The title of this book invites comment. "Some things weren't meant for dummies and Unix is one of them," you might say. Wrong! Levine and Young take advantage of the Dummies format's strength with command-line operating systems. They flatten the learning curve and have even the greenest beginner doing useful work with Unix in mere hours.
Once you get past a couple of pointless chapters about offering pizza to Unix experts in exchange for help, you'll find conceptual explanations of files, directories, permissions, and redirection. Command explanations take a hybrid form; they mix "type this verbatim" statements with tables showing switches and parameters.
Much of Unix for Dummies is task-oriented. You'll find a whole chapter on printing, for example, that covers the commands you'll need to know to format and print a document on the right printer. Other chapters cover file searches, software installation, and X Windows navigation. The book also provides cursory coverage of four text editors--ED, vi, Emacs, and pico--but you learn little more than how to enter and save text in each.
Levine and Young include an eminently useful "DOS-to-Unix Rosetta Stone" that immediately tells you, for example, that the approximate Unix equivalent of DOS's copy is cp. DOS experts who are new transplants to a Unix environment will appreciate this translation guide. The authors wrap up with a wealth of basic troubleshooting information and a command reference.
This book, along with its companion, More Unix for Dummies, is the perfect choice for those who have no knowledge of Unix and need to learn it quickly.
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* UNIX For Dummies has been the standard for beginning UNIX references for nearly ten years, and this latest edition continues that tradition of success * This unparalled resource is updated to cover the latest applications of UNIX technology, including Linux and Mac desktops as well as how UNIX works with Microsoft server software * Thorough coverage of how to handle UNIX installation, file management, software, utilities, networks, Internet access, and other basic tasks * Aimed at the first-time UNIX desktop user growing accustomed to the ins and outs of the OS, as well as the beginning administrator who needs to get a handle on UNIX networking basics * Written by John Levine and Margaret Levine Young, longtime UNIX experts and highly experienced For Dummies authors