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Teach Yourself Unix in 24 Hours

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the in-the-fine-tradition-of-home-dentistry dept.

Unix 250

Spencerian writes "The surge of Unix-derived operating systems such as Mac OS X, Linux, and the now-free Solaris is not slowing against the fortified but embattled breakwaters of the Microsoft operating system family. But new power users of other operating systems, including those just starting with Unix as well as the graphical interface of the operating system (such as the Mac OS Finder, or the navigators of KDE or Gnome), remain in need of a comprehensive primer for Unix that complements their previous knowledge. The fourth edition of Dave Taylor's "Teach Yourself Unix in 24 Hours" should remain on the top of the buy list for computer users in need of a strong Unix reference where they may find themselves managing or using the subtle variants of Unix flavors." Read the rest of Spencerians' review.

The format of this Sams book, as with other books in this "Teach Yourself...In 24 Hours" series has not changed. The book content does favor Windows or Macintosh users when describing, comparisons and contrasts of Unix tasks to those popular operating systems. Unless the reader has been a fan of very little-used operating systems in their past and somehow managed to avoid Mac OS, Windows or Linux, absorption of what is needed for each chapter shouldn't be difficult.

Each chapter is technically noted as a one-hour lesson, although the author acknowledges that many may need more than one hour to absorb some material and should take as much time as they need to understand what they need to know. Chapters include the Unix basics such as using text editors such as vi, moving and copying files, viewing file contents and locating files in the operating system, and topics scale upward to advanced shell programming and even Perl programming. Generally, most readers need not read from beginning to end, chapter to chapter. Despite the lesson-like mode of the book, "Teach Yourself Unix" is a reference.

The "Teach Yourself" books are not advanced reference books, however, and "Teach Yourself Unix in 24 Hours" is no exception. As someone that's used more and more Unix commands in the background of Mac OS X to make things easier or to circumvent limitations or flaws of the Mac OS X Finder, the previous editions of "Teach Yourself Unix" were handy references when I needed a quick and certain process to accomplish a task. Sometimes it's too easy for graphical interface users to moan and while when the Windows Explorer or Mac OS X desktops stick and slows to a crawl when managing something as simple as copying a file, forgetting that there is another way. This book contains the basics to manage these tasks without being too basic of a reference.

The author's breadth of knowledge in many Unix-derived systems such as BSD, Solaris, and Linux continue to extend themselves well in the lessons. Each chapter contains explanations and examples to aid those that need more information. Most Slashdot readers might find this level of detail a bit plodding, but some newbies to Unix may need this since Unix is not inherently a graphical operating system that's easy to understand by sight, so things need to be literally spelled out. Peppered throughout the book are sidenotes that keep the reader apprised of exceptions or proper etiquette when handling, discussing or pronouncing Unix tasks and terminology.

There's a marginally useful amount of back matter on the book, consisting of two appendices, one on frequently-asked Unix questions, and another more useful appendix on managing the Apache web server from a command line. The back cover has a simple command-line reference that's not bad, however, being Unix, the amount of commands and versatility seem a bit limited, so the command-line reference lacks a bit of punch. Some chapters seem a bit archaic and probably need to be reconsidered in a future edition--very few of us may have a need to send mail from the command line in this age of Yahoo Mail and the sheer number of mail services available on computers in schools, businesses, homes, and even from cell phones for jotting off a quick note to a comrade for quick answers. Full-time conversing by mail in Unix isn't something I feel anyone but the most hardcore Unix user will relish--and those users aren't the audience of this book.

This book is designed for new Unix users, but intermediate users will find "Teach Yourself Unix in 24 Hours" a handy reference when having to workaround GUI pitfalls or failures. This book's previous versions have saved my bacon in reinforcing my previous experience and skills at the command line when the Mac OS Finder seizes, leaving no graphical way to complete a task. Unfortunately, given the volume of information I must remember in using both Mac OS X and Windows XP, I, for one, can't remember every nuance of Unix needed, particularly since it's not as easily remembered as icons or menus. Perhaps the author may find that a fifth edition will need information on the long-awaited Windows Vista in the event it contains Unix parts and pieces."


You can purchase Sams Teach Yourself Unix in 24 Hours from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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Good start... (3, Insightful)

fak3r (917687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028080)

Sounds like a good start, but know that it'll only be a base to build on. As someone that has used Linux/*BSD/Unix for over 10 years, it's something that will provide a lifetime of learning. The challenge is what I love about it; think about it this way if you want to start with a book like this.

