Cover image for Think UNIX
Think UNIX
Lasser, Jon.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Indianapolis, Ind. : Que, [2000]

Physical Description:
viii, 295 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Title Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QA76.76.O63 L37 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Unix has a reputation for being cryptic and difficult to learn, but it doesn't need to be that way. Think Unix takes an analogous approach to that of a grammar book. Rather than teaching individual words or phrases like most books, Think Unix teaches the set of logical structures to be learned. Myriad examples help you learn individual commands, and practice problems at the end of difficult sections help you learn the practical side of Unix. Strong attention is paid to learning how to read "man pages," the standard documentation on all Unix systems, including Linux. While most books simply tell you that man pages exist and spend some time teaching how to use the man command, none spend any significant amount of space teaching how to use the content of the man pages. Even if you are lost at the Unix command prompt, you can learn subsystems that are specific to the Unix flavor.

Author Notes

Jon Lasser is a Unix systems administrator with six years of Linux and Unix experience and is responsible for several hundred Unix-based systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He speaks at numerous conferences on the Bastille Linux Project, for which he is development coordinator. He can be reached at

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
About This Bookp. 1
I Unix Conceptsp. 7
1 Unix Documentationp. 9
Words of Warningp. 10
Reading Man Pagesp. 10
Documentation Hide-and-Go-Seekp. 20
Suggested Exercisesp. 27
2 Files and Processesp. 29
Filesp. 30
Processesp. 53
3 Redirection and Pipesp. 63
Redirectionp. 64
Pipesp. 69
4 Networkingp. 79
A Broad Overview of Networkingp. 80
Talking with Other Machinesp. 90
Using Machines Remotelyp. 102
5 VI, Dotfiles, and Regular Expressionsp. 107
Surviving vip. 109
Thriving in vip. 114
Regular Expressionsp. 122
II Shell Conceptsp. 131
6 Muddling Through Shellsp. 133
Shell Warsp. 134
Fixing Mistakesp. 136
Job Controlp. 140
7 Variables and Quotingp. 147
Variablesp. 148
Practice Problemsp. 158
Quotingp. 158
Practice Problemsp. 165
8 Conditional Execution and Loopsp. 167
Sequential Executionp. 168
Conditional Executionp. 169
Practice Problemsp. 178
Loopsp. 179
Practice Problemsp. 183
9 Shell Scripts and Morep. 185
Grouping Commandsp. 186
Aliases and Functionsp. 187
Practice Problemsp. 190
Shell Scriptsp. 190
Practice Problemsp. 196
III X Window System Conceptsp. 197
10 Thinking Like Xp. 199
What X Does Differentlyp. 200
Nuts and Boltsp. 203
Desktop Environmentsp. 214
Something Useful: xtermp. 218
Suggested Exercisesp. 220
11 Configuring Xp. 221
Starting Xp. 222
Command-Line Optionsp. 225
Suggested Exercisesp. 228
X Resourcesp. 228
Suggested Exercisesp. 235
Color Names and Numbersp. 235
Fontsp. 237
Listing Fontsp. 238
A Few Final Wordsp. 240
IV Appendixesp. 243
A Answers to Practice Problemsp. 245
B Glossary and Referencesp. 255
Indexp. 267