Softpanorama

May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Classic Unix books

News

Reviews

Introductory

Open content

Classic books

Unix System Administration

Reference

Solaris

Red Hat

Shell programming

Perl

Tools

Security

Architecture and kernel internals

Programming

 Open Source books

Tools

Databases

Network Administration

Humor

Etc

Good introductory book (or better books) save you a lot of trouble, especially if one try to learn Linux/Unix independently.  Actually a good book can make a difference between success and failure in moving from widows to Unix environment. Unix is a complex OS and there is a tremendous difference in quality among introductory books. Please be careful. Some books are available in electronic format, see Unix CD bookshelf, 3d edition and Safari

One of my recommendations for very basic introductory books is Mark Sobell's books. He breaks one rule that I talked about in the introduction: the book value is strongly correlated with the quality of the authors web site, if any. The author web site www.sobell.com is weak, but the books are decent. You can read an interview with Mark G. Sobell. 

All Mark Sobell Unix books contain two parts: the first is tutorial and the second is reference. Both are good. The reference is close to man pages, but always contain examples -- a sad omission in original Unix man pages (along with obsolete format -- HTML would be much better and more modern choice).  Those examples alone are worth the price of the book.

For Solaris books see my Solaris page  that I created after Sun's initiative to open Solaris. Solaris 8 is free on computers with up to 8 CPUs and is a very good OS, especially for using with commercial databases. IMHO Oracle on Linux is a rather shaky proposition despite all recent Oracle hype and handwaiving. 

Most Unix vendors have documentation available online and the last thing you want is a reproduction of man pages in printed format. You need to check for such a correlation :-). See my Solaris links. Actually it was DEC that has the best documentation available online... 

If you have no chance to browse book yourself in a nearby bookstore, open content books are definitely preferable -- at least you know what to expect and you can adapt/add to electronic text to suit your needs.  See also Softpanorama CD Bookshelf

Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov


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Softpanorama Reviews

Peter Salus A Quarter Century of UNIX

Jon Lasser Think UNIX

Mark Sobel Softpanorama Review: A Practical Guide to Red Hat Linux 8 

Mark Sobel  A Practical Guide to Solaris

Arnold Robbins Classic Shell Scripting

Bill Rosenblatt Learning the Korn Shell

NIIT Special Edition Using Solaris 9 

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Jul 11, 2017] 48-Year-Old Multics Operating System Resurrected

Jul 09, 2017 | tech.slashdot.org
(multicians.org)

"The seminal operating system Multics has been reborn," writes Slashdot reader doon386 :

The last native Multics system was shut down in 2000 . After more than a dozen years in hibernation a simulator for the Honeywell DPS-8/M CPU was finally realized and, consequently, Multics found new life... Along with the simulator an accompanying new release of Multics -- MR12.6 -- has been created and made available. MR12.6 contains many bug and Y2K fixes and allows Multics to run in a post-Y2K, internet-enabled world. Besides supporting dates in the 21st century, it offers mail and send_message functionality, and can even simulate tape and disk I/O. (And yes, someone has already installed Multics on a Raspberry Pi.)

Version 1.0 of the simulator was released Saturday, and Multicians.org is offering a complete QuickStart installation package with software, compilers, install scripts, and several initial projects (including SysDaemon, SysAdmin, and Daemon).

Plus there's also useful Wiki documents about how to get started, noting that Multics emulation runs on Linux, macOS, Windows, and Raspian systems. The original submission points out that "This revival of Multics allows hobbyists, researchers and students the chance to experience first hand the system that inspired UNIX."

www.sorehands.com ( 142825 ) , Sunday July 09, 2017 @01:47AM ( #54772267 ) Homepage

I used it at MIT in the early 80s. ( Score: 4 , Informative)

I was a project administrator on Multics for my students at MIT. It was a little too powerful for students, but I was able to lock it down. Once I had access to the source code for the basic subsystem (in PL/1) I was able to make it much easier to use. But it was still command line based.

A command line, emails, and troff. Who needed anything else?

Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) , Sunday July 09, 2017 @02:10AM ( #54772329 )
It's not the end! ( Score: 4 , Interesting)

Considering that processor was likely made with the three micrometer lithographic process, it's quite possible to make the processor in a homemade lab using maskless lithography. Hell, you could even make it NMOS if you wanted. So yeah, emulation isn't the end, it's just another waypoint in bringing old technology back to life.

Tom ( 822 ) , Sunday July 09, 2017 @04:16AM ( #54772487 ) Homepage Journal
Multics ( Score: 5 , Interesting)
The original submission points out that "This revival of Multics allows hobbyists, researchers and students the chance to experience first hand the system that inspired UNIX."

More importantly: To take some of the things that Multics did better and port them to Unix-like systems. Much of the secure system design, for example, was dumped from early Unix systems and was then later glued back on in pieces.

nuckfuts ( 690967 ) , Sunday July 09, 2017 @02:00PM ( #54774035 )
Influence on Unix ( Score: 4 , Informative)

From here [wikipedia.org]...

The design and features of Multics greatly influenced the Unix operating system, which was originally written by two Multics programmers, Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie. Superficial influence of Multics on Unix is evident in many areas, including the naming of some commands. But the internal design philosophy was quite different, focusing on keeping the system small and simple, and so correcting some deficiencies of Multics because of its high resource demands on the limited computer hardware of the time.

The name Unix (originally Unics) is itself a pun on Multics. The U in Unix is rumored to stand for uniplexed as opposed to the multiplexed of Multics, further underscoring the designers' rejections of Multics' complexity in favor of a more straightforward and workable approach for smaller computers. (Garfinkel and Abelson[18] cite an alternative origin: Peter Neumann at Bell Labs, watching a demonstration of the prototype, suggested the name/pun UNICS (pronounced "Eunuchs"), as a "castrated Multics", although Dennis Ritchie is claimed to have denied this.)

Ken Thompson, in a transcribed 2007 interview with Peter Seibel[20] refers to Multics as "...overdesigned and overbuilt and over everything. It was close to unusable. They (i.e., Massachusetts Institute of Technology) still claim it's a monstrous success, but it just clearly wasn't." He admits, however, that "the things that I liked enough (about Multics) to actually take were the hierarchical file system and the shell! a separate process that you can replace with some other process."

Shirley Marquez ( 1753714 ) , Monday July 10, 2017 @12:44PM ( #54779281 ) Homepage
A hugely influential failure ( Score: 2 )

The biggest problem with Multics was GE/Honeywell/Bull, the succession of companies that made the computers that it ran on. None of them were much good at either building or marketing mainframe computers.

So yes, Multics was a commercial failure; the number of Multics systems that were sold was small. But in terms of moving the computing and OS state of the art forward, it was a huge success. Many important concepts were invented or popularized by Multics, including memory mapped file I/O, multi-level file system hierarchies, and hardware protection rings. Security was a major focus in the design of Multics, which led to it being adopted by the military and other security-conscious customers.

[Nov 2, 2007] The Old Joel on Software Forum Part 4 (of 5) - Unix books

Are there any books you would recommend to someone interested in improving their understanding of Unix? Even though I use it every day, I feel like my understanding is incomplete. I would like to read one or two books, preferably under 300 pages each, that would make me a lot smarter when it comes to Unix. And I figure reading about Unix at bedtime would help me fall asleep faster.

The Real PC
Friday, May 28, 2004

Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment, Stevens.

SG
Friday, May 28, 2004

I like "Linux System Administration - A User's Guide" by Marcel Gagne' (Addison Wesley).

It's not fat, and it's full of useful info. The downside is that Gagne's writing style is good enough that it might not help put you to sleep.

yet another anon
Friday, May 28, 2004

I always learned fun new things from Unix Power Tools.

http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/upt2/index.html

m
Friday, May 28, 2004

Keep in mind that while I've used multiple languages on unixes, I'm nowhere near being an expert, just gotten in 'n out. So I hope someone will point out if my mentions are outdated.

- Kernighan/Mashey "Unix Programming Environment" paper. Since it's a paper, it's rather short.
- Ritchie/Thompson original paper might put things in perspective.
- Kernighan/Pike _The Unix Programming Environment_ book.
- Maurice/Bach _The Design..._ book goes into detail.
- Nemeth/Snyder/... unix sysadmin book might be useful.
- Unix Hater's Handbook, gratis online.

