REVIEW - The Linux Command Line - A Complete Introduction


The Linux Command Line

A Complete Introduction


William E. Shotts, Jr.


No Starch Press (2012)




Ian Bruntlett


May 2019



I am not an expert in this field. I use the command line regularly and have written a couple of shell scripts that are particularly important to me.

This book is available as a paid-for book and as a free to download PDF from Before I read this book, I read How Linux Works, to get a better idea about Linux.

Note from the book’s author: “The second No Starch edition contains about 20 pages of additional material mostly having to do with bash version 4 and a number of additions inspired by reader feedback. The second No Starch edition is based on my 5th Internet edition which you can download from”

This book is in 4 parts. Part 1, ‘Learning the shell’, is all about the command line. Part 2, ‘Configuration and the Environment’ is all about customising bash: environment variables, shell configuration scripts, customising the prompt and a gentle introduction to vi.

Part 3, ‘Common tasks and Essential tools’ explains package management for both .deb and .rpm oriented systems, and explains storage media, in particular mounting/unmounting devices, filesystems and CD-ROM images. It also explains and introduces networking, searching for files, archiving and backing up, regular expressions, the arcane arts of text processing, printing and explains how to compile C programmes from a tar ball.

Part 4 goes into detail about writing shell scripts: as well as syntax, it covers best practice for shell scripting and debugging.

I read this book to get a lot more knowledge about the bash command line and scripting. It did not disappoint.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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