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More on LinuxToday Essential Linux Bookshelf IV: Unix Power Tools

May 27, 2000, 13:06 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Dunne)

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"While the rest of the world points and clicks in a scary little world of icons, all alike, we in the world of Unix get to use a good old-fashioned CLI, or command line interface. One reason why the command-line has remained so pervasive in Unix environments is that the implementation, the Unix shell in its various incarnations, is actually pretty damn good. However, one problem has always been getting enough information in suitable format to enable one to make the most of the shell's power and capabilities. Unix Power Tools admirably fills this gap. The book is an unparallelled source for the small everyday things that make using a command line interface so much easier -- if you know them. And there's the rub: if you know them; but where to find them? Unix Power Tools is a compendium of this much-needed information, often culled from obscure sources. There are many gems from Usenet here -- not a place one would go looking very often today for solid information of this kind."

"I'd been running Linux for over a year before I bought this book. I fondly imagined I was pretty nifty with the old Unix Environment. Well, I learned different. The amount of stuff I picked up out of this book is incalculable. It is like an encyclopaedia for Unix users. I said "users", and that's important; you won't find any admin or networking stuff here. The former omission is only to be expected, but the latter is a pity -- a brief tutorial on mail(1) wouldn't have gone amiss, for example. But, when you consider that the book runs to over a thousand pages as it is, you begin to understand."

"Every time I dip into this weighty tome, I seem to come up with something new. A case in point is pcal, which i discovered browsing one slow afternoon (when I should have been working on an article; but that's another story). Pcal is a program for generating Postscript calendars, with a rich command-language enabling the user to describe repeating events, one-offs, etc."

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