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New Edition of "Learning the Korn Shell" for Expert and Beginning Unix Programmers

June 19, 2002

Sebastopol, CA--The Korn shell is perhaps the most widely used command interpreter, or shell, available on today's Unix systems. Like its predecessors, the C shell and the Bourne shell, the Korn shell, or ksh, is both an interactive environment and a programming language. Combining the best features of the Bourne shell and C shell, as well as many new features of its own, the Korn shell has long been a favorite of Unix programmers who claim that it runs more efficiently than other shells. Although the Korn shell has been widely available for many years, the latest version, ksh93, includes many new capabilities not found in the earlier version. O'Reilly's newly released second edition of Learning the Korn Shell by Bill Rosenblatt & Arnold Robbins (US $34.95) covers all the new features of ksh93, making it one of the most up-to-date references on the Korn shell now available.

"The source code for ksh93 is now available under an open source style license, making it easily accessible to just about anyone with a C compiler," says coauthor Robbins. "This didn't used to be the case. Now that anyone can download and build ksh93, it's important that the new edition of the book cover all its features."

"Shell programming is very important," Robbins adds. "The 'shell' is the fundamental glue that's used in the Unix toolbox for building larger programs out of smaller ones. Although today's trend is for do-it-all scripting languages such as Perl or Python, one can often do everyday management and scripting tasks using the shell just as easily, and possibly more portably and reliably."

"Learning the Korn Shell" is the key to gaining control over the Korn shell and becoming adept at using it as an interactive command and scripting language. It thoroughly explains all of the Korn shell's programming features and shows how to solve real-world programming problems simply and efficiently. While learning about the Korn shell's scripting capabilities, readers will also learn about one of Unix's most powerful command execution environments.

The authors of "Learning the Korn Shell" maintain that readers shouldn't have to be internals experts to use and program the shell effectively; therefore, even casual Unix users can learn how to master the Korn shell from this book. But experienced programmers will find that the concepts and examples in the book will help them become even more productive Korn shell users.

What the critics said about the first edition:

"A thorough introduction of Unix's newest and most powerful command interpreter, which combines the best features of the older Bourne and C shells, in addition to providing many new features of its own. [This] volume provides a guide to all aspects of Korn shell usage: interactive 'command line' use, plus coverage of shell programming."
--"Book News, Inc.," November 1993

"Readers still bending back the pages of Korn shell manuals will find relief in...'Learning the Korn Shell'...a gentle introduction to the shell. Rather than focusing on syntax issues, the book quickly takes on the task of solving day-to-day problems with Korn shell scripts. Application scripts are also shown and explained in detail. In fact, the book even presents a script debugger written for ksh. This is a good book for improving your knowledge of the shell."
--"Unix Review," October 1993

"I admit to using the C shell...So when Rosenblatt's book on the Korn shell arrived, I decided to go with something POSIX-compliant...I have worked my way through the first hundred pages or so and have only had to ask for an explanation of something from a local guru twice. That's pretty good. My guess is that if you're not already using ksh or bash, this is the way to get into it."
--Peter H. Salus, ";login:," September/October 1993

"There are a couple of books on the Korn shell in my possession. The best one is 'Learning the Korn Shell' by Bill Rosenblatt, published by O'Reilly & Associates Inc."
--Peter Collinson, "Sun Expert," May 1994

Additional resources:

Learning the Korn Shell, 2nd Edition
By Bill Rosenblatt & Arnold Robbins
ISBN 0-596-00195-9, 412 pages, $34.95 (US), $54.95 (CAN)
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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