The Art of UNIX Programming (The Addison-Wesley Professional Computng Series) Info

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This text reveals the software design secrets of the original
Unix designers, showing how they produce software that is fast,
portable, reuseable, modular and long-lived. Luminaries including Brian
Kernighan, David Korn and Henry Spencer contribute to the book.

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Reviews for The Art of UNIX Programming (The Addison-Wesley Professional Computng Series):

5

Nov 27, 2018

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.




Elegance Personified: "The Art of UNIX Programming" by Eric S. Raymond




(Original Review, 2003-02-13)




My two cents on Unix, C, Gates, Ritchie, Jobs, Apple OS, Windows, C++, Objective-C, Java, BSD, ...

The toe curling pieces on Jobs were way over the top, rather like Gates, Jobs lifted a lot from other people. Ritchie and co, rather like Tim Berners-Lee, gave the computing world so much, and I do mean gave (let’s not be offensive, not If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.




Elegance Personified: "The Art of UNIX Programming" by Eric S. Raymond




(Original Review, 2003-02-13)




My two cents on Unix, C, Gates, Ritchie, Jobs, Apple OS, Windows, C++, Objective-C, Java, BSD, ...

The toe curling pieces on Jobs were way over the top, rather like Gates, Jobs lifted a lot from other people. Ritchie and co, rather like Tim Berners-Lee, gave the computing world so much, and I do mean gave (let’s not be offensive, not equate the ham Gates with Jobs.) ...more
0

Nov 23, 2019

I wanted to love this book, but INSTEAD I just sort of liked it. The book definitely was not a bad read, but it did not fit my needs.
4

Jan 14, 2010

This book is about programming. Still, there is almost not a single snippet of code in this 500 page book. Instead it focuses on the philosophy that has developed within the UNIX community over the years. There is a lot of knowledge to be found here, even if you don't develop for, or even like UNIX systems. It has got comments from early UNIX hackers, even some of the original creators, which enrich the text and gives a broader perspective on things in some cases.

The fact that many sections This book is about programming. Still, there is almost not a single snippet of code in this 500 page book. Instead it focuses on the philosophy that has developed within the UNIX community over the years. There is a lot of knowledge to be found here, even if you don't develop for, or even like UNIX systems. It has got comments from early UNIX hackers, even some of the original creators, which enrich the text and gives a broader perspective on things in some cases.

The fact that many sections includes historical perspective alone makes this an interesting read. This field is very young after all, and makes you think of how far (or not) we've come since the 70's. It also contrasts UNIX to other operating systems, and the way programs are built on these, since a huge point is that the environment you work in greatly influences how you think of things. For instance, UNIX programs tend to be small, specialized and made to work collaboratively, while Windows programs tend to grow quite big, have many features and do everything by itself.

The comments and evaluation, in respect of the UNIX philosophy, of wide ranging things, such as IPC, configuration and domain specific languages are very interesting. But if you're not an Emacs user (like me), prepare yourself to hear a lot of evangelism. ...more
0

Jun 18, 2014

Good book. There were a lot of things in here that I've felt for a long time but was not sure how to explain. For example, the discussion of why config files should be human readable made me realize why I was so opposed to an advisor's suggestion that our config file be a giant ugly s-expression on a project I did last year; it also made me realize why I felt that the backend for that project should use sockets to communicate with the GUI (because it encourages modularity, keeps GUI code out of Good book. There were a lot of things in here that I've felt for a long time but was not sure how to explain. For example, the discussion of why config files should be human readable made me realize why I was so opposed to an advisor's suggestion that our config file be a giant ugly s-expression on a project I did last year; it also made me realize why I felt that the backend for that project should use sockets to communicate with the GUI (because it encourages modularity, keeps GUI code out of real program logic, allows new interfaces to be easily added, allows GUI to run on a separate machine than the back end; we'd only though of the last). Not all was justification though; I also learned lessons about good ways to format and output errors and how much our testing process sucked. ...more
5

May 03, 2010

Victory!!! I have finally completed this book. The book weighs in at just under 500 pages, but it reads much longer than that (at least for me) I don't want to imply that that is negative though, the book is wonderful, and is an absolute must read for any software developer. It just took me 3 months to read, which is significantly longer than I would have thought, or originally wanted.

