Sebastopol, CA--Created more than thirty years ago for scientific and professional users who wanted a powerful and flexible OS, Unix has traditionally met with resistance among casual computer users who viewed it as an operating system for experts. Now, a growing audience is taking up the Unix OS in a variety of dialects, including Linux and Mac OS X. Although there is a wealth of information about Unix available, the challenge these newcomers often face is finding the right level of introductory material to get them started without overwhelming them. "Most of the Unix books seem to keep getting bigger. For people who just need to learn the Unix basics, I think those books have just too much information," says Jerry Peek, coauthor with Grace Todino and John Strang of Learning the Unix Operating System, Fifth Edition (O'Reilly, US $19.95).
"This latest edition was written for new users at all levels, both technical and non-technical, who need the basics of Unix," Peek adds. "I've heard from readers who needed a no-nonsense introduction that's easy to read and doesn't drown them with details. And, now that Macintosh users have Unix on their Mac OS X systems, I hope that they'll see how easy it is to take advantage of the Unix power that's just under the surface of their systems."
Learning the Unix Operating System is an ideal book for someone just starting with Unix or Linux, and an excellent primer for Mac and PC users who need to know a little about Unix on the systems they visit. The fifth edition is the most effective introduction to Unix in print, covering Internet usage for email, file transfers, web browsing, and many major and minor updates to help the reader navigate the ever-expanding capabilities of the operating system.
"I predict that Unix and Linux will keep growing as a desktop system--one that average people use," says Peek. "The system's ease of use has improved so much in the last few years, but underneath still has all of the power and flexibility that's made Unix great these past thirty years. The price is right, too: freely available Unix versions make the cost of software so low, and Unix can run on almost any computer, even those that are years old. I hope that people everywhere can finally have their own computers without being locked into expensive Microsoft-based systems."
Learning the Unix Operating System explains all the common Unix commands in simple language, with accompanying examples and exercises. It includes a completely updated quick reference card to make it easier for the reader to access the key functions of the command line. "Although the book shows how to use window systems, it also has a lot of coverage of the standard Unix command line," Peek explains. "The command line is incredibly powerful and flexible--and it's really not that hard for beginners to use! A lot of other books have de-emphasized the command line in favor of graphical utilities, and that's a shame."
The fifth edition of Learning the Unix Operating System was written for technical and non-technical users at all levels of experience who need to know the basics of Unix. Readers will find that it provides a much needed, practical introduction will help them get up and running on this powerful operating system.
What the critics said about earlier editions:
"A superb little book, and excellent resource for the beginner or Internet navigator, or a superior review for the occasional user. Learning the Unix Operating System proves that good things do come in small packages."
--Elizabeth Zinkann, Sys Admin, May 1998
"Whether you are setting up your first Unix system or adding your fiftieth user, [this book] can ease you through learning the fundamentals of the Unix system."
--Michael J. O'Brien, ABA/Unix/group Newsletter
"Now in its third edition, this book is designed to teach the basic system utility commands to get the user started. The most useful features of given commands are covered instead of detailing all the options. I think the authors have used good judgment in deciding what to include. The latest edition has been updated to include information on X-Windows systems and common commands for using networks...For $9.95, it is one of the best values I've come across. I highly recommend it for the new user who wants a working knowledge of Unix."
--Judith A. Copler, "Database Magazine," August 1994
"This beginning Unix manual is by far the most informative that I have ever read."
--Danny Hill, NOCCC Orange Bytes, August 1994
"O'Reilly & Associates has published a third, revised edition of Learning the Unix Operating System. This has been my favorite brief (under 100 page) introductory book ever since it appeared in 1986. It's better than ever."
--Peter H. Salus; login:, Nov/Dec 1994
Chapter 2, "Using Window Systems," is available free online.
More information about the book, including Table of Contents, index, author bio, and samples.
A cover graphic in jpeg format.
Learning the Unix
By Jerry Peek, Grace Todino & John Strang
Fifth Edition, October 2001
ISBN 0-596-00261-0, 157 pages, $19.95 (US)
O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
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