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The Linux Command Line: Book Review

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Published by: O'Reilly
ISBN: 1593273894

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One Minute Bottom Line

The Linux Command Line is pleasant to read. It has a light tone, while also getting down to business.


No Starch Press recently released The Linux Command Line: A Complete Introduction by William E. Shotts, Jr.

True to its name, the book is about using Linux from command line. It’s not an encyclopedia of Linux. It doesn’t explain how to install Linux, doesn’t go into system APIs, and says little about how to administer Linux. At the same time, the book is broader than just a book on bash. It’s about how to “live” at the command line.

The introduction explains the intended audience.

This book is for Linux users who have migrated from other platforms. Most likely you are a “power user” of some version of Microsoft Windows.


The book has a conversational style, explaining the motivation behind ways of working as well as providing technical detail. It includes small but very useful suggestions along the way, the kinds of tips you’d pick up from a friend but might not find in a book.

The book has four parts

  1. Learning the shell
  2. Configuration and the environment
  3. Common tasks and essential tools
  4. Writing shell scripts

The book could have just included the first three sections; the forth part is a bit more specialized than the others. If you’d prefer, think of the book has having three parts, plus a lengthy appendix on shell scripting.


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