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Linux Programming by Example: The Fundamentals 1st Edition

12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0131429642
ISBN-10: 0131429647
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Editorial Reviews Review

Anyone who's done programming work knows that you spend half your coding time looking for other people's solutions to the problems you're facing in your project. Particularly when you're dealing with times, dates, standard calculations, and other common problems, you find yourself saying, "Someone must have solved this before." And, indeed, someone usually has. Linux Programming by Example is a dense compendium of Linux software solutions--tools, algorithms, and procedures that solve data-processing challenges of the sort that crop up in all sorts of software projects. Though it does not address X11 user-interface programming or network communications much, this book does a great job of communicating recommended practices for command-line interfaces, filesystem manipulation, internationalization and localization, and inter-process communications. Taken together with The Art of Unix Programming, this book will help you solve difficult Linux programming problems quickly.

Unlike a lot of code-oriented books, this one manages to keep its samples concise, and devote more space to discussions of why things are done than to the code that actually does them. This promotes understanding: You can always mess around with the code yourself on your own. Overall, Arnold Robbins does an excellent job of stripping away some of the hacker mystique to reveal the code behind the curtain. This book shows how to work Linux magic. --David Wall

Topics covered: Linux programming in C, mostly at a level concerned with user input from the command line, file I/O, interprocess signalling, and memory management.

From the Publisher

"This is an excellent introduction to Linux programming. The topics are well chosen and lucidly presented. I learned things myself, especially about internationalization, and I’ve been at this for quite a while."

—Chet Ramey, Coauthor and Maintainer of the Bash shell

"This is a good introduction to Linux programming. Arnold’s technique of showing how experienced programmers use the Linux programming interfaces is a nice touch, much more useful than the canned programming examples found in most books."

—Ulrich Drepper, Project Lead, GNU C library

"A gentle yet thorough introduction to the art of UNIX system programming, Linux Programming by Example uses code from a wide range of familiar programs to illustrate each concept it teaches. Readers will enjoy an interesting mix of in-depth API descriptions and portability guidelines, and will come away well prepared to begin reading and writing systems applications. Heartily recommended."

—Jim Meyering, Coauthor and Maintainer of the GNU Core Utility Programs

Learn Linux® programming, hands-on… from real source code This book teaches Linux programming in the most effective way possible: by showing and explaining well-written programs. Drawing from both V7 Unix® and current GNU source code, Arnold Robbins focuses on the fundamental system call APIs at the core of any significant program, presenting examples from programs that Linux/Unix users already use every day. Gradually, one step at a time, Robbins teaches both high-level principles and "under the hood" techniques. Along the way, he carefully addresses real-world issues like performance, portability, and robustness. Coverage includes:

Memory management File I/O File metadata Processes Users and groups Sorting and searching Argument parsing Extended interfaces Signals Internationalization Debugging And more… Just learning to program? Switching from Windows®? Already developing with Linux but interested in exploring the system call interface further? No matter which, quickly and directly, this book will help you master the fundamentals needed to build serious Linux software.

Companion Web Sites, authors.phptr.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (April 22, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131429647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131429642
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #673,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Arnold Robbins is a professional programmer, instructor, and author. A long-time GNU Project volunteer, he currently maintains gawk. He has worked with C, C++, Unix, and GNU/Linux since 1980.

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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Jack D. Herrington on April 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
Don't judge a book by it's cover, especially this cover, with the cheesy lightsaber which screams, "secrets of the Unix Jedi". Read the the lines, "Linux" and "Fundamentals" on the cover, and that is what you need to know.
If you are familiar with the classic "Advanced Unix Programming" you will be familiar with what this book covers and appreciative of the update. In short, this book covers the fundamentals of shell programming with C; files, directories, signals, memory allocation, process control, permissions, that sort of thing. It does not cover network programming or X11 GUI programming.
What I liked about it was primarily that it imparted experience. For example the section on creating temporary files pointed out both good and bad ways to write the same functionality. The text was expository and informative. Where Advanced Unix Programming was a little dry and stiff in tone, this book is a little heftier, goes into more detail, and is written in a more experiential and friendly manner.
There is a lot to like about this book. If the subject, within it's constraints, interests you, then you should get it. If only to broaden your depth of understanding as to how Unix works and how to write programs for it. If you are looking for books on network programming, xml, multi-threading, web serving, or X11, you should look elsewhere, but you should probably still look at this book to bone up on 'Linux' 'Fundamentals'.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Rusty Keele on January 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
Linux Programming by Example: The Fundamentals is a great book that covers three main concepts in Linux programming: files, processes and debugging. In each part the author explains and gives several examples of functions, systems calls and APIs that will help the Linux programmer. He also includes several real world examples of how these concepts are implemented. Here are the some things that I found interesting:

The Good: 1) This book really focuses on the use of standards and good program design. Right from the beginning, the author goes out of his way to make the reader aware of standards from ISO and POSIX and how they apply to good programming and design. Along this line I also like that the author explains the benefits of - and promotes - the use of Gnu software. Being an avid Gnu user myself (as most Linux users are) I agree that Gnu software is generally better software.

2) I feel that knowledge is power, and the author goes along with this idea by showing how some things should *not* be done. He often points out several functions that are available but should be avoided. I appreciated this, and feel that it makes the reader an all-around better programmer. The author also frequently gives extra information and history which helps explain why things are the way they are. This was especially useful when explaining mount points and types of file system.

3) I liked the fact that the author uses real world examples to demonstrate the ideas being presented. I really appreciated the fact that he uses V7 code (older, smaller and less comlex code) to demonstrate his examples. This allowed me to be able to see how the features were implemented in simple code, without being overwhelmed by the modern equivalents.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ernest Friedman-Hill VINE VOICE on July 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
I loved this book. It's earned an honored place on my bookshelf, and I'm going to recommend it to people who need information about Linux and UNIX development.
Many computer books are practically obsolete before they ship: within a few months, "Learn Foomatic 4.3 in 21 Days" is in the bargain bin at the Dollar Tree. Some books have longer lives, and a few can remain useful for years. "Linux Programming by Example" (LPE) is in this last category; this book can stand alongside Steven's "Advanced UNIX Programming" as an essential tutorial and reference.
LPE covers everything you'd expect (working with files, processes, signals, users) and some things you might not (internationalization). But it's this book's voice and unique perspective that make it truly a gem. LPE is written in a clear, friendly, authoritative style. As I read, I often felt that I had gained a new understanding of things I've known for years.
The long and twisted history of UNIX has given rise to multiple competing APIs. Perhaps the greatest thing about this book is the way that Robbins cuts through these thickets, explaining your choices, pointing out the best alternatives, and explaining why they're the best. LPE's modern vantage point means it can cover V7, BSD, POSIX, and GNU APIs. The chapter on signals alone is worth the purchase price of the book for the way in which it clearly compares and contrasts the various signal APIs.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Chet Ramey on May 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
I am very impressed with this book. Arnold covers the basics of Linux and Unix programming in a clear, easily-understood fashion. He has brought a wealth of programming experience to the job, and it shows -- the comments on portability, for instance, have a certain world-weariness about them that makes it clear that the lessons were hard-won.
I thought the choice of using Unix 7th edition source code was inspired. The code is elegantly written, and comprehensible enough to be used as a teaching aid.
I would not hesitate to recommend this to anyone looking for an introduction to programming on Linux or Unix.
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