You don’t have to read this book from start to finish: much of it is a reference for daily work. A typical pattern might be:
Look in the Table of Contents to find a general topic (say, viewing files).
The section for that topic (File Viewing)
begins with a list of relevant commands (
Read about the command you want (e.g.,
We’ll describe many commands in this book. Each description begins
with a standard heading about the command; Figure 1-2 shows one for the
ls (list files) command. This heading
demonstrates the general usage in a simple format:
which means you’d type “ls” followed, if you choose, by options and then filenames. You wouldn’t type the square brackets “[” and “]”: they just indicate their contents are optional; and words in italics mean you have to fill in your own specific values, like names of actual files. You may see a vertical bar between options or arguments, perhaps grouped by parentheses:
This indicates choice: you may supply either a filename or directory name as an argument.
The standard heading in Figure 1-2 also lists six properties of the command printed in black (meaning the property is supported by the command) or gray (unsupported):
This means the command reads from your keyboard, which goes by the name “standard input” (stdin).
The command ...