BLUG: Book review - Unix Power Tools 3rd Ed.

Login / Register

Who would be crazy enough to spend �50 on a book full of hints and tips that you can find easily on the net, newsgroups or mailing lists? Well me, do I think the book was worth the money maybe.

At a glance the layout seems almost random, but the footnotes, sidebar and constant references to other sections of the book work so well that it doesn't interrupt the continued flow of the tip your reading about at that time.

I like this book because it isn't your average text book droning about the same subject until you either master it or run around screaming like crazy person. It basically holds alot of information about those questions you were afraid to ask. What the hell is a regular expression? Bash, sh, csh what are they? Can I connect and share files with Windows? Or for Mac users whats this Unix thing? It covers alittle of everything. The book is mostly focused on the console side of things with only two fairly small chapters of the book focused on X windows, mainly on setting X resources and ways to set up an xterm. I really like this approach. As it really allows you to get to grips with the OS and see what really makes it work and how they all go together.

There are a few drawbacks to this book, it is trying to give you alittle bit of everything, and while it does succeed in this respect, I feel it doesn't give enough attention to some of it's topics. The Emacs editor gets very little space while vi gets almost 3x as much. I'd also like to see more coverage of the Python programming language. These are personal gripes and not the focus of the book.

If your looking for a book that covers alot the basic Unix tools and want to be proficient in the use the shell get this book, if you need something on shell programming, Perl, vi, or backup and recovery look elsewhere. If you have those niggling questions or just like learning something new, flip to a page in Unix Power Tools and you just might find what your looking for.

By Will Martin
Created: Sat, 5 Apr 2003 13:26:31 +0000