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Learning the HP-UX Operating System

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Learning the HP-UX Operating System


  • Sorry, this book is no longer in print.
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  • Copyright 1996
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/4"
  • Pages: 336
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-258534-0
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-258534-7


HP-UX has taken off in popularity. As a result of this popularity there are many new HP-UX users. Some of these new HP-UX users have direct experience with other operating systems but have no direct experience with UNIX. Others have learned HP-UX “the hard way” , by experimenting. Still others have taken an HP-UX training course but are now relying on generic UNIX books to learn HP-UX. Learning the HP-UX Operating System is for all of these users.

This book doesn't waste a lot of time with the background of UNIX and comparing various UNIX implementations. Instead, the author gets right to what you need to know to be a productive HP-UX user.

The chapters in this book contain useful information and have names such as: Login and Password; The HP-UX File System; File System Related Commands; HP-UX Tools; HP-UX Networking; and Shell Programming.

This book leaves no stone unturned. From the basics such as login and password to advanced topics such as shell programming you'll be exposed to everything you need to be quickly productive with HP-UX.

Sample Content

Table of Contents

 1. HP-UX Components and Typical Installations.

 2. Login and Password.

 3. The HP-UX File System.

 4. Permissions, the ls command, and File Name Expansion and Wild Cards.

 5. File System Related Commands.

 6. HP-UX Tools.

 7. HP-UX Networking.

 8. Shell Programming.

 9. HP Visual User Environment Introduction.

10. The vi Editor.

11. HP-UX System Administration Introduction.

12. Pogramming With SoftBench.

13. Command Summary.



Welcome to Learning The HP-UX Operating System. I have worked with hundreds of HP-UX customers over the years, written over fifty technical articles, and written two books on HP-UX. In all of these endeavors my focus has always been taking the complex and making it easier to understand so users can be productive quickly. These are my number one priorities in Learning The HP-UX Operating System - make HP-UX easy to understand and get you started quickly.

Is HP-UX complex? In many respects it is. I'll tell you what complexity you can ignore, and what complexity you just have to bite the bullet and deal with. I'll also do my very best to make the complexity you have to deal with a little easier to understand both through example and providing just enough background.

HP-UX is an operating system based on UNIX. There was a time when UNIX based systems were intended to be used by only scientists on their "private" computers. Now HP-UX is found as much in commercial environments as it is in scientific and engineering groups. This would not have been possible with the original UNIX operating system I worked with many years ago. It is because of the many advancements in UNIX based operating systems, most importantly HP-UX, that it can now be considered for commercial applications.

The good news for you as a potential user of HP-UX is that many of the advancements that have taken place are in the area of the user interface and ease-of-use. To have been an early UNIX user, I can assure you from first hand experience, would have been a more difficult experience.

Now HP-UX is really on a roll. If you have seen an HP-UX system recently you have seen not only the commercial functionality that has become an important part of HP-UX but also the user interface and multi-media advancements. But does this mean that HP-UX is easier to use? Does this mean you'll have to issue fewer of those scary UNIX commands such as grep and awk? Are all of those slick backgrounds, colors, and graphics just a mask over what is still an operating system developed for a bunch of PhD's?

You will have to answer these questions yourself after you have read and worked with this book. I hope you'll go through this whole book during which I'll give you both background and how-to information on becoming an HP-UX user.

You probably already have some experience with a computer operating system that you enjoy working with. I hope this book shows you that HP-UX is also an enjoyable operating system to use. I have worked with several proprietary operating systems that I too thought were great. Working with UNIX is certainly more of a challenge, however, I have seen hundreds of users come over from proprietary operating systems to HP-UX quickly and enjoy the experience along the way.

I also want you to know you can trust me. I have worked with so many new HP-UX users that I know what you need to know. I won't waste a lot of time with System V this and Berkeley that. I'll give you what you need to know and provide only relevant background. I'll fast forward past the history lesson of UNIX and jump into the state-of-the-art UNIX implementation in - HP-UX.

