The Linux Command Line (Book Review)
The Linux Command Line
A Complete Introduction
by William E. Shotts, Jr.
© No Starch Press 2012
$39.95 Retail, $26.37 Amazon.
The Linux Command Line (TLCL) is the book I wish I’d had on my bookshelf back in 1995, when I first started using Linux. Shotts left nothing out in this 430 page manuscript. Not only does he cover the basics but he gives information for all user levels. If you don’t learn something by reading this book, then you should have written your own.
The thirty-six chapters include everything from “What is the Shell” to “A Gentle Introduction to vi” to many chapters on shell scripting.
Shotts does an excellent job of giving readers a solid scripting background to very advanced techniques in Part 4 of TLCL. Part 4 is my favorite part of his book and I’m glad he dedicated twelve chapters plus a bonus chapter to this essential System Administrator (SA) function. The bottom line is that you can’t get a Linux SA job without knowing how to write shell scripts. Keep this book handy when you write your own scripts as no one but Shotts perhaps can keep this much scripting information in his head.
The Linux Command Line really does for Linux what Essential System Administration (O’Reilly – A. Frisch) did for UNIX administrators a decade or so ago. Shotts gives you everything you need to manage Linux systems in this book plus a few extras.
Overall, the book is a win and I happily give it a 10/10. The only thing wrong that I could find is that Shotts chose to include a chapter on Regular Expressions in Part 3: Common Tasks and Essential Tools. What’s wrong with that, you ask? I hate regular expressions.
However, Shotts provides me with a little (hopefully intended) tongue-in-cheek inspiration for learning and relearning them with, “A good understanding will enable us to perform amazing feats, though their full value may not be immediately apparent.”
Shotts even included my special vi secret trick of using Shift-zz to save and exit. Bravo!
I recommend this book to anyone who is or who aspires to be a Linux SA. I’ll personally keep it within easy reach of my keyboard.