: Package Management

Chapter 15: Storage Media

Chapter 16: Networking

Chapter 17: Searching for Files

Chapter 18: Archiving and Backup

Chapter 19: Regular Expressions

Chapter 20: Text Processing

Chapter 21: Formatting Output

Chapter 22: Printing

Chapter 23: Compiling Programs

Writing Shell Scripts

Chapter 24: Writing Your First Script

Chapter 25: Starting a Project

Chapter 26: Top-Down Design

Chapter 27: Flow Control: Branching with if

Chapter 28: Reading Keyboard Input

Chapter 29: Flow Control: Looping with while and until

Chapter 30: Troubleshooting

Chapter 31: Flow Control: Branching with case

Chapter 32: Positional Parameters

Chapter 33: Flow Control: Looping with for

Chapter 34: Strings and Numbers

Chapter 35: Arrays

Chapter 36: Exotica

Colophon

Updates

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 22, 2012

    A great guide to getting started

    O'Reilly Publishing provided me access to an electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

    The command line can be one of the most intimidating aspects of learning Linux, I know it was for me. And while the command line gives you an awesome amount of power with using Linux, it also makes it entirely to easy to destroy and delete entire directories without trying. It's like what Uncle Ben said in Spider Man "with great power comes great responsibility." Learning the command line is one of those things that takes a good guide and clear instructions (and warnings on what not to do), and while I had friends who helped me walk through the process, it still seemed intimidating. And after reading this book, I wish I had it when I started out. William makes the command line less intimidating, provides clear instructions, and lets you know the pitfalls to watch out for.

    The book is broken down into four major sections:
    Learning the shell
    Configuration and the environment
    Common tasks and essential tools
    Writing Shell Scripts

    with easy to navigate chapters. Some of the chapters include: file navigation, Vi and Vim, environment configuration, command chaining, pattern matching with regular expressions, and more.

    Where this book excels is that it is written with the novice in mind and presents the information clearly, with easy to read instructions, and plenty of examples so that you can see what its supposed to look like. The best part of the examples, William truly presents them as what the reader will see when they first start out vs. using his own personalized environment (which some instructors have a tendency of doing.) This means that the reader will instantly know where they are in the process. Even more importantly he tries to eschew the technical jargon that can overwhelm a novice. While at times he might go overboard with wordage in explaining things, it is still sure to help the novice answer many questions they might have while learning the command line.

    While the chapters may not cover a topic in depth, such as the one on Vi and Vim, they provide the reader with enough information to be comfortable with what they're learning. The section that I found most helpful, was the last section dealing with writing shell scripts. William gives a solid foundation to learning this helpful tool, provides plenty of examples, and makes it seem easy to set up. Even better, he gives a brief lesson on Regular Expressions, which will help with writing the scripts.

    Even though this book is written for the novice user, I still found it a good refresher on what commands do what. I would highly recommend this book for users just starting out in Linux and for those that need a refresher on how to navigate the command line. I give the book 5 out of 5 stars.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    I thought I was purchasing the paperback version and I got the tablet version.

    Dissapointed!

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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