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UNIX Power Tools (In a Nutshell) Paperback – 13 Mar 1993

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1162 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (13 Mar 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067979073X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679790730
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 17.8 x 18.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,646,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Bottom line: no serious Unix user and no serious newcomer intending to become proficient in Unix should be without this book. -- Jeffrey McPheeters, MyMac,com, Feb 2003

It's a bit expensive, but if you want to use the Unix underpinnings of Mac OS X, the time you save will more than pay for this excellent book. -- Kirk McElhearn, atpm.com

Just about anyone who's comfortable with Linux or Unix basics would benefit from 'Unix Power Tools. -- Dee-Ann LeBlanc, LinuxPlanet, August 2002 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

The latest edition of this best-selling favorite is loaded with vital information on Linux, Darwin, and BSD. Unix Power Tools 3rd Edition now offers more coverage of bash, zsh, and other new shells, along with discussions about modern utilities and applications. Several sections focus on security and Internet access. There is a new chapter on access to Unix from Windows, and expanded coverage of software installation and packaging, as well as basic information on Perl and Python. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Wai Ming Pang on 23 Dec 2002
Format: Paperback
There isn't a single unix book better than this, but if you are an unix adminstrator like the previous guy who review the book, you're looking at the wrong book. This book has earned it's book title with pride.
I have had the book for over 5 years, i still refer to it now and again, i am a developer and have found that I was not leveraging the full potential for the operating system, however this book puts me back on track. I have had 3 years of unix exp. before buying the book most of the elementary thing i didn't need and other stuff was not appealing at first, I expected more, but there is more just that i didn't know until I had more commercial experience.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Still a great book... A real joy to read ( for any geek ). Constantly shown how to save key stokes and the power of gnu tools. I now insist on having cygwin on windows so I can utilise the ease of control gained from reading this book.... This book is the best I've seen for layout and referencing.... It spoils you for reading other books. I read oreily's bash and regex after this and felt I had wasted my time because this book had covered so much, any extra details I could have just googled.
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By SeunShaun on 1 Sep 2011
Format: Paperback
Good book. Delivered on time. A little older (2002) than I thought but its still relevant.

Definitely a good resource and a unique reading (cross-reference) style. Go for it....better still, if there is a newer edition
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Format: Paperback
I had heard so many rumors and comments on UNIX POWER TOOLS that I decided to grab myself a copy. OK, whatever you hear about this book, believe it! It is a hinty/tippy/optimizer book that will make you dig into unix as much as possible and provide you with a deep insight on OS architecture. Still in progress but my opinion is settled: Brilliant!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 43 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A Very Good Reference CAUTION MIGHT BE ADDICTIVE 2 Jun 2005
By Niloufer Tamboly - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is one of those books which I refer to often. Whether it is that thing about shell variables or just for finding some obscure command. It is a book which will go well with an expert as well a beginner trying to find her way around. The website has an awesome collection of tools which can be added easily to one's toolkit. What I like the most about this book is that it has covered all the popular flavors of UNIX so it will make a permanent place on the desk for itself. The chapters on security and internet access, groups a lot of commands and information making it very easy to use and find. Even though I was using UNIX for years and thought of myself as an advanced user, a power user if you may. I found this book humbling and learned at least three different ways of doing the same task.

Niloufer Tamboly, CISSP
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
True to the Unix philosophy 12 May 2007
By Knight Hawk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Here is a quote taken from _Unix_Power_Tools_ which demonstrates the

attitude, shared by the authors, that unix allows you to make things

easier. "''Ugh!', you say, 'that's just what I hate about UNIX. All

these long filenames and options I can't remember. Who wants to type

all that stuff!' Precisely. That's why UNIX makes it so easy to

create custom commands, in the form of aliases and shell scripts."

Unix Power Tools is true to the spirit and philosophy of unix in

focusing on the command line environment with its rich abundance of

command interpreters, shell languages, system utilities, commands, and

the like. This is the realm of real power.