Tayssir John Gabbour
Friday, May 28, 2004

If you use it every day, but you're looking for more, I recommend O'Reilly's "Essential System Administration." Describes the evolutions of the different branches of Unixes, and how they differ. Each part of the book describes how to do something in the different ways peculiar to different Unix-alikes. It does have a sysadmin bent, of course, but you still might want to check it out.

Rich
Friday, May 28, 2004

I second the Unix Power Tools reccomendation. It has taught me more about unix than any other unix book I've bought, or any one site online.

Its not small, but its not designed to be read straight through. Its a collection of tips from newsgroups and email lists over the past 20+ years.

It won't teach you tons of sysadmin stuff, but it will make you a much more effective unix user, which will translate into a better sysadmin.

I cannot reccomend this book enough.

Andrew Hurst
Friday, May 28, 2004

I'll third Unix Power Tools. It makes learning Unix fun.

Herbert Sitz
Friday, May 28, 2004

I have some of the nicest linux and unix books under the sun!! :D If you read through any 15% of them you'll be able to create a cluster of computers capable of curing AIDS.

They are gathering dust. *sigh* However I probably will not sell them. Maybe for a future project that might accidentally change the world.

Li-fan Chen
Friday, May 28, 2004

Ask me for the list, it's long.

Li-fan Chen
Friday, May 28, 2004

> I feel like my understanding is incomplete

None of the books recommended so far gives you the "big picture", and (IMHO) you will never become proficient in UNIX (be it programming or system administration), until you have a good mental model of the whole.

The best book for the "high-level view" is "Operating Systems: Design and Implementation" by Andrew S. Tanenbaum.

His other books are very good as well, and "Structured Computer Organization" is worth a read no matter which OS you are using.

Employed Russian
Friday, May 28, 2004

I also like The Unix Philosophy which leans more towards the programming life, but sets a frame of reference for why unix is as it is.

m
Friday, May 28, 2004

"The Unix Haters Handbook"

http://research.microsoft.com/~daniel/uhh-download.html

;-)


Friday, May 28, 2004

Eric Raymond's 'The Art of UNIX Programming' Is a bn="right">john
Saturday, May 29, 2004

Linux Server Hacks
100 Industrial-Strength Tips and Tools
http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/linuxsvrhack/

Michael Moser
Saturday, May 29, 2004

A personal favourite is "The UNIX Programming Environment" by Kernighan and Pike. Like UNIX itself, this compact book is either dated or timeless.

M. E.
Saturday, May 29, 2004

I second the Unix Programming Environment, by Kernigan and Pike.

Unix power tools is a good one, as others have mentioned it's a collection of tips for using commands. Ever tried to figure out the find command from the manual? It bites, but Power Tools tells you how to do what you want done.

The Stevens book is great, but only for system programmers. That would be me.

Think Unix by Jon Lasser is another great book on overall Unix stuff.

Snotnose
Saturday, May 29, 2004

Great free resources. In case of LINUX some guys are trying
to create something in the likes of MSDN.

Linux documentation project
http://en.tldp.org/

Developer works tutorials (need to register/fill out a form)
http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/views/linux/tutorials.jsp

Developer works technical library (need to register/fill out a form)
http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/linux/library/technical/linux.html

Michael Moser
Sunday, May 30, 2004

Get "The Design and Implementation of the BSD Operating System". I haven't read the latest version, but it used to be pretty good in the old days.

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, May 31, 2004

***+ UNIX CD Bookshelf, 3.0

This is an expensive CD. The Unix CD Bookshelf packs six books: one excellent, two good and three semi-useless/obsolite. Version 3 provides convenient online access to seven books. It also includes the hard copy of Unix in a Nutshell, Third Edition.

**** Unix Power Tools, 3rd Edition;

??? Learning the Unix Operating System, 5th Edition;

??? Learning the vi Editor, 6th Edition;

??? Mac OS X for Unix Geeks;

***** Learning the Korn Shell, 2nd Edition;

**** sed & awk, 2nd Edition;

*** Unix in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition.

The CD has a master index, a powerful search engine, and all the text is extensively hyperlinked, so you'll find what you're looking for quickly.

