Kenneth Marcy kmmos1 at
Mon Nov 23 18:14:22 UTC 2015

Yes, I am replying to my own message, and top-posting to warn about it.

On 11/23/2015 1:41 AM, Kenneth Marcy wrote:
> On 11/22/2015 6:34 PM, Scott Blair wrote:
>> <[snip]>
> Mark G. Sobell is the author of several Linux books, the first of 
> which to read is the latest edition of "A Practical Guide to Linux 
> Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming."  Concurrently, you may wish 
> to peruse one of several books with pink covers published by O'Reilly 
> Press about classic shell scripting and the bash shell, which are a 
> good part of "be[ing] really good at the terminal."
> The Bourne again shell, or bash, not only is a way to interact with 
> Linux, it is also facility for a specific type of programming called 
> scripting.  As your experience with, and knowledge of, Linux grow, the 
> usefulness of scripting will become more clear, and so will the 
> utility of other scripting languages, such as Perl and Python. 
> O'Reilly has more pink-covered books about Python (start with the long 
> one by Mark Lutz), and several aqua-covered ones about Perl (start 
> with Programming Perl, 3rd edition, by Larry Wall and Randal L. 
> Schwartz.  It has a camel on its cover).

After reading my own message this morning, I see that I did not include 
the title of Mark Lutz's long book, Learning Python, the fifth edition 
of which has 1,600 pages.  Another learning title, Learning Perl, by 
Randal L. Schwartz, Tom Phoenix, and brian d foy has a modest 390 pages 
in its 6th edition.  Programming Perl, mentioned above, is now in its 
4th edition, with 1,184 pages.  As you may imagine, these books are 
re-edited as the languages change, so they grow together symbiotically.

> Perl and Python are each large subject matters themselves, not only as 
> languages for scripting, but as general programming languages. These 
> topics rather removed from beginning Linux system administration, yet 
> they are right at your finger tips, and can be quite useful as you 
> learn about them.  Likewise with the C programming language, in which 
> the Linux kernel, and much open source software, is written.  The 
> second edition of Kernighan and Ritchie's book, The C Programming 
> Language, is a definite recommendation for your computing bookshelf.

A longer (832 pages) introduction to C programming that is more 
meticulous about building up examples to illustrate the details of the 
language is C Programming, A Modern Approach, 2nd edition, by K. N. 
King.  This is a college student textbook, and is priced like one, but 
it does offer a wealth of material if you are willing to spend some time 
working through it.

> Learning to program is another world, yet it is right where you are.  
> The multitude of programming resources includes MIT OpenCourseWare, 
> with lots of introductory python and computer science instruction 
> using python online for extended viewing. Course 6.00SC is a good start.

Despite the impression you might be receiving, I'm not trying to sell 
expensive books here.  There is a lot of good technical information 
online, with Wikipedia being a focal point of, and a pivot point to, 
quite a bit of it.  Sometimes, though, the organization of a good book 
is worth its price.

> Returning from the easy-to-make diversion into learning programming to 
> books for Linux learners, after a book or two by Sobell, another 
> classic is Unix and Linux System Administration Handbook, fourth 
> edition, by Nemeth, Snyder, Hein, and Whaley.  This volume starts with 
> shell scripting and goes deep into the operating system and how it 
> interacts with its environment.  Not light reading, but an 
> authoritative reference.
> Ken

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