Mastery of the shell is what separates boys from men, in the memorable words of The Olde Unix Greybeard. This machudo test of computing proficiency has indeed stood the test of time – a kind of cultural hazing ritual for those who are in the know, as opposed to the namby-pamby who require a graphic interface with options spelled out for every possible task. As one who was struck early by the beauty and versatility of the Unix Shell, I cannot but be pleased by the recent proliferation of books on the subject, popularizing what was often seen as a subject hard to approach and difficult to master. It does certainly pacify my inner drill sergeant!
The Linux Command Line, By William E. Shotts Jr. (No Starch Press, US$ 39.95), is the most recent entry in a veritable pantheon of books dedicated to the subject of using and scripting the *nix shell interface, and to its credit, it is probably the most approachable tome on the subject that is still willing to cover all of its breadth and depth.
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