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Linux Programming by Example: The Fundamentals (Prentice Hall Open Source Software Development) [Paperback]

Arnold Robbins
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

12 April 2004 Prentice Hall Open Source Software Development

Linux Programming by Example introduces new Linux programmers to the core Linux programming interfaces in a gradual, consistent fashion, progressing intuitively from the basic to the more complex. It covers I/O, file metainformation, users and groups, processes, basic interprocess communication (pipes), general purpose APIs, signals, internationalization, and ends with a chapter on debugging Linux programs. Programmers know that the best way to learn about programming is to study well-written programs. This book teaches the fundamental Linux programming interfaces, those that form the core of any significant program, by presenting example code from real-world production programs that Linux users use every day. By looking at concrete programs, its possible not only to see how to use the Linux programming interfaces, but also to examine the real-world issues (performance, portability, robustness) that arise in writing Linux software. This book is the FIRST in a new series of books featuring Arnold Robbins as Series Editor. The books will all be branded "Linux Programming by Example" and cover programming topics for the new Linux programmer and Windows programmers making the switch.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (12 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131429647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131429642
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 17.5 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 753,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

“This is an excellent introduction to Linux programming. The topics are well chosen and lucidly presented. I learned things myself, especially about internationalization, and I’ve been at this for quite a while.”

—Chet Ramey, Coauthor and Maintainer of the Bash shell

“This is a good introduction to Linux programming. Arnold’s technique of showing how experienced programmers use the Linux programming interfaces is a nice touch, much more useful than the canned programming examples found in most books.”

—Ulrich Drepper, Project Lead, GNU C library

“A gentle yet thorough introduction to the art of UNIX system programming, Linux Programming by Example uses code from a wide range of familiar programs to illustrate each concept it teaches. Readers will enjoy an interesting mix of in-depth API descriptions and portability guidelines, and will come away well prepared to begin reading and writing systems applications. Heartily recommended.”

—Jim Meyering, Coauthor and Maintainer of the GNU Core Utility Programs

Learn Linux® programming, hands-on… from real source code

This book teaches Linux programming in the most effective way possible: by showing and explaining well-written programs. Drawing from both V7 Unix® and current GNU source code, Arnold Robbins focuses on the fundamental system call APIs at the core of any significant program, presenting examples from programs that Linux/Unix users already use every day. Gradually, one step at a time, Robbins teaches both high-level principles and “under the hood” techniques. Along the way, he carefully addresses real-world issues like performance, portability, and robustness. Coverage includes:

  • Memory management
  • File I/O
  • File metadata
  • Processes
  • Users and groups
  • Sorting and searching
  • Argument parsing
  • Extended interfaces
  • Signals
  • Internationalization
  • Debugging
  • And more…

Just learning to program? Switching from Windows®? Already developing with Linux but interested in exploring the system call interface further? No matter which, quickly and directly, this book will help you master the fundamentals needed to build serious Linux software.

Companion Web Sites, authors.phptr.com/robbins and www.linux-by-example.com, include all code examples.

About the Author

Arnold Robbins is an Atlanta native, currently living is Israel. He is a happy husband, and the proud father of four wonderful children. He works as a professional software engineer and technical author. In his non-copious spare time, he is also an amateur Talmudist, both Babylonian and Jerusalem.

Arnold has been working with Unix systems of various sorts, GNU/Linux systems, C, C++ and all the other major Unix tools since 1980.

As a long-time volunteer for the GNU project, he has been the maintainer of GAWK (GNU Awk) for many years. Arnold was on the balloting committee for the original POSIX Shell and Utilities standard in the early 1990s and helped to shape the POSIX standard for awk (and a few other things).

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Robbins book 1 Feb 2012
Received the book promptly in good condition; I will start to read it shortly but looks good!
It seems to cover quite a good ground: I am hoping to develop my expertise in Linux development with this and other literature.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Linux Fundamentals 26 April 2004
By Jack D. Herrington - Published on Amazon.com
Don't judge a book by it's cover, especially this cover, with the cheesy lightsaber which screams, "secrets of the Unix Jedi". Read the the lines, "Linux" and "Fundamentals" on the cover, and that is what you need to know.
If you are familiar with the classic "Advanced Unix Programming" you will be familiar with what this book covers and appreciative of the update. In short, this book covers the fundamentals of shell programming with C; files, directories, signals, memory allocation, process control, permissions, that sort of thing. It does not cover network programming or X11 GUI programming.
What I liked about it was primarily that it imparted experience. For example the section on creating temporary files pointed out both good and bad ways to write the same functionality. The text was expository and informative. Where Advanced Unix Programming was a little dry and stiff in tone, this book is a little heftier, goes into more detail, and is written in a more experiential and friendly manner.
There is a lot to like about this book. If the subject, within it's constraints, interests you, then you should get it. If only to broaden your depth of understanding as to how Unix works and how to write programs for it. If you are looking for books on network programming, xml, multi-threading, web serving, or X11, you should look elsewhere, but you should probably still look at this book to bone up on 'Linux' 'Fundamentals'.
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great real world examples 25 Jan 2005
By Rusty Keele - Published on Amazon.com
Linux Programming by Example: The Fundamentals is a great book that covers three main concepts in Linux programming: files, processes and debugging. In each part the author explains and gives several examples of functions, systems calls and APIs that will help the Linux programmer. He also includes several real world examples of how these concepts are implemented. Here are the some things that I found interesting:

The Good: 1) This book really focuses on the use of standards and good program design. Right from the beginning, the author goes out of his way to make the reader aware of standards from ISO and POSIX and how they apply to good programming and design. Along this line I also like that the author explains the benefits of - and promotes - the use of Gnu software. Being an avid Gnu user myself (as most Linux users are) I agree that Gnu software is generally better software.

2) I feel that knowledge is power, and the author goes along with this idea by showing how some things should *not* be done. He often points out several functions that are available but should be avoided. I appreciated this, and feel that it makes the reader an all-around better programmer. The author also frequently gives extra information and history which helps explain why things are the way they are. This was especially useful when explaining mount points and types of file system.

3) I liked the fact that the author uses real world examples to demonstrate the ideas being presented. I really appreciated the fact that he uses V7 code (older, smaller and less comlex code) to demonstrate his examples. This allowed me to be able to see how the features were implemented in simple code, without being overwhelmed by the modern equivalents. A great example is the V7 echo program - only 23 lines!

The Bad: There weren't too many things that I didn't like about this book, but if my arm was twisted I would say the following: 1) This book is called *Linux* Programming but really it is about Unix programming. I know they are similar, and maybe I am splitting hairs here, but the title could really be *Unix* Programming. Most of this stuff is generic Unix programming, and the author points out the special exceptions not only for Linux but for other Unix variants as well - such as BSD.

2) Don't confuse the word "Fundamental" with "Beginning." This book really isn't for beginning Linux programmers, but rather it teaches basic (or fundamental) concepts that Linux programmers should know and use. The reader needs to be moderately familiar with the C programming language if he or she is to be edified.

A great read, with some excellent examples of well written Linux programs. If you are interested in moving beyond basic Linux programming then you should definitely pick up a copy of this book!
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new classic 13 July 2004
By Ernest Friedman-Hill - Published on Amazon.com
I loved this book. It's earned an honored place on my bookshelf, and I'm going to recommend it to people who need information about Linux and UNIX development.
Many computer books are practically obsolete before they ship: within a few months, "Learn Foomatic 4.3 in 21 Days" is in the bargain bin at the Dollar Tree. Some books have longer lives, and a few can remain useful for years. "Linux Programming by Example" (LPE) is in this last category; this book can stand alongside Steven's "Advanced UNIX Programming" as an essential tutorial and reference.
LPE covers everything you'd expect (working with files, processes, signals, users) and some things you might not (internationalization). But it's this book's voice and unique perspective that make it truly a gem. LPE is written in a clear, friendly, authoritative style. As I read, I often felt that I had gained a new understanding of things I've known for years.
The long and twisted history of UNIX has given rise to multiple competing APIs. Perhaps the greatest thing about this book is the way that Robbins cuts through these thickets, explaining your choices, pointing out the best alternatives, and explaining why they're the best. LPE's modern vantage point means it can cover V7, BSD, POSIX, and GNU APIs. The chapter on signals alone is worth the purchase price of the book for the way in which it clearly compares and contrasts the various signal APIs.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book 23 May 2004
By Chet Ramey - Published on Amazon.com
I am very impressed with this book. Arnold covers the basics of Linux and Unix programming in a clear, easily-understood fashion. He has brought a wealth of programming experience to the job, and it shows -- the comments on portability, for instance, have a certain world-weariness about them that makes it clear that the lessons were hard-won.
I thought the choice of using Unix 7th edition source code was inspired. The code is elegantly written, and comprehensible enough to be used as a teaching aid.
I would not hesitate to recommend this to anyone looking for an introduction to programming on Linux or Unix.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great intro to portable Unix systems programming! 26 April 2004
By Jim Meyering - Published on Amazon.com
This is a great introduction to Unix systems programming.
I like the way concepts are illustrated with code from widely
used programs, along with good tips on portability. The sections
on directory traversal and signals were particularly relevant to
some of my work. Fine writing!
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