The book is aimed squarely at the user who wants to learn what's under

the hood of the unix (and Linux) system. It's not about how to change

your wallpaper or install the latest media player, or configure your

desktop, although this new edition may touch on these topics, too.

It's really about using unix to greatest advantage, about tapping its

real power, the power of its simplicity, of its flexibility, of

tapping into I/O streams, and using the tool-box approach to solving

real problems. It's about using 'pipes', 'redirection', and

'filters', to automate the big jobs.

My copy of this book is tattered from all the use it's had over the

last ten years. I'm always hunting it down, as my associates at work

are constantly borrowing it to help them solve a problem. That's

okay, though. I am ordering another copy, just for me. I'm curious

to see this new edition, which I understand has broader coverage of

the various unix flavors, including Linux, which I run

at home.

I would recommend this book to those who find unix intimidating, as

well as to the unix enthusiast. For anyone who ever wondered what the

fuss over unix was about, this book will certainly bring on an

epiphany. For between these covers is the greatest accumulation of

unix wisdom and know-how to be found in any book. The shear volume is

enough to elicit awe. But that's only part of its value, because such

an enormous accumulation of material might normally overwhelm the

reader, leaving him frustrated and unenlightened. Happily, this book

is so well organized, and the material so pleasingly presented, that

anyone will find it a pleasure to browse through and to mine

repeatedly for those precious tips, tricks, and methods that make

using unix so rewarding.

This is admittedly a pound heavy volume, and might be expected to

contain a lot of chaff with the grain. I have not found it so. The

authors have chosen the material well, and know their subject so

intimately and thoroughly, that I am left with a feeling of profound

respect. This is, in short, a book that is worthy of its subject; a

truly great book for a great OS.

I read another reviewer who avers this is the one book he would take

with him to a deserted island. I concur. It has taught me more than

any other unix book, and has made my work more efficient, and most

importantly, more interesting. I paid full retail for my copy of

Power Tools, and at the time, I thought it was a lot, but it has

repaid me many times over. It's the most indispensable unix book on

my shelf; a real gem.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
The one unix book that I'd like to have if stranded all alone on an island with a linux system!! 1 May 2006
By Jose Robins - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm an analog IC designer moonlighting as a linux hacker (I'm actually addicted). I try to build software, write shell scripts and customize my desktop to death. I picked up this book a year or two back and I think I've probably used it almost every single day to look up something or the other. I probably own about 20 linux related books (more than my engineering books) but this is the one that I would run out with when the firealarm sounds. Here is my short summary of my feelings about this book.
- this book (primarily) caters to intermediate to advanced users
- I would still recommend this for linux beginners as a reference to check up when every other beginner book fails. There are introductory chapters on shell scripting which could put some of the dedicated shell scripting books to shame
- One of the fundamental holy grail that linux books try to achieve (and in which they often fail) is to find a good balance between breadth and depth - both qualities which the subject of Unix do not shy away from. So a Linux beginner picks up an introductory book which addresses just one linux issue and before he knows it-he has gathered enough knowledge and the book just picks up dust. Or he could pick up a book that claims to be a reference and skims over all the items with little depth and boom when he really needs information about a particular topic he finds that the book is too shallow. The "Unix Power Tools" book, I'm happy to say achieves this good balance between depth and breadth in very good measure. Ex. When I was confused about the intricacies of bash quoting or I/O redirecition, this book came to my rescue. The Unix command "find" which was buried under a 4-year old alias for me owing to it's complexities, suddenly developed a fascination for me after I discovered it's myriad use and value from the multiple pages that this book devoted to it's demystifcation.
- I bought the O'Reilly books - "Linux in a Nutshell" and "Essential system Administration" with the purpose of using them as references - The first one was just too shallow for my requirements and taste and I use it basically as a replacement for online man pages. The second one has it's very niche, but only in specific circumstances. So they have been put to use probably just 1/10th of what the "Power Tools" book has been put to
- I'm not a guy who is driven to write reviews i.e unless I am totally ecstatic or totally disgusted with a product and you probably have guessed where I stand with this one. I waited 1 or two years and I somehow felt that I owe this review to this book.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Power book for power users 26 Dec 2002
By Ales Kavsek - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the best technical book that I bought in the last 10 years, at least from the organizational and layout point of the view. It contains hundreds of short articles, page or two in length organized in a remarkable way of cross-referenced, alamanc-like book.
Articles are logically organized in chapters so you can read the book from cover to cover if you wish. However more likely you'll end up reading the book more randomly, following the cross-references. (I have some bad experience with the books organized in this way but this one is a clear exception.)

