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UNIX Users Interactive Workbook

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UNIX Users Interactive Workbook


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  • Totally integrated with a FREE, state-of-the-art UNIX learning Web site.
  • Every UNIX Interactive Workbook is fully integrated with its own exclusive Web site, giving you all this and more:
    • “Test Your Thinking” project solutions and detailed explanations.

    • Author's Corner: Your personal connection to this book's expert author.

    • Additional self-review exercises with instant feedback and explanations.

    • An exclusive Virtual Study Lounge where you can interact with other students!

  • You'll learn hands-on, through practical exercises, self-review questions and real-world answers. Exclusive “Test Your Thinking” projects guarantee you'll go beyond rote knowledge to master the subject. It's an integrated learning system that's proven to work.
    • Dozens of exercises cover the real world tasks that matter most.

    • 100s of self-review questions and answers make sure you understand.


  • Copyright 1999
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/4"
  • Pages: 624
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-099820-6
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-099820-0


Master the skills you need to get productive with UNIX-fast!

This hands-on workbook teaches you how to login and logout, set passwords, manage files and directories, and get help whenever you need it. Learn to use the UNIX vi editor, print and format text, and work with grep. Discover the X Windows graphical user interface-plus networks, the Internet, and more!

Totally integrated with a FREE, state-of-the-art UNIX learning Web site!

Every UNIX Interactive Workbook is fully integrated with its own exclusive Web site, giving you all this and more:

  • "Test Your Thinking" project solutions and detailed explanations
  • Author's Corner: Your personal connection to this book's expert author
  • Additional self-review exercises with instant feedback and explanations
  • An exclusive Virtual Study Lounge where you can interact with other students!

Just the facts! No endless, boring discussions here! You'll learn hands-on, through practical exercises, self-review questions and real-world answers. Exclusive "Test Your Thinking" projects guarantee you'll go beyond rote knowledge to really master the subject! It's an integrated learning system that's proven to work!

  • Dozens of exercises cover the real world tasks that matter most!
  • 100s of self-review questions and answers make sure you understand!

Sample Content

Downloadable Sample Chapter

Click here for a sample chapter for this book: 0130998206.pdf

Table of Contents

1. Your First Session.

Logging In. Changing Your Password. Basic Commands. Logging Out. Test Your Thinking.

2. The Command Line.

The Structure of a Command. File Redirection and Pipes. Test Your Thinking.

3. About Files and Directories.

The Directory Hierarchy. Rules for File Names. Information About Files. File and Directory Permissions. Test Your Thinking.

4. Files and Directories.

Displaying the Contents of a Directory. Specifying Files Using Wildcards. Removing Files. Creating and Removing Directories. Copying and Linking Files and Directories. Moving and Renaming Files and Directories. Test Your Thinking.

5. Finding Help.

Reading On-line Help with the Man Command. Finding the Right Man Page. Xman for the X Windows System. Test Your Thinking.

6. Emergency Recovery.

Getting Back to the Command Prompt. Which Command Are You Running? Interrupt a Runaway Program. Clearing Your Display. Setting Your Control Characters. Restoring a File. Test Your Thinking.

7. Finding Files.

Searching Files by Content. Searching Files by Attribute. Test Your Thinking.

8. Regular Expressions.

Basic Regular Expressions. Extended Regular Expressions. Test Your Thinking.

9. The vi Editor.

Starting and Quitting vi. Inserting Text. Moving the Cursor. Deleting Text. Saving a File. Searching Text. Searching and Replacing. Current Line. Moving Text. Test Your Thinking.

10. Working with Text Files.

Sorting. Counting Words. Checking Spelling. Formatting Files. Test Your Thinking.

11. Printing Text Files.

Printing a File. Formatting Text Files for Printing. Managing Print Jobs. Test Your Thinking.

12. Commands and Job Control.

Multiple Commands on a Line. Setting Environment Variables. Foreground and Background. Scheduling Jobs. Test Your Thinking.

13. X Window System.

X Window Basics. Common X Programs. Customizing Your X Window System. Test Your Thinking.

Appendix A Answers to Self-Review Questions.

Appendix B Commands.



Welcome to yet another introductory UNIX book. I'm glad you picked this one up, because I think you'll find it a bit different, and worth your time.

Why is this book different? Well, it's one of the practical books, for starters. It concentrates on things you can do to learn to use UNIX. Every chapter is full of exercises and answers; every chapter ends with a project that makes use of what you've covered.

And this book is supported in a way that others aren't. You're not alone in working on this book. If something in the book is giving you trouble, you can exchange solutions or hints with other readers (or me, even), just by going to the Web site or the newsgroup (more on those in a moment).

There are three important topics that are not covered in this book, simply because every system (even every office!) does things differently. The topics are electronic mail, the World Wide Web, and Usenet news. There are other books that describe these topics in all their variety.

