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November 19, 2002

The Compendium of Practical Unix Information--Updated for the New and Veteran Unix User Alike: O'Reilly Releases "Unix Power Tools, Third Edition"

Sebastopol, CA--Early power tools were built with steel casings, copper windings, and plenty of ball bearings, with an end result so solid that the tools were almost too heavy to lift. In spite of their unwieldiness, tradesmen were nevertheless quick to implement them, recognizing from the start that the boost in productivity these tools promised would ensure a competitive edge in the marketplace. Although the power tools one uses with Unix--the add-ons, features, and many utilities that have been made part of the Unix operating system over the years--are not typically unwieldy, they have something in common with those first handheld tools: they have been snapped up eagerly at the onset by users who've seen in them the same promise of increased productivity, efficiency, and a competitive edge.

Just as industrial power tools have changed over the years, Unix has changed, too. The growing popularity of Linux and the advent of Darwin have led more and more users to discover the advantages of this operating system every day. Even beginning Unix users quickly grasp that immense power exists in shell programming, aliases and history mechanisms, and various editing tools. But there is so much to learn; users are challenged to master the power available to them. For new and old-hand users alike, the third edition of Unix Power Tools (Powers, Peek, O'Reilly, and Loukides, O'Reilly, US $69.95), offers the most complete guide to Unix tips, scripts, and techniques that can be found between two book covers. Since 1993, Unix users have turned to this book, considered by many to be the best Unix book ever.

"Unix Power Tools, Third Edition" is a browser's book, filled with short articles, like a magazine that you don't read from start to finish, but leaf through repeatedly until you realize that you've read it all. Tim O'Reilly, coauthor of the book, says, "I've always wanted to publish books that capture the essence of the hacker experience. Our basic 'drill down' book--like 'Essential System Administration,' or 'Programming Perl,' or 'DHTML: The Definitive Reference,' or any of the other classic 'animal books'-- embodies all the knowledge of a single expert. But we've always wanted a format that made it easy to present lots of small but useful tidbits--tips, tricks, and dare I say, hacks.

"Our first crack at this problem came in 1993, when I edited and coauthored a book entitled 'Unix Power Tools.' I conceived it in the early days of the World Wide Web as a kind of 'hypertext in print' that would make it possible to present a collection of tips harvested from the net and from a community of experts, in a way that was both easy to search and fun to explore."

The latest edition of this book is loaded with advice about almost every aspect of Unix, covering all the new technologies that users need to know. In addition to vital information on Linux, Mac OS X, and BSD, "Unix Power Tools" now offers more coverage of bash, zsh, and other new shells, along with discussions about modern utilities and applications. Several sections focus on security and internet access. A new chapter covers access to Unix from Windows, addressing the heterogeneous nature of systems today. The book also includes expanded coverage of software installation and packaging, and basic information on Perl and Python.

"Readers are going to discover that Unix doesn't have to be 'hard' anymore," says coauthor Shelley Powers. "It's getting to the point that Unix installations and the graphical desktops are almost as easy to install and configure as Windows--and are usually more secure, more interesting, with access to much more free software and assistance.

"Today's Unix is sexier, friendlier, and moving in completely different neighborhoods than yesterday's Unix," Powers explains. "Gone is the tough, geek-only image, wrapped in discussions of kernels and cron jobs, communication interspersed with such esoteric terms such as awk, sed, daemons, and pipes. Still," she adds, "the basic core of the old Unix remains, forming a hybrid of its older, powerful functionality that's been integrated with modern conveniences."

"Unix Power Tools, Third Edition" provides access to information every Unix user will benefit from knowing. Users of all flavors of Unix, from newcomers to the most experienced, will find themselves thumbing through the wealth of information in the new edition of this bestseller to add to their store of knowledge. A power tool in itself, "Unix Power Tools, Third Edition" can do the heavy lifting for you.

What the critics said about the previous edition:

"As a Unix professional, I have my own small library of O'Reilly books. If I need a book on any particular topic, I look to see if O'Reilly has one first. The quality and content of the books I have is excellent. It should have been no surprise to me that my recent purchase 'Unix Power Tools, Second Edition' would not be any less. I was unprepared however, at the goldmine I discovered. All of the little tips and tricks I've learned in my (relatively short) 5 years of Unix hacking were all in there. My only dismay was that my acquired knowledge was covered in about 1/5th of the book! My thanks to Mr. Peek, Mr. O'Reilly (go figure), and Mr. Loukides. This book will be an excellent reference for years to come. Good work!"
--Patrick J. Toal

"This unusual technical book contains over 1000 pages of practical information...it is useful and fun to read. It contains material that will interest all Unix programmers, even the most experienced."
--M.S. Joy, Computing Reviews, June 1998

"Huge, expensive, and worth every cent. Your Linux geek will be thumbing this one for years."
--Gene Wilburn, Computer Paper, December 2000

Additional Resources:

Unix Power Tools, Third Edition
Shelly Powers, Jerry Peek, Tim O'Reilly, and Mike Loukides
ISBN 0-596-00330-7, 1116 pages, $69.95 (US), $108.95 (CAN)
order@oreilly.com
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

About O'Reilly

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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