Sebastopol, CA--Created more than thirty years ago for scientific and
professional users who wanted a powerful and flexible OS, Unix has
traditionally met with resistance among casual computer users who
viewed it as an operating system for experts. Now, a growing audience
is taking up the Unix OS in a variety of dialects, including Linux and
Mac OS X. Although there is a wealth of information about Unix
available, the challenge these newcomers often face is finding the
right level of introductory material to get them started without
overwhelming them. "Most of the Unix books seem to keep getting bigger.
For people who just need to learn the Unix basics, I think those books
have just too much information," says Jerry Peek, coauthor with Grace
Todino and John Strang of Learning the Unix
Operating System, Fifth Edition (O'Reilly, US $19.95).
"This latest edition was written for new users at all levels, both
technical and non-technical, who need the basics of Unix," Peek adds.
"I've heard from readers who needed a no-nonsense introduction that's
easy to read and doesn't drown them with details. And, now that
Macintosh users have Unix on their Mac OS X systems, I hope that
they'll see how easy it is to take advantage of the Unix power that's
just under the surface of their systems."
Learning the Unix
Operating System is an ideal book for someone just
starting with Unix or Linux, and an excellent primer for Mac and PC
users who need to know a little about Unix on the systems they visit.
The fifth edition is the most effective introduction to Unix in print,
covering Internet usage for email, file transfers, web browsing, and
many major and minor updates to help the reader navigate the
ever-expanding capabilities of the operating system.
"I predict that Unix and Linux will keep growing as a desktop
system--one that average people use," says Peek. "The system's ease of
use has improved so much in the last few years, but underneath still
has all of the power and flexibility that's made Unix great these past
thirty years. The price is right, too: freely available Unix versions
make the cost of software so low, and Unix can run on almost any
computer, even those that are years old. I hope that people everywhere
can finally have their own computers without being locked into
expensive Microsoft-based systems."
Learning the Unix
Operating System explains all the common Unix
commands in simple language, with accompanying examples and exercises.
It includes a completely updated quick reference card to make it easier
for the reader to access the key functions of the command line.
"Although the book shows how to use window systems, it also has a lot
of coverage of the standard Unix command line," Peek explains. "The
command line is incredibly powerful and flexible--and it's really not
that hard for beginners to use! A lot of other books have de-emphasized
the command line in favor of graphical utilities, and that's a shame."
The fifth edition of Learning the Unix Operating System was written
for technical and non-technical users at all levels of experience who
need to know the basics of Unix. Readers will find that it provides a
much needed, practical introduction will help them get up and running
on this powerful operating system.
What the critics said about earlier editions:
"A superb little book, and excellent resource for the beginner or
Internet navigator, or a superior review for the occasional user.
Learning the Unix Operating System proves that good things do come in
--Elizabeth Zinkann, Sys Admin, May 1998
"Whether you are setting up your first Unix system or adding your
fiftieth user, [this book] can ease you through learning the
fundamentals of the Unix system."
--Michael J. O'Brien, ABA/Unix/group
"Now in its third edition, this book is designed to teach the basic
system utility commands to get the user started. The most useful
features of given commands are covered instead of detailing all the
options. I think the authors have used good judgment in deciding what
to include. The latest edition has been updated to include information
on X-Windows systems and common commands for using networks...For
$9.95, it is one of the best values I've come across. I highly
recommend it for the new user who wants a working knowledge of
--Judith A. Copler, "Database Magazine," August 1994
"This beginning Unix manual is by far the most informative that I have
--Danny Hill, NOCCC Orange Bytes, August 1994
"O'Reilly & Associates has published a third, revised edition of
Learning the Unix Operating System. This has been my favorite brief
(under 100 page) introductory book ever since it appeared in 1986. It's
better than ever."
--Peter H. Salus; login:, Nov/Dec 1994
Learning the Unix
By Jerry Peek, Grace Todino & John Strang
Fifth Edition, October 2001
ISBN 0-596-00261-0, 157 pages, $19.95 (US)