Re:Good start... (5, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028137)

Sounds like a good start, but know that it'll only be a base to build on. As someone that has used Linux/*BSD/Unix for over 10 years, it's something that will provide a lifetime of learning.

Using and learning are very different things. There are people out there, right now - probably millions of them - doing software development the wrong way. They're implementing their small set of knowledge over and over again, for years at a time, not realizing how redundantly and incorrectly they're doing things (a great example would be the millions of developers squeezing out terrible database designs year after year - a particular vice of mine. Perhaps they'll imagine that they're expert database designers after a few years, but that couldn't be further from the truth). If they took a moment and actually learned for a few hours, it would make the implementation part much more effective, but people shun learning when they can just use what they already know as their hammer.

Re:Good start... (0)

killerc (462845) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028515)

If they took a moment and actually learned for a few hours, it would make the implementation part much more effective, but people shun learning when they can just use what they already know as their hammer.

But, wouldn't you say that doing is an important part of learning? There's only so much one can absorb by reading a book. If we never implemented something incorrectly, we would never have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes.

Re:Good start... (1)

gnuLNX (410742) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028711)

And in other news....90% of all programmers claim to be better than 90% of all programmers.

Re:Good start... (5, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028267)

The challenge is what I love about it...

See, one day I was wrestling with a CUPS upgrade that broke printing and telling myself I was learning something in the process, when it dawned on me -- there are more rewarding challenges in life than fighting with a computer.

To the degree that Unix makes my life easier, it's worth using. (There's a VNC window open now saving me from something that would be excruciating in Windows.) But using it to make life more difficult has lost its luster.

Re:Good start... (2, Interesting)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028498)

The funny thing is, yeah OS X has expanded *nix use, but not in a way that people will need this book.

I have a UNIX cert, and know what I'm doing on many flavors of *nix. I'm proud to say (as I push my glasses up the bridge of my nose) that I have vi skillz.

I have not opened the command prompt on any of my OS X systems in over a year.

When I was doing it, over a year ago, it was to ssh to a Linux web server that I used to have.

Once you get used to harnessing the full potential of OS X, bash becomes as redundant as... well... vi.

Really 25 hours... (-1, Redundant)

OctoberSky (888619) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028088)

Must wait 1 hour for Slashdot effect to settle down.

ohh yeah thats right, i read this once (1)

rootedgimp (523254) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028102)

but i thought it was called 'apropos'.. no no, it was 'man'! im sure of it!

Re:ohh yeah thats right, i read this once (2, Funny)

xv4n (639231) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028121)

"I hate Unix because it made me type man mount"

Re:ohh yeah thats right, i read this once (5, Funny)

rootedgimp (523254) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028297)

"I hate Unix because it made me type man mount"

man mount && touch tail more && more; finger assets |grep && fsck; locate cat && tar; whereis find mysqldump..... chpwned.

i need to get out more...well.. on second thought, ill do society a favor.

Re:ohh yeah thats right, i read this once (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028401)

my sister likes man bash

Re:ohh yeah thats right, i read this once (1)

FuzzyBad-Mofo (184327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028441)

Better yet:

$ man woman
No manual entry for woman

insufficient access!! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028737)

$ mount -t woman /dev/girlfriend ~/bed
mount: only root can do that
d'oh!!!

Re:ohh yeah thats right, i read this once (2, Insightful)

Homology (639438) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028564)

but i thought it was called 'apropos'.. no no, it was 'man'! im sure of it!

What is not mentioned in the review of the book, but that you joke about, is the importance of high quality and relevant documentation. Many people today just don't read documentation (be it man pages or not), but perhaps that is the result of shoddy documentation practices on some non *BSD platforms. All to often I see someone post about a "problem" that reading the man pages, the FAQ or a few minutes of Googling will solve.

Just stick with Mac (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028104)

Why bother with Unix when you can thrive just using the Mac interface ;-)
OS X is the future of Unix.

Re:Just stick with Mac (2, Funny)

rootedgimp (523254) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028145)

if this wasnt a joke: post something non AC so i can find and shoot you. if it was: not funny. go get shot somewhere.

Re:Just stick with Mac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028216)

You are an angry little person, aren't you?

My advice, get some sun. Have a fresh glass of orange juice. Go and find something very heavy to pick up then put it back down again.

You might also consider a way to flex the muscle between your legs with something other than your fiercely gripped right hand.

