was given an opportunity to review The Linux Command Line, a Complete Introduction, by William E. Shotts, JR from No Starch Press and decided to give it a go. Being somewhat of a command line geek, I’m always on the lookout for good material to learn new and interesting things, and perhaps recommend to others. This is one of the better books I’ve read on the Linux Command line. It is easy to read and users with a little experience will find it has straight forward descriptions and examples. The book contains a lot of information and the only thing I’ve found lacking is diagrams, but if you’re not a particularly visual learner, this may work for you.
The book is intended to be read from cover to cover, which is exactly what I did (very rare for me, I tend to jump around.) It is not supposed to be a reference work, but more of a story. The story starts off basically enough, moving on to more advanced topics, finishing with shell scripting, though there may be some squabbling over the order in which it is presented. The gentle introduction to vi gives enough information on how to use it without being too overwhelming, and to be honest it covers just about everything I can remember how to do with vi without picking up a reference. Pretty much everything I’ve ever written in the Shell Script Sundays could be explained in this book, but as it wasn’t written as a reference, it doesn’t really work well as one.
If you’re new to the Linux command line you’ll walk away knowing what it is capable of; how to do all kinds of stuff that the “experts” do on a daily basis and probably more. For example, I can’t remember the last time I printed something from the shell. There is so much information contained within this book, you’re almost guaranteed to learn something, I did.