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am 20. Juli 2000
I suppose this is the kind of book that should be adored by managers. First, it has a stylish cover. Second, it doesn't take much of your time. You should be over with it in about one hour - not only it's thin, it is also typeset in a size larger than the usual book letter size. And third, it comes with ready-made slogans like "Small is beautiful", "Make each program do one thing well" etc, that can come handy at staff meetings.

Even at its rather modest size, this book is stretched to the limits. There is about enough material in it to make a decent article in UnixWorld or some similar magazine, perhaps even two; it could also be made a chapter in some compendium. But that doesn't nearly make it enough for a standalone book.

True, Gancarz writes well, and anecdotical stories in this book make a pleasant bathtub reading. To convince you that Unix indeed is a great design, however, get something substantial instead. If you are a programmer and seeing some actual code doesn't scare you off, I would recommend The Unix Programming Environment by Kernighan and Pike. Though dated, in my opinion it still makes a better introduction to the Unix design philosophy. If you are not that much interested in Unix, you might nevertheless want to consider saving twenty bucks and subscribing to comp.unix.advocacy Usenet group instead.
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am 13. Dezember 2016
This is one of the most important books about software development ever written. This book is not about how to write software but about philosophy of writing software the Unix way. You will only appreciate this book after a decade in software industry. I remember reading it when I was like 15 and I thought cool but only a decade later I started appreciating philosophical principles laid out in this book.

* Small is beautiful.
* Make each program do one thing well.
* Build a prototype as soon as possible.
* Choose portability over efficiency.
* Store data in flat text files.
* Use software leverage to your advantage.
* Use shell scripts to increase leverage and portability.
* Avoid captive user interfaces.
* Make every program a filter.

I try to follow most of Unix philosophy closely when writing my software. I write tiny utilities that do one thing and only one thing well. I ignore frameworks as they're bloatware that do all the things. I build prototypes as soon as possible and show it to everyone, get feedback and quickly iterate to make it a finished program. I don't care much about portability. I store data in text files and sqlite databases. I leverage helper libraries and utilities but I don't leverage frameworks or larger code pieces that can often be rewritten in 90 lines of code to have 90% of their functionality and you don't need the remaining 10% anyway. I use shell scripts exclusively to connect my programs. I avoid captive user interfaces. I sometimes make my programs a filter and sometimes I don't. Sometimes making programs to filter data don't make sense.

This is one of ten books that I give to new employees as a greeting gift when they start working at my company Browserling. They can choose 9 other books from my 100+ book list but I force everyone who works at Browserling to read this book as we've an incredible Unix culture at Browserling. If you haven't read this book, you will have trouble understanding the culture and fitting in.

There are several more tenets, ideas which tend to be part of the Unix world's belief system and that are part of Unix culture. Here are a few that matter:

* Allow the user to tailor the environment.
* Use lower case and keep it short.
* Silence is golden.
* Think parallel.
* The sum of the parts is greater than the whole.
* Look for the 90% solution.
* Worse is better.
* Think hierarchically.

I won't comment on these as this book review is taking over the entire Amazon review page but you can look into these on your own. These are really beautiful and it takes many years to appreciate them and incorporate them in your thinking and how you get things done.

A newer version of this book exists called Linux and the UNIX Philosophy. I don't have it but I just ordered it as I was writing this text.

I've placed this book #27 in my Top 100 Mathematics, UNIX and Science books list. Google for >>catonmat top 100 math unix science books<< to find my list.
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am 15. Januar 2000
This is a wonderful little book that every software designer should ready every second year. The book stresses the issues that we know, but all too often forget: small is beautiful, every program should do one thing well, use leverage, build prototypes, ...
The book also has the classical and wonderful story about the three systems of man. The first system is build by man, he has no time to do it "right". It is a "lean, mean computing machine". The success of the first system leads to the second. The second system is built by experts, the design is by a committee, and the result is a fat and slow system. The third system is built by people who have bean "burned" by the second system. Read the complete great story in the book.
For a user of UNIX or a designer of programs in the UNIX environment the book explains the UNIX design philosophy. This is what could be expected. However, software designers of all systems will benefit from reading the book. The UNIX philosophy is