Relax... the ride is almost half over. Might as well try and at least enjoy some of it.

Re:Just stick with Mac (2, Funny)

rootedgimp (523254) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028394)

you could have mentioned you were psychic beforehand :(

Indeed, get some Sun! (1, Insightful)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028563)

Indeed, getting a solid Sun machine is a fantastic way of learning UNIX. Solaris is a very mature UNIX-based system, and it is even open sourced these days. Solaris integrates very well with Sun hardware, but of course that's not a surprise.

You can obtain used SPARC-based Sun workstations relatively cheaply these days from a number of sources, and their newer Operton-based workstations are quite fantastic. If you do happen to find that Solaris isn't to your liking, you can always install Linux, NetBSD, OpenBSD or FreeBSD.

Sun workstations make a fantastic system for learning UNIX.

Re:Just stick with Mac (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028312)

Oh yeah, Macs are just making such enormous inroads into the server world.

Re:Just stick with Mac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028568)

Go ask Sprint.

Sprint is using Xserves for all of their video streaming.

work with someone knowledgable... (5, Informative)

SlashSquatch (928150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028110)

...if you can. There's no substitute.

Re:work with someone knowledgable... (1)

Sabaki (531686) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028235)

But they cost a lot more than a book.

Re:work with someone knowledgable... (4, Funny)

s20451 (410424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028298)

But they cost a lot more than a book.

In India, I hear they give you a free sysadmin with your coffee at Starbucks.

The best way is to solve a problem (4, Interesting)

path_man (610677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028237)

I've found that the best way is to solve some particular problem. Example: add these four new disks from the JBOD enclosure to your linux system. This teaches about the physical device drivers, device files, volume mgmt, filesystem mgmt, and mounting them upon boot (which touches many important aspects of UNIX).

Working with someone else who can help point you in the right direction and solving a problem by yourself is much much better than a book.

Re:work with someone knowledgable... (1)

The_Abortionist (930834) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028280)

In my experience, the best way to learn UNIX is to keep the commands we learn and use in a bookpad. That way, knowledge of what we need stays.

Re:work with someone knowledgable... (0, Redundant)

codergeek42 (792304) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028337)

Yeah. Work with a man, especially one who know's whatis he's doing and can find things for you and, if you want, bash them for you before moving them to your ~/.Trash/ In addition to this, make sure that he can ./configure things appropriately. He may have problems with all programs being in a single bin, but he should be quite alright and should like to /usr/share things.

Dubya! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028144)

George W. Bush is a fucking idiot. Any thoughts?

Re:Dubya! (1)

Asshat Canada (804093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028184)

Hear Hear!
Seconded!

Re:Dubya! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028231)

Yes, I agree. I don't think he will accomplish too much in the next few years of his presidency.

Re:Dubya! (4, Funny)

Hosiah (849792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028251)

It's easy to see why you got modded down -1 flamebait. You need to get the facts straight. A recent study shows the average IQ of the following groups:
Stupid gits: 56
Blithering morons: 48
Bumbling fools: 44.3
Fucking Idiots: 37
Bleeding halfwits: 29.1
Fucking Imbeciles: 26
You have to get to the level of inanimate objects or at the very least slow-moving vegetables as a basis for comparison with Dumbya before you can completely abolish all concerns for counterattacks.

It's on my bookshelf next to... (5, Funny)

toupsie (88295) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028211)

It's on my bookshelf next to Nuclear Powerplant Management for Dummies and Learn to Navigate Alaskan Bound Oil Tankers in 24 Hours. I hate these cheat your way to understanding book titles.

Re:It's on my bookshelf next to... (1)

Asshat Canada (804093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028228)

Totally! People who want to get a basic grasp of a subject that's new to them SUCK!

Re:It's on my bookshelf next to... (1)

kcurtis (311610) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028242)

OK. So you are comparing Unix to nuclear power plants and oil tanker navigation?

Jeesh, usually people on /. point out how anyone can learn *nix. Makes me long for differential calculus.

Re:It's on my bookshelf next to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028275)

I know, I know!!!

How about "Learn to vocalize really sarcastic remarks that will fool your peers into thinking you're witty when you're really just annoyed that someone else is willing to take a few minutes out of their day to become a more complete person than you strive to be?"

That sounds like a great book.

Re:It's on my bookshelf next to... (1)

pedroloco (778593) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028283)

Every journey begins with a first step. A resource like this could be useful to help guide newbies in their initial encounters with *NIX and provide a basis from which they can later expand their knowledge.

