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on March 17, 2004
Let's get a couple things straight: one, I buy a lot of books; two, I read about 15% of each one. This book is one of the few exceptions. It already had 56 reviews when I wrote this, but after picking it up for the 84th time, I felt compelled to add my five stars. Buy with confidence.
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on September 27, 2003
This book is not a general tutorial, so if that is all you are after, then is not for you. However, if you are a novice or you are an expert, or in between, then this book is an essential resource to have amongst your collection.
There are so many useful scripts, tools, and tutorials woven together is different topic areas. There are also a lot of fun stuff thrown in, like how to configure your c-shell prompt to be like the familiar DOS prompt showing directory path.
Interestingly, in some parts, I find it to be a good reference and sometimes the only reference for certain tools and commands. For example, this book extensively covered and illustrated the 'find' command, which is very powerful and often used in the industy. There were not only good explanations, but comprehensive examples as well. I could not find any reference of 'find' with examples in any other published book. I think this book gives impressive coverage of other essential, yet seldom, documented tools.
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on December 26, 2002
This is one of the best technical book that I bought in the last 10 years, at least from the organizational and layout point of the view. It contains hundreds of short articles, page or two in length organized in a remarkable way of cross-referenced, alamanc-like book.
Articles are logically organized in chapters so you can read the book from cover to cover if you wish. However more likely you'll end up reading the book more randomly, following the cross-references. (I have some bad experience with the books organized in this way but this one is a clear exception.)

The book is written for beginners and experts alike, since I'm a Unix newbie I can only confirm that; I hate to say but the life of Unix SA would be much easier if the man pages would be organized in a similar way -- including examples that're almost never there.
I'm waiting for O'Reilly to update their "Unix CD Bookshelf" with third edition of this book because it's a little too heavy for carrying it with me.
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on February 11, 2003
Unix Power Tools, an apt title not meant to be redundant (Unix is THE power-user's operating system, after all) has been the ShopSmith manual or the Unix Almanac since it first appeared in the early 1990s. The second edition appeared in 1999, and with the amazing, if not predicted, growth of Unix and expansion into many flavors; it's fitting that a 3rd edition should appear now. Over half of the articles have been revised since that last edition to include information pertaining to many of the smaller but ground-gaining Unix's such as Linux, freeBSD, and Mac OS X's Darwin.
This is a huge book; thus the need for four authors! For a network administrator who understands Unix, and who is contemplating the merging of Mac OS X Server and Client systems into their network, this book should pay for itself in dividends. I was impressed with how thoroughly this book covers the multitude of topics contained within. Everything from mastering the various editors to learning to write shell scripts to detailed instructions for maintaining and backing up a network is included.
I found the book organized logically according to various services. The O'Reilly web site has a complete list of the contents, the index, and user reviews. O'Reilly also has an online fee-based service called MySafari (cool name) which allows subscribers the ability to build virtual bookshelves of O'Reilly books to have at their beck and call whenever they are online. It's free to explore and there's a 14-day demo period as well. You may see a lot for detail of this book by visiting their site.
With more than 50 chapters detailing nearly every nook and cranny of the most common Unix distributions, there's something here for every Unix power user. The updated and expanded sections on security and Windows access are welcome indeed. Every topic is explained with examples and illustrated richly with screen captures. Common problems, mistakes, and real-world examples are distributed liberally throughout the book. If any one book could help a Unix administrator, developer, or power user come to Ôgrep' with the full capabilities of Unix, it would be this book.
Just a few high lights for me included the extensive section on the vi editor, detailing many functions I had no idea existed, such as running scripts within vi as shortcuts for oft-repeated commands. The section on eMacs got me excited about exploring that powerful editor to the extent that I downloaded one of the more extensive distributions for Mac OS X so I could try it out. For a Unix text editor, it is really a good one; however, coming from the Mac background I appreciate BBEdit more and more. Still, every Unix power user will find that some basic knowledge of vi or eMacs will come in very handy when they find themselves with console access and no local text editor other than these.
The closing chapters covering many security issues have captured my attention at this time, as I contemplate moving a few of my domains from a remote dedicated server to one directly under my control running Mac OS X. I think I understand a little better what my host providers have been doing for me all these years!