The book is written for beginners and experts alike, since I'm a Unix newbie I can only confirm that; I hate to say but the life of Unix SA would be much easier if the man pages would be organized in a similar way -- including examples that're almost never there.
I'm waiting for O'Reilly to update their "Unix CD Bookshelf" with third edition of this book because it's a little too heavy for carrying it with me.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Jeffrey McPheeters MyMac.com Book review 12 Feb 2003
By Tim Robertson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Unix Power Tools, an apt title not meant to be redundant (Unix is THE power-user's operating system, after all) has been the ShopSmith manual or the Unix Almanac since it first appeared in the early 1990s. The second edition appeared in 1999, and with the amazing, if not predicted, growth of Unix and expansion into many flavors; it's fitting that a 3rd edition should appear now. Over half of the articles have been revised since that last edition to include information pertaining to many of the smaller but ground-gaining Unix's such as Linux, freeBSD, and Mac OS X's Darwin.
This is a huge book; thus the need for four authors! For a network administrator who understands Unix, and who is contemplating the merging of Mac OS X Server and Client systems into their network, this book should pay for itself in dividends. I was impressed with how thoroughly this book covers the multitude of topics contained within. Everything from mastering the various editors to learning to write shell scripts to detailed instructions for maintaining and backing up a network is included.
I found the book organized logically according to various services. The O'Reilly web site has a complete list of the contents, the index, and user reviews. O'Reilly also has an online fee-based service called MySafari (cool name) which allows subscribers the ability to build virtual bookshelves of O'Reilly books to have at their beck and call whenever they are online. It's free to explore and there's a 14-day demo period as well. You may see a lot for detail of this book by visiting their site.
With more than 50 chapters detailing nearly every nook and cranny of the most common Unix distributions, there's something here for every Unix power user. The updated and expanded sections on security and Windows access are welcome indeed. Every topic is explained with examples and illustrated richly with screen captures. Common problems, mistakes, and real-world examples are distributed liberally throughout the book. If any one book could help a Unix administrator, developer, or power user come to Ôgrep' with the full capabilities of Unix, it would be this book.
Just a few high lights for me included the extensive section on the vi editor, detailing many functions I had no idea existed, such as running scripts within vi as shortcuts for oft-repeated commands. The section on eMacs got me excited about exploring that powerful editor to the extent that I downloaded one of the more extensive distributions for Mac OS X so I could try it out. For a Unix text editor, it is really a good one; however, coming from the Mac background I appreciate BBEdit more and more. Still, every Unix power user will find that some basic knowledge of vi or eMacs will come in very handy when they find themselves with console access and no local text editor other than these.
The closing chapters covering many security issues have captured my attention at this time, as I contemplate moving a few of my domains from a remote dedicated server to one directly under my control running Mac OS X. I think I understand a little better what my host providers have been doing for me all these years!
Make space near your workstation now for this book. If you are a mobile laptop user, like myself, consider becoming a user of MySafari services at O'Reilly, which would allow you to have a book like this available online when it is not convenient to carry the extra weight with you. Bottom line: no serious Unix user and no serious newcomer intending to become proficient in Unix should be without this book!
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