Marketing Titles Rejected By Publishers (5, Funny)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028289)

The Hopeless Moron's Guide To

The Shallow Unteachable Twit's Manual For

Become Dangerous With Too Little Knowledge Of In 24 Hours

  For The Brainless

  For Assholes

Re:Marketing Titles Rejected By Publishers (1)

greenguy (162630) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028429)

Or mine...

Chicken Soup for Dummies

Re:It's on my bookshelf next to... (3, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028349)

You must not have see these 'Sams" series books before. I picked up a C++ version about 6 ot 7 years ago. 24 hours? Try 24 lessons which can be read and completed by the author in just over an hour each. They're freakin texts. I must say I haven't seen this one in particular, but if it's like the others I've seen, a good user without some prior understanding of the subject can figure that it will take an evening - 2-3 solid hours - to thoroghly digest each chapter...longer if you work most or all of the examples. It's only the title which makes it appear quick...a more apt title would be "Teach yourself Unix in less than a month if you don't have a life".

Re:It's on my bookshelf next to... (3, Informative)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028408)

That being said, they are quite good texts.
Its pretty well thought and explained to be able to teach yourself .

In 24-hours? Not unless your a crazed, methampthetamine monkey with an IQ of 180 and a degree in speed reading, not too mention the ability to type ~200 wpm.

More realistic would be 1-3 hours per lesson, 3-5 lessons per week.

Each 'hour' in the book is one 'lesson', and there really is no reason to try and complete each lesson in one hour; far better to go over it and make sure you grasp it, and to just generally take it at a relaxed pace.

Re:It's on my bookshelf next to... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028432)

Skydiving for dummies:
"If at first you don't succeed, skydiving may not be for you."

required reading (1)

tomcres (925786) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028503)

Of course, the prerequisite to them all is "Teach Yourself Time in 24 Hours".. 24 hours are useless if you're unacquainted with time. ;-)

Seriously, though, I think the worst one I'd ever seen was something along the lines of a "teach yourself to read" book. I didn't quite understand how that was supposed to work. But maybe it's like those ads in the newspaper saying "Learn to Read".. or the sign at the entrance to McDonald's telling you "Braille and Picture menus available upon request" (I'm sure all the blind and illiterate can read that sign just fine!).. or that Drive-thru ATM's have braille on the keys..

What a world! What a world!

time (3, Funny)

karvind (833059) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028221)

I wonder if the book tells the reader not to use his watch and use unix command time [wlv.ac.uk] before he/she starts reading the book. That 24 hours may not be real or user time but sys instead.

Just kidding :P

screw that book (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028232)

If you really want to understand unix you shouldn't get this book

Some time ago I found an old text book for sysadmins written in 94.

It skipped all that about guis and actually explained how to manage the OS via commandline.

I had been using gnome for some time, but after reading that book I finally understood what all those scary commands meant when I configured my wifi card.

So which book should I get, oh wise one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028257)

No text.

You must have found one amazing book... (5, Funny)

anandamide (86527) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028261)

...if it described how to configure your WiFi card in 1994!
Was it called "Configuring Not-Yet-Invented Hardware for Dummies" ?

Re:You must have found one amazing book... (1)

RandoX (828285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028374)

The book was written in 1994. He found it some time ago. The book didn't describe how to configure the card, it explained the commands that he had followed previously to do so. Try to pay attention.

Humor is wasted on the humorless... (1)

anandamide (86527) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028736)

but oh well.

Step #1 (3, Informative)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028236)

% man man

Re:Step #1 (1)

daeley (126313) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028341)

Or better yet, the rather risque 'man woman'. ;)

Re:Step #1 (1)

skribble (98873) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028576)

No manual entry for woman

And seriously what did you geeks expect?

Re:Step #1 (1)

pyrrhonist (701154) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028683)

No manual entry for woman
And seriously what did you geeks expect?

Wait, does this mean that that entry is automatic or that the entry is incompatible with type 'finger'?

Re:Step #2 (1)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028367)

"Dude, dude!"

Re:Step #1 (0, Troll)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028595)

% man man

You're not allowed to type a command such as that in a number of American states, including Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma.

A suitable homophobic alternative on some systems might be:

$ info man

Step #2 (1)

gnuLNX (410742) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028735)

To see a list of all the great command that you can learn about with man simply hit your tab button twice.

