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Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming [Paperback]

Mark G. Sobell
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming 5.0 out of 5 stars (1)
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Book Description

1 July 2005

Praise for Mark Sobell’s Books

“I keep searching for books that collect everything you want to know about a subject in one place, and keep getting disappointed. Usually the books leave out some important topic, while others go too deep in some areas and must skim lightly over the others. A Practical Guide to Red Hat® Linux® is one of those rare books that actually pulls it off. Mark G. Sobell has created a single reference for Red Hat Linux that cannot be beat! This marvelous text (with a 4-CD set of Linux Fedora Core 2 included) is well worth the price. This is as close to an ‘everything you ever needed to know’ book that I’ve seen. It’s just that good and rates 5 out of 5.”
—Ray Lodato, Slashdot contributor“Mark Sobell has written a book as approachable as it is authoritative.”
—Jeffrey Bianchine, Advocate, Author, Journalist“Excellent reference book, well suited for the sysadmin of a linux cluster, or the owner of a PC contemplating installing a recent stable linux. Don’t be put off by the daunting heft of the book. Sobell has striven to be as inclusive as possible, in trying to anticipate your system administration needs.”
—Wes Boudville, InventorA Practical Guide to Red Hat® Linux® is a brilliant book. Thank you Mark Sobell.”
—C. Pozrikidis, University of California at San Diego“This book presents the best overview of the Linux operating system that I have found. . . . It should be very helpful and understandable no matter what the reader’s background is: traditional UNIX user, new Linux devotee, or even Windows user. Each topic is presented in a clear, complete fashion and very few assumptions are made about what the reader knows. . . . The book is extremely useful as a reference, as it contains a 70-page glossary of terms and is very well indexed. It is organized in such a way that the reader can focus on simple tasks without having to wade through more advanced topics until they are ready.”
—Cam Marshall, Marshall Information Service LLC, Member of Front Range UNIX Users Group FRUUG, Boulder, Colorado“Conclusively, this is THE book to get if you are a new Linux user and you just got into RH/Fedora world. There’s no other book that discusses so many different topics and in such depth.”
—Eugenia Loli-Queru, Editor in Chief, OSNews.comThe Most Useful Linux Tutorial and Reference Ever, with Hundreds of High-Quality Examples Covering Every Linux Distribution!

To be truly productive with Linux, you need to thoroughly master the shells and the command line. Until now, you had to buy two books to gain that mastery: a tutorial on fundamental Linux concepts and techniques, plus a separate reference. Worse, most Linux references offer little more than prettied-up man pages. Now, there’s a far better solution. Renowned Linux expert Mark Sobell has brought together comprehensive, insightful guidance on the tools system administrators, developers, and power users need most, and an outstanding day-to-day reference, both in the same book.

This book is 100 percent distribution and release agnostic: You can use it on any Linux system, now and for years to come. What’s more, it’s packed with hundreds of high-quality examples: better examples than you’ll find in any other Linux guidebook. This is Linux from the ground up: the clearest explanations and most useful knowledge about everything from filesystems to shells, editors to utilities, and programming tools to regular expressions. And when you need instant answers, you’ll constantly turn to Sobell’s comprehensive command reference section—organized and tabbed for easy, fast access!

Don’t settle for yesterday’s Linux guidebook. Get the one book that meets today’s challenges—and tomorrow’s!

A Practical Guide to Linux® Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming is the most useful, most comprehensive Linux tutorial and reference you can find. It’s the only book to deliver

  • Better, more realistic examples covering tasks you’ll actually need to perform
  • Deeper insight, based on Sobell’s immense knowledge of every Linux nook and cranny
  • More practical explanations of more than eighty core utilities, from aspell to xargs
  • Techniques for implementing secure communications using ssh and scp—plus dozens of tips for making your system more secure
  • A superior introduction to the Linux programming environment, including make, gcc, gdb, CVS, and much more
  • Expert guidance on basic and advanced shell programming using bash and tcsh
  • Tips and tricks for customizing the shell and using it interactively from the command line
  • Thorough guides to vim and emacs, designed to help you get productive fast and maximize your editing efficiency
  • Dozens of exercises to help you practice and gain confidence
  • Instructions for using Apt, yum, and BitTorrent for keeping your system up to date automatically
  • And much more, including coverage of gawk, sed, find, sort, bzip2, and regular expressions



