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Beginning Unix Paperback – Apr 25 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Wrox; 1 edition (April 25 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764579940
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764579943
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 2.4 x 23.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 739 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #853,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“…works from the ground up, covering Apple OS X (which is Unix based) as well as the Linux and Solaris operating systems.” (Publishing News, 25th March 2005)

From the Back Cover

Beginning Unix

The Unix operating system is the basis for some of today's most-used platforms, including Mac OS® X and Linux®. This book covers Unix basics for these as well as the more commonly recognized Sun Solaris and BSD.

First, you will learn Unix terminology, core concepts, methodology, and how to log in and out. You'll progress to customizing your work environment and learning commands. Then you'll be ready to learn to manage processes, handle security, automate tasks with shell scripting in Perl, install Unix programs, and back up your data. To facilitate the process, you can use the Knoppix distribution on the CD-ROM to work in a Unix environment without installing Unix.

What you will learn from this book

  • Different configuration options in the Unix shell
  • Advanced tools and commands, including regular expressions, Sed, and AWK
  • Fundamental ways to enhance Unix system security
  • Basic programming, including shell scripting and Perl programming
  • Network administration and additional aspects of communicating with other operating systems
  • How to convert Windows and Mac OS commands and concepts to Unix

Who this book is for

This book is for anyone interested in learning the concepts of the Unix operating system in any of its derivatives. It is designed for the absolute beginner, but it can also be a valuable refresher course for those with some knowledge of Unix and a useful resource for those who want to transfer knowledge from Mac OS or Windows to Unix or its derivatives.

Wrox Beginning guides are crafted to make learning programming languages and technologies easier than you think, providing a structured, tutorial format that will guide you through all the techniques involved.

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9b486408) out of 5 stars 11 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b23a18c) out of 5 stars great and timeless Unix information here Feb. 23 2008
By DesertHowler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This review first appeared in the AZTCS journal.

When I glanced at this book, my first question was, "Who are these guys on the cover?" Before scanning the contents and index, my usual first step in examining a new book, I searched for the cover credits. I found none.

I use the term Unix as the authors use the term, to designate all Unix based systems including Linux, Solaris, OSX, and the BSDs as well as Unix.

The 400+ page paperback book is divided into 21 chapters. Each chapter ends with exercises; the solutions are found at the end of the book. The book's copyright is 2005 but the fundamentals of the Unix based operating systems don't change much so this book is by no means out of date.

Included is a CD of KNOPPIX 3.7. This is an old version of KNOPPIX but very usable for the authors' purpose of learning Unix. By using the live CD, it is possible to study Unix without installing it.

The book begins with introductory material giving a, thankfully, very brief history of Unix and its evolution. Next "Beginning Unix" explains how the Unix system is set up and what the major components are.

Logging in is covered. Logging out and shutting down the computer, if you have permission, are explained. Logging in and out properly is well detailed.

The book explains files in a very thorough and informative manner. As the whole strategy of Unix is based on files, creating, removing, copying, moving and organizing files are important functions. File permissions and their importance receive thorough and clear discussion. With a thorough understanding of permissions many potentially frustrating problems can be avoided or solved quickly.

Commands are introduced as needed for completing simple to very complex exercises. The functions of the shell are explored. Simple and advanced scripting is explained and several examples are presented. Besides shell scripts, there is a brief introduction to PHP. Piping, using the output of one program as input for another program, is illustrated with several meaningful examples.

There is a chapter on customizing your personal environment. Customizing the prompt, creating aliases, and organizing your work are explained in detail. This is much different than the usual customizing instructions focusing on the desktop.

Full chapters cover securing the system, using log files, understanding and controlling jobs and processes, backing up information, and automating tasks using cron. These chapters are useful in administering your Unix system. Administration on a desktop Unix system is important as the user is usually the administrator.

Network connections are explained, both in theory and by example. As Unix originated as a network environment, there are many tasks to be accomplished over the network. This information is important in connecting to the Internet.

There is a chapter covering installing programs from source code. Although this was necessary in early Linux distributions, the repositories available with most distributions make this interesting but seldom used information for most users. The procedure and potential pitfalls are discussed in detail. Reading this chapter reenforced my feeling "this is something I don't need to do for a while."

Migrating from a Mac or a Windows PC to Unix takes up the last two chapters of the book. These chapters should be very helpful in making the transition. They concentrate on the skills developed in using the Mac or a Windows PC and help transfer them to a Unix system.


There are several things I like about this book. Extensive use of screen shots in combination with the text helps me understand the examples more easily. The examples are clear and concise. The theory included helps improve understanding of the subject but doesn't overload the reader. The flow of the book is logical with examples building on previous exercises.

The complete lack of discussion of KDE, Gnome and other desktops is refreshing as these are explained in several other sources; I see no use for another superficial chapter or two in this book. It is more difficult to find good information on using the command line than using GUIs and this book has much good excellent information.

I am a Linux user with about two years experience so I found much new information in "Beginning Unix". This book answers questions I didn't know I had. There are several examples and techniques presented that will make my use of Linux more efficient, powerful and fun. Many "fuzzy areas" came into focus for me.

I think, at completion of this book, the user will be comfortable and effective at using the command line. After these exercises the user might be tired of the command line but they will not be fearful.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b2dd858) out of 5 stars Beginning Unix March 21 2006
By Gareod Kendall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is the third book that I have bought on Unix and by far the best. It not only gives you the UNIX commands, it also goes into a brief and concise background to the commands, which is very practical. I found the explication on cron very clear and thorough which I could not find anywhere else. Keep up the good work and let me know when you finish your next book.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b369aa4) out of 5 stars from rags to riches Aug. 25 2006
By cSdNSk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i'me new to unix. when i started reading this book i thought what a waste of money but after completing chapter 2 and reading through chapter 3 i realized that it was a gem in disguise. i still haven't finished reading it because i'me reviewing it about 3 weeks after i got it, but i have been messing around knoppix and now, i installed FreeBsd and currently all the examples in the book work. i feel comfortable. By the way, the examples at the end of the book make it somewhat of a school text and it gives u a little challenge at times but they are not gravely difficult.
HASH(0x9b369084) out of 5 stars Great starting point for someone with zero Unix knowledge Sept. 22 2014
By Juston with an O - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I originally bought this book back in 2006 with zero Unix knowledge. The book was very helpful in bringing me up to speed quickly on basic Unix commands and behaviors. Important tools like sed and awk are covered which prove to be very handy indeed. I've recommended this book to several people in the past years and this review was prompted by purchasing it for a friend who has shown interested in learning about Unix.

It's a great starting point and the fact that they give you a live OS disc to work with helps as well; however, I'd go for something like Ubuntu instead of Knoppix.
HASH(0x9b0df234) out of 5 stars Great beginners book Oct. 14 2012
By red463 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like the heading says it is a nice first book and you should get on a computer to play around as you learn the stuff presented. Its important to graduate to a more advanced title once you are done with this, but nothing can beat practice.