I am looking for a book about the Unix command-line toolkit (sh, grep, sed, awk, cut, etc.) that I read some time ago. It was an excellent book, but I totally forgot its name. The great thing about this specific book was the running example. It showed how to implement a university bookkeeping system using only text-processing tools. You would find a student by name with grep, update grades with sed, calculate average grades with awk, attach grades to IDs with cut, and so on. If my memory serve, this book had a black cover, and was published circa 1980.

Does anyone remember this book? I would appreciate any help in finding it.

  • 5
    This book sounds fabulous. I sure hope somebody finds it. – Steven D Jan 12 '11 at 23:02
  • Have you tried searching for unix books with black color on images.google.com or books.google.com with a defined time range? – wag Jan 14 '11 at 16:46
  • I've been searching for unix books with black covers from 1975-1985, but it is hard to figure out whether the example he mentions is in the book. – Steven D Jan 14 '11 at 17:57
  • Was this a hardcover book, softcover, or did it have special binding from a University print shop (Ring binder, etc.)? I work at a computer research facility in Berkeley, and my coworkers have many old Unix books on display. Some of the more common books were printed on cheap binding at the local University print shop. – Stefan Lasiewski Jan 19 '11 at 19:35
  • @Stefan: If my memory serves, it was a standard black softcover, not university press. – Little Bobby Tables Jan 20 '11 at 9:06

Using UNIX by Example, P.C Poole & N. Poole ?


and on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Using-Unix-Example-P-Poole/dp/0201185350

  • Added amazon link so you can see that it has a black cover ;-) – Rob Cowell Jan 20 '11 at 11:29
  • Quite fancy this book myself, it uses the popular dungeon-exploration game "rogue" in its examples :-D – Rob Cowell Jan 20 '11 at 11:39
  • @Rob: The examples look surprisingly familiar, but I can't read the Google eBook from outside of the US :( Is there some sample content somewhere? Looks promising, though. – Little Bobby Tables Jan 20 '11 at 12:08
  • I'm outside the US too and can only see snippets when searching by keywords. I suspect the full book isn't on Google books.No ebooks or PDFs around that I can find, but you should be able to pick up a secondhand dead tree version from that Amazon link I posted. – Rob Cowell Jan 20 '11 at 12:58
  • 1
    So, I can't find an online version of the book, but I did find a site that allows you to search the content and return page numbers. (hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015034661036). It would seem from that link, that there is an example with students and grades around page 242. – Steven D Jan 20 '11 at 16:50

It sounds vaguely like "UNIX Shell Programming" by Stephen Kochan and Patrick Wood.

The book uses creating a phonebook or rolodex to illustrate the use of various commands in building shell scripts.

The original edition came out in...uhm...1990? Cover was a dark purple, darker than the one pictured in the amazon link below.



Black cover? You sure you don't mean the Unix and Linux System Administrators Handbook? Its pretty much the Unix bible. Not sure if it has that example you are speaking of though. Its been a long time since I opened that book.

Edit: Just a note, the cover has changed slightly over the years. It used to be purple if I remember right.

  • i agree with loeser thats the only book even i could find – John Jan 14 '11 at 20:47
  • As in admin.com . The first edition was in 1988 (?) though. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Jan 14 '11 at 22:57
  • It was not a handbook, but a tutorial-style book, not aiming at administrators in particular. – Little Bobby Tables Jan 18 '11 at 10:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.