****+ A Practical Guide to Red Hat Linux 8

Mark G. Sobell

The title is misleading. This book is pretty much usable as a Solaris introduction (you can skip GNU/Linux ideology pages that the author added to this addition :-). IMHO this Mark Sobell's book is one of the best introductory Unix no matter what flavor of Unix you are using. It covers a lot of command line ground that are essentially common and Gnome that is now used with Solaris too.

This is a hell of a book with its 1616 pages :-). But you can judge general quality of material by browsing chapters that Mark Sobell provides online:

Copyright Notice
Table of Contents
Preface
Chapter 5: The Shell I
Chapter 7: GNOME Desktop Manager
Chapter 9: Networking and the Internet
Chapter 12: The Shell II: The Bourne Again Shell
Index

I browsed those chapters and I instantly recognized the level and the quality of his previous books. A very nice typesetting too.
I have an extremely high opinion about his prev. book on Solaris as well as the first Linux edition and I hope that he managed to improve his prev. edition of the Linux book (1997) considerably in those six years since the first edition.
One remark: using pine as a newsreader as in Chapter 9 is fine if you are limited to the command line. If not, than Netscape Communicator (in its Mozilla incarnation) is much more user friendly and easier to use program.

I also somewhat doubt that Red Hat should be called GNU/Linux system :-)


I think there is a very little risk in buying this book for Solaris user or beginner administrator.

** Solaris 9 The Complete Reference

5 of 5 stars Vast improvement, June 27, 2002
Reviewer: Daniel O'Riordan from New York City, New York

I bought the Solaris 8 version of this book. It was OK but did not contain sufficient material on the new technologies. I ordered the Solaris 9 version of the book because it's the only Solaris 9 book around. I am happy to report that this book covers new technologies like RBAC, LDAP and the resource manager. These are so much more important for the enterprise than GNOME. Strong emphasis on disks - format, partition, volume management, backups - is good and logically ordered. The only thing I would like to see is more coverage on application servers, databases, message queues and other uses of Solaris in large firms. But that's probably an architecture book with a different focus.

***** Essential System Administration, Third Edition

by Aeleen Frisch

Amazon Price: $38.47

Probably the intermediate best sysadmin book on the market.

3


Classic books

Design of the Unix Operating System
Marice J. Bach / Hardcover / Published 1986
Unix: Network Programming - W. Richard Stevens; Hardcover
see also: W. Richard Stevens' FAQ
Essential System Administration, Third Edition
by Aeleen Frisch
Our Price: $38.47

Introductory Books

Unix in general and Linux in particular is a complex OS and any introductory book that has, say, less than 800 pages is suspect. You just need to put a lot of stuff into the introductory Unix book. Some books like all Mark Sobell books are structured in two parts with the second part containing a reference. This is a good idea for the introductory book as man pages are often difficult to use for novices, but content of the first part suffers (Sobell's books do not contain chapters on AWK and SED -- a sad omission for the introductory book, but it contain a pretty decent information about this utilities in the reference part of the book).  The problem is that Sobell authored a general Unix book (A Practical Guide to the Unix System, 1994 see below) and never updated it, his more recent books are about Linux and Solaris.  They are covered in my  Linux and Solaris pages. Here we will cover general introductory books.

****+ A Practical Guide to Red Hat Linux 8
Mark G. Sobell
 
This is a hell of book with its 1616 pages and Red Hat 8 CD included :-). And this is not "blind date" type of the book. On his website the author provides the text of four chapters (Ch 5: The Shell I, Ch 7: GNOME Desktop Manager, Ch 9: Networking and the Internet, Ch 12: The Shell II: The Bourne Again Shell).

What I really like about Mark Sobell's Unix books is that all of them contain two parts that can be considered as a separate books. So in essence you buy two books for the price of one.
 

The book also has pretty usable index and five appendixes. Appendix A (regular expressions) actually deserves to be converted to a chapter.

This edition is a result of polishing the material from four previous editions and that shows. For example in the Chapter 2 (p.38) the author mentions the problem of using Ctrl-Z by the beginners who attempt to undo some command line changes. But this is not a Windows environment and that actually postpone the program -- a very puzzling situation for beginners for which very few Unix beginner books authors provide a helpful advice. Useful tips can be found in almost any chapter and it is this attention to details that really make this book an outstanding example of the introductory Unix textbook.