This book does a very good job of explaining the culture and history of unix, but all of those cultural and Victory!!! I have finally completed this book. The book weighs in at just under 500 pages, but it reads much longer than that (at least for me) I don't want to imply that that is negative though, the book is wonderful, and is an absolute must read for any software developer. It just took me 3 months to read, which is significantly longer than I would have thought, or originally wanted.

This book does a very good job of explaining the culture and history of unix, but all of those cultural and historical lessons are written in the context of how they drove or were the result of technical decisions.

Chapter 1 lays out 13 rules of the Unix philosophy, and constantly comes back to them when discussing the design of a particular unix program. If the program breaks one of the rules, Raymond points it out, explaining why it was a poor decision to do so.

The 13 rules themselves would be worth the price of admission. If you can only read one chapter, make it chapter 1. ...more
5

Apr 08, 2012

The history section alone is worth it. Nathan Marz's mantra of "first make it possible, then make it beautiful, then make it fast" clearly were taken from this philosophy. A nearly identical mantra is stated in the first pages of this book.

History is doomed to repeat itself.

I first read the chapter on Textuality, and have since gone back and started from the beginning. So far this book is excellent.
2

Jun 27, 2016

This book is more about the learnings/lessons from Unix world. Mostly historical descriptions and why certain choices were made by Unix and how they were revolutionary as compared to other operating systems. Lots of practice case studies are included wherein how and why certain choices were made by certain popular programs were made.

A very quick read for me - more of like a refresher -as I was already well versed with the historical developments.
4

Aug 06, 2008

Curiously Raymond managed not to read Gancarz's classic The Unix Philiosophy while writing this. It doesnt cover quite the same ground, and is much less concise. Its bigger on scripting languages and other more recent developments.

5

States some critical Unix themes, most importantly: Single Point of Truth. ie each fact or configuration is in one place and one place only. The reprecussions of breaking it are obvious, but most OS vendors do it here and there.Full Review
3

Oct 13, 2007

While suffering from having no residential Internet access for eight days, I did a lot of things in order to kill time. One such thing was reading this book which has been sitting on my shelf for eons.
5

Jan 28, 2012

You might or might not like Eric Raymond, but that does not make this book any worse. This is a nice summary of the basic principles of the design of Unix and Unix applications, but most of the advice presented there is not limited to a single operating system or a single type of applications.
3

Jan 13, 2016

Some concepts and ideas are outdated in 2016, making sections of the books irrelevant. Still, the books provides a valuable historical context to the development of Unix and its open source spirituals descendants (Linux, FreeBSD, etc.)
5

Mar 16, 2011

Knowing merely the programming tools, languages and utilities in Unix is not sufficient. Unix is a culture and to really exploit it, requires a Unix mind-set. Embrace the culture! Live the culture!

This is a MUST-READ book for anyone who is serious in a career based on Unix!
4

Mar 19, 2016

Reading this from ESR's website as a CS undergrad was a formative experience. It is true that the world has moved on in many respects since this was written, but I enjoyed the historical context nonetheless, and have been arguing for human-readable formats ever since (performance be damned).
5

Dec 06, 2011

Took me a while to finish, but very worth it. Great explanation of unix culture, practices, and history. Lots of information to digest but will serve as a good reference for my projects moving forward in the open source world.
4

Sep 02, 2014

Even though the book is the Art of UNIX programming, this is not a text about programming, but about the philosophy of the UNIX/LINUX OS, their history, architecture, main tools, their principles... Good to read it in case you are a user of LINUX
5

Sep 19, 2011

This is an awesome book and it will make you question your approach to coding. I'm not saying that it changed my mind about OOP or writing integrated applications, but it did influence me. This is a well-written book seemingly written by a "grumpy old man", but I feel that it gave me a lot of perspective I wouldn't have had otherwise.
3

Nov 14, 2014

(Read online version.)

