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Learning the bash Shell: Unix Shell Programming (In a Nutshell (O'Reilly)) Paperback – April 5, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0596009656 ISBN-10: 0596009658 Edition: Third Edition

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Frequently Bought Together

Learning the bash Shell: Unix Shell Programming (In a Nutshell (O'Reilly)) + bash Cookbook: Solutions and Examples for bash Users (Cookbooks (O'Reilly)) + Classic Shell Scripting
Price for all three: $81.12

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Product Details

  • Series: In a Nutshell (O'Reilly)
  • Paperback: 354 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; Third Edition edition (April 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596009658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596009656
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Recommend to any new *nix Users!
The author clearly understands the material, and makes it approachable, direct, and easy to learn without being too light or condescending.
Jay Link
I am a beginner of Bash; this book really helped me to start writing shell script.
Alexander Ethier

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 24, 2006
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.

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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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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ian Belcher on February 10, 2012
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Saperstein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 17, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It feels so anachronistic to be learning the bash shell in 2009, but I want to broaden my understanding of Linux and bash is a component part.

For the beginner, like myself, this is an easy introduction. It begins with the purpose and nature of the shell, moves you into basic concepts of using the shell and then takes you into the more complex area of shell programming. Unlike a number of "Learning" books from O'Reilly, this one is very well written for its target audience, which is beginners.

The approach is gradual, in small chunks, with lots of explanation. This is not a reference or tutorial for Linux, per se. It is about the bash shell and the Linux commands encountered are incidental to that goal. (The book, actually, is a survivor of the UNIX era.)

Because of the author's approach, picking up knowledge of the fundamentals of the bash shell is (thankfully) a quick process. The more advanced lessons on scripting are somewhat lost on me because I don't operate in a server environment and, as a result, don't have a real world context for some of the examples. Some of the chapter exercises, however, are quite challenging and will keep me busy for a while.

I am learning Linux and bash out of personal curiosity, so I don't know how much of this newly acquired knowledge I will use on anything resembling a regular basis, but the cool thing is that the book is obviously useful as a reference for those like me who will probably stay close to the beginner level.

Overall, a very nice way to learn the bash shell.

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