Introduction to UNIX and Linux
by Alen Prodan - Monday, 2 February 2004.
Author: John Muster
Pages: 688
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional
ISBN: 0072226951


In this book John Muster will teach you how to use UNIX and Linux through clear presentation of the concepts, hands-on tutorials and exercises, illustrations, chapter reviews, and more. The following list represents but is not limited to, some of the topics that you will learn inside this book:
  • Log on to UNIX/Linux system
  • Specify instructions to the shell
  • Run programs to obtain system and user information
  • Set and use permissions for files and directories
  • Create and execute shell scripts
  • Control user processes
  • Use the visual editor (vi)
  • Manage, print, and archive large files
  • Use multiple utilities in scripts
  • Access and tour graphical desktops
  • Create and change directories
  • Administer a Linux PC system
The subjects covered in each chapter are organized in a way the reader can quickly find learning objectives, skills-check sections, hands-on tutorial, fundamental skill-building exercises, illustrations and figures, chapter self-tests, end-of-chapter summaries, quizzes, and projects.

About the Author

John Muster is a leading UNIX and Linux Curriculum Developer and Instructor at the California Berkeley Extension, where he was given the Honored Teacher Award. For the last twenty years he has explored how to facilitate learning of UNIX and Linux through several major projects funded by the United States Treasury, Anderson Consulting (Accenture), Sun Microsystems and Apple Computing. These projects form the body of work on which this text is based.

Inside the book

The first chapter, although very brief (in terms of pages), covers some basic but fundamental stuff for those who are not familiar with the UNIX OS family. If for some reason all UNIX/Linux computer systems would cease to function, we would be living in a very different world. Why? Find out yourself by buying and reading this book. After pointing out the importance of these robust and superior OS-es, you will learn how to log on, log out, to/from terminal or graphical UNIX/Linux window.

By reading the first chapter, you should be able to log on and/or start a terminal window in the graphical environment displayed at login. As the author moves on you get familiar with the history of UNIX and Linux. After this brief survey, you carry on by meeting the shell. In this chapter's text you'll learn how to run programs to obtain system and user information, communicate instructions properly to the system's command interpreter, navigate to other directories in the file system, use standard programs to create, examine, and manage files, access the online manual pages that describe specific commands and files, search the online manual pages by keyword or regular expression, identify and access useful Internet sites.

This third chapter completes the tour of the major features of the system including communication with the shell to execute processes, navigating the file system and employing permissions. Getting work done in UNIX/Linux generally entails asking the shell to execute utilities. We can also issue commands to tailor or modify many aspects of UNIX and Linux to meet our particular needs. Well, here you find out how to use those utilities, manage input and output from utilities, and employ special shell characters to give instructions, manage user processes, modify the computing environment, create and execute a basic shell script.

In Linux and UNIX, we frequently modify some configuration files. These files consist of lines of characters. Computer text editors were developed to accomplish these tasks. The UNIX/Linux visual editor is a powerful, fast, command-driven screen editor. Although, especially in Linux we have a choice to edit/create our ASCII files with other editors (Emacs for example), VI is an essential tool, especially for system administrators when in need to recover a system from a system crash. After completing this chapter, you will be able to use vi to create and access files, move around in a file effectively, add lines, words, and characters, delete characters, lines, blocks of text, cut, paste, undo changes and much more.

Some of the most prominent features on the UNIX system landscape are its powerful and versatile utility programs. Specific utilities locate system information, sort lines, select specific files, modify information, and manage files for users. Although each utility is designed to accomplish a simple task, they can be easily combined to produce results that no single utility could produce on its own. So, read on and learn to count the words, lines, and characters in a file, sort the contents of a file, identify and remove duplicate lines in a file, compare two files by identifying lines common to both, perform concatenation, math calculations, and more.

Every day, users around the world employ powerful UNIX/Linux utilities to accomplish complex tasks. These commands can be put together to form a script. Scripts increase efficiency, save time, and eliminate typing errors. You'll learn to combine basic utilities to accomplish complex tasks, create shell scripts, construct scripts incrementally, identify errors in scripts and repair them.

After reading chapter seven you will be able to create directories, change current working directory, use complete pathnames for files, identify the role of inodes, data blocks, and directories when managing files, move whole directories and their contents, remove directories and much more.

The various shells interpret out commands to accomplish tasks we specify. After the programs complete their work, the shell pops back up and asks what's next. We have to talk shell language when we issue commands if we want to be understood. The author teaches you how to identify all tokens on a command line, establish where utilities read input, write output, and write error info, use the command line to pass complex arguments, modify the search path, redirect output and much more.

UNIX/Linux systems manage files that can vary greatly in their importance - from top secret to casual non-important notes. To maintain a sound security policy, files on each system are given a different level of protection. For those of us who are concerned with the security aspects of our systems this chapter is a must read as it demonstrates how to determine the permissions that various kind of users are granted for files, change permissions, specify how permissions limit access to files and directories, and a bunch of other things regarding system's security.

At any moment, one to several hundred users can be logged on to the same Linux or UNIX machine, each accomplishing different tasks. When UNIX was designed, true multitasking such as this, was the main objective. This chapter investigates how the hardware and software execute utilities, and how to monitor and control separate tasks. These skills are essential, not only for system administrators, but for users and programmers as well.

As we use Linux and UNIX we often have to manage large files. Maybe we need to create those files, and after that, we need to split those files into smaller pieces, copy individual files, etc. Chapter eleven examines how to accomplish these tasks.

Unix and Linux support both character and graphical-based terminals. Although interacting with the system by typing commands is an effective mean of communicating out intentions to the system, some applications are more easily managed through a graphical user interface. This chapter explores how to access, use, and customize the most popular graphical desktop environments.

The SysAdmin of a Linux system is responsible for the installation, operation, maintenance, repair, and security of the system. Problems can arise when we fail to accomplish the needed tasks or when we make mistakes while performing certain duties. Muster provides an introduction to UNIX/Linux system administration. Topics are briefly introduced, and basic commands are covered.

About the CD-ROM

This book comes bundled with a CD. The CD contains but is not limited to:
  • An Instructor's manual that maps ti the organization of textbook
  • ExamView testing software
  • Hundreds of questions written by experienced IT instructors
  • Engaging PowerPoint slides on the lecture topics
  • An installation version of the RedHat Linux 7.3
  • My opinion

    This book is certainly grate guide to lead you through all the right steps to as quickly as possible acquire and apply your knowledge to real-world UNIX/Linux systems. Through carefully developed, hands-on interactions with a UNIX/Linux system, you are guided through a grand, stimulating journey from the absolutely basic system features to a rich mastery of the details employed by experts.

    This book is aimed to beginners but could serve very well also advanced users because it is not a big boring thousand pages reference tom but an interesting learning guide.


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