Who This Book Is For
This is a book for people who want to learn to use a UNIX computer system. It's not about programming, databases, Web surfing, or even popular networked shoot 'em-up games. Before you can do those things, you need to know the things in this book. This is a book of basics and tricks that you'll need. It's helpful if you've seen a computer (such as a PC) before, but it's not absolutely necessary. (Is there anyone left who hasn't seen a computer?)

What is UNIX?
There are two answers to this.

  • 1. UNIX is a concurrent multitasking, multiuser computer-operating system. What does that mean? An operating system controls the computer's resources, distributing those resources among the different programs running on the computer. (On any UNIX system you use, there will always be more than one program running.) Although an operating system is itself a program, it isn't a program in the usual sense - you don't use the operating system the way you would use a word processor or a drafting program or a game. (By the way, the desire to play a game called "Space War" was one reason why the UNIX operating system was created, back in 1969.) Instead, the operating system provides the framework so the other programs can make use of the computer.

    To put it another way, if your spreadsheet is a car that gets you from here ("Here are the numbers") to there ("There are the answers"), then the operating system is the superstructure supporting that trip. It's the laws ("Right turn allowed on red light") and the control devices (one-way streets, and traffic lights). With those laws and support structures, thousands or millions of cars can share the roadways. Without the superstructure, collisions are inevitable.

    Multitasking means that more than one user-program can be run at once. (On a UNIX system, you can drive two cars at once, or drive a car and a skateboard.) And concurrent multiuser simply means that more than one user can use the machine at the same time. As with roads, you won't notice the effect until many users are using the system at once: too many users slow down everyone's trip.

  • 2. The second answer is that UNIX is a registered trademark, licensed exclusively by The Open Group. That means that only systems that have passed certain tests given by The Open Group are allowed to call themselves UNIX systems. Since that testing (called "branding") costs oodles of money, there are a number of less expensive systems that look just like UNIX systems but aren't legally allowed to call themselves UNIX systems. Kind of like knowing how to drive but not being allowed to test for your license. (This includes systems such as LINUX and systems that conform to the POSIX standards.) In this book, I'm referring specifically to the Solaris operating system, which is a UNIX system, but almost everything I say is applicable to all of those other systems.

    If you think you already know everything in this book, maybe you're right. Consider reading one of the other Interactive Workbooks - there's a list of the series in the front of this book.

What You'll Need
You'll need access to a UNIX computer system. This means you need a shell account, and access to a terminal or a computer.

You'll also need a pen or pencil and some paper. This book asks questions and expects you to answer them. Each chapter should take an hour or two; the early chapters take less time than the later chapters (and the chapter on the vi text editor will take the longest of all).

How This Book Is Organized
Each chapter contains a brief introduction and a series of Labs, and ends with a project that makes use of the information in the chapter. Suggested answers to the projects are found on the Web site, not in this book.

Each Lab is organized in a similar way. After a brief introduction, there are a set of exercises and questions. (If you do the exercises, you can answer the questions.) After the questions for the Lab come the answers, and after the answers there's a multiple-choice quiz on the Lab. (Answers to the multiple-choice quizzes are in Appendix A.)

  • As to the order of the chapters - you don't have to work on them in order. Obviously, I think you should; I put them in the order that makes the most sense to me. For example, if you're using a system with X Windows installed, you might want to do Chapter 13, "X Window System," right after you finish Chapter 2, "The Command Line." It's your book now and you can use it as you please.
  • Some of the chapters fall into natural groups, and I do suggest you do the groups in sequence. You should work through Chapters 1-4 in sequence. They introduce the basic commands and concepts you'll use throughout the rest of the book.
  • Chapters 5 and 6 ("Finding Help" and "Emergency Recovery") teach you how to find information when you need it, and how to recover from the kinds of minor emergencies you might encounter.
  • Chapters 7 and 8 ("Finding Files" and "Regular Expressions") work together well. Honesty compels me to tell you that you could probably live your entire life without learning regular expressions, but I think they're well worth the effort. They make working with text much easier.
  • You should do Chapter 9, "The vi Editor," because the vi editor is on every UNIX system. Even if you later go on to another editor later you should know at least how to exit the vi editor.
  • Chapters 10 and 11 ("Working with Text Files" and "Printing Text Files") work together.
  • Chapter 12 introduces a number of shortcuts and tricks to join commands together and to run more than one command at a time.
  • Chapter 13, "The X Window System," describes the graphic user interface available with many UNIX systems.

Conventions Used In This Book
The following typographical conventions are followed in this book:
cp file1 file2
A command you should enter into the computer
$ echo $LOGNAME
An example of output from the computer

Either an emphasized or defined word, or a placeholder, a word you should replace with a suitable value. You should be able to identify the questions in each section. There are also a few icons that help you locate important information: one for Advice, one for Tips, and one for the Web companion.

About the Web Companion
This book has a companion Web site, located at:

Think of the Web site as a student lounge, where you can go and find the answers to the projects or just chat with other students about the course or topics of interest. There's even a corner where the author (that would be me) presents items that didn't get into the book or answers questions or just possibly corrects a mistake.

Visit the Web site periodically to share and discuss your answers.


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