From: "Rob Slade, Social Convener to the Net" <>
Subject: Review of The Complete Idiot's Guide to UNIX" by McMullen
Followup-To: alt.books.technical,misc.books.technical
Date: 28 Jul 1995 03:25:15 MET
Organization: University of Colorado at Boulder

"The Complete Idiot's Guide to UNIX", John McMullen, 1995, 1-56761-511-2,
%A   John McMullen johnmc@anansi.uucp
%C   201 W. 103rd Street, Indianapolis, IN   46290
%D   1995
%G   1-56761-511-2
%I   Alpha Books
%O   U$19.99/C$26.99/UK#15.95 800-858-7674
%P   375
%S   Complete Idiot's Guide ...
%T   "The Complete Idiot's Guide to UNIX"
I must confess to a longstanding and deep-seated distaste for book titles that pretend to explain detailed technical topics to those with a substantial intellectual deficit. UNIX may not be the ultimate operating system, but is certainly far and away more complex than those commonly found in personal computers. So, could a complete idiot understand UNIX after reading this book?

I have no idea, and, frankly, I don't care. Anyone of normal intelligence could *use* UNIX after reading this book and that is the important thing. McMullen understands UNIX, but, what is more significant, he understands what newcomers to the system need to know about UNIX. How to use options. How to use man (and, even more useful, apropos.) How to use regular expressions. All of these are covered in most books on UNIX, but McMullen starts gently, progresses logically, and explains clearly. The reader can see the usefulness of each command at each point, rather than being presented with an esoteric command first, and a skimpy explanation later.

McMullen uses humour to keep interest alive, but never to show off or hide what he doesn't want to have to explain.

I'd recommend this to anyone learning UNIX for the first time, or building an understanding after having used it for limited tasks.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 1995   BKCIGUNX.RVW   950505

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This page was last changed on Jul 29 1995, 16:09 by Comments and corrections welcome.