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From Bash to Z Shell: Conquering the Command Line Paperback – November 11, 2004
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From the Publisher
Jerry Peek is a freelance writer and instructor. He has used shells extensively and has taught users about them for over 20 years. Peek is the "Power Tools" columnist for Linux Magazine and coauthored the book UNIX Power Tools.
Peter Stephenson grew up in northeast England and studied physics at Oxford, where he earned a bachelor's degree and a Ph.D. Stephenson spent 9 years as a physics researcher, with an emphasis on computational physics, and resided in Liverpool, Swansea, Berlin, and Pisa.
Since 2000, Stephenson has been a software engineer with Cambridge Silicon Radio, where he works on the baseband firmware for short-range digital radio standards, such as Bluetooth. Stephenson has been involoved in the development of ZSH since the 1990s, when he began writing the FAQs. The past several years, he has coordinated the shell's development.
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Top Customer Reviews
From Bash to Z Shell is organized into three parts. Part one is an introduction to shell basics. It focuses on typical interactions with a shell including all of the things I mentioned knowing before reading this book. There is surprisingly good depth even here though and I doubt that anyone short of a power user could make it through this section without picking up a new trick or two. I learned multiple things from each chapter in this section.
In part two, each chapter takes a single aspect of the shells and really focuses in on just that. You will find chapters about the startup files each shell invokes as well as shell command histories. This is comprehensive coverage that really gets you to understand how things work as well as how to tune them to your personal tastes. You are even less likely to not pickup great tips in here.
The third and final part of the book turns to shell programming. While I suspect that plenty of users interact with a shell regularly without getting much into scripting them, there are still useful tidbits in here for them too. For example, after reading this section, I added some code to my startup file to customize my shell's completion functionality.Read more ›
"From Bash to Z Shell" assumes little about the reader's experience with computers. The first few chapters introduce the concept of a command shell and something of the UNIX philosophy. Don't worry, though, because examples throughout the book show bash and zsh running on Windows. These first few chapters look at the C shell as well as the eponymous shells.
The middle chapters each explore a single important concept like command editing, completion, pattern matching, redirection, and process management. Special features of bash and zsh are introduced in context. I can't stress enough how useful these chapters are: the manual pages for these shells are large but still terse and cryptic. This book manages to provide a conceptual framework into which all of its useful tidbits can be organized and absorbed.
The last few chapters look at scripting: both full blown programs and smaller chunks of shell-customization code. Again, the material here is invaluable: you're not going to get it from the manual pages!
If you work on UNIX systems, or if you'd like to make your Windows environment vastly more powerful, you need this book. I strongly recommend it.
It walks through, in parallel, the way to configure the two shells. I didn't expect this to be useful; I expected that I'd prefer to have more zsh material, and skip the Bashing. It turns out, however, that, in many cases, their parallel development has led to strong parallels in functionality. This is useful because, well, I don't get to install zsh everywhere that I might like to :-).
Somewhat surprisingly, the book waits until right near the end to present the notions of control structures and writing functions. The last two chapters are quite the culmination of the effort; one on functions provides a presentation of script option parsing better than I have seen anywhere; absolutely excellent.
The final chapter, on writing zsh command completion extensions, is similarly wonderful. The reference and online documents are fairly opaque without having a good overview of what you're trying to accomplish. The book provides that overview...
I initially bought the book to lean the Z Shell (zsh), but decided that I'll stick with good 'ole Bash for a little longer. The tricks I've learned through this book about Bash quenches my needs for the moment. This book teaches you about essential techniques such as CDPATH, History options, key bindings, editing modes, and tons more. I've only read it only once, but I have already dog-eared 20 pages. My ~/.bashrc, and ~/.inputrc are in full swing with many new shortcuts! I highly recommend this book!!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The go to book for Zsh. The book does cover a little tcsh, csh and ksh but the major focus of the book is Bask and Zsh. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Antonyo Hutsona
Content: After reading the first part I was a little disappointed as the material seemed dated and similar to many other books on the subject. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Paul W. Joireman
This book contains good info at a reasonable price. If I were you, I would buy this book. As a matter of fact, I am going to do so.Published on June 24, 2014 by Amazon Customer
Starts from nothing, and develops practical examples, and uses diagrams to show how shells fit together. Read morePublished on February 16, 2014 by Jeremy Mates
A large portion of this book explains what a shell is. What the ps command does etc. I guess I misunderstood the theme of this book.Published on January 19, 2014 by V. B. Rao
Well-written book. Easy to read, and has a very good coverage of the features of both bash and zsh. Read morePublished on September 10, 2012 by Manki
This is an excellent book, even though like a lot of folks, I bought it for the wrong reason. This book isn't really specific to the title, it's actually about the subtitle. Read morePublished on April 27, 2008 by Max H. Moen