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UNIX PowerTools Second Edition Edition

48 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 063-6920922605
ISBN-10: 1565922603
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Editorial Reviews Review

UNIX Power Tools, with its accompanying CD-ROM, contains thousands of tips, scripts, and techniques that make using UNIX easier, more effective, and even fun. It details tricky yet powerful commands such as find, xargs, tar, and grep and shares expertise from O'Reilly's Nutshell handbooks, Usenet, and the authors. The authors supply descriptions and solutions of real-world problems and give you the ability to analyze and solve them creatively. Designed for both beginning UNIX users and programmers, this 1,000-page tome is designed for browsing rather than reading cover to cover.

From the Publisher

Ideal for UNIX users who hunger for technical -- yet accessible -- information, UNIX Tools, 2nd Edition, consists of tips, tricks, concepts, and freeware (CD-ROM included). It also covers add-on utilities and how to take advantage of clever features in the most popular UNIX utilities. Loaded with even more practical advice about almost every aspect of UNIX, this new edition of the original UNIX Power Tools addresses the technology that UNIX users face today, differing from the first edition in a number of important ways. First, it slants the blend of options and commands more toward the POSIX utilities, including the GNU versions; the bash and tcsh shells have greater coverage, but we've kept the first edition's emphasis on the core concepts of sh and csh that will help you use all UNIX shells; and, Perl is more important than awk these days, so we've de-emphasized awk in this edition. This is a browser's a magazine that you don't read from start to finish, but leaf through repeatedly until you realize that you've read it all. The book is structured so that it bursts at the seams with cross references. Interesting "sidebars" explore syntax or point out other directions for exploration, including relevant technical details that might not be immediately apparent. You'll find articles abstracted from other O'Reilly books, new information that highlights program "tricks" and "gotchas," tips posted to the Net over the years, and other accumulated wisdom. The 53 chapters in this book discuss topics like file management, text editors, shell programming -- even office automation. Overall, there's plenty of material here to satisfy even the most voracious appetites. The bottom line? UNIX Tools is loaded with practical advice about almost every aspect of UNIX. It will help you think creatively about UNIX, and will help you get to the point where you can analyze your own problems. Your own solutions won't be far behind. The CD-ROM includes all of the scripts and aliases from the book, plus perl, GNU emacs, netpbm (graphics manipulation utilities), ispell,screen, the sc spreadsheet, and about 60 other freeware programs. In addition to the source code, all the software is precompiled for Sun4, Digital UNIX, IBM AIX, HP/UX, Red Hat Linux, Solaris, and SCO UNIX.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1122 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; Second Edition edition (August 12, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565922603
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565922600
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 2.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,391,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Primoz Peterlin on June 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
I do not know about you, but for me, a book has to be pretty darn exceptional to persuade me to buy a second edition of a book which I already own the first. Unix Power Tools is one such book. It is simply packed with tons of useful tips which the authors have accumulated over decades of using Unix, and is a sort of `crème de la crème' of O'Reilly reference books.

Praise aside, the book is not for everyone. It is an intermediate level reference, not an introductory tutorial. If your problems are like "How do I delete a file?", you should read something else first, get acquainted with Unix, and then return to it. If, however, the questions you face are more like "How do I delete a file with a null name?", then this is exactly the book for you. Unless there is a real Unix wizard around you, this book is likely to earn you this title in your environment.

The second edition focuses on POSIX systems rather than on SysV/BSD, uses Bash and Tcsh instead of Sh, Ksh and Csh, and has moved from Awk to Perl. The two-colour printing is gone, though. Fortunately, the superb index - one of the best I have seen - is still here, and so are the cross-references in the text. Accompanying CD-ROM might be essential if you are living in the mountains of Tajikistan, but anybody connected to the Internet will probably prefer to download newer versions of software on-line.
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90 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Ww Leenen on September 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
A Good Big Book - but worth the hype?
The Unix Power Tools has already established a reputation of being a classic. The behemoth has no less that 1073 pages and goes accompanied by a CD with a lot of small shellscripts that are described in the book. The authors show a thorough understanding of the subject and are able to explain the ways of Unix in a casual talkative way. Much work is devoted to the layout and the text edition. For example, the crossreferences are well done, greyed out in readable italics. The publisher seems to understand the importance of easy readable text. Many of us know how a good book can be spoiled by hasty and bad editing, and it's a relief to see that O'Reilly takes this issue seriously. The text is divided into paragraphs of about 1/4 to 1 page in size. These paragraphs deal with the Unix commands, the shells, the history of unix or the included nifty shellscripts. One might think that the authors view Unix as a collection of structured trivia - a view I personally like. You won't read this book `cover to cover' (to use that awful cliche), but you'll start joyreading for that bit of advice or for that handy tool they've written. (For example: the thing that got me up the wall was that filenames can have empty spaces at the end, so it seems you cannot delete them. I should have known that one way earlier :^( ) Sometimes the authors write down some very casual paragraphs: a flame from usenet (Why NOT to use the C-shell for programming), the history of a command ( grep is: g from global, RE is regular expression, and the P stands for print, hence g/RE/P) or other fun to read items. It will not be the book you'll grab for serious studying or when the system goes down unexpectedly.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By on April 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
For the last several months I have been dealing with a Unix/Linux environmnet. I had no prior experience with Linux or Unix. However, I have to document and explain scripts, modules, and such every day as part of my work.

This is the first book that has given me bite-sized, useful information in an explanatory format that doesn't waste my time. Whereas O'Reilly's Running Linux helped me very little after a nearly-full read-through, Unix Power Tools has taught me something every time I pick it up. What's more, the chapters are small (and intriguing) enough that a flip-through during a bathroom break can send me back to the keyboard to try something new.

It's like an encyclopedia and your friend the SA in one. Get this and Essential System Administration and you cover the practical needs and the complex activities (respectively) of working in Unix-like-environments in two volumes.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Andrew E. Schulman on June 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
As another reviewer said, this isn't an "Intro to Unix" book. But if you have a Unix or Linux account, and have learned some basics but want to make the operating system really work for you, this is your book. That's how I started; I spent a month with this book, and emerged a power user, chaining commands and writing shell scripts to bend the operating system to my will. Until I read this book, I had no idea how much editing, filtering, searching, file and directory manipulation, automation and time saving I could achieve in Unix. I've been a fan of Unix ever since, and Unix Power Tools is still my first reference.

My only criticism of this book is that it covers so many topics that it can't treat many of them in any depth. If you want to know about sh, awk, grep, or sed, you can get an introduction here, but will need the man pages or other more specific books to learn more. But I still find about 90% of what I need to know about all of these things in Unix Power Tools.

I have the first edition, which is dated now, though still fundamentally sound. I don't know what changes have been made in the 2nd edition.
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