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Understanding UNIX/LINUX Programming: A Guide to Theory and Practice

22 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0130083968
ISBN-10: 0130083968
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Editorial Reviews


"The material covered goes to the right depth to allow students to understand the UNIX operating system to program it. I wish a book of this calibre was available during my graduate studies as it would have helped me tremendously in learning to program the UNIX system." — Sam R. Thangiah, Slippery Rock University

"This text is one of the most accurate and articulate that I have read. It is easily readable." — Lawrence B. Wells, Dallas County Community College

From the Back Cover

Understanding Unix®/Linux Programming explains how Unix and Linux work and shows how to write, programs at the system call level. Using nearly 100 complete programs and over 200 illustrations, the book demonstrates the basics as well as the advanced aspects of Unix systems programming.

Topics include:
  • file I/0
  • device I/0
  • timers
  • process management
  • stream and datagram sockets
  • POSIX threads
  • file systems
  • the terminal driver
  • signals
  • pipes
  • network programming
  • semaphores

The text presents theory in practical contexts with detailed explanations of common Unix programs such as who, Is, pwd, sh, and httpd. Each example starts with a description of what the program does and how people use it. From there, the text discusses the underlying principles and mechanisms, and then uses those ideas to write a version of the program.

The book is designed for learning. Chapter summaries, memorable analogies, experiments, explorations, and varied exercises help the reader understand and program Unix as an integrated, logical whole.

Material in the book applies to all versions of Unix and Linux. The book assumes the reader knows the C programming language and is familiar with a modern operating system. The book is suitable as a class text, for self-study, and for reference, and it provides thorough coverage of information essential to students, Unix programmers, and system administrators.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 530 pages
  • Publisher: Pearson (December 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0130083968
  • ISBN-13: 978-0130083968
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #699,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jacob Gajek on August 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
I bought this book as a quick introduction to the world of UNIX/Linux systems programming. Having had extensive prior experience with the C programming language and application development on other platforms (DOS, OS/2, AS/400), I read the book without actually trying out the sample code or programming exercises. My goal was to get a solid feel for the basic concepts of Unix systems programming as quickly as possible, in order to move on to more advanced Linux topics (assembly programming, kernel and device driver development, implementation of the Linux TCP/IP stack) covered in other books. I found this book to be exceptionally clear and well written and ideally suited for the purpose.

The book requires intermediate knowledge of C and some basic computing skills, but otherwise makes very few assumptions about the reader. Concepts are introduced gradually, and the exceptionally clear diagrams, analogies, case studies and sample programs make each chapter a pleasure to digest and learn from. In order to avoid overwhelming the reader, advanced details are moved out of the main flow of the text, and into the exercises at the end of each chapter.

Each chapter is structured in a similar manner. A small programming project is introduced as the goal of each chapter. Each is appropriately chosen so that the systems programming concepts that are to be the subject of the chapter are key to the solution. The author then guides the reader along the path by asking and answering the questions "What does it do?", "How does it work?", and "How can I write my own version?". The author has a knack for anticipating the types of questions that are likely to be in the reader's mind at the appropriate moments, and helps the reader along with helpful pointers and analogies.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Christos Karayiannis on December 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
"Understanding Unix/Linux Programming" takes an interesting approach trying to show the principles of Unix programming, it analyses the shell commands using three steps:
I. use the command
II. find information about the command
III. create the command using C language and the standard library
Thus, it doesn't only teach Unix/Linux programming it presents a way of thinking and solving a problem using the available information someone can obtain from man pages.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Craig Maloney on October 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
Unix has had the luxury of being one of the most documented operating systems in history. Many books have been dedicated to documenting the internals of Unix and Unix-like systems and some have risen to the ranks of classic texts regarded by all as necessary to understanding the inner workings of Unix. Understanding Unix®/Linux Programming would be in excellent company with these books. The book contains a copious amount of code and clear, diagramed explanations describing the processes transpiring in the machine.

Understanding Unix®/Linux Programming is designed to be used in an operating systems course with programmers fluent in C. Fortunately, though, the book can be used outside of the classroom if the reader does not mind an occasional open-ended questions with no included answers. The book may seem light on pages (530 including index), but the author should get an award for jamming so much useful explanation and helpful (and complete) code. The format of each chapter is familiar to most textbooks, with an introduction to the task at hand, explanations and examples, a summary, a list of explorations to further understand the topics presented, and a set of programming exercises. The exercises are creative and directly relate to the presented code. They're also (dare I say it?) fun. I'm not saying they'll replace crossword puzzles, but they do present creative or obvious challenges to the reader. (Like handling when a user types 'exit' from a shell, or blinking the text in an ncurses application).

The book includes topics on file I/O, device I/O, timers, process management, stream and datagram sockets, POSIX threads, file systems, the terminal driver, signals pipes, network programming and semaphores.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By sibolek on January 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is an amazing book perhaps exceeding in value the canonical Steven's tomb Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment, Second Edition (Addison-Wesley Professional Computing Series). What makes this book stand out among the rest is in its method of learning the system calls that form the api of unix programming. While other books tend to present the material by logically listing the various system calls by function. This book introduces the same apis by taking a well know unix command (like ls or cat) and then developing a working implementation from scratch. So, for cat, as an example, it first analyzes what cat does, designs a solution using the available apis ( which it shows you how to get by utilizing the manual pages), provides graphical representations of a working implementation, and then provides a fully coded example. This is a unique method of teaching that I have yet to find in any other systems programming book, including the most famous ones. The material is extremely easy to follow, even for a beginner I would say, actually making a rather dry subject interesting and compelling. Therefore you will find that you did not need to force yourself to become engaged in the material as you need to do with most technical books.

If you go through this book you will come away with an understanding of how the unix/linux kernel works and will have thoroughly enjoyed the experience!
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