- Series: Prentice-Hall Software Series
- Paperback: 357 pages
- Publisher: Prentice-Hall; 1st edition (November 11, 1983)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 013937681X
- ISBN-13: 978-0139376818
- Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 67 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Unix Programming Environment (Prentice-Hall Software Series) 1st Edition
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From the Publisher
Designed for first-time and experienced users, this book describes the UNIX®programming environment and philosophy in detail. Readers will gain an understanding not only of how to use the system, its components, and the programs, but also how these fit into the total environment.
From the Back Cover
Designed for first-time and experienced users, this book describes the UNIX® programming environment and philosophy in detail.Readers will gain an understanding not only of how to use the system, its components, and the programs, but also how these fit into the total environment.
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Top customer reviews
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Once upon a time, in 1972, some exceptionally brilliant people invented the Unix system. They had other brilliant people around them to write tools for the system and use it and improve it. A decade later, the Unix system had spread, and a book was thought needed. So who better to write such a book than some of the persons who were around during the creation and initial dissemination of Unix. Both B.Kernighan and R.Pike worked at Bell Labs and worked on tools for the Unix system. These are brilliant people who waste no words. This book is extremely dense, and takes some pondering! The writing style is not simple, but very concise, elegant and loaded with meaning.
Secondly, at the time they wrote it, their audience consisted of extremely smart people. In 1984, it was not your average Joe who was a computer programmer. The skill level required to read this book is very high. It is good to have a very good grasp of the C programming language, as advanced concepts like pointer-to-function invocations, complex unions/structures combinations, etc are used. And even then, the programs are not an easy read. One has to work through them. This is true not just of the C programs, but also of the shell and awk programs. They take some time to grasp, and you have to put in the effort. A few reviewers have mentioned the treatment of lex/yacc in the book. But to even start the chapter, one has to have an idea of the way compilers are structured, what scanners and parsers are, a knowledge of regular expressions and of the Backus-Naur form. It is more for the computer science student today than just a programmer. And then the effort required to understand the interpreter equals the effort expended on the rest of the book combined.
Thirdly, the book covers the complete Unix system as it existed at the time. Fortunately, most of the system still exists today. However, the topics covered in this book spans multiple layers of software, as well as considering completely orthogonal pieces of the system. It covers the shell, shell tools like sed/awk which are programming devices by themselves, the Unix system calls and the C standard I/O. And then it covers compiler/interpreter development, and finally, document formatting, which is a very hard subject in its own right. Nobody will feel the need to read the book in its entirety for practical purposes in today's world, and it is a reference book only if you have read it already, otherwise it is hard to pick up and refer.
If you have a passion for or curiosity about computers, to read this book is a foregone conclusion. This book is history, history that has stood the test of time, and its lessons are therefore valid today. And that history will teach you a lot about the what/how/why of the Unix system (and all succeeding systems). The mathematical prodigy, Niels Henrik Abel, was asked about the secret of his prodigiousness, and his reply was 'I learnt from the masters, not from their pupils'. Fortunately, for those of us in this field, it is young enough that we still have access to the masters. With the likes of this book, you will learn from the masters, though it is not an easy task learning at their feet.
It does not stand on its own because of its age and the older tools that are used. ed is a good example. The book uses ed as its text editor and even has a chapter on ed. I have never met an ed user. It would be easy to conclude that there is no reason to bother with ed. But because the Unix system evolved around ed, learning ed syntax is directly applicable to vi, sed, and perl.
I would highly recommend this book for someone that has some basic knowledge in UNIX and need fast intro (also great as the text book). This book will give you a good idea about everything in *NIX, but ones you done with it, you will want to buy another book.
P.S: I would give it a 5 stars if code would be written in less confusing manner.
Being System V-centric ,some parts are outdated .Even then ,there are few books which are as good ,and perhaps no other book which is as friendly to those with non-UNIX\Linux programming background.
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