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From Bash to Z Shell: by Oliver Kiddle, Jerry Peek, Peter Stephenson

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<pre>Author/s : Oliver Kiddle, Jerry Peek, Peter Stephenson
Publisher : Apress
Category : Other
Review by : Ernest J. Friedman-Hill
Rating : 9 horseshoes
</pre>
The command line was introduced with the first interactive computers, Whereas GUIs are pretty and convenient for many tasks, power users know that only a command line lets you tell a computer exactly what to do. "From Bash to Z Shell" wants to let everybody in on this secret, and it meets its goal admirably.

"From Bash to Z Shell" assumes little about the reader's experience with computers. The first chapters introduce the concept of a command shell and the UNIX philosophy. Don't worry, though, because examples throughout the book show bash and zsh running on Windows. These first few chapters look at the C shell as well as the eponymous shells.

The middle chapters each explore a single important concept like command editing, completion, pattern matching, redirection, and process management. Special features of bash and zsh are introduced in context. I can't stress enough how useful these chapters are: the manual pages for these shells are large but still terse and cryptic. This book manages to provide a conceptual framework into which all of its useful tidbits can be organized and absorbed.

The last few chapters look at scripting: both full blown programs and smaller chunks of shell-customization code. Again, the material here is invaluable: you're not going to get it from the manual pages!

If you work on UNIX systems, or if you'd like to make your Windows environment vastly more powerful, you need this book. I strongly recommend it.


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