on 27 June 1998
For some time, "Learning the Korn Shell" was the only source I had for k-shell programming. That was a bad idea. O'Reilly books are usually first-rate, but I guess they can't knock every pitch out of the park. I cannot recommend this book either as an introductory tutorial or as a reference. The first problem is that topics seem to be jumbled together, so that things are hard to find and to follow. Secondly, many subjects are either not covered at all, or are given the proverbial lick and a prayer. Even worse, the indexing is terrible. I find too many cases in which important things (like dot scripts, for instance) are simply not in the index, if they are covered at all in the text. Fortunately, there are alternatives to this book which I find much more satisfactory. By far the best is "The Korn Shell User and Programming Manual", by Anatole Olczak, an Addison-Wesley publication. It's pricey (about $50), but it's well-organized, complete, and very competently indexed.
on 30 April 1998
Although this book goes through an introduction to shell programming, and covers many features unique to the korn shell, there are large gaps in between. For example, its coverage of simple string and integer comparisons within "if" statements is not presented coherently.
It does not make a good general shell programming reference.
on 6 June 2003
I can't agree with the other reviews here so far, perhaps they are talking about the 1st edition (I have the new edition). This book is a fantastic introduction to Korn shell scripting, as well as an introduction into the kind of thinking required for "real" programming. In my experience, programming books for beginners can often throw the reader in at the deep end, for some reason assuming he/she already knows a programming language, or at least is very familiar with UNIX commands, utilities and regular expressions. Just how many true beginners match these assumptions?
I found this book to be an excellent companion while getting to grips with exactly how you go about getting the computer to do things for you. Although I now realise the limitations of shell scripting and am learning another programming language (Perl) I would not be doing so if I had not had this book to help me get this far.
on 1 April 2006
I wanted a book that would enable me to pick up the essentials for the Korn Shell. I had installed Windows Services for Unix which did not have the bash shell I was used to. I bought this book with a little apprehension based on some of the less favourable reviews but proceeded anyway based on the very good experience I have had with O'Reilly books. I wasn't dissapointed. Although I found 'Learning the Bash shell' a slightly better laid out book. 'Learning the Korn shell' gave me what I wanted within half-an-hour of unpacking it. In particular the index allowed me to quickly look up specific topics I needed a handle on, like the vi codes to navigate the history from the command line. It is true that quite a bit of the material (like 'if constructs' for example) are common to both the Bash and the Korn shell but as a single desk reference for the Korn shell I would recommend this. I think the best way of using these books is to use them first off to learn the features and then keep them as a desk reference for those commands that are used now and again and need an aide memoir. I would recommend this book to someone who wanted to learn the Korn shell.
on 4 March 2004
This book is not only an excellent introduction to Korn Shell scripting it remains a useful reference guide even when you have gained a lot of experience. The author has crafted the book in such a way that, once you are familiar with it, you can quickly jump to the information that you require and believe me the information you need to write scripts on a regular basis is in this book. I have used this book for 10 years and will continue to do so.
If you want to code in the Korn shell, have this book in your arsenal.