Make space near your workstation now for this book. If you are a mobile laptop user, like myself, consider becoming a user of MySafari services at O'Reilly, which would allow you to have a book like this available online when it is not convenient to carry the extra weight with you. Bottom line: no serious Unix user and no serious newcomer intending to become proficient in Unix should be without this book!
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on September 9, 2003
The power drill on the cover of UNIX Power Tools is very appropriate for this book, which is a collection of articles, various information, and tips on how to more effectively use the UNIX operating system. UNIX is of course a complex OS, and yet even novices can use UNIX after learning a few simple commands. And yet one can also harness much more of UNIX's power by learning its complexities. This book is an excellent reference, showing just how much more useful UNIX can be when you keep learning more about it. It is full of tips and information designed to make your time using UNIX to be more efficient and even fun.
With a book of over 1000 pages, there's something on virtually every topic of UNIX here. And you can "jump around" to different parts of the book to learn more about a particular feature or "power tool." Vi for example has always been a favorite of mine, much to the chagrin of some of my friends, and there's a chapter or two of Vi "tricks" to try out. Emacs is a screen editor that I also like, and again there's a chapter devoted to "EMACS tricks." Of course in a book this size, just about everything imaginable regarding the UNIX operating system is covered here, everything from customizing and interacting with your shell environment, to working with files and directories, the UNIX kernel, lots of information about scripting, to security issues.
Whether you're a UNIX programmer, sys admin, or "UNIX hobbyist" like me, this book is an invaluable resource.
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on June 1, 2004
This is one of the greatest computer books I've ever owned.
If you are a beginner, you can open this book, and find all kinds of great tools and techniques you never knew about before. Everything is described briefly, in just a page or two, so you can immediately get something out of it. If you are more advanced, you will find yourself flipping through pages, saying, "Yes, I knew that. Yes, I knew that. Oh, I didn't know that!"
This book is jam packed with tips, techniques and tutorials. If you're a serious UNIX user or shell programmer, this is an extremely handy book to have around. It's only negative might be that there is just so much in here, it is sometimes overwhelming. On the up side, there is an excellent index at the back.
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on March 6, 2003
Now in a completely updated and expanded third edition, Unix Power Tools by Shelley Powers, Jerry Peek, Tim O'Reilly and Mike Loukides is an exhaustive, 1116-page instructional guide to scripts, techniques, and useful applications for programming in Unix, including xterm, X Windows, tips for optimizing disk space, creating custom commands in vi, using GNU Emacs, shell interpretation for scripting, pattern matching, redirecting input and output, and much, much more. An extensive and comprehensive resource, Unix Power Tools is filled from cover to cover with clear instructions, sample codes, and just about everything even the most novice beginning Unix programmer needs to get started -- or that the advanced Unix programmer may need to look up.
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on July 16, 2003
Have to say it; but if you've been let down by these other books --i.e. going into long beginer tips and how to "set up KDE" and the likes ...... this one book probably has more usefull information than the 31 other books I've collected over the past year or so on the same info .......... BUY IT@!!!!!!
I don't regret it for a second ..... everyday i've had it (about 3 months) i've randomly opened a page and learned something that usually i didn't even know was possible ( and I've been using Unix/Linux for almost 4 years or more -- Linux meaning Slackware, and Unix meaning the BSD's )
I'm rather impressed none-the-less!!!!
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on January 15, 2003
This versatile well-detailed book is friendly to beginners without compromising its advanced outlook. There is a new chapter on access to Unix from Windows. At over 1200 pages, it provided every vital information that any user would need: including expanded coverage on installation and other basic information on Tcl, Perl and Python. Security and Internet access were, as well, cordially handled. This Third Edition extended the sections of most of the new shells, including zsh and bash. It provided guidance on virtually all modern utilities and applications. It is a valuable reference for any Unix faithful.
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on May 18, 2003
I received the book at our last meeting and proceeded to read thru it. There is tons of interesting facts and quick fixes for everything that you did not know, But I thought this probably should have been a Book 2 of the "Linux Server Hacks" rather than this. I felt that the authors padded the book with not needed information for the point being made. Overall thou I would recommend this book to my friends and other Linux desktop users.
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