The Linux Command Line by William E Shotts jr

The Linux Command Line: A Complete Introduction by William Shotts jr is as complete as you might desire / imagine and delivers much more than it promises. This is simply the most fun, yet strikingly comprehensive, introduction to Linux that you could want. As the title states it focusses on interaction via the Linux command line yet delves into popular GUI’s at times and provides such comprehensive coverage that you will go from newbie to pro in no time. The author states plainly his intention that you progress linearly through the book and in that it is provides what I felt was a perfect pace. The chapters are bite size and deal with specific aspect of command line interaction. Appropriate commands and instructions are introduced and then put into practical use. It’s instructive both theoretically and with hands-on exercises.

The prose is so well crafted and so friendly and chatty, without being annoying, that you are simply carried along. I have to say, and it’s the last thing I would have expected to say about a Linux book, let alone a command line focused one, but this is a fun read! Seriously. I have used a wide variety of Linux and Unix manuals in my time, sometimes for reference and often for instruction, but this book is head and shoulders above them all. I can’t believe that it really delivers a compelling case as to why the command line can be your friend and also in the process makes you realise that how raw Linux power underlies the modern GUI.

This is a very comprehensive manual and takes you through to a relatively advanced level starting from scratch. It presumes no prior knowledge, and starts off with suggestions on how to deploy a flavor of Linux so you can play with it. As I mention, the chapters are perfectly manageable from the perspective of being able to mentally address a specific concept and despite the comprehensive nature, the volume moves you through at a solid and suitable pace.

I can’t recommend this book enough for novice and intermediate user alike. It offers excellent self-paced instruction and enforces the learning with well crafted exercises. It is clearly well crafted and thoughtfully devised and a superb investment.

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