News Archive (1999-2012) | 2013-current at LinuxGizmos | Current Tech News Portal |    About   

O’Reilly book aims to resurrect shell scripting

May 26, 2005 — by Henry Kingman — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

O'Reilly has published a book on the classic Unix art of shell scripting. “Classic Shell Scripting” describes common Linux tools and shows how to use bash to combine them into scripts that can automate simple and complex tasks.

According to authors Arnold Robbins and Nelson H.F. Beebe, shell scripting is a critical skill for anyone who runs Unix systems or develops software on them. The authors feel that the current generation of Linux users have not been adequately steeped in the Unix “mindset,” as outlined in the classic Kernighan/Plaugher text from 1976, Software Tools.

The book covers:

  • Software tool design concepts and principals
  • The core set of Unix tools used with shell scripting
  • How to combine the tools, using the shell as “glue” to automate everyday
  • About popular extensions to standard tools
  • About indispensable nonstandard tools

Robbins said, “My coauthor and I felt that many of the original
Software Tools principles, practices, and techniques were becoming unknown to the current generation of Unix and Linux developers. We felt that a modern treatment of these ideas would have a lot of value.”

Robbins adds, “There is a rush in the Linux and Unix worlds to hide the command line and do everything with graphical interfaces. This is a shame: the underlying power of the shell and the Unix utilities enable many things that just can't be done from a predefined, monolithic, unprogrammable GUI. The differences and capabilities of Unix and Linux systems are what distinguish them from the monopolistic market leader. These abilities should be celebrated, publicized, and learned, not hidden away.”

In his foreword to the book, Henry Spencer of SP Systems writes, “Here, at last, is an up-to-date and painless introduction to the first and best of the Unix scripting languages. I learned things from it; I think you will too.”


The 560-page Classic Shell Scripting book is available now, priced at $34.95 direct from O'Reilly. Also available is a sample chapter on pipelines.

For b in $(O'Reilly's bash books); do read $b; automate; done.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

Comments are closed.