Product details

  • Paperback: 1008 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (1 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131478230
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131478237
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 18.7 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,147,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Praise for Mark Sobell’s Books"I keep searching for books that collect everything you want to know about a subject in one place, and keep getting disappointed. Usually the books leave out some important topic, while others go too deep in some areas and must skim lightly over the others. A Practical Guide to Red Hat® Linux® is one of those rare books that actually pulls it off. Mark G. Sobell has created a single reference for Red Hat Linux that cannot be beat! This marvelous text (with a 4-CD set of Linux Fedora Core 2 included) is well worth the price. This is as close to an ‘everything you ever needed to know’ book that I’ve seen. It’s just that good and rates 5 out of 5."
—Ray Lodato, Slashdot contributor"Mark Sobell has written a book as approachable as it is authoritative."
—Jeffrey Bianchine, Advocate, Author, Journalist"Excellent reference book, well suited for the sysadmin of a linux cluster, or the owner of a PC contemplating installing a recent stable linux. Don’t be put off by the daunting heft of the book. Sobell has striven to be as inclusive as possible, in trying to anticipate your system administration needs."
—Wes Boudville, Inventor"A Practical Guide to Red Hat® Linux® is a brilliant book. Thank you Mark Sobell."
—C. Pozrikidis, University of California at San Diego"This book presents the best overview of the Linux operating system that I have found. . . . It should be very helpful and understandable no matter what the reader’s background is- traditional UNIX user, new Linux devotee, or even Windows user. Each topic is presented in a clear, complete fashion and very few assumptions are made about what the reader knows. . . . The book is extremely useful as a reference, as it contains a 70-page glossary of terms and is very well indexed. It is organized in such a way that the reader can focus on simple tasks without having to wade through more advanced topics until they are ready."
—Cam Marshall, Marshall Information Service LLC, Member of Front Range UNIX Users Group FRUUG, Boulder, Colorado"Conclusively, this is THE book to get if you are a new Linux user and you just got into RH/Fedora world. There’s no other book that discusses so many different topics and in such depth."
—Eugenia Loli-Queru, Editor in Chief, OSNews.comThe Most Useful Linux Tutorial and Reference Ever, with Hundreds of High-Quality Examples Covering Every Linux Distribution!
To be truly productive with Linux, you need to thoroughly master the shells and the command line. Until now, you had to buy two books to gain that mastery- a tutorial on fundamental Linux concepts and techniques, plus a separate reference. Worse, most Linux references offer little more than prettied-up man pages. Now, there’s a far better solution. Renowned Linux expert Mark Sobell has brought together comprehensive, insightful guidance on the tools system administrators, developers, and power users need most, and an outstanding day-to-day reference, both in the same book.
This book is 100 percent distribution and release agnostic- You can use it on any Linux system, now and for years to come. What’s more, it’s packed with hundreds of high-quality examples- better examples than you’ll find in any other Linux guidebook. This is Linux from the ground up- the clearest explanations and most useful knowledge about everything from filesystems to shells, editors to utilities, and programming tools to regular expressions. And when you need instant answers, you’ll constantly turn to Sobell’s comprehensive command reference section—organized and tabbed for easy, fast access!
Don’t settle for yesterday’s Linux guidebook. Get the one book that meets today’s challenges—and tomorrow’s!
A Practical Guide to Linux® Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming is the most useful, most comprehensive Linux tutorial and reference you can find. It’s the only book to deliver
Better, more realistic examples covering tasks you’ll actually need to perform
Deeper insight, based on Sobell’s immense knowledge of every Linux nook and cranny
More practical explanations of more than eighty core utilities, from aspell to xargs
Techniques for implementing secure communications using ssh and scp—plus dozens of tips for making your system more secure
A superior introduction to the Linux programming environment, including make, gcc, gdb, CVS, and much more
Expert guidance on basic and advanced shell programming using bash and tcsh
Tips and tricks for customizing the shell and using it interactively from the command line
Thorough guides to vim and emacs, designed to help you get productive fast and maximize your editing efficiency
Dozens of exercises to help you practice and gain confidence
Instructions for using Apt, yum, and BitTorrent for keeping your system up to date automatically
And much more, including coverage of gawk, sed, find, sort, bzip2, and regular expressions

