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VINE VOICEon 3 November 2006
This book is a fantastic starting point in life. Some how our public schools over look teaching the fundamental skills presented in this book. We learn how to play with toys on simple computers and never really learn what we are doing.

The real strength of this book is in the definitions. We get to see the purpose and flexibility of system calls and functions. Not just use them but understand them. UNIX functions as job control or signals are explained in detail. Let's take just one item "waitpid":

The waitpid function provides three features that aren't provided by the wait function.

You will have to red the book to find out what they are. However there are examples also. Now for people with real systems like AIX all you have to do is ad a "k" to the front of the call and you have the AIX kernel function call "kwaitpid"; voila you now have an understanding that can not be found clearly in a Red Book.

It does help some to have a preunderstanding of the system do you can use the book to fill in the education holes missed when necessary.

The index is worth its weight in gold as you can find functions headers and concepts all in alphabetical order. My favorite is the definitions.

As much as I am a fan of the internet it also pays to carry the information in the form of a book. And all this book has to do is save a couple of hours and it has paid for its self.
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on 5 May 2016
Sir. Richard. Stevens. Himself. Do I need to say more? I've got all his books and almost all of them are my favoties. I also have all three editions of this book. This book is a classic. As long as there will be Unix (forever), there will be this book. Of course I haven't read it all but I've consulted it hundreds of times. This is the definitive reference book for every serious and professional UNIX systems programmer. Every concept is explained clearly, there are thousands of code examples, hundreds of illustrations and graphics that show how various concepts relate.

I've placed this book #25 in my Top 100 Programming, Computer and Science books list:


(If this link gets removed google for >>catonmat top 100 programming computer science books<< to find my article.)

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The latest edition of a maestro! Still reigning supreme, a masterstroke of genius writing on a very important programming topic. Immensely readable, near-thorough in coverage of its very technical subject, this books remains excellent for doing anything serious on Linux/UNIX using C. And can anyone argue that Linux/Unix, and its diverse brands, have not become the platform of choice for hosting modern, distributed mobile and web-based application systems? Linux has been gradually moving on, and this update was really due and necessary.

First one needs to possess or build up a good knowledge of and ability at C (with books such as C Programming Modern Approach 2nd or Programming Language 2nd Brian Kernighan supported by the former) this Stevens book's content and guidance is a requirement for crafting any meaningful and useful system with C on Linux/Unix and related operating systems.

I crave the reader's indulgence for a quick (somewhat relevant, I believe) digression. And for such modern, distributed system development you would sure need essential system characteristics such as fault tolerance, scalability, live upgrades without down-time, soft real-time transaction response times and massive throughput; use of distributed in-memory databases, fast instant messaging, robust message queueing systems, Continuous Delivery/Integration, Testing tools, etc. And if one wants to do this without massive resource and time requirements the choice is essentially narrowed down to one platform essentially: Erlang/OTP and its Ecosystem of Library API, Platforms, Tools, etc. So search Erlang, Riak, RabbitMQ, etc. on Amazon. Maybe start with these two books, if you haven't: Learn Some Erlang Great Good and Erlang OTP Action Martin Logan

But C is not going anywhere soon. You will need C to augment Erlang/OTP, especially at the Systems programming and device interfacing level, where raw performance is essential. Erlang is performant enough, but in these areas C trumps all. And that is where this maestro of a book comes in. I think one needs to use it with another recent book with similar ethos and content but slightly deeper coverage: Linux Programming Interface System Handbook

And if time allows, or should one not say make time to read Jim Gray's & Andreas Reuter's superb and evergreen distributed, transaction and database design and system programming book: Transaction Processing Concepts Techniques Management to round up your distributed software development abilities. When you have read and imbibed this too you are ready to develop useful distributed systems and sites.
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on 7 February 2016
This book is brilliant. Not too dry but very comprehensive. As a twenty year programmer and 15 year Linux admin/user I still learnt a lot and am learning a lot. It takes a while to read! But it's actually so interesting sometimes that it's fun! :) examples using c and Linux are well pitched and give me confidence to use other languages like php swift and node.js with low level UNIX and posix primitives
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on 29 December 2013
This is a truly recommended book for all software developers who like to gather the most valuable insights of the UNIX internals.
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on 16 March 2012
this book really worth the money. it's a must read book for everyone interested in system programming. So obviously I'm very happy with the quality of this item.
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on 24 March 2014
I was looking for more detail than my other books and found it in this one. I like the style in which it is written easier to read than some other books.
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on 23 March 2010
While I did find this book useful and informative I do think that it could do with some judicious editing to remove the unnecessary tendency to wander off into historical reminisciences (pdp-11s and graphics terminals for instance) and complete irrelevancies (half a page talking about the different versions of awk that isn't relevant to this book and only appeared in an example of interpreterlists in execs).
If it were run through a compiler then a number of errors would be thrown up in relation to references to undeclared functions caused by forward referencing to functions described in later sections or chapters without indicating this which may confuse the reader.
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on 2 March 2006
This book is a very nice overview of contemporary conceptions of what is operating system would be and it discusses many facets of the issue. It does not overwhelm with technical details and does not press too much. I also followed an advise in someone's review and purchased "UNIX Essentials" DVD that is complete UNIX course recorded. These two nicely complement one another. You watch it and you read it. If you didn't catch it from the first try you watch it again and read it again. In two months I found myself confident to that extend that gave advises to our system administrator and he accepted them because there were subjects that he wasn't completely sure. What I can say, in three month I passed my first interview and got a job! Sure it is a way to start there much of more advanced reading that will take over you with a time however these two provide you with the BASIS!
I can't overstate how much I have learned from them. Don't be naive, though. You will have to learn and memorize many things. The fact of owning neither book nor DVD will not make you knowledgeable, but if you will work it trough, trust me, you will surprise many people around!
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on 20 July 2015
I've given up for the meantime on this book because its hardcore and I'm getting bored learning programming but its definately the real deal.
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