Another interesting feature of the book is that the command line environment is introduced after GUI (KDE/Gnome) environment. Such an approach is more modern than "command line first" approach and provides an opportunity for students immediately transfer their Windows-based skills to Linux and master command line after that, saving a lot of frustration (vi as the first Unix editor is a torture, I know that for sure :-). In this case beginners can postpone struggling with vi until they get to speed with pipes and classical Unix utilities. Actually this permit studying vi in more depth. We should not forget than most students now study Unix after they learn Windows and Sobell's book in one of the few that take into account this situation.

I used his previous Solaris-based book for several introductory Unix classes at the university and can attest that students grasp most material very easily. Exercises given after each chapter can serve as a basis of very useful homework assignments.

As for shortcomings there are very few of them and they generally does not diminish the high value of the book. For some reason gawk and sed are not covered in the main chapters, but only in the reference part. I would change this is a future edition(s).

Grep and find probably also can be covered a small separate chapter (or the author may wish to swap it with the chapter 14 --the second shell (c shell) might be an overkill for the introductory book (bash is now "good enough") and it's better to move it into supplement :-). I would also convert the supplement about regular expressions into a regular chapter and devote some space to Perl (Z-shell can go to the supplement too; I doubt about wisdom of covering three shells in an introductory book.)

It's really sad that Perl is not mentioned at all while the whole chapter is devoted to zsh: in reality Perl killed shell scripting in all but simple and special purpose (startup) cases. And although the decision whether to include Perl chapter or not should probably be better left to the author (it complicates the book as such has some drawbacks too), I think that it make sense at least to provide a supplement with Perl overview in future editions.

Another minor thing: using pine as a newsreader as in Chapter 9 is fine if you are limited to the command line. If not, than Netscape Communicator (in its Mozilla incarnation) is much more user friendly and easier to use program.

All-in-all I hope everybody who is trying to master Linux will appreciate the level of insight into this pretty complex environment that this book provides. It beats similar books not only by weight :-). IMHO this book is as close to a classic Linux book as one can get.

 
P.S. It's extremely rare and generous for such an author as Mark Sobel to provide three chapters online and I applaud his courageous decision:
 
Copyright Notice
Table of Contents
Preface
Chapter 5: The Shell I
Chapter 7: GNOME Desktop Manager
Chapter 9: Networking and the Internet
Chapter 12: The Shell II: The Bourne Again Shell
Index

I browsed those chapters and I instantly recognized the level and the quality of his previous books. A very nice typesetting too.
 
I have an extremely high opinion about his prev. book on Solaris   as well as the first Linux edition and I hope that he managed to improve his prev. edition of the Linux book (1997) considerably in those six years since the first edition. 
 
One remark: using pine as a newsreader as in Chapter 9 is fine if you are limited to the command line. If not, than Netscape Communicator (in its Mozilla incarnation) is much more user friendly and easier to use program.

I also somewhat doubt that Red Hat should be called GNU/Linux system :-)

I think there is a very little risk in buying this book...
 
**** A Practical Guide to Solaris ~ Usually ships in 24 hours
Mark G. Sobell / Paperback / Published 1999
Amazon price: $26.95
Paperback - 1120 pages 1 edition (June 1999)
Addison-Wesley Pub Co; ISBN: 020189548X ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.62 x 9.62 x 7.39
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 388
Avg. Customer Review: *****
Number of Reviews: 3
 
A very good book, probably not only the best introductory Solaris book available but the best overall introductory Unix book. I used this book for an introductory Unix class at the university and can attest that students grasp most material very easily. Exercises given after each chapter can serve a basis of useful homework assignments.

This edition is a result of polishing the material in three previous editions and that shows. For example in the Chapter  2 (p.23) the author mentions the problem of using Ctrl-Z by the beginners who attempt to undo some command line changes. But this is not a Windows environment and that actually postpone the program -- a very puzzling situation for beginners for which very few Unix beginner books authors provide a helpful advice. Another example of attention to details is that this is one of the few intro Unix books that recommends a reasonable .profile file that make Solaris/Unix more user friendly. All-in-all tremendous amount of useful tips can be found in almost any chapter and this attention to details really make this book an outstanding example of the introductory Unix textbook. 

