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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Unix Weekend Crash Course
Author:
Arthur Griffith
ISBN:
0 7645 4927 8
Publisher:
Hungry Minds
Pages:
383pp+CD
Price:
£18.99
Reviewer:
Joe McCool
Subject:
unix
Appeared in:
14-6
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.