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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oldies but goldies, 20 July 2000
This review is from: The Unix Programming Environment (Prentice-Hall Software Series) (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. Although primarily written for individual study, it can be used for one-semester course on Unix (like in C Programming Language, the exercises are lacking solutions, though). I would love to see it made-up with POSIX syntax and generally reflecting the changes made to Unix during the past 15 years.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you only get one Unix book get this one, 21 Aug 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Unix Programming Environment (Prentice-Hall Software Series) (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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic introduction to Unix programming, 27 Oct 1999
This review is from: The Unix Programming Environment (Prentice-Hall Software Series) (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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the first book I recommend to anyone who uses UNIX, 5 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Unix Programming Environment (Prentice-Hall Software Series) (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Understand the logic of UNIX., 2 Sep 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Unix Programming Environment (Prentice-Hall Software Series) (Paperback)
Ive learned UNIX on my home p.c with LINUX, Coming from WinNT envrioment i didnt know a thing About the UNIX operating system, this book helped Me understand the simplicity and logic behind UNIX And how to use my programming skills on a Diffrent, better operating system. I recommend this book storngly to every Novice/Advanced/user/programmer that wants to Learn UNIX the right way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite book on the Unix environment, 24 Aug 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Unix Programming Environment (Prentice-Hall Software Series) (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
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic exposition of Unix philosophy and practice., 23 July 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: The Unix Programming Environment (Prentice-Hall Software Series) (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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a book that I keep going back to, 28 Feb 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Unix Programming Environment (Prentice-Hall Software Series) (Paperback)
I have referred to this book now for many years. It is straightforward to follow and has some very useful tips. It follows very logically and is a no-nonsense guide to practical Unix programming. There are no pretty pictures or diagrams just good, sound advice to get even the newest programmer started but it's also a great reference book for those with more experience.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless, very useful., 23 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Unix Programming Environment (Prentice-Hall Software Series) (Paperback)
The edition I bought was published in the mid 1980s. It goes to show, UNIX is pretty rock solid, & is proven technology, the essence of which has remained unchanged for years. This book is easy to understand &, despite it's age, is still very relevant to up to date UNIX systems.

There may be differences in commands depending on what distro you are running (Ubuntu/Fedora/ArchLinux etc) but nothing a bit of Googling won't take care of I'm sure.

This book is a great place to start learning the system from the bottom up & the inside out. If I can learn it, anyone can.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 27 Jan 2013
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Dennis D. Jensen (Denmark) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Unix Programming Environment (Prentice-Hall Software Series) (Paperback)
I finally got around to get this classic. So many years later it still is a testament to the simple style of both usage, style, and implementation that characterizes genuine Unix. It ought to be a requirement to programmers to have read this, in order to understand how to build up not only small tools but big applications piecemeal. The most important point of the book to take away is the idea of the software environment as inhabitable, your programs and modules living in the environment where you can piece together the applications needed rather than a stiff, finished, prepared environment where you can do nothing not already thought out in advance for you and your needs.
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