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Advanced UNIX Programming

Advanced UNIX Programming

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by Marc J. Rochkind

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The classic guide to UNIX® programming-completely updated!

UNIX application programming requires a mastery of system-level services. Making sense of the many functions-more than 1,100 functions in the current UNIX specification-is a daunting task, so for years programmers have turned to Advanced UNIX Programming for its clear, expert advice on


The classic guide to UNIX® programming-completely updated!

UNIX application programming requires a mastery of system-level services. Making sense of the many functions-more than 1,100 functions in the current UNIX specification-is a daunting task, so for years programmers have turned to Advanced UNIX Programming for its clear, expert advice on how to use the key functions reliably.

An enormous number of changes have taken place in the UNIX environment since the landmark first edition. In Advanced UNIX Programming, Second Edition, UNIX pioneer Marc J. Rochkind brings the book fully up to date, with all-new, comprehensive coverage including:

  • Solaris™
  • Linux®
  • FreeBSD
  • Darwin, the Mac™ OS X kernel
  • And more than 200 new system calls

Rochkind's fully updated classic explains all the UNIX system calls you're likely to need, all in a single volume!

  • Interprocess communication, networking (sockets), pseudo terminals, asynchronous I/O, advanced signals, realtime, and threads
  • Covers the system calls you'll actually use-no need to plow through hundreds of improperly implemented, obsolete, and otherwise unnecessary system calls!
  • Thousands of lines of example code include a Web browser and server, a keystroke recorder/player, and a shell complete with pipelines, redirection, and background processes
  • Emphasis on the practical-ensuring portability, avoiding pitfalls, and much more!

Since 1985, the one book to have for mastering UNIX application programming has been Rochkind's Advanced UNIX Programming. Now completely updated, the second edition remains the choice for up-to-the-minute, in-depth coverage of the essential system-level services of the UNIX family of operating systems.

Editorial Reviews

Learn to program UNIX clearly and systematically at the system call level. Provides the seasoned programmer with practical advice for using I/O files and terminals, multitasking, signals and system administration. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

Pearson Education
Publication date:
Addison-Wesley Professional Computing Series
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Barnes & Noble
File size:
30 MB
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Meet the Author

MARC J. ROCHKIND was fortunate enough to have worked at Bell Laboratories in the 1970s, when UNIX was still in its infancy. It was there that Rochkind made several key contributions to UNIX, notably the Source Code Control System. He wrote the first edition of Advanced UNIX Programming in 1984. This complete revision benefits from his years of post-Bell application systems development experience.

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Advanced Unix Programming 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
(reviewed for the Calgary Linux Users Group Guild) There is a saying which goes, 'UNIX is user-friendly; it's just picky about who its friends are.' Rochkind's book presents enough material to make the reader an acquaintance, leaving the building of a friendship as an exercise for the highly committed. He makes a careful selection of just over 300 of the most important system calls and groups them into a handful of broad topics: I/O (file and terminal), processes and threads, inter-process communication (including sockets), signals, and timers. He takes great care to highlight what is available in Solaris (version 8), Linux (SuSE 8), BSD (FreeBSD 4.6), and Darwin (6.8; MacOS 10.2.8), and how to write something that has a hope of running on all of them. The system calls he describes are the ones anyone writing UNIX applications must know about. That is his target audience, and he meets that target squarely. If you are not already a C programmer and UNIX user, this book will not be useful for you. The exercises and code samples are reflective of the title, and demonstrates in a short space how to put the kernel to use. Rochkind also includes some example code that should work, but will not, just to illustrate that things are not as simple as they could be. He then walks the reader through the necessary corrections, bringing enlightenment as he goes. Each chapter contains this mix of tutorial material, useful to those who are starting to explore the UNIX kernel and how it can serve their applications, and reference material, useful to those looking for the bit of wisdom a man page cannot provide, but years of experience can. There are two technical things that I found missing from the book. The significant one is a discussion of how to deal with multiple processors, particularly around semaphores and other kinds of locks. This would be a valuable addition to the chapter on inter-process communications, especially now that these machines are becoming more common. The second, and by no means serious, omission is actually one that arises because of what he does include in an appendix: if he can describe a Java class library, why not make a reference to a set of Perl modules, too? There are two reasons why I give the book four stars and not five. One reason is a matter of taste. I am not a fan of C preprocessor macro functions, but Rochkind makes heavy use of them in his examples to simplify error trapping and reduce the volume of code that had to be printed. This forced me to read code in a different way than my colleagues and I write it. I found it awkward to pick out the particular system call being used when it was coded as a parameter to a macro. The second is that I found his treatment of signals to be confusing. Admittedly, signal handling is not simple (and the newer signal-handling calls do little to help), but the chapter on signals felt like it was rushed to completion to meet the publication deadline. I read that chapter twice, and am still scratching my head. Add a handful of typographical errors to these irritants, and I wound up with a book that was not a joy to read, but a chore. I will still use the book as an occasional reference, reflecting the comfortable professional relationship, but not intimate friendship, I have with UNIX, and maybe I will learn more on a subsequent reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 1987, I encountered the first edition of Rochkind's book. Grew to depend on it as an authoritative discourse on serious unix interprocess programming. Now (finally!) he has issued an updated edition. (Has it really been 19 years?) What is different? Much. Indeed, most of the book. In the first chapter, he summarises myriad developments in the unix world and, of course, the rise of linux. He writes for all the current unix variations and linux. Since 1985, there has been a plethora of different interprocess communications methods. So the chapters on these form a prominent part of the book. Then, naturally, in the networking chapter, who can ignore the web? So Rochkind gives a concise detour into http, with example code for a simple browser and web server. One thing unchanged from the first edition is the well deserved use of 'Advanced' in the title. The treatment is sophisticated and, frankly, not an easy read for someone new to the subject. Rochkind writes well, but you do have to concentrate. He goes at a pace that at a very minimum assumes you are already facile in C and with using unix at the user level. The source code examples are simple, once you grasp the concepts. The problems he furnishes in each chapter can be extremely useful if you want to deepen your understanding. The questions are nontrivial and usually expand on salient points discussed in the chapters. If you are indeed new to all this, you should make a serious attempt at the problems.