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UNIX PowerTools 2nd Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
easy to use and reference - everything is easily understood and referenced - with great practical examples - practical knowledge of Unix required to be effectively usedPublished on January 8, 2014 by paul teal
comprehensive, well formatted, great reference book. I used it as a Unix rookie and it made me more productive. Read morePublished on August 9, 2013 by Jim in Chattanooga
Cleaning out my old SysAdmin bookshelf, deciding what to trash, what to give away and what to keep, and there was my old copy of UNIX Power Tools, 2nd Edition, by Jerry Peek, Tim... Read morePublished on October 25, 2012 by John Williamson
This book has a lot of good system administration script examples. A must for any SA's bookshelf.Published on December 9, 2002
This is a useful book and contains a huge number of insightful nuggets of information presented in the format of short articles. Read morePublished on September 18, 2002 by Charles E. Hamilton
i dont want to use too many trite descriptions of this book (keeper, must have, great book), since i usually think they're written by plants, but honestly, it has served me well... Read morePublished on September 16, 2002 by Decius
I continue to learn from this book. It has a really useful review of text and file processing, including a detailed description of 'find'. Read morePublished on September 9, 2002 by Kelly Felkins
This is a rare kind of book. It is not well suited for front to cover reading. But you will be reading it all the time. Read morePublished on September 4, 2002 by Pedro Román