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Unix Programming Environment (Prentice-Hall Software Series) Hardcover – 1 Nov 1983


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (1 Nov 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0139376992
  • ISBN-13: 978-0139376993
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 19 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,518,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Primoz Peterlin on 20 July 2000
Format: Paperback
Merely half an inch thick, and employing the same cover design - or lack of it - as the C Programming Language, this is probably the least pretentious looking book on my bookshelf. However, the look is misleading - there are very few books, regardless of length, that aim to teach you as much as this one, and even fewer than succeed in it.

Unix programming environment might sound a rather ambitious title nowadays, when a tutorial on each specialized tool can easily exceed 400 pages. However, this one actually delivers everything that it promises. Kernighan and Pike start with the basic description of Unix file system and the basic set of commands, continue with the command shell, redirection and piping. Next come the filters: regular expressions, grep, sort, sed and awk. At that point, the reader is ready for the full-fledged treatment of the command shell programming. Next come standard I/O and Unix system calls, followed by the program development tools: make, lex and yacc. The course is concluded with a chapter on document formatting with troff.

The chapters on I/O and system calls imply familiarity with the C programming language. The already mentioned tutorial on C by Kernighan and Ritchie, written in much the same style and spirit, can serve as the introduction to it. Also, while the book keeps up with its age remarkably well, there are some points where the described Unix system differs from the modern POSIX systems (most user commands are however backward compatible and still accept the old syntax). The required changes are really minor, but can nevertheles annoy an innocent reader.

The book belongs to nowadays rare breed of books on computers written for engineers and CS students rather than for dummies and idiots.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "ade4989" on 27 Oct 1999
Format: Paperback
The key material covered in this book is : - the Unix file system, (Bourne) shell commands & script programming, text processing (using grep, awk and sed), file I/O, system calls and document processing (using troff/nroff, etc).
The book is written in a traditional, no-frills format but is easy to follow, with clear code examples.
Systems programming is not covered any great depth (To fill this gap I would recommend the advanced Unix programming books by Rochkind and Stevens).
For a book published 15 years ago, it inevitably misses newer additions (no coverage of C-shell, K-shell, vi, Perl, etc.). Despite this it is still the classic introduction to Unix programming.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Aug 2000
Format: Paperback
This book will give you the insight you need to exploit the essential simplicity and power of Unix-like environments. It may not cover the latest, but it will give you the core you need to build on and develop. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Mar 1999
Format: Paperback
A fantastic book written in the very readable Kerninghan style. Succinct, thoughtful. After reading this book you'll not only understand how unix works, but why it works the way it does. Internal concepts such as INODES are explained (very few books other than advanced programming texts tend to discuss these), and advanced tools such as compiler-compilers are introduced and used in a non-trivial project. A great book that I still refer to frequently (I bought my copy in 1984).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Aug 1998
Format: Paperback
This is my favorite book on the Unix environment.
It starts at a very basic level, and gets quite involved by the end (for example, it includes a desktop calculator implemented in lex and yacc -- this example was very helpful to me in getting a handle on how to do "real" things using lex and yacc).
The book is a tad dated; for example, it doesn't discuss Perl. But it's still the best "intro to unix" book you can buy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 July 1997
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best Unix books ever. It conveys not just the "how-to" details of the
Unix environment, but its "why-to"; its philosophy
and aesthetics. I rate it less than a 10 only
because it shows its age a bit, not covering
some tools such as Perl and TCL that have become
important parts of the Unix toolkit since it was
written. Within its scope it is absolutely solid
and still an extremely valuable introduction.
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