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Learning the Korn Shell (2nd Edition) 2nd Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0596001957
ISBN-10: 0596001959
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Learning the Korn Shell (2nd Edition)
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  • Unix in a Nutshell, Fourth Edition
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  • Learning the bash Shell: Unix Shell Programming (In a Nutshell (O'Reilly))
Total price: $75.80
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This Nutshell Handbook(R) is a thorough introduction to the Korn shell, both as a user interface and as a programming language. The Korn shell, like the C and Bourne shells, is a program that interprets UNIX commands. It has many features that aren't found in other shells, including command history (the ability to recall and edit previous commands). The Korn shell is also faster; several of its features allow you to write programs that execute more quickly than their Bourne or C shell equivalents. This book provides a clear and concise explanation of the Korn shell's features. It explains ksh string operations, co-processes, signals and signal handling, and one of the worst "dark corners" of shell programming: command-line interpretation. It does this by introducing simple real-life examples and then adding options and complexity in later chapters, illustrating the way real-world script development generally proceeds. An additional (and unique) programming aid, a Korn shell debugger (kshdb), is also included. Learning the Korn Shell is an ideal resource for many UNIX users and programmers, including software developers who want to "prototype" their designs, system administrators who want to write tools for their own use, and even novices who just want to use some of ksh's more advanced interactive features. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Arnold Robbins, an Atlanta native, is a professional programmer and technical author. He has worked with Unix systems since 1980, when he was introduced to a PDP-11 running a version of Sixth Edition Unix. He has been a heavy AWK user since 1987, when he became involved with gawk, the GNU project's version of AWK. As a member of the POSIX 1003.2 balloting group, he helped shape the POSIX standard for AWK. He is currently the maintainer of gawk and its documentation. He is also coauthor of the sixth edition of O'Reilly's Learning the vi Editor. Since late 1997, he and his family have been living happily in Israel.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 434 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 2nd edition (May 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596001959
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596001957
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #566,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. EARLS on August 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have owned this book since 1996 and I used it as my introduction to Korn shell programming. To the credit of the book, I was able to become very adept at Korn shell and I have written some amazing scripts. However, I must admit that some sections of this book are misleading, confusing and downright incomprehensible. It took many re-readings of some chapters before the author's lesson was brought to light. I would recommend this book as a Korn shell reference, but it is probably not the best place to start for a Korn shell beginner. I am finding this to be true for a lot of the books by O'Reilly & Associates.
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Format: Paperback
When I bought this book, I had already spent a year working in a UNIX environment, but I had no real experience with shell programming. However, after reading this book, I'm having no problems writing intermediate to advanced level Korn scripts at work.
It sounds like some people who have reviewed this were expecting a Nutshell book, but apparently they didn't read the description of the book. To truly appreciate this book, one should read it in a fairly linear fashion, from cover to cover (like a textbook). It's not really meant to be skimmed, since it's not one of the Nutshell books.
Whatever the case, I think that for anyone interested in Korn shell programming, this is a pretty good introduction to it. My only recommendation is that you practice the concepts in the book while reading, and make sure you have a copy of 'UNIX in a Nutshell'.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book for someone new to ksh programmer. It should be treated as a work manual and not as a reference book. Read this book through from cover to cover and you'll soon be writing ksh scripts with ease.
The book takes you though Korn shell basics from answer what a shell is to using files, I/O, and character quoting.
From there it goes into command line editing, customizing your environment, and into basic programming. Once through that you learn flow control, arrays, advanced I/O, and process handling.
Finally you learn how to debug the script you just wrote.
As a reference manual this book is average. It's not meant to be a typical "nutshell" book and shouldn't be treated as one.
The bottom line? Buy this book if you are truly interested in learning how to program in the Korn shell.
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Format: Paperback
Clearly NOT the quality I've come to expect from O'Reilly. The sample scripts are not fully explained and the layout is confusing. This book just sits on my desk collecting dust while Rosenberg's KornShell Tutorial is tabbed, highlighted and dog-earred.
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Format: Paperback
If your job requires you to perform some tasks in UNIX but you know very little beyond the level a beginner's guide gave you (e.g. cd and ls) then Learning the Korn Shell will let you build on those basics to the point where you'll be able to program shell scripts.

You'll start with a quick explanation of what a shell is (i.e. it's a user interface, not the OS itself) then useful key strokes (avoid CTRL-D) and how Korn parses the command line. The book then explains how you can set up your environment and then moves into basic shell scripting. By the end of the book, you'll be able to read and edit the scripts along with your more experienced colleagues.

Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
While not as popular (at least in Linux circles) as bash, ksh is a powerful language/tool. Put bluntly, this is one of the few O'Reilly books I have read cover to cover. That isn't to say that the others don't warrant a thorough perusal, but that this book was readily accessible and provided excellent information. I have used it as a reference countless times over the years and do not hesitate to recommend it to anyone using or considering using ksh. Moreover, if you are considering using ksh - or perhaps need a better background in Unix shell scripting - read this book.
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Format: Paperback
For some time, "Learning the Korn Shell" was the only source I had for k-shell programming. That was a bad idea. O'Reilly books are usually first-rate, but I guess they can't knock every pitch out of the park. I cannot recommend this book either as an introductory tutorial or as a reference. The first problem is that topics seem to be jumbled together, so that things are hard to find and to follow. Secondly, many subjects are either not covered at all, or are given the proverbial lick and a prayer. Even worse, the indexing is terrible. I find too many cases in which important things (like dot scripts, for instance) are simply not in the index, if they are covered at all in the text. Fortunately, there are alternatives to this book which I find much more satisfactory. By far the best is "The Korn Shell User and Programming Manual", by Anatole Olczak, an Addison-Wesley publication. It's pricey (about $50), but it's well-organized, complete, and very competently indexed.
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Format: Paperback
I've been using this book for a while and since I am pretty familiar with it, the rather odd organization and hit-and-miss indexing aren't as much of a problem as they were. So since I know where to start looking for the information I need, this book is very handy now.
I find that although the prose style is not exciting, it is clear and definite (I don't find myself wondering, "Did they mean *this* or *that*?").
The bottom line is that if you are willing to make yourself use the book long enough to get a feel for it, it will be a very useful reference. However, it would be much better if the familiarization period were unnecessary.
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