Another excellent feature of the book is that Solaris/Unix command line environment is studied along with X windows environment. such an approach is more modern than pure command line approach and it provides additional insights into how best use Solaris/Unix in a particular circumstances. For example I am convinced that the approach adopted in the book of using X-based editors first is an improvement over traditional methods of introducing students to vi from the beginning. In this case beginners can postpone struggling with vi until they get to speed with command line and that experience can simplify mastering vi features and permit to study vi in more depth. We should not forget than most people study Solaris/Unix after they learn Windows and  Sobell's book in one of the few that make necessary adjustments for this situation.

What I really like about Mark Sobell's Unix books is that all of them contain two parts:

As for shortcomings there are very few of them and they generally does not diminish the high value of the book. For some reason nawk and sed are covered not in the main chapters,  but only in the reference part. I would change this is a future edition. Grep and find probably also can be covered a small separate chapter after chapter 10 along with more material on regular expressions. Backup is also covered pretty superficially and this is another are were the book can be improved. I doubt about wisdom of covering two shells in an introductory book, but C shell is more user friendly and ksh is more widely used in commercial environment, so the author was definitely hard pressed to cover both.
 
Perl is not mentioned at all but in practice Perl killed shell scripting in all but simple and special purpose (startup) cases. And although the decision whether to include Perl chapter or not should probably be better left to the author (it complicates the book as as such has some drawbacks too), I think that it make sense to provide a supplement with Perl overview.

The author web site is www.sobell.com. You can read an Amazon interview with Mark G. Sobell.

????
Unix Complete (Complete) ~ Usually ships in 24 hours
Peter Dyson, Stan Kelly-Bootle  / Paperback / Published 1999
Amazon price: $15.99 ~ You Save: $4.00 (20%)
1008 pages 1st edition
Sybex, Inc.; ISBN: 078212528X
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 303,861

A very good price for 1K well written pages ;-). Well known authors. Stan Kelly-Bootle (skb@crl.com) -- a famous author of Understanding Unix and  The Computer Contradictionary

Table of contents
 
5 of 5 stars Good Reference Book, June 29, 2000
Reviewer: josh_g (see more about me) from st louis, mo United States

This book, I have found, is not especially conducive to reading straight through. However it serves my purposes as a reference tool quite well. The last 500 pages are nothing but explanations of the (most) commands available in UNIX. There are very few examples in this area of the book though. Overall, page for page, I think you'll find this book gives you the most quantitative and qualitative information for your buck.

***+ A Practical Guide to the Unix System ~ Usually ships in 24 hours
Mark G. Sobell / Paperback / Published 1994
Amazon price: $38.44
 Paperback - 800 pages 3rd edition (October 1994)
Addison-Wesley Pub Co; ISBN: 0805375651 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.17 x 9.21 x 6.23
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 11,835
Avg. Customer Review: *****
Number of Reviews: 4

A very decent book, but largely outdated. The author has a more recent and generally better  Solaris and Linux books that are more up to date.  You can read an interview with Mark G. Sobell. Fantastic as Primer, but not good as Power User Guide. The book is well written in unemotional and descriptive style so there's no confusion.

A good thing about this book is that it is very patient; the author assumes that you have absolutely NO experience in computers. He is pretty elaborate even covering on how to enter a command in UNIX. He says it like this: Press the characters on the keyboard in a sequence that matches the name of the command you want to use and press ENTER button.

 

The purpose of the book wasn't to tell you EVERYTHING. Rather, it is designed to get you comfortable with UNIX so you can advance if you want. But this book already has plenty of information to start doing some productive work in UNIX. Overall, I recommend any later Solbell's book instead of this one if you are new to UNIX and just want an easy, no -frills guide. If you are interested in Solaris then the author Solaris book will be much better value.

