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LINUX Programming for Dummies

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List Price: $19.99
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Spotlight Customer Reviews

Average Customer Rating: 4

Customer Rating: 3
Summary: Why This Book is Disappointing
Comment: Granted, most of this book is written on a low enough level that most people could understand it--it made inappropriate assertions and neglected essential information while providing its lessons. It spends much of the early chapters making Microsoft Windows sound like the ideal programming environment while neglecting to mention all the problems of trying to function with thier API's while working with the win32 drive. Excluding using their ".NET Framework" I would never suggest that anyone even try to program using Windows (unless your being paid to do so). Also, Mr. Keogh continuously mentions that Linux does not have all the bells & whistles available to Windows (although, on several occasions he mentions Motifs). I would hope that the average individual looking at this book would simply be loking at this book as a starting place. Hopefully the individual reading this book will move onto other languages (i.e., C, C++, etc.) which would provide the "bells & whistles".

Also, this book left out simple instructions. When working in "vi" --a simple text editor-- Mr. Keogh mentions various ways to exit "vi", but neglects to explain that you must first hit the escape key to get to the command line to exit "vi".

I would recommend that individuals looking to learn how to program using a Linux OS start with other books that start off very simply with Linux shell scripts.

Customer Rating: 3
Summary: Helpful but far too many typos and/or errors
Comment: This book was one of my first intros to Bash programming. It made it interesting, but far too many of the script samples didn't work, due to typographical errors. (Such as some of the while loops in chapter 10) It took a bit of researching to figure out why, however, researching the errors was also helpful. (As I am still a rank novice at bash scripting, there might have been other, easier ways to fix them, but for example, the timing loop didn't work until I changed $counter=$counter+1 to counter=$counter+1)
The book is quick reading and a reasonable introduction to bash programming, with the caveat that the reader will probably have to know how to research deja, or other places to figure out why some of the scripts don't work as printed.

I notice that some other reviewers pointed out errors to IDG. It would be nice if they had an easy to find page listing such errors, ala Sybex's site. There may be one, but when it's not easy to find, I just went to the various howtos and guides and found my answers there.

My only other complaint is a petty one, that sometimes the author could have pointed out alternate syntax that also works. However, as we all develop our own coding habits, that is a fairly meaningless complaint.

All in all, I would recommend the book to the novice bash scripter, as long as the novice is ready to, at times, search the web a bit to find out why some scripts don't work properly. The trouble is that since the book is aimed towards the novice, scripts that don't work properly due to minor typos might be frustrating at first. Still, this is good practice--for example, after awhile, I could look at one and say, aha, this won't work, he left out a "do". It's an excellent supplement to the online guides at and reasonably priced.

Customer Rating: 4
Summary: Very good for beginners...however
Comment: About a year ago I asked my uncle who work at SUN, if he had a good book on shell programming. He lent me a book about the Bash shell from O'Reilly. I was devastated! I felt so dumb reading that book! They begun with a simple script, namely the famous "Hello world", which everyone starts with reagrdless of language. And after that they began with big scripts, with pages of code.
I felt so stupid, and thought I will never learn this!

Now recently I decided to make another try, but with a new book. My eyes fell on "Linux Programming for dummies"
This is a very good book for beginners, because it explains everything from the bottom! (Which is something you can't say about the O'Reilly books!)
However a word of warning. This book (at least in my edition) contained a number of errors. It could display one thing in the beginning of the book, and then another in the end thus contradicting it self. One good example is this: it says that "true" in shell scripts is 1.

Then you can imagine my suprise when I asked such a simple question to the shell as "is 100+100=200?"
The shell replied 0. What? Has the computer gone stupid I thought?
As it turned out, after searching the net and looking through a number of other books, 0 is true and 1 is false. (This is the opposite to C and Perl programming where 1 is true and 0 is false!!!!)

I showed this error and more to the "Dummy company" *hehe*, which in return gave me a book for free! (Red Hat Linux Bible)
I have since that found about fifteen more errors. But don't let that discourage you! You will easily spot them, unless they've corrected this in another issue!

For example they forget to include "do" in for-loops and they fail to end case-statements with "esac". Don't worry, you'll understand once you read the book.

I truly recommend this book, and it should be everyones firstbuy!