About the Author

Mark G. Sobell is president of Sobell Associates Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in UNIX/Linux training, support, and custom software development. He is the author of many best-selling UNIX and Linux books and has more than twenty-five years of experience working with UNIX and Linux.




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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Linux reference 6 May 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book so that I could understand general Linux commands and structuring, and it has shown me a good and useful range. This book can be used as a Linux reference or admin book, but it is missing certain sections that would be rather useful.

The first problem that arises is how to add a new user on a Linux machine. This book tells you nothing on it and just leaves you wondering. I was also interested in the ssl connection configuration specifics so that we use secure connections when talking to remote Linux machine. This too was mentioned, but nothing more.

Luckily I also bought the Osborne Linux Complete Reference 6th Edition, which told me how to do the above commands.

But in general this is a well laid out book to teach you the fundamentals and higher levels of shell script, you might need a book like the Osborne one to accompany it, for more of a technical view.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  53 reviews
194 of 199 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review: A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming 23 Sep 2005
By Dan Clough - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I recently was fortunate enough to receive a review copy of this book from Prentice Hall publishers, and am happy to submit this review. I found this very large volume (1008 pages!) to be quite interesting and a valuable source of information for both Linux beginners and veterans alike. As the title may suggest, it covers some of the most commonly used Linux commands, the two main editors (Vim and Emacs), and some shell programming techniques with the Bash and tcsh shells. I found it to be quite "distro-neutral", as the material presented should be available on virtually any Linux system, and does not reference distro-specific tools. The book seems very well organized into Parts and Chapters, and there are also some excellent appendices and additional matter at the end of the book, which I'll discuss later in this review.

Part I is entitled "The Linux Operating System", and starts out with some introductory "welcome" and "getting started" material which is good reading for newbies but can easily be skipped by others. The next chapter in this part covers how to use the more commonly used commands such as ls, cp, rm, and tar. This is followed up by a chapter on the Linux filesystem, including the hierarchical layout, directories, pathnames, permissions, and file links. There is a nice section in this chapter which describes what is found in nearly all of the standard directories such as /boot, /etc, /home, /usr, and so on. Also notable here was an excellent description of how to set (and understand!) file and directory permissions. The final chapter in this part provides an introduction to the shell and command line. It covers standard input/output, redirection, pipes, and backgrounding of commands. Most of the information in these first 5 chapters will probably be a review for more experienced Linux users, but they are outstanding reading for newcomers. One thing I did notice as a great feature of the book is that there is a "Chapter Summary" at the end of each chapter which is really excellent, and a list of "Exercises" to help you see and use the information in a more hands-on way.

Part II is called simply "The Editors", and devotes about 60 pages each to Vim and Emacs. A brief history of each is provided, and a pretty good tutorial of basic usage is walked through. Both chapters include a command referance/summary, and some customization tips. Even the well known "debate" about which editor to use is mentioned, although no preference is indicated. For the record, this writer prefers Vim... J There are more in-depth books available to explain each editor in greater detail, but these chapters provide a good introductory lesson.

Part III contains two chapters, one each on the "bash" shell and the "tcsh" shell. Some of the procedures and concepts in this part may well be more information than is desired by many Linux users, but command-line types will want to read all of this material. The differences between these two shells are discussed, and the fact that most users will only need to learn about "bash", as it is normally the default shell on most modern Linux distributions. I found some good information on customizing your shell, and using the "dot files" such as .bash_profile and .bashrc to control things like aliases and your environment variables.

