Classic Shell Scripting

This is a very good introduction to the POSIX shell, as used on various Unix and Linux operating systems. The book covers the basics of how a shell works, how it can be used to write scripts and the standard Unix tool-kit that can be used to do powerful things quickly and easily.

The book is grounded in standard POSIX tools so does not take advantage of features present in the very latest Bash, Korn and Z shells, but it does mention that sometimes if you are willing to trade portability you can do things easier and quicker.

The book does not require a deep understanding of the Unix philosophy but it does help to have used the basic Unix/Linux tools in the past. As well as shell, the book covers the standard tool-kit such as cut, head, tail, grep, sed and a large chunk of awk.

The book is well written and organised and there are plenty of code snippets and explanations to keep you going. The book does not really cover the interactive use of shell, it really is all about scripting with shell as the title suggests.

If I have one problem with the book it is that there is an almost pathological avoidance of the dynamic languages such as Perl, Python and Ruby. Some of the longer shell examples would have been much better written in a more complete language such as Perl which are better suited to the larger tasks that shell is not designed for.

Combined with a good introductory books such as "Learning the Bash Shell" or "Learning the Korn Shell" you are well on the way to driving a Unix/Linux system without a mouse!