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The Art of Unix Programming (Addison-Wesley Professional Computing) Paperback – 23 Sep 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 1 edition (23 Sep 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131429019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131429017
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 269,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

"Reading this book has filled a gap in my education. I feel a sense of completion, understand that UNIX is really a style of community. Now I get it, at least I get it one level deeper than I ever did before. This book came at a perfect moment for me, a moment when I shifted from visualizing programs as things to programs as the shadows cast by communities. From this perspective, Eric makes UNIX make perfect sense."
--Kent Beck, author of Extreme Programming Explained, Test Driven Development, and Contributing to Eclipse

"A delightful, fascinating read, and the lessons in problem-solvng are essential to every programmer, on any OS."
--Bruce Eckel, author of Thinking in Java andThinking in C++

Writing better software: 30 years of UNIX development wisdom

In this book, five years in the making, the author encapsulates three decades of unwritten, hard-won software engineering wisdom. Raymond brings together for the first time the philosophy, design patterns, tools, culture, and traditions that make UNIX home to the world's best and most innovative software, and shows how these are carried forward in Linux and today's open-source movement. Using examples from leading open-source projects, he shows UNIX and Linux programmers how to apply this wisdom in building software that's more elegant, more portable, more reusable, and longer-lived.

Raymond incorporates commentary from thirteen UNIX pioneers:

  • Ken Thompson, the inventor of UNIX.
  • Ken Arnold, part of the group that created the 4BSD UNIX releases and co-author of The Java Programming Language.
  • Steven M. Bellovin, co-creator of Usenet and co-author of Firewalls and Internet Security.
  • Stuart Feldman, a member of the Bell Labs UNIX development group and the author of make and f77.
  • Jim Gettys and Keith Packard, principal architects of the X windowing system.
  • Steve Johnson, author of yacc and of the Portable C Compiler.
  • Brian Kernighan, co-author of The C Programming Language, The UNIX Programming Environment, The Practice of Programming, and of the awk programming language.
  • David Korn, creator of the korn shell and author of The New Korn Shell Command and Programming Language.
  • Mike Lesk, a member of the Bell Labs development group and author of the ms macro package, the tbl and refer tools,lex and UUCP.
  • Doug McIlroy, Director of the Bell Labs research group where UNIX was born and inventor of the UNIX pipe.
  • Marshall Kirk McKusick, developer of the 4.2BSD fast filesystem and a leader of the 4.3BSD and 4.4BSD teams.
  • Henry Spencer, a leader among early UNIX developers, who created getopt, the first open-source string library, and a regular-expression engine used in 4.4BSD.

About the Author

ERIC S. RAYMOND has been a Unix developer since 1982. Known as the resident anthropologist and roving ambassador of the open-source community, he wrote the movement's manifesto in The Cathedral and the Bazaar and is the editor of The New Hacker's Dictionary.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tyvokka on 21 July 2007
Format: Paperback
Too much of what the author says has a political tone. While there is valuable information, I feel that hands-on experience in a DIY linux distribution (eg gentoo, slackware) and the reading of a book which really focuses on programming principles be more useful.
When you've done that, come back to this book and it will enrich your understanding. I discourage reading the book without prior *nix experience, as so many of the examples which are used to explain concepts depend on some internal of *nix systems, or common utility.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By "drkjam" on 5 Feb 2004
Format: Paperback
Just finished reading the "Art of UNIX Programming" and felt I owed the book this 'short' review.
I was quite blown away by what is an excellent and very informative text. Eric S. Raymond has outdone himself and is to be commended on this marvellous work. It is probably one of the most important references for anyone wanting to gain an understanding of the UNIX/Linux world and the potential benefits its vision has over the competition. In this book you learn where UNIX has come from, where it is going and the methods it has employed to successfully chart an impressive 35 year history.
Despite it's title, the book is a good high-level overview of what is really going on in and around UNIX without leaving you drowning in colloquial tech-speak and jargon. It provide insight into the culture surrounding UNIX as well as the motivations and thoughts of its designers, followers and advocates.
The "Art of UNIX Programming" is part historical reference, part technical manual and part observation on designs, best practice and standards related to software development. It has pedigree, drawing on the findings encompassed the many thousands of man hours poured in the development of UNIX. It is not a tub-thumping political or ideological work. At its heart this is a rational, honest, "warts and all" look at a computer system and culture that has pioneered pretty much everything we appreciate in communication and technology today; its contributions, its successes, its failures and the justifications for why UNIX is the way it is. Such understanding is pretty much a requirement for anyone wishing to become a successful and competent developer or effective system administrator.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Walker on 25 Oct 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It has been said that anger and frustration stem from a mismatch between "one's expectations" and "reality". If things don't work the way you expect them to, then you get frustrated. So, if you come from a Windows/GUI background, Linux can be *very* frustrating because it does not work the way you'd expect.

This book explains *how* and *why* Linux behaves as it does. Thus, it re-aligns your expectations and you can begin a more harmonious relationship with that odd little penguin we call Linux.

Yes Linux. Although this book had 'UNIX' in the title, it also applies to those who wish to understand Linux.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By JT on 21 Jan 2004
Format: Paperback
I bought this book expecting a pleasant lightweight read, having seen some of the draft chapters on Raymond's website. However the insight of certain sections ( especially the commentaries ) far exceeded my expectations. Many times I experienced a little 'satori', particularly in the section on modularity which is is the best I have read on the subject. If I had seen this book 10 years ago I would have dismissed a lot of it as platitudes. Now I recognise it as wisdom.
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