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The Unix C Shell Field Guide Paperback – January, 1986

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

In-depth study of the C shell as a command interpreter and the gateway to other programs and utilities running under UNIX.

From the Back Cover

Featuring a foreword by the C Shell's developer, Bill Joy of Sun Microsystems, this guide provides an in-depth reference to this powerful interface.Includes guidelines for using the C Shell based on the authors professional field experience; covers the C Shell as it runs under UNIX 4.2BSD, 4.3BSD, System V, System III, Xenix, and Version 7.Novices and experts alike will discover how to use the C Shell more effectively by taking advantage of this guide's practical features.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 374 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall (January 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 013937468X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0139374685
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #645,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
I've used this book both as a beginner to unix and as a unix system programmer 10 years later. I would not do shell programming without it and an appropriate O'Reilly 'Unix in a nutshell' book. It is designed to be read end to end, introducing new topics bit by bit and expanding on them using numerous excellent examples which grow in complexity as the book progresses. This does give rise to my one complaint which is that while it is filled with useful tables and charts detailing various command options, etc., it can be difficult to find a particular table using the index since topics are spread throughout the book. Desipite this minor agravation, this book is in my list of 'top 10' must have unix programming books.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By calvinnme HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
The C shell (csh) is a Unix shell developed by Bill Joy for the BSD Unix system. It was originally derived from the 6th Edition Unix /bin/sh, the predecessor of the Bourne shell. Its syntax is modeled after the C programming language. The C shell added many feature improvements over the Bourne shell, such as aliases and command history. Today, the C shell is not widely used because it has been superceded by other shells such as the Tenex C shell (tcsh), the Korn shell (ksh), and the GNU Bourne-Again shell (bash). The C shell's scripting capability came under criticism in the early-to-mid 1990s for its ambiguity, especially with respect to quoting and redirection.
An example of possibly unwelcome behavior of csh scripts is the following:
if ( ! -e foo ) echo bar > foo
It would appear to say "if file 'foo' does not exist, create it with contents 'bar'". But it will in fact create an empty file, as the line is parsed such that the output redirect is set up before the file existence is tested. However, if you are a big fan of the C Shell or legacy code has forced you to deal with it, this is the definitive guide to it, even if it is 20 years old. The book is organized as follows:
Chapters 1 and 2 introduce the shell. Chapter 1 discusses what it is, what it does, and how you use it. Chapter 2 gives a brief tour of the shell with a sample terminal session.
Chapters 3 through 6 present the C Shell as an interactive command language. Chapter 3 presents the C shell's basic command forms. Chapter 4 shows the C shell's power - its command shorthand. Chapter 5 shows how to juggle your commands using job control. Chapter 6 covers the history and alias mechanisms, which are the C shell's original claims to fame.
Chapters 7 and 8 present the shell as a programming language.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is the best C shell book that I have ever come across. Lots of excellent examples and very thorough. This book has been in print since 1986 and there's good reason for it's longevity.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book has a nice layout. The first ten pages include a reference for several unix commands which are the foundation for solid scripts. The rest of the book has nice examples that are well written. You create basic scripts that are enhanced as you learn more material. You need to change the first line to !#/bin/csh to run the scripts. I wish the author's would create a newer edition of this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By bernie HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
I used this book to learn more than just the fundamentals of C shell programming. Some time it is more efficient to switch to or supplement with the C shell and save many borne shell steps to accomplish the same process. The C shell environment is robust. What the C shell is not is intuitive. Therefore, you need this book for any serious scripting. One example of the usefulness of the book is the use of the "here" document. Here documents can be found in other shells also but if you want to know how to use this function and take in literal information without substitution then you will need to read this book.

This is also the basis of tcsh
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
For the most part this book was very easy to read and follow. Anyone new to UNIX and the C shell would find this a good tutorial. The chapter on quoting and escaping meta characters was the most difficult to grasp, however that is more the fault of the C shell itself. However, the authors give numerous examples to help the reader understand the more difficult concepts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bruno on February 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
When I first started writing shell scripts, I found myself referring to this book constantly - and I do mean CONSTANTLY. Simple straightforward explanations and lots of examples.

I had 2-3 other books that all wound up gathering dust while this one just kept getting thumbed through.

I wrote all kinds of software for over thirty years on everything from embedded microprocessors to giant number crunchers.

This was one of the most helpful books I ever used in any of those milieus.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 17, 1998
Format: Paperback
If you are new to Unix, this book has everything you need to know and answers more of your questions than other books. It's incomplete in the sense that after reading this book, you just think you are ready to know more.
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