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Linux Shell Scripting with Bash 1st Edition

21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 075-2063326428
ISBN-10: 0672326426
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ken Burtch graduated with a Computer Science first class honors degree from Brock University in St. Catharines, Canada and did his Masters work at Queen's University in Kingston, Canada. He has been using Linux since version 0.97, at a time before Linux was popular. He is the founder of PegaSoft Canada (, an association that promotes Linux advocacy, education, and development in southern Ontario. He has worked with a number of companies, including Mackenzie Financial Corporation, one of Canada's largest mutual fund companies. Ken is an active member of the Writers' Circle of Durham Region and his award-winning short story, "Distance," was recently published in the Signatures anthology.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Sams Publishing; 1 edition (February 8, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0672326426
  • ISBN-13: 978-0672326424
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #924,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Laurie Brown on February 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book, unlike some of the other Bash books on the market, has very accessible and complete examples. It goes beyond simple explanations, but manages to start with the most basic concepts. My only complaint is that it is very text-heavy. Anyone who used Bash on a regular basis, even if they think they are advanced, will find something useful in this book - but if you are new to Bash, the text might be a little too dense. Easier to read than the man pages, and worth the effort, but it will take effort.
Overall, one of the best current books on the subject.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Christopher B. Browne on February 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is pretty comprehensive book that guides the reader on how to use Bash for a wide variety of purposes.
It is very well-motivated; each chapter introduces the area it examines with an interesting anecdote, and presents a reasonably rich set of examples of how to use Bash along with other Unix tools to solve the problem at hand.
It is not solely about Bash; it shows the use of process control tools like ps, kill, and such, text manipulation tools like grep, sort, cut, sed, and such, and version control using CVS. This is all well and proper: One of the major uses of shell scripting is to paste together other programs, and these examples support that.
Well done...
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Michael Haboustak on October 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
I really can't recommend this book to anyone.

The author poorly defines the meaning of certain characters, makes references to topics he never covers in the book, and gives only cursory explanations of some key elements on Bash scripting. To make matters worse, several examples are missing characters or have additional characters that prevent the reader from understanding the scripts.

For example, I/O redirection gets only two pages in the entire book. I kept waiting for him to re-visit redirection in more depth, but he never did. Not only that, but one of the few I/O redirection samples has a typo that leaves the reader puzzled as to how redirection works at all. The typo is so bad that it renders the entire example incorrect.

I think this book was written by and for system administrators who need to do smaller tasks, rather than for developers who both want and need to understand the fundamentals of how Bash scripting works. After reading the entire book, all I gained was a basic Bash vocabulary. I was forced to find more comphrensive books and scripts on the topic in order to understand "how stuff works" and be proficient enough to write scripts on my own.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By digitalshadow on February 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
...but the proofreader should be fired! Also, the author needs to stick to the topic of Bash scripting and leave out the references, intentional and unintentional, to Korn shell scripting. While I do appreciate the tips about how to write Bash scripts that are backward-compatible with the Korn shell, the author has at times began a topic about a Bash feature, then in the next paragraph suddenly and unexpectantly refers to the Korn shell, giving the impression that the feature applies to the Korn shell rather than the Bash shell. After re-reading the passage several times it becomes apparent that the author may have meant to refer to the Bash shell all along, or that the feature is applicable to the Bash shell - either way, it is never explicitly stated and occasionally leaves the reader wondering how the reference to the Korn shell is relevant to the discussion. There are also several typographic errors in both the text and the code snippets. If you have any experience writing Bash scripts, you should be able to spot the errors and make the necessary corrections with little effort. If you are new to Bash scripting, then you might have to use the trial-and-error approach to find and remove the typos.

Typographical errors aside, the author covers, or at least touches on, every major area you will need to know to write effective Bash scripts. The author guides you from the fundamentals, such as declaring scalar variables, arrays, and control logic(branching and loops), to function declaration and definition, all the way up to network and database access scripts.

Overall, the content of this book warrants adding it to your library, just be mindful of the typos. I would also recommend obtaining a copy of the free "Advanced Bash Scripting Guide", and especially the book "Wicked Cool Shell Scripts" by Dave Taylor.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By W Boudville HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
Amongst recent computer books, this is a rarity. There seems to be only 1 diagram in the entire book. No GUIs to pretty up the scene. In this sense, the book is a throwback to those texts of the 80s. Strictly command line and file I/O.

Bash under linux is shown by the book to be not that different from an earlier Bourne shell. Or even the more rudimentary C shell. The various chapters discuss such items as defining variables and thence using these to build up expressions in a script. Burtch methodically shows how to increase the complexity of your scripting.

If some of you come from an earlier unix background, and have scripted there, then the book is reassuring. It should validate that most of your expertise carries over into bash and linux. Sure, there might be some new material. But the book shows that a typical script is not that different from a unix script of 20 years ago.
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