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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