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Advanced UNIX Programming (2nd Edition) Paperback – May 9, 2004

ISBN-13: 007-6092028222 ISBN-10: 0131411543 Edition: 2nd

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

A comprehensive examination of UNIX® system calls--the interface between user programs and the kernel. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

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.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 2 edition (May 9, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131411543
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131411548
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #547,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

As an author, I'm best known for my computer books, especially "Advanced UNIX Programming." But now I have a novel, too: "Bernie's Bar and Girll" (that's right, "Girll") that you'll find a lot of fun to read. I've also republished a book by Ansel Adams, "Born Free and Equal," and a book of his Manzanar photographs.

You can find all about my apps (MacOS, Windows, iPhone/iPad), books, and other works on my website,

Not all of my books are listed here. The complete list is at

Customer Reviews

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Again, very well done and prescribed by the author.
Amazon Customer
I wish there were more UNIX books out there like this one.
H. E. Paul
What's more to say, the title say's it all... Buy it!
Bill S.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is truly exceptional - it covered the UNIX programming environment from beginning to the end very well. Marc Rochkind has done an amazing job updating his classic book.

A brief history of UNIX and a history of various UNIX standards such as POSIX, SUS and pretty much all the others plus a 30 minute crash course in the underlying structure of UNIX get the readers going. If you are anything like me that hasn't as much a thought about how process ID's are used and the creation child processes and how permission plays a role in process creation, you will enjoy this section. I learned that its one thing to "use" UNIX, and another to really understand it deep down. The standards that are out there really throws you off though as there are so many of them. How and which one to choose? It gets rather complicated. Marc spends the first section talking about all the difficulties of "choosing a standard", and then gives you a header file that you can plug into your code and off you go. I was pleased by that. I have already started using that header file in my code and I find it rather useful.

Starting from the basics of files and file access, every one of the function calls are depicted in full and example is given for each one of them. This book is like a big "how-to" notebook that one can pick and choose what to read where to get valuable information from as one needs it. Another thing that the author does throughout his book, which made me very happy, was the little tables of "stats comparisons" between the various options and settings that were just discussed. No more guessing games as to what to expect or what to test. It's all right there.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By W. Jim Jordan on July 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
(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." Upon reading Advanced UNIX Programming, I get the impression that Marc Rochkind may at one time have been a close friend of UNIX, but having become a little disillusioned by what UNIX has become in the 19 years since his first edition, is willing to settle for being a calm, professional acquaintance. His opening chapter provides two main reasons why this has happened: first, the UNIX kernel has grown from providing 70 or so system calls, to over 600 for an implementation that provides Single UNIX Specification and POSIX compliance; and second, there are so many flavours of UNIX out there (including Linux) that none of them implement exactly the same set of system calls. Thus the increasing complexity and diversity of UNIX implementations makes it difficult to know all that can be called UNIX intimately. 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.
Rochkind 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.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Paul Tomblin on October 27, 1998
Format: Paperback
I found this book an excellent introduction when I first started doing network programming, sockets, signals, and threads in a Unix environment. After a while, though, I needed more detail and bought the excellent Stevens book "Advanced Programming in a Unix Environment". I would heartily recommend both books, this one to get you into it, and the Stevens book as the hyper detailed reference.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By W Boudville HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
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.
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