Book review: The Linux Command Line

The Linux Command LineI have a confession to make, before joining Yahoo!, I had never used Linux before. After having one semester of UNIX in college, I spent the next five years just using Windows. When I got to Yahoo!, I was faced with the daunting task of learning Linux on the job as I went. I still remember our intern that first year I was there laughing as I struggled to navigate around my development box. Yeah, the intern was laughing at me.

I really and truly wish that The Linux Command Line had been available to me at that time. This is exactly what a Linux beginner needs to get up to speed quickly. The book goes beyond simply walking through all of the command line utilities, and ventures into the realm of theory and how things work together. I’m definitely not a Linux expert, but I have been using it on a day-to-day basis for about six years, and I still felt like I learned an incredible amount from this book.

The author approaches all of the topics in a very friendly way. All of the examples are easy to follow and he even takes time to explain some of the differences across various flavors of Linux. He covers all of the common command line tools, taking you through in a logical order with great narrative.

This book has earned a permanent place on my desk, as I find myself repeatedly going back to it when I get stuck on something. If you’re a Linux beginner, or just really want to understand the system better, I can’t recommend this book enough. I’ll probably be rereading it a couple more times, myself, to make sure that everything sticks. In the meantime, I’ve already gone through and updated a bunch of bash scripts that I now realize aren’t coded as well as they should be.

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