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on December 13, 2003
Every UNIX Admin Group Should Have One... To loan to users
You are perceived to be a UNIX guru. People regularly come to you with great deference to ask you for advice and help. Someone apologizes for his/her lack of knowledge for the third or fourth time and asks about a basic command. You grab a thin book from the shelf. "Take a look at this book", you say, "You probably know most of what's in here, but maybe some of it will help you. Just give it back when you're done." With relief he/she clutches the book and thanks you several times. He/she almost bumps into your neighbor's cubicle wall as he/she walks away reading this book...
Buy this thin book and this may happen to you. Well, the first part you'll have to manage yourself, but no self-styled UNIX novice has been ungrateful to borrow this book. Anyone seen as a guru will find that this book will pay for itself as a time-saving loaner.
I must say, that perception plays a great deal in this case. The book is amazingly thin and sports an O'Reilly animal on the cover. Anyone in corporate IT will associate this book with the O'Reilly books the in-house experts have on their shelves. I have another book that I feel may be a bit better for UNIX beginners, but given a choice, people will grab this one.
One can't help but notice sections that are probably unnecessary for computer-savvy UNIX beginners, such as "working with a mouse" and the description of a directory structure. But these sections are brief and clear and the authors move on quickly to UNIX-specific items such as "Redirecting I/O".
I definitely prefer "UNIX: Visual QuickStart Guide" from Peachpit Press, so I'm compelled to give this book less than a perfect score. I must admit that people who borrow this book seem much more enthusiastic when they borrow it than when they return it. But they also seem ready to move on to heavier books, and that's well worth the price.
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on October 21, 2002
I remember my first look at a UNIX terminal. A little '%' with a flashing cursor. I don't remember how long I stared at the little prompt not knowing what to do. Then I pressed some keys and things became much worse.
Now I'm surfing around dizzying hierarchies of file structures, able to get to the root and back again and make and edit text files. I bite my thumb at weird commands that used to seem as comprehensible as medieval scholasticism.
I wouldn't have been able to accomplish any of that without this little book that's as intimidating as a ladybug.
The most difficult part of the book, in fact, is actually finding a UNIX environment to log into. If you're not at a University or a fairly good-sized corporation (and if you don't know UNIX they won't let you near a command line anyway) you may wonder where to go. Linux, in most cases, is a good substitute; or check the web for free UNIX (or Linux) shell accounts. Combine your new-found account with this book and UNIX will no longer be a gut-wrenching incomprehensible monolith.
Don't consider yourself an expert, however, and don't stop there. UNIX may not be as difficult as some like to think it is, but it's also not easily mastered. Take this book, digest it, then move on to bigger tomes (there is no shortage of tomes in the land of UNIX, as you will find).
Lastly, the owl on the cover rules.
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on March 22, 2002
People who have never used Unix will find it very intimidating, but this book will definitely change that. This book doesn't try to throw a lot of information at you, but rather, it gives you a nice, easy-going introduction to using Unix.
Some of the books strengths are its using of examples and illustrations. Using screens shots to show what the user will (or should) see helps the Unix shy better understand should happen when they do something. This book really does a good job in going step by step in order to accomplish. New users definitely won't feel like they will get lost.
The other strength is how the book covers errors that users might encounter, and how to deal with them. Afterall, new users will make mistakes, and it helps to have a book that will tell users why they got that error.
If you have a fair amount of experience in Unix, you should definitely read other books. If you are really new to Unix, then definitely read this book. You will definitely feel more confident when you are done. Even those who have learned Unix before just might learn sometihng new (I did). :)
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on February 6, 2002
The first day I brought this book to work it paid for itself. It helped me solve a problem that had been pestering me for a week. Bigger than a tutorial but smaller than the 1000-page administrator tomes, this book is just the right size for the Unix neophyte. Now that it's proved its value, I'm actually going to read it.
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on October 26, 2013
The material in this book is outdated. It is too expensive for what you get. A beginner would cruise through this book and be done in one day. It hardly teaches you "the Unix operating system." There are more comprehensive manuals for the same price.
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on February 19, 2004
This is a good first book on Unix. A reader of the book can decide which of the subjects covered in the book interests him, and go deeper by reading other books. Be sure to check the errata page at for mistakes in the book.
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on July 4, 2002
Very easy to understand and reference. Best as a quick reference to understand UNIX. Good for both novice and expert users.
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on July 29, 2013
First time unix programmer/user, it worked out well nice to have on hand when needed and ready to use when needed
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on July 2, 2014
Good for beginners.
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on October 2, 2015
Great book!
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