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The Linux Command Line

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  1,246 ratings  ·  125 reviews
You've experienced the shiny, point-and-click surface of your Linux computer—now dive below and explore its depths with the power of the command line.

The Linux Command Line takes you from your very first terminal keystrokes to writing full programs in Bash, the most popular Linux shell. Along the way you'll learn the timeless skills handed down by generations of gray-beard
Paperback, 480 pages
Published January 14th 2012 by No Starch Press (first published January 1st 2009)
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Average rating 4.37  · 
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Neal Aggarwal
Dec 14, 2012 rated it liked it
from the book ... captures why one should invest some time in learning Linux


When I am asked to explain the difference between Windows and Linux, I often use a toy analogy.

Windows is like a Game Boy. You go to the store and buy one all shiny new in the box. You take it home, turn it on, and play with it. Pretty graphics, cute sounds. After a while, though, you get tired of the game that came with it, so you go back to the store and buy another one. This cycle repeats ove
Stephen Clynes
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is not a novel but a computer manual. It is available as a free 2,009 KB PDF download from the Linux Command website and was published in 2009. This book shows how Linux from the command line actually works behind the scenes. It gives a full explanation of how Linux works and the history of computer operating from the birth of Unix. It explores the reasoning behind Unix and you begin to understand exactly how computers work with this great tale of logic. William writes a lovely backgro ...more
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone new to Bash/Linux
A couple of hours read. Simple and direct. Not recommended to anyone already familiar with Bash. However, it's a fun read. ...more
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is the only way to go! Any OTHER book just tells you what to do, this book teaches it to you in an entertaining way.
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book presents a full explanation of how to work with bash, and if you're already a Linux/Unix user, you can pick small details that are increasing your performance in coding and if you're not familiar with Linux, it can be a great tool which explains everything from scratch.

Another interesting part of this book is to show you the Unix way of thinking, which is different from the Windows way of thinking. Linux is not just a piece of software; it’s also a small part of the larger Unix cultur
ron btdtbttsawio
This is mostly a good book on the command line but there were some sections I couldn't follow. I bailed out of the last section about scripting as I couldn't follow it at all. I think the author was trying to cram in too much content. It would have been better if he stuck with the command line and wrote a separate book on scripting so he could explore the topics in a more thorough manner. ...more
Danny Gibson
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
In the Continuing Quest to Flesh Out my Computer Science Education (tm), I found this book to be clear and full of examples.
Jul 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A good refresh of our most loved CLIs!

It would be even better if the author includes samples of most commonly used command with their options.

Feb 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Clear and comprehensive introduction to the shell. Aimed at beginners but proved interesting and worth reading nonetheless. -1 star for bashism.
Vỹ Hồng
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: programming
I've been using bash for a while, without actually learning the basics. So, I planned to skim through this book to cover my knowledge gaps. However, after a few chapters, my interest with the subject grew much larger and I started reading the whole text. Needless to say, I really enjoyed my time reading this.

The book is a very good introduction to bash and linux concepts. The author explains concepts clearly and the examples are really really well made. It also includes lots of "extras" about wh
Hugh Smalley
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The Linux Command Line takes you from your very first terminal keystrokes to writing full programs in Bash, the most popular Linux shell. Along the way you'll learn the timeless skills handed down by generations of gray-bearded, mouse-shunning gurus: file navigation, environment configuration, command chaining, pattern matching with regular expressions, and more.

Designed for the new command line user, this 522-page volume covers the same material as but in much greater detail. I

Roy Klein
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The first 30% of the book transformed me from a bash ignoramus to someone who always has a trick up his sleeve to get something done on it, and if the book ended there I'd still give it 5 stars.

It continues though, to delve into more advanced topics that at the moment are beyond my need. I've read 50% into the book, and for now putting it aside until the need arises. I'm sure it'll come in handy in the future.
Kevin Webster
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I recommend this book to anyone that wants to take their linux command line curiosity to the next level. This book gives a very good introduction to the basics of the shell. One of my favorite sections of this book is the tour of the linux filesystem (chap 3).

The linux shell can be a scary place so do yourself a favor and read this book while you are exploring the command line.
Ben Rothke
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An interesting observation William Shotts makes at the beginning of the 2nd edition of The Linux Command Line: A Complete Introduction, is that in all of the hacking movies, one never sees the hacker using a mouse. From The Matrix to Takedown, the hackers are invariably busy at the command line. He writes that we as human beings instinctively know that the only way to really get anything done on a computer is by typing it on a keyboard.

To that end, The Linux Command Line is meant to help the Lin
Erick Brownfield
Sep 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with most No Starch Press books, The Linux Command Line is a clear, concise, and fairly enjoyable read. It offers good introductory knowledge to both the command line and Linux in general. I think most readers would no longer be afraid of Linux.