[Tab] [Tab]

Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years (4, Insightful)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028246)

When people talk about books titled "ten yourself something in NN hours/days" it always reminds me about this [norvig.com] webpage.

And in fact that's the truth - you can't learn that something in few days. Progamming? unix administration? sailing? playing chess? Man... that takes years to master.

Re:Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years (4, Insightful)

Petrini (49261) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028318)

Sure, those things take years to master. But that's mastery. Does it take years to learn how to play chess? No. Does it take years to become a master of chess? Yes.

Learning how to accomplish tasks like adding a user and its options is simpler and takes far less time than learning how to write 'adduser.' Evaluate the book on the standard it sets for itself: learning how to do things. Don't judge it wanting because it doesn't teach the entire universe of how unix works.

I learned web design in 24 minutes (1)

MemeRot (80975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028430)

At the totally awesome BudUglly web design page: http://budugllydesign.com/archivebud/bud9609/bud.h tml/ [budugllydesign.com]

Seriously check it out, I laughed for an hour at this site.

Re:Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028540)

I could have sworn you were going to tell us it reminded you of this [ibiblio.org] .

Re:Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years (1)

HavokDevNull (99801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028654)

As you said it takes years to master something. Let me point out; to learn something to get the basic idea/rules is different than mastering something. For example: I for one learned how to play chess in a couple hours. Does that mean I mastered playing chess in a couple of hours? NO of course not, but I do have the basic rules down to allow me to play chess.

Your sentence should read more like this: "And in fact that's the truth - you CAN learn that something in few days. Programming? UNIX administration? sailing? playing chess? Man... BUT that takes years to master."

insulting? (4, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028262)

I find all these "$THING for $PEOPLE" and "$THING in $QUANTITY of time" books insulting.

Sure you can learn how to type "cd /usr/bin ; sudo rm -rf *" in 20 minutes. Can you learn to develop and debug shell scripts in 24 hours? I think not.

Nor do I think people can learn C or C++ or Java in 24 hours. It's just insulting. Now I know they don't literally mean one day, but even college classes run longer than 24 hours. In college you'll have a 50-60 hour class on "intro to C" followed by FIVE MORE SEMESTERS of classes that build on it.

I hate these books because they're retarded. I learned C primarily from "type and learn C" [I think by Sams] when I was 12. Then I proceeded to actually write programs [lots of them, 1000s of them]. I learned by doing and it took a long time. I wasn't half-way decent at "coding" until I was 19 and I'm just getting solid at proper development [well I'd say the last year has been really smooth].

For all of us who do take it serious and have been through a lot of training I find these books insulting. And no, it isn't because I sunk a boatload of cash into the courses like a MCSE. I think people are quite capable of teaching themselves how to use UNIX shells or C programming. I just don't think it's the sort of thing you can do over a weekend or two.

So fuck off already with the books that serve no purpose but to flood the market with a lot of "smart" people who turn out to be useless as the day is long.

Tom

Re:insulting? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028383)

Nor do I think people can learn C or C++ or Java in 24 hours.

Lots of people think they can, looking and interviewing people out there you would think they at least know how to cut'n'paste the key words, but upon questioning them it shows right away.

A sure sign I will not hire them.

Re:insulting? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028509)

It's called "marketing" you dumbass.

The book isn't titled "Become a Unix Guru in 24 hours!" or "Know absolutely everything about Unix in 24 hours!"

Nowhere does it claim to turn you into an expert in any span of time. For most people, "learning" Unix involves finding the basic commands and how to use them effectively so that they can do what they require. From that angle, there's no reason to have any negative opinion of this book (without having first READ IT). The average learning-text-buying schmuck on the street could very well learn how to *USE* Unix in some span of time nearing 24 hours from this book, if that 24 hours is broken up to be a few hours per day (NOT ONE EFFING DAY STRAIGHT!).

24 hours? Maybe not. Less than 40 hours? Most likely.

It doesn't take a whole hell of a lot of time to learn the basics of OS manipulation.

Get your elitist "I struggled so you must too" head out of your ass. This book is a *basic reference*, not to be confused with a specialized "learn every goddamn quirk, function, key, option and shortcut or die tryin'" textbook.

Re:insulting? (1)

Sir_Cockalot (924092) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028747)

They say you need to read 20 books to become an expert on a subject. So this would be a start, but there isn't one and probably never be a book that's all encompassing.

