The linux command line (book)

“The linux command line”, published by the No Starch Press, sells itself to people who are new to linux, and have been enjoying its gui goodness, but who now want to experience some of the famed power of the command line.

And it absolutely lives up to that promise. It starts very gently, showing you how to comfortably get around the shell with a few simple commands. Then it slowly expands to exploring the whole system. Along the way, it’s very readable, so even though I’ve been using unix for 20 years and didn’t have much to learn in this part, I still enjoyed reading it page by page.

While it was readable, it also included plenty of examples to encourage new users to experiment. I’m convinced that this book will help a new user of any level to become more proficient with the Linux command line, and have fun doing it.

Here’s where the book surprised me. About halfway through, I started having more and more “oh really?” moments. I started really slowing down. I’d never used ‘[[ $x =~ regexp]]’ or the ‘join’ command, for instance. And when I started using unix (sunos around 1993) we didn’t have no fancy option to sort ls output by size, you did that by hand – so I’ve been doing that ever since, even though gnu ls has now had an option for that for, I think, more than a decade. Since I’d expected to finish the book quickly, reading every page cover to cover, and then blog about it, it became frustrating 🙂 But that’s only because I don’t want to miss a single potentially new tip.

So before and partway into reading the book, I was planning to recommend it to anyone using or interested in linux who has not yet had a chance to delve into the command line. Now, I’d recommend it for just about anyone.

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6 Responses to The linux command line (book)

  1. Thanks for the link… $40 might be a little much but think I will grab it anyway!

  2. Bashar says:

    I also really enjoyed that book. I don’t understand how come it’s not more widely publicized. BTW it available as a free pdf download from
    It’s unfortunate the author doesn’t have any other books on the topic.

  3. ramasamyz says:

    Thanks, for the suggestion. I read this book and I can now honestly say I am not a novice in linux anymore.

  4. ramasamyz says:

    Thanks for the suggestion. After reading this book this weekend, I could say I am not a novice in linux anymore.

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