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Linux Programming by Example : The Fundamentals

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Spotlight Customer Reviews

Average Customer Rating: 4.75

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: A new classic
Comment: I loved this book. It's earned an honored place on my bookshelf, and I'm going to recommend it to people who need information about Linux and UNIX development.

Many computer books are practically obsolete before they ship: within a few months, "Learn Foomatic 4.3 in 21 Days" is in the bargain bin at the Dollar Tree. Some books have longer lives, and a few can remain useful for years. "Linux Programming by Example" (LPE) is in this last category; this book can stand alongside Steven's "Advanced UNIX Programming" as an essential tutorial and reference.

LPE covers everything you'd expect (working with files, processes, signals, users) and some things you might not (internationalization). But it's this book's voice and unique perspective that make it truly a gem. LPE is written in a clear, friendly, authoritative style. As I read, I often felt that I had gained a new understanding of things I've known for years.

The long and twisted history of UNIX has given rise to multiple competing APIs. Perhaps the greatest thing about this book is the way that Robbins cuts through these thickets, explaining your choices, pointing out the best alternatives, and explaining why they're the best. LPE's modern vantage point means it can cover V7, BSD, POSIX, and GNU APIs. The chapter on signals alone is worth the purchase price of the book for the way in which it clearly compares and contrasts the various signal APIs.

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: An excellent book
Comment: I am very impressed with this book. Arnold covers the basics of Linux and Unix programming in a clear, easily-understood fashion. He has brought a wealth of programming experience to the job, and it shows -- the comments on portability, for instance, have a certain world-weariness about them that makes it clear that the lessons were hard-won.

I thought the choice of using Unix 7th edition source code was inspired. The code is elegantly written, and comprehensible enough to be used as a teaching aid.

I would not hesitate to recommend this to anyone looking for an introduction to programming on Linux or Unix.

Customer Rating: 4
Summary: Linux Fundamentals
Comment: Don't judge a book by it's cover, especially this cover, with the cheesy lightsaber which screams, "secrets of the Unix Jedi". Read the the lines, "Linux" and "Fundamentals" on the cover, and that is what you need to know.

If you are familiar with the classic "Advanced Unix Programming" you will be familiar with what this book covers and appreciative of the update. In short, this book covers the fundamentals of shell programming with C; files, directories, signals, memory allocation, process control, permissions, that sort of thing. It does not cover network programming or X11 GUI programming.

What I liked about it was primarily that it imparted experience. For example the section on creating temporary files pointed out both good and bad ways to write the same functionality. The text was expository and informative. Where Advanced Unix Programming was a little dry and stiff in tone, this book is a little heftier, goes into more detail, and is written in a more experiential and friendly manner.

There is a lot to like about this book. If the subject, within it's constraints, interests you, then you should get it. If only to broaden your depth of understanding as to how Unix works and how to write programs for it. If you are looking for books on network programming, xml, multi-threading, web serving, or X11, you should look elsewhere, but you should probably still look at this book to bone up on 'Linux' 'Fundamentals'.