While a solid book, I'd like to point out a few things that I think could be better.

The book's length feels awkward. At around 450 pages of densely technical writing, it's not the quickest read. It's too long as a quick primer, but too short to reall
Kamal Krishna Joshi
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: beginners
Although learning Linux is considered an onerous task, this book will certainly make things easier. I very much liked the approach this book takes to teach the command line. By taking only a few commands and their popular uses in each chapter, Mr. Shotts traverses his way towards the heart of Linux, i.e., the command line. This book only scratches the surface of the command line. Thus it is only useful for a complete beginner. Some things have been left untouched, viz., crontab, daemons, etc. Ev ...more
Brian Wisti
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Beginning / Low Intermediate bash users
Much learning, especially after switching to the 3rd edition available online. Everything builds up on material covered in previous chapters, from basic Linux command line familiarity to GNU Coreutils to writing shell scripts in bash. Even though the book was good - just about perfect for its purpose -
by the end of it I was ready to jump back to my preferred programming languages. They have better support than bash for clearly describing complex solutions. But I see now how much of that support
Catalin Gheorghe
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent book about the command line and bash shell scripting, sprinkled with general Linux operation.

As it is an intro book, it does not go into system administration details, but the overview that it offers was way above my expectations. If this is the first book that you read when starting to use a Linux based distribution, you will be more efficient in your work and things will fall in place better once you learn more about GNU/Linux.

The writing style is perfect for a technical book. The au
Adam McCartney
Dec 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another very readable book from No Starch Press, provides a good introduction to linux. Although some of the topics covered overlap with How Linux Works, by the same publisher, this book focuses more on getting to grips with shell usage and writing shell scripts. Obviously introductory material and probably not that interesting to any unix hackers that have been messing around on a system for any length of time longer than a few months. The print and layout of these no starch books is good and m ...more
Senthil Kumaran
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
For most purposes, I think this could be considered a reference book. Giving quick tips about the Linux/GNU utility and tools. Even as an experienced user, I managed to find useful tips in this book about Bash Shell, quoting and testing conditionals in Bash. I appreciated the general notes about the "Linux culture" sprinkled throughout the text.

This book might be a quick, due to glancing and turning of pages, and worthy read beginner and experienced programmers alike.
Jon Jones
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Having recently moved into JS development from C#, I've been doing development work on a MAC (the first time since Uni 15 years ago). I read this book to bridge the gap of knowledge between me and other people on my team.

This book helped me refresh my memory and make me more effective at work. I'm constantly using some of the techniques like history, greps, piping etc... on a daily basis. I recommend this book for anyone doing development on Linux or a MAC.
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: linux
Great book for introductory concepts about the linux command line. The only drawback is that most of the examples or features presented are more usefull as a reference material but the manual page built in the command line works as the main reference page so it's more or less an introduction to some of the main concepts or functions. Anyways this actually is kind of a good point because it makes the lecture lighter and gives plenty of in depth sources for each chapter. ...more
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For the novice Linux user this book acts as a good primer. For the more experienced Linux user, this is a refresher. In my case, as an experienced Linux user, going back to basics enabled me to find some gaps in my knowledge that I remedied immediately with the book and a Linux prompt to test what I learned.
Phúc Võ
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you want to start learning Linux command line for daily tasks, then this one is for you. Short and straight to the point. All of its examples are easy to understand and follow. I know this book from the website when I wanted to learn how to write shell script. All of the guide pages in that website are taken from this book and usually just part of it (be shorten). ...more
Vikas Niranjan
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Purchased it to practice the bash shell after I completely switched over to Linux in 2017.
A very very good introduction that you want to read and re-read.
Lots of neat little tricks and it will take a lifetime to master, but a solid must read foundation book for everyone using Linux, whether you are playing around, using as it a daily driver or working on it as a professional.
James Dillon
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: programming
Learn you some Linux for tremendous good. This book has everything you need to become a savvy command-line ninja. The author touches on some important sys-admin tools as well. I highly recommend this book for the Bash novice. I highly recommend this book as a reference work for the experienced Linux practitioner.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a great starter book for those wanting to learn more about how to use the command line in Linux. It explains things in a clear and simple way and sticks to the essentials so you don't get bored or overloaded with information. ...more
Scott Weitzenhoffer
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was an excellent introduction to the Linux command line and bash scripting.

I'd highly recommend it if your knowledge of Linux is weak to nonexistent, or if it's been a very long time since you've used it.
Leslie Easter
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just what I needed

Getting back into Linux after a long time away. This book covered all that I needed to jump back in. Not exhaustive, but I’m not sure any more would have helped. Time to start playing...
Douglas Brauner
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's a good reference for the beginners, at some point it feels more like a manual because it lacks some connections between the sections, it seems that it is just showing you a lot of things you should know to understand linux, but without diving deep in any of them. ...more
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