Not bad, but more than enough dated at this point (finished in 2004 and most of it is more relevant to before then) that I'm not sure how much is worth reading. The CLI material is as worthwhile as ever, but the GUI parts are totally obsolete. The case studies are also rather too brief.
3

Jun 30, 2014

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Great insights into some of the historical roots of Unix and its successors, as well as some deep dives into the design of many classic Unix programs. My only complaints were that there was a lot of attribution of elegance to interfaces which, in my opinion, are not very elegant (take the make system or fetchmail configuration for example), and that large sections of the book are dedicated to technologies which are a bit outdated these days. Otherwise, this is a very interesting read.
4

Aug 02, 2017

A wealth of knowledge from the first UNIX epoch on a broad variety of systems analysis and design issues. The author's opinions are sometimes laid on rather thickly.
5

Jun 04, 2018

Wonderful book in my opinion. It really tells you why Unix (and Linux) are the way they are and the efforts that made it become what it is. To me, Linux is a great humanity achievement.

This book is technical without being technical, it really is about philosophy and principles rather than algorithms, syntax or other programming techniques. Could be seen as an encyclopedia.
5

Dec 24, 2019

While dated (published in 2003), this book covers a large amount of relevant history that help explain *why* Unix is the way it is.

I lived through about half the history that was covered and experienced about a decade and a half. Despite being a professional programmer for twenty years, I felt like I learned a lot from this book.

While I have heard most of the Unix programming maxims before, this book really filled in the history and reasoning behind the sayings. I think this would be a While dated (published in 2003), this book covers a large amount of relevant history that help explain *why* Unix is the way it is.

I lived through about half the history that was covered and experienced about a decade and a half. Despite being a professional programmer for twenty years, I felt like I learned a lot from this book.

While I have heard most of the Unix programming maxims before, this book really filled in the history and reasoning behind the sayings. I think this would be a valuable read for developers who aren’t well versed in Unix history. ...more
4

Jan 02, 2019

Great book albeit quite biased against Microsoft and looks down on all other software/OSes. The last chapter offers some critical reflection on this pride.

I really enjoyed the software-related discussions on design and implementation methodologies. The talk of transparency and discoverability being critical to ease of software maturity and usage.

The book's age however shows in the dead links and outdated sections (e.g. on JavaScript, web browsers etc.).

Great read though and full of wisdom.
4

Feb 10, 2020

There are lots of wisdom in the book, The information in the book is relevant today. The discussions about tools, such as sed, cat, awk are interesting since he says they have survived the trial of time, 17 years later and still in use. Vi and Emacs are two editors that survived the trial aswell.

In the end, the aspect of developing tools for non-developers is still a struggle today. For example, Jenkins is a high performance and the GUI leaves lots of things to wish for. Not that it was an There are lots of wisdom in the book, The information in the book is relevant today. The discussions about tools, such as sed, cat, awk are interesting since he says they have survived the trial of time, 17 years later and still in use. Vi and Emacs are two editors that survived the trial aswell.

In the end, the aspect of developing tools for non-developers is still a struggle today. For example, Jenkins is a high performance and the GUI leaves lots of things to wish for. Not that it was an example of the book, but still it proves his point. ...more
5

Apr 04, 2018

An excellent book, although I think the title is badly chosen because it's a bit of a misnomer and could put people off: the title implied to me that it would be about how to code for UNIX, what it *actually* is is the philosophies and design decisions that have influenced UNIX and why they were made. I think you could read this book without being a programmer and still get something out of it, however I also think that some familiarity of common UNIX tools would help as a number of them are An excellent book, although I think the title is badly chosen because it's a bit of a misnomer and could put people off: the title implied to me that it would be about how to code for UNIX, what it *actually* is is the philosophies and design decisions that have influenced UNIX and why they were made. I think you could read this book without being a programmer and still get something out of it, however I also think that some familiarity of common UNIX tools would help as a number of them are used as case studies. Being written in 2003 it is a little dated but the vast majority of the advice in it stands up and of course the history it covers hasn't changed. ...more

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