You can learn how to 'ls' and 'top' in 24 hours (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028270)

But to really understand Unix it takes years. I even have a degree in CS and it took me at least 5 years to really 'get' it.

Re:You can learn how to 'ls' and 'top' in 24 hours (1)

heauxmeaux (869966) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028313)

"I even have a degree in CS and it took me at least 5 years to really 'get' it"
That's a redundant statement old chum ;)

Re:You can learn how to 'ls' and 'top' in 24 hours (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028339)

But to really understand Unix it takes years. I even have a degree in CS and it took me at least 5 years to really 'get' it.

well no shit, you spent 4 years in college learning terms and definitions and theory that is in no way useful in the real world, imagine if you would have spent all that time 'getting' unix instead. you'd be ccna material porting ios to sun4m (or something equally as complex and useless.)

The Truth about Linux (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028272)

Hello,

I am a secretary at a Fortune 500 company that has recently deployed Linux on all of our desktop servers. These new "boxen", as the techies at IT call them, run several times slower than our old Windows XP boxes, take twice as long to boot, and are completely without any anti-virus software. I have taken my complaints to senior staff, and have met with a consistent, pervasive response: "Linux is the new standard."

Thanks, guys. I blame you.

Re:The Truth about Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028388)

errr. you are a secretary AND you browse slashdot.. hmm, sorry, not gonna bite...

Re:The Truth about Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028752)

I'll bite:

-Linux isn't designed for boot time, it's designed for stability. Boot time can drop significantly if you turn off HW-auto-detection, but distros out of the box don't handle that especially well
-If you are having speed issues after boot, that could be a configuration (esp. graphics) problem. My old Pentium III 450 couldn't run XP with any speed at all, yet it ran Linux great. My (slightly newer) Celeron 2GHz couldn't really run XP with less than 512MB of RAM, Debian Linux ran on 256 happily with OO.org, GNOME, and Firefox running non-stop, as well as rhythmbox.
-Linux systems rarely have AV software, and they don't really need them, SELinux adds a lot of protection against virii if you are really worried. The idea that everything needs AV software is microsoft-borne.

Hit TV series on the way? (4, Funny)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028277)

24 Unix!

It would be modeled after the hit American TV series with Mr. Sutherland in it. He'd have just 24 hours to learn Unix, or a bomb goes off yadda yadda. Each hour of the show would show him at the command line, or trying to get X Windows running, and about hour 15 someone should show him a Linux Live CD and nearly save the day.

It could be shot under the BSD license, and run on either a Mac or Intel processor, depending on what they'd think would get better ratings.

Any TV producers out there want to buy the rights to my idea?

"Teach Yourself UNIX in a week" - by same author (4, Funny)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028306)

The same author also wrote "Teach Yourself UNIX in a Week" [amazon.com] .

But he's way behind on speed. The current record holder is "Teach Yourself UNIX in 10 minutes". [amazon.com]

You may also need "Advanced Speed Typing" [letterchase.com] and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment [nih.gov] .

Re:"Teach Yourself UNIX in a week" - by same autho (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028541)

You may also need "Advanced Speed Typing" and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment.

Only if you're also using this [amazon.com] book.

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028317)

1. Get HIV by spanking rabbits/monkeys
2. Learn Unix in 24 hours
3. ?????
4. Cure yourself from AIDS
5. PROFIT!!!

The Difficulty (4, Informative)

miyako (632510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028334)

I think that the biggest difficulty that a lot of users have when transitioning from working with the GUI to working with the command line is the fundamental difference in the way that the two operate. The biggest difference as I see it is that the GUI is good at performing 1 operation at a time on an arbitrary set of files. The command line on the other hand seems to be most useful when you want to perform many tasks on a single file, or a group of files like *.txt or foo*. For many things on the command line there is no real anlagous way to perform the task with a GUI.
The problem is that many people who first start out with the command line seem to view it as more of them having to simply type in obscure commands to correspond to the same steps they would take were they using a GUI. I've seen many people type:
cd /home/myusername/foo
ls
cp foo.txt /home/myusername
cd /home/myusername/
mv foo.txt bar.txt
cd foo
rm foo.txt
instead of simply typing mv ~/foo/foo.txt ~/bar.txt Of course this is a simple example, but I think that it illustrates my point that people are often locked into the GUI mindset. As such, even if they understand in the abstrace the use of piping and output redirection, etc, the difficulty is in understanding how to use those tools efficiently.

