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The Linux Command Line: A Complete Introduction [Kindle Edition]

William E. Shotts Jr.
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £26.50
Kindle Price: £14.24 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

You've experienced the shiny, point-and-click surface of your Linux computer—now dive below and explore its depths with the power of the command line.

The Linux Command Line takes you from your very first terminal keystrokes to writing full programs in Bash, the most popular Linux shell. Along the way you'll learn the timeless skills handed down by generations of gray-bearded, mouse-shunning gurus: file navigation, environment configuration, command chaining, pattern matching with regular expressions, and more.

In addition to that practical knowledge, author William Shotts reveals the philosophy behind these tools and the rich heritage that your desktop Linux machine has inherited from Unix supercomputers of yore.

As you make your way through the book's short, easily-digestible chapters, you'll learn how to:

  • Create and delete files, directories, and symlinks
  • Administer your system, including networking, package installation, and process management
  • Use standard input and output, redirection, and pipelines
  • Edit files with Vi, the world's most popular text editor
  • Write shell scripts to automate common or boring tasks
  • Slice and dice text files with cut, paste, grep, patch, and sed

Once you overcome your initial "shell shock," you'll find that the command line is a natural and expressive way to communicate with your computer. Just don't be surprised if your mouse starts to gather dust.

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Product Description

About the Author

William E. Shotts, Jr. has been a software professional and avid Linux user for more than 15 years. He has an extensive background in software development, including technical support, quality assurance, and documentation. He is also the creator of, a Linux education and advocacy site featuring news, reviews, and extensive support for using the Linux command line.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to the Linux command line 28 Mar. 2013
With this book I've gone from being a complete newbie to feeling like I have a decent understanding of the command line. While I'm not an expert and can't tell you if any areas are being neglected it does seem to cover a good range of topics and it does teach all the skills I was looking to learn. The writing style is enjoyable and not too technical and there are lots of useful practical examples for the various commands introduced which help a lot in understanding how to use them.

I would definately recommend this book to anyone interested in learning to use the Linux terminal.

By the way- the book is also available in PDF form on the authors website. Google the name of the book and you'll find it. :)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've been a Linux user for over 10 years and read a good few Linux books. The reason I like this book so much is that it is written kind of like a novel rather than a reference book. It starts with the very basics and slowly builds until the end where you begin to write shell scripts. I also like the authors style which is more conversational. If you are used to reading traditional computer text books you may find you don't like the style as this is defiantly NOT a pure reference book or a technical manual. However this is the first Linux book I have read from cover to cover and keep going back to. Dare I say the first one I enjoyed reading! Well worth the money and the five stars.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written, comprehensive guide 17 May 2012
By PhilB
The command line is a powerful tool that experienced computer users will really benefit from learning. When I first started using Linux about ten years ago, it was difficult to avoid the command line. It seemed like a chore at first, but after learning only a few commands, I found it to be a satisfying and efficient way of getting things done. This book provides a nice, usable introduction to the ins and outs of the Linux command line, along with an extensive survey of command line tools and their uses. The style is somewhere inbetween a reference book and a hands-on guide - the writing is friendly and interesting, but concise, and a lot of ground is covered. Solid examples are given for all of the common tools, along with a number of more obscure ones.

A real strength of The Linux Command Line is its task-based approach. Related commands are grouped together, with the discussion flowing logically from the simpler aspects of a task through to what can be achieved with the more advanced tools on offer. This guarantees that there will be something in every chapter for both beginners and more advanced readers alike. Indeed, the grouping of common commands with less well-known ones in each chapter means that there's lots of potential for discovering neat new tricks. A number of key commands are treated in a careful, detailed manner, which serves to equip the reader with some very powerful tools. I especially appreciated the extended sections on commands like find and sed, and thorough discussions of concepts like redirection and expansion. These had always seemed like something of a mystery to me, but now I know how they work, I use them all of the time!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for beginers 6 Nov. 2012
By sinisa
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a guy who wanted to start learning about linux and its command line, I have to say that this book met all my expectations. It covers a large number of topics and does so in a very inviting, interesting way. I especially enjoy the bits where author explains the way unix-like systems operated in the past which led to specific ways in which the shell works today - this gave me a better understanding of the matter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works like a magical charm for the command line. 7 Sept. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
So why is the book so good?
The book is very practical - you learn through "doing".

For instance ^ normally acts as an anchor to say "search for matching items from the start of the line".
However the ^ inside a bracket means something totally different.. it "negates" the command. DUH!! Quite a difference there then!

Next is the [RANGE] command. So if you search for [A-Z] or [A-z], the second command will not find a little a, if you're in "Locale" mode. We expect locales to work like ASCII works A-Z and a-z...
BUT the locale mode works on aAbB. Now [A-Z] will miss the starting baby a... as A is the second letter, not the baby a which is first. So asking it to find [A-Z] means you're starting the search from the SECOND letter, and it can never locate a little a... Well, that might mess up your results.

You'll find yourself reading and rereading each section, as you don't want to miss anything.

I don't think there's a command line book on the market to rival this book. It's stunning.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Confidence to tinker 24 Aug. 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm the sort of person who likes to take things apart and put them back together, and my recent purchase of a Raspberry Pi has encouraged me to delve deeper into how Linux works. This book has certainly given me the confidence to do so. The book is well-written, with the author managing to tread perfectly the line between solid technical writing and sufficient light-heartedness to make the book entertaining. No mean feat.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Will
I bought this for my dad, who's always used Windows and now wants to try Linux. The book presumes some proficiency in using computers (e.g. with Windows), but does not assume any knowledge whatsoever of Linux or other UNIX-like operating systems. Neither does it assume any experience in programming, scripting, or command line interaction.

It doesn't just explain how to use the command line, but also how the philosophy of how UNIX-like operating systems work. For example, the author explains Linux's unified filesystem hierarchy (a common source of confusion for Windows users), how the shell relates to the operating system, file permissions, and so on.

And while it's very accessible to the complete beginner, it's thorough enough for me to learn from it as well (I'm an intermediate user of Linux with a few years' experience).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't recommend this book enough
I got everything I was expecting this book and so much more.
Initially I just wanted to get a better handle on bash commands etc. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ben Ward
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Introduction to Linux.
An essential introduction to to the Linux OS and how to use the command line (terminal) for greater power and flexibility compared to the GUI.
Published 2 months ago by Neil Hastings
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great service and fantastic book. Everything you'll ever need to know about screwing up your Linux configurations.
Published 4 months ago by Writing Space
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Briliant - this book has helped me no end!
Published 6 months ago by Richard Womack
5.0 out of 5 stars Really great introduction.
Got loads of Linux books, including O'Reilly references, but this is my favourite. Very clear explanations and chapters organised really well. Very good examples. Read more
Published 6 months ago by A.Terrible.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Still working thought it, but has extended my limited knowledge of linux.
Published 7 months ago by Mr S Mulvihill
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
item received and it is as described.thank you
Published 7 months ago by Abimbola Makinwa
5.0 out of 5 stars Linux no longer confounds me. It is not part of me.
If you need to learn the command line, this is the book to do it.
Published 9 months ago by Anthony
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Avery useful text, learned a lot, lots still to learn, thank you
Published 11 months ago by MR Harry Weston
5.0 out of 5 stars Introduction into everything you must know.
The ultimate introduction, you won't need more.
Published 12 months ago by Patchiyama
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