This article series is written in such a way that you don't need experience with any particular operating system to read it. Whether your experience is with a mainframe operating system, VMS, MPE, DOS, Windows or any other operating system it won't matter when it comes to understanding what I provide.

Experience with any operating system will be enough to easily follow along with the topics I cover in the book.

Learning The HP-UX Operating System is comprised of the following chapters:

Chapter 1 - HP-UX Components and Typical Installations

Chapter 2 - Login and Password

Chapter 3 - The HP-UX File System

Chapter 4 - Permissions, the ls Command, and File Name Expansion and Wild Cards

Chapter 5 - File System Related Commands

Chapter 6 - HP-UX Tools

Chapter 7 - HP-UX Networking

Chapter 8 - Shell Programming

Chapter 9 - HP VUE

Chapter 10 - The vi Editor

Chapter 11 - HP-UX System Administration Intro

Chapter 12 - Programming with SoftBench

Chapter 13 - Command Summary

Conventions Used in the Book

I don't use a lot of complex notations in the book. Here are a few simple conventions I've used to make the examples clear and the text easy to follow:

$ and # The HP-UX command prompt. Every command issued in the book is preceded by one of these prompts.


Italics is used primarily when referring to a menu pick or other such selection.

bold and " "

Bold text is the information you would type, such as the command you issue after a prompt or the information you type when running a script. Sometimes information you would type is also referred to in the text explaining it and the typed information may appear in quotes.


When selections have to be made, this indicates the one chosen for the purposes of the example.


Like my other books, there were too many people involved in helping me with this book to list them all. I have decided to formally thank those who wrote sections of the book and those who took time to review it.

I'm still not sure if it takes more time to write something or review something that has been written to ensure it is correct. Aside from the reviewers and those who wrote sections of the book I must thank my manager, John Perwinc. Not only did John put up with my writing this book but he also encouraged me to write both this book and my previous books. He also sponsored the training I required to gain the knowledge to write this book and supported me in every way possible.

A group that requires special thanks is my family who put up with a workstation on our kitchen table for the year I was writing this book and for putting up with the many late nights I spent at customer sites and HP offices working on the book.

Debbie Lienhart

Debbie manages the SoftBench Framework and User Interface team of Hewlett Packard in Fort Collins, CO. She has been a software engineer and manager at Hewlett-Packard in Fort Collins for 13 years. Before joining the SoftBench team, Debbie worked on EE CAD systems and debuggers. In a previous life she was a technical illustrator for a geologic engineering consulting company. She has a BA in Geography from Humboldt State University and an MS in Computer Science from Colorado State University. Debbie wrote the "Programming With SoftBench" chapter of this book.

Gerry Fish

Gerry was an instructor with Hewlett Packard Customer Education Services for over eight years. As an instructor he wrote and taught many HP-UX and UNIX programming, administration, and client/server implementation courses. He has written numerous shell scripts for HP customers as well as shell scripts to manage over 30 systems in the HP Boston Education Center. Gerry wrote the shell programming chapter of this and my other books.

Gerry is currently working with the Hewlett-Packard Medical Products Group (MPG) where he is an Information Technology Consultant working on a new client/server architecture for MPG's internal business applications.


I'm not sure what makes someone agree to review a book. You don't get the glory of a contributing author but it is just as much work. The two reviewers of this book are Karen Kilgore and Jim McCauley of Hewlett Packard in Mountain View, CA. I greatly appreciate their hard work in insuring the correctness of this book.

Marty Poniatowski

Marty has been a Technical Consultant with Hewlett Packard for ten years in the New York area. He has worked with hundreds of HP-UX customers in many industries including on-line services, financial, and manufacturing. He has worked extensively with both HP server and workstation installations.

Marty has had published over 50 articles in computer industry trade publications. In addition to this book, he is the author of HP-UX 10.x System Administration (Prentice Hall 1995) and The HP-UX System Administrator's "How To" Book (Prentice hall 1993). He holds an M.S. in Information Systems from Polytechnic University (Brooklyn, NY), an M.S. in Management Engineering from the University of Bridgeport (Bridgeport, CT), and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Roger Williams University (Bristol, RI).


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