But I'm still learning after 24 years! (1)

sholdowa (242332) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028342)

The concept of how *nix works takes far longer than a day to get your head round, as is learning to use the keyboard as a command interface!

Let's be honest... (1)

Hamster Lover (558288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028351)

the only command someone who needs this book should know is shutdown -g0 -y.

I quit Sam's years ago (3, Interesting)

Hosiah (849792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028356)

As the well-known tech author Peter Norvig noted, you won't learn but diddly in 24 hours (my wording). In fact, I daresay that Unix is not a topic one expects to learn completely in *any* finite length of time. Instead, one must stroll to the heftier material (like "Unix: the Complete Reference" that McGraw-Hill publishes) and take it home for a few dollars more. You keep it on hand as an on-going reference source.

I'm afraid I can't pull any punches on this one: any "teach yourself X in 24 hours" book is snake oil to get your money. It's there to take advantage of people with the wrong attitude - Unix (and most of IT along with it) evolves so continuously, it practically re-invents itself every five years (through BSD, Linux, Solaris, etc). Get it in your head that it's a "learn-it-once" thing and you end up ten years later still able to babble Apple 2 Basic and remembering that SIMM = "single inline memory module" and DIMM = "dual inline memory module", but having to scurry back to the docs every time you edit your Python script.

Save $10.20! (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028365)

Save yourself $10.20 by buying the book here: Teach Yourself Unix in 24 Hours [amazon.com] . And if you use the "secret" A9.com discount [amazon.com] , you can save an extra 1.57%!

Re:Save $10.20! (1)

ozydingo (922211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028692)

Parent should not have been modded troll, amazon.com currently lists the book (same edition) for cheaper.

you heard of " Teach Yourself Unix in 24 Hours" (1)

dweebzilla (871704) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028375)

Yeah, this is going to blow that right out of the water.

Listen to this:

Teach Yourself Unix in . . . 23 . . . Hours


i bought the tech yourself linux in 24 hours (1)

digitallysick (922589) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028411)

Of course this was wayyyyyy back in the day, i think it was 1996? what a joke, im still trying to teach myself linux lol, its alot easier now, then i remember trying to manually partition my packard bell (the only pc i had) to try to run slackware on it, mannn was it compliated downloading a package at a time on 56k, then once i had them it, it did not run =( supported nothing on the packedbell!!!

The battle against Microsoft! (1)

Aundy (930631) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028434)

I think that the main reason why people think that Windows is easier to use than Unix is because most people are more familiar with Windows. I have a partion on my hardrive and I use windows XP and Ubuntu. In my opinion Ubuntu is just as easy to use as Windows XP, but it is far more powerfull. When i first started to use Ubuntu I found it frustrating because I was not used to using command line, since it is not often used in Windows. But as I got used to the command line I found that I could easily do things using the command line that would be much more difficult to do in Windows. This bookn is great becuase will help people get used to using Unix, and once people are used to Unix then they would most likely choose Unix instead of Windows.

Step 1: rm vwls -r (4, Funny)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028447)

When trying to remember commands, step one is to remove all the vowels.

I don't even want to think what Unix would have been like if it had been created by Finns or Hawaiians.

My problem with "learning Unix" (4, Interesting)

TheReckoning (638253) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028490)

... whatever that means, is this. I need a high-level description of how Unix works. I have a reasonable handle on how Windows works (at least on a conceptual basis), so if I run into a problem or would like to get something done, I have an idea the kind of tools I need.

I've only played with HP-UX and a couple of Linux flavors - and not long or thorough enough to know what's going on under the hood.

Some examples:

How does **nix boot? How does it interact with hardware? Is there a general hint to what all the directories are about or any memory aids for knowing what's in them? Permissions - any chance of an overview of what the bits mean, why they might be used and how they're actually used?

The books I've seem go right from a brief history of Unix to either installing it or talking about commands. I've got no problem learning the "how", but I really need to know the "why" before I will spend the valuable time re-learning my way around an OS. Until then, I'll be sticking with Windows.

Does anyone know any books that address the "how it all works together" part? I'll be happy to read man pages and cryptic HOWTOs once I know why I'm doing it.

There are many books about UNIX internals. (3, Informative)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028638)

You need a book such as "The Design and Implementation of the 4.4BSD Operating System". I believe there is a more recent edition which focuses on FreeBSD. There are many other books out there, too, focusing on the internals of systems like Linux, Solaris and OpenServer.

They explain how each portion of the system works, in addition to how they work together. And then they explain exactly why.

