Books for Learning Unix
The goal of this page is to help programmers who want to become
fluent Unix users.
Although my Unix of choice is Linux, open systems don't buy you much if
you're locked into one particular platform; you benefit the most from
competition if you and your programs are comfortable with any mainline
implementation of Unix (namely, Linux, Solaris, BSD, and MacOS/X).
The books recommended below tend to reflect this opinion.
Be sure to read the reviews before buying.
Books on Using Unix
These can help you get started with interactive use of the shell and tools like grep and vi.
"Teach Yourself Unix in 24 Hours", 3rd edition, by Dave Taylor. Good for
folks who want a structured approach.
"Think UNIX", by Jon Lasser. A slightly more advanced introduction to
Unix anno 2000.
"The Unix Programming Environment", by Kernighan and Pike. A good
introduction to Unix anno 1984. It's a bit like reading Middle English.
Don't buy it new -- but if you find a copy cheap, read it to see what
Unix looked like before graphics and the Internet, and what
C programming looked like before ANSI C.
Books on System Administration
There's a fine line between a fluent Unix user and a Unix system administrator.
Once you've learned the basics, dive into how the system works with this book.
- "Unix System Administration Handbook" by Nemeth, Snyder, Seebass, and Hein, 3rd Edition (2001).
www.admin.com (authors' page),
"Teach Yourself Unix System Administration in 24 Hours", also by Dave Taylor.
(I haven't read it, but Slashdot liked it.)
Books on Shell Programming / Shell Scripting
One huge part of learning how to use Unix is learning how to write
In my opinion, one should stick to the least common denominator when writing
shell scripts: portable Bourne shell syntax.
This can be run by any popular shell (Bash, Korn), which is a big plus when writing
scripts for others to run.
Given the limitation of the #! magic mechanism, it's best to start one's shell scripts
with #!/bin/sh and try not to care which shell is running your script.
The books recommended below tend to reflect the above opinion.
Last Change 11 December 2002
(C) Dan Kegel
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