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Learning the bash Shell: Unix Shell Programming (In a Nutshell (O'Reilly)) Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Cameron Newham lives in Perth, Western Australia. After completing a Bachelor of Science majoring in information technology and geography at the University of Western Australia, Cameron joined Universal Defence Systems (later to become Australian Defence Industries) as a software engineer. He has been with ADI for six years, working on various aspects of command and control systems. In his spare time Cameron can be found surfing the Internet, ballroom dancing, or driving his sports car. He also has more than a passing interest in space science, 3D graphics, synthesiser music, and Depeche Mode.


Product Details

  • File Size: 981 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 3 edition (March 29, 2005)
  • Publication Date: February 9, 2009
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0043GXMSY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,536 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The bash shell is now the most common and featureful command shell in the Unix world. It's full capability certainly isn't obvious to a beginner facing a command prompt, but is well worth exploring. This book is a great place for the novice to start. The first chapter addresses the most fundamental question: just what is a command shell?

The ideal reader already knows at least the names of the emacs and vi editors. That much helps understand the many features and two distinct feature sets available for command line editing. I consider fancy command line editing over-rated for fluent typists, but it's there in the second chapter for all who want it and anyone can benefit from at least a little knowledge of it. After that successive chapters pull the reader deeper into the bash feature set: aliases and shell variables, scripting and shell programming, and debugging when the shell programs or functions go awry.

Since this book is aimed at the novice, Newham and Rosenblatt skip lightly over a few of the more advanced subjects. For example, exceptions and trap handling get only cursory treatment, since they get into deep weirdness very fast. The authors are honest about this shallow treatment, though, and give enough information for a novice to recognize the basics and look them up in more advanced references.

This is nicely organized for the self-taught student. As a result, it's not laid out as a programmer's reference manual - anyone who wants that kind of reference just isn't looking at the right book. For its intended reader, though, it's a great book. It gets readers off to a fast start, and lets them decide just how much they want to bite off at a time. I recommned it very highly.

//wiredweird
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Format: Paperback
Cameron Newham's LEARNING THE BASH SHELL is an introduction to the command-line interface most commonly encountered today in server administration and in the terminal application of personal computers running Linux and Mac OS X. As I write this, the most recent edition is the 3rd, published in 2005, which describes bash 3.0. Newham explains such things as how programs communicate with the shell, keyboard navigation commands and shell customization. While he uses some of the old standard Unix programs (e.g. grep, sort) in examples, this is not a book about how to wield the power of Unix-like systems in general. Also, shell scripting is given only a brief mention, and those wanting to write powerful scripts will have to turn to another book (like O'Reilly's Classic Shell Scripting.

I have been using bash for nearly all file management and system administration tasks since 2002, and I still learned a few things here. However, this book is sorely in need of a new edition. The 3rd edition still assumes that the typical newcomer to bash is on a multi-user UNIX system, has access to a Postscript printer from the command line and a magnetic tape drive, and has probably used another shell like tcsh. Surely, even by the 3rd edition's publication date of 2005, most people interested in bash were people who had installed Linux on their personal computers. Also, bash is now at version 4.0, and readers would benefit from a small presentation of what has changed.
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Format: Paperback
I have been using UNIX for a few years, nothing too in depth, but I can get around. I recently went through the book Learning the UNIX Operating System, Fifth Edition without any trouble and then moved onto the book in question. Starting with the third chapter I felt completely lost and had no idea what the heck the author was talking about. The examples are vague and unhelpful. I kept reading, however, and into the fourth chapter the confusion persisted. Perhaps if the author decided to include some hands-on examples and/or exercises I might understand the concepts better.

I could see this being a worthwhile book if you know how to program already, but if you are just familiar with UNIX navigation, commands, (ie. anything in the Learning the UNIX Operating System, Fifth Edition book) then you might be out of luck.
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Format: Paperback
I've told myself to get a book about bash so many times in the past that my Goodread`s Want to Read shelf was getting boringly monothematic. Last month I planned to get my hands on bash Cookbook but a comment on Amazon convinced me to dedicate my time to this title instead. To make it short, I'm not exactly enthusiast: some (just some!) parts were interesting; others (most!) were overly detailed and accompanied with complicated examples, a pain to get through.

This is a book that clearly targets beginners, people with close to no experience with Linux and the bash shell. If you work on a daily basis with the penguin, you better move along.

Ok so, let's imagine I recently moved from Windows to Linux and I want to explore what the bash shell offers me. What do I get off these 300 pages? Well, the book is divided in 3 parts:

Very basic shell features.
Basic shell scripting.
Basic shell features.

The first part, which covers the first three chapters, tells you about basic commands, such as "ls" and all the arguments it swallows. Unless you have never opened the terminal before, you might want to skip these pages.

Next the authors introduce some basic shell scripting, starting from variable naming to arrays and flow control. This was, by far, the most interesting part of the whole book in my opinion, but still, the author has covered only the very basics. What I've found particularly annoying was the choice to list all the possible options available just to find out, later, that the book wasn't about system programming so that they would have not been explained.

Finally, we leave the magic world of scripting and get introduced to other basic features, such as jobs: background foreground, handling signals.
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