You should be able to find such books at a university bookstore.

Re:There are many books about UNIX internals. (1)

TheReckoning (638253) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028678)

Thanks.

Do they tend to be aimed at people who already know a lot about CS or *nix? I really want something that starts from a bird's-eye view (more concept than detail) and gets more detailed as the book progresses. I can learn anything technical, especially if I can get a handle on the "who" and "why" before filling up on the "what" and "how".

Re:There are many books about UNIX internals. (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028722)

You should have at least some background in operating system theory.

The 4.4BSD Daemon book says in its preface: "This book is suitable for use as a reference text to provide background for a primary textbook in a second-level course on operating systems. It is not intended for use as an introductory operating-system textbook; the reader should have already encountered terminology such as memory management, process scheduling, and I/O systems."

The 4.4BSD Daemon book has very little code in it, and what is there is often pseudocode. It's not like some books on Linux that display the entire source code, with commentary.

Re:My problem with "learning Unix" (1)

kilgortrout (674919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028699)

I'd recommend a book from O'Reilly Publishing entitled "Running Linux". Another good book is "Linux Power Tools" by Roderick W. Smith.

Not 24 hours (1)

johansalk (818687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028521)

24 hours is nonsense. I'd say 24 days for the basics and 24 months for a better mastery of the basics is a more reasonable estimate. Unix is *not* KDE and how to burn a CD or play a game in KDE. Unix is posix, bash, sed, awk, perl, vim, and so on.

Who Needs a Book?! (3, Funny)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028546)

Conversation between me and friend:
Me: What else should I put on my resume?
Friend: Can you use grep?
Me: Yeah kind of
Friend: Bam! Instant Unix admin!

The book simply wouldn't have sold as well... (1)

trudyscousin (258684) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028550)

...had it been titled "Unix: Dummy to Diletante in 24 Hours."

cant wait ;-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028587)

24 hours? Why so long?
Im about to teach you any unix in one (I repreat one) 3 second video giude. I'd just plain say "Don't" to anyone who wants to get to knowing it in 24 hours ;-)

power users with bookshelves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14028614)

Power users would rather benefit from proper manpages. I found that unices have much better manpages than linux. It is possible to learn how to properly use sed and awk from manpages on unix. I don t think this is true of linux.

If solaris is free, what about merging it all in LDP ?

Re:power users with bookshelves (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028677)

Do not forget that a lot of GNU software (which often compromises a large portion of a base Linux system) uses the Info documentation system, rather than man pages. Often times the man pages are not always updated frequently.

Best intro to Linux book out there... (2, Informative)

massysett (910130) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028632)

...is free on the Net. Introduction to Linux: A Hands-On Guide [tldp.org] at the Linux Documentation Project. Print the PDF, save a trip to the bookstore. Doesn't assume (much) prior knowledge, yet omits all the trivial "Here's how to burn a CD in K3B" nonsense.

The title is a little pretenious but... (1)

helix_r (134185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028653)


Sometimes all people need is a little push to get them started. If all that book does is to effectively intro some commands and some ideas into the head of someone who never used unix, I think it is sucessful.

Learn to be an elitist slashdotter in 24 hours (2, Insightful)

foQ (551575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028717)

Most of the replies to this article go something like "You can't learn anything in 24 hours" or "If you use this book you shouldn't use Unix". The first type of reply is valid, but this review points out in several places that this book is useful as a reference guide, not just as a lesson-based learning method. And "Learn $THING$ in $TIME$" is a whole lot catchier and more profitable than "Figure It Out Yourself". Everybody needs to start somewhere, and for some folks, getting a book that will get them to do something meaningful at a command line is a GREAT start! As for the people who post the second type of comment: Get back under your bridge, troll. Seriously, not everybody here at slashdot has been programming C for a decade and uses lynx to surf. I'm sure a lot of people will find this book useful to them, just as "Learn Personal Hygiene in 24 Hours" would be useful to you.

24 Hours is SOOOO yesterday's news (1)

jgerry (14280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14028738)

24 hours? Meh. I think everyone should wait and buy my upcoming book "Teach Yourself UNIX in 23 Hours". I mean, when you see both of them on the shelf, right next to each other, you're definitely going to buy the 23-hour book. Why waste that extra hour?!?! Right? *

* theme of this joke shamelessly stolen from the 8-Minute Abs vs. 7-Minute Abs scene in "There's Something About Mary"
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