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From Bash to Z Shell: Conquering the Command Line by Peter Stephenson, Jerry Peek, Oliver Kiddle

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Preface

A shell is a sophisticated way to control your computer—Unix, Linux, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and others. If you do more than the most basic operations, you can do many of them more powerfully and quickly with a shell and your keyboard than by using a mouse.

The history of shells goes back some 30 years. In the early days of the Unix operating system, choosing and customizing your interface to a computer was a new idea. (It still is new to many people today, users of "one-size-fits-all" window systems that can be changed only superficially.) Before windows and a mouse were common, programmers began developing an interface that used the keyboard: typing one or a few words to run programs, then reading results from the same screen. ...

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