REVIEW - UNIX Weekend Crash Course

Title:

UNIX Weekend Crash Course

Author:

Arthur Griffith

ISBN:

0764549278

Publisher:

Wiley (2002)

Pages:

408pp

Reviewer:

Joe McCool

Reviewed:

December 2002

Rating:

★★☆☆☆

There's something quaint about this book. In the blurb about the author we are told 'Mr. Griffith was first introduced to UNIX in 1985, ...' Then 'Mr. Griffith spent several years ...' and 'Mr. Griffith's most recent books include ...'. Quaint.

Quaint too the suggestion that the reader grab a unix terminal over the weekend and work his way through Mr. Griffith's 30 learning sessions. If it is a weekend, chances are the reader will be using some Linux variant, not Unix at all. His default prompt will not, as Mr. Griffith claims, be "#" or "%". It is more likely to be something much more informative, but none the less confusing to the beginner. The bash shell will see to that. (In the section on scripting, bash doesn't get a mention! It is by far the most commonly used shell.)

Quaint too the suggestion that we mount the supplied cdrom via: mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom. Some unixes will whine that /dev/cdrom doesn't exist or /mnt. Quaint also the suggestions that we simply copy the voluminous software from the supplied CD and compile it up. SCO Unix, for example, doesn't even come with a compiler. I couldn't get the CD to work at all.

Books like this remind me of the 'Get Rich Quick' spams I am bombarded with as emails. There is no free lunch. There is no quick way to learn unix. Such is the nature of the beast, that much more than a weekend is needed to gain competence.

If you want to learn unix, borrow a Linux CD from a friend, join your local user group, subscribe to the newsgroups and jump in the deep end. It is worth the effort. The money you'll save on buying this book can be spent on a fishing rod and a box of worms. Worms are not so quaint.Methodologies etc.


Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.