***+ Unix for Dummies
John R. Levine, Margaret Levine Young / Paperback / Published 1997/ usually can buy it for $9.99
The first author also wrote Lex & Yacc and  Mixed Language Programming. So he is not a newcomer to both Unix and Dos/Windows environments. I read 1993 edition and I consider it to be a good book for DOS users. Generally "For Dummies" books have nice typography and a light, non-technical style.  This one is an excellent reading, and contain easy instructions for a lot of frustrating for the newcomers situations. Unix is not very user-friendly platform (I believe any DOS user remember the first attempt to get out of Vi ;-), or I would like to say it is very selective as for its friends ;-), so any book that's simplify initial very frustrating stage of mastering Unix  -- is a steal. I'm not a big fan of the "Dummies" series though I have a couple of them.   But this guy know what he is talking about and the book is hard to beat when it comes to getting good information in a relatively painless fashion. Often previous editions are as good as the latest can be bought in B&N or discount booksellers at considerable discount ($9.99).

Unix System V Network Programming (Addison-Wesley Professional Computing)
Stephen A. Rago, Rago Stevens / Hardcover / Published 1993
Power Programming with RPC

Reference books

**** UNIX Power Tools e-book is available on one of the O'Reilly CD: Unix Cd Bookshelf (Contains 6 books and software)
Jerry D. Peek, et al / Paperback / Published 1997
Good collection of reference material on various Unix utilities and some useful tips. Bad index.  Slightly outdated. 20% of material is no longer relevant, but the book is still has great value as a reference. Make most sense on CD (see Unix CD from O'Reilly).
 
*** UNIX Hints & Hacks  e-text is available from www.informit.com
Kirk Waingrow / Paperback / Published 1999
Amazon price: $15.99 ~ You Save: $4.00 (20%)

This decent book. some parts of it (User classification(9.1), how to write your resume(10.4), etc) are unique.  Generally just those two chapters(Ch.9 and 10)  worth the price of the book. Here is the review that catch the essence but put it in a negative way because reviewer did not understand the fact that this is a reference book. In certain aspects this book competes with Unix Tools.

**       Watching another admin's work
Reviewer: Michael B.  1_stripes from Los Angeles, CA (USA)      February 27, 2000
My statistics: out of 36 topics in the first 3 chapters 22 are covered superficially or wrongly in my view; 11 I would label "OK", out of which 6 were completely new for me; I stopped counting after that. This book offers a "How-To" rather than systematic approach; the scripts are mostly shells with some occasional perl. One more frustration - given as generic, commands are very often platform-specific without mentioning the platform. The general impression is that most of this knowledge is approx. pre-1995 (the year when the crowd noticed the Internet) - however it does include still relevant ideas; the chapter on security looks especially shallow in the year 2000. In brief, it is as interesting and as frustrating as watching another sysadmin working. After copying a few tips, I will not keep it.
**+ Unix in a Nutshell : A Desktop Quick Reference for System V Release 4 and Solaris 7 (Nutshell Handbook) by Arnold Robbins(Preface) (Paperback - September 1999)
Amazon price: $19.96 You Save: $4.99 (20%)
Paperback - 598 pages 3rd edition (September 1999)
O'Reilly & Associates; ISBN: 1565924274 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.16 x 8.99 x 6.03
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 1,566


Average Customer Review: ****
Average and grossly overpriced. Very poor index. Also the stuff on troff, mm, etc., is just a waste. I haven't seen anyone use those dinosaurs in a while. Perl is absent. Never buy this book for $20. The main problem is that there are not that many good examples. Even in comparison with Solaris man pages it does not shine ;-) In 1994 such a book (for $10) was half decent. Now it's simply junk. Here is one review from Amazon with which I agree:
***  If you're a beginner, don't buy this.....yet.
Reviewer: A reader from midwest us      April 19, 1999
If you're a beginner or even casual user of Unix then steer clear of this book. While the information contained within is excellent, it's more suited towards experienced users as it's not very well explained.

Also a major fault is the incredibly poor index. Frankly, it's one of the worst I've ever seen in any computer book. Pathetic. Instead of just indexing the terms, the descriptives should be listed as well.

... ... ...



Etc

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Society

Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers :   Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism  : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy

Quotes

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Bulletin:

Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law

History:

Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-MonthHow to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Haterís Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite

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The Last but not Least


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