Part IV covers "Programming Tools". The first chapter here discusses programming in C, including the basics of the gcc compiler, using shared libraries, debugging procedures, system calls, and source code management (CVS). It should be noted that this chapter describes the process of writing and compiling programs with C, but is not intended to teach C programming if you don't already understand most of it. The next chapter (11) is a quite extensive (about 100 pages) discussion of programming with the Bash shell. It covers control structures, parameters, variables, loops, arrays, expressions, functions, and builtin commands. Numerous examples are shown to help with understanding the concepts. I would recommend this particular chapter for those wishing to increase their ability to write effective shell scripts for system administration. The final two chapters in Part IV cover the "gawk" and "sed" utilities, which are essential for more advanced text processing and shell scripting. Again, there are numerous excellent examples given which really aid in understanding the material, followed by some suggested excercises for putting your new knowledge to work. This part should be required reading for any system administrator.

Part V is the "Command Reference" section. This is a very complete reference (240 pages) on how to use virtually all Linux utilities and shell builtins, from "at" to "xargs". The layout for each command is presented in the manner of a man page, only much more readable and including excellent notes and examples which are not found in a man page. All options are well explained, and there is extensive use of tables and summaries. This may be the most useful portion of the entire book, and serves both as a great refresher for veterans, and a nice learning process for beginners. The material here is presented in "plain English", which helps a lot.

The remainder of the book is made up of three appendixes, a glossary, and an index. Appendix A is an excellent presentation of "regular expressions", an often little-understood but important skill for system administrators to have. Spend some time reading this one. Appendix B is simply called "Help", and tells you about the wide array of help resources available to a Linux user. Helpful websites are listed, and mailing lists and newsgroups are described. The final Appendix C touches on keeping your system updated, although it is quite limited by only discussing the "yum" and "apt" utilities. This could have been done a little better by including some additional distro tools, and/or more generic ideas for updating. The final two sections of the book are a 50 page Glossary and a 50 page Index, both of which seem quite complete.

Overall I found this book to be quite excellent, and it has earned a spot on the very front of my bookshelf. It covers the real "guts" of Linux - the command line and it's utilities, and does so very well. It's strongest points are the outstanding use of examples, and the Command Reference section. Highly recommended for Linux users of all skill levels. Well done to Mark Sobell and Prentice Hall for this outstanding book!
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guide to becoming a Linux guru and not just a user 17 Sep 2005
By Harold McFarland - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
For some people knowing how to do something through a graphical interface is akin to knowing how to drive without knowing how an engine, transmission, etc. work together to make the car run. For them knowing how to get down to the command line and get things done that either the graphical interface does not allow or does not do the way you want it done is a matter of pride and represents the dividing line between a user and a power user. If you want to become a real Linux guru and know how to work the command line to do whatever you want including commands, editing, shell programming, and scripting this is one of the better books available. Readable, straight-forward, educational, it is a one-of-kind reference that blends the educational aspect of a typical book on learning Linux with a typical book of command line references. A Practical Guide to Linux is highly recommended.
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for Newbies who want to Program 10 Jan 2007
By Fred D. Lewis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this book to be very understandable. I have no experience with Linux but I was writing scripts without any trouble.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great foundational reference 10 Oct 2005
By Chad Perrin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is the best distro-agnostic foundational Linux reference I've ever seen, out of dozens of Linux-related books I've read. It's a constant battle to find a good Linux book that isn't wedded implicitly or explicitly to a specific distribution (usually something Red Hat related), more about KDE and GNOME applications and other specific applications the authors favor than about real Linux skills, or both. Finding this book was a real stroke of luck. If you want to really understand how to get things done at the command line, where the power and flexibility of free unixlike OSes really live, this book is among the best tools you'll find toward that end. About the only way it could be better is to be released under an open documentation license.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful for beginner Unix/Linux users 9 Nov 2006
By P. Friesen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a newcomer to Unix and Linux operating systems, I just needed a reference so I could be productive enough to perform tasks without relying on others. The book enabled me to do this. I read the other reviews about how the book works for both beginner and advanced users. I borrowed 2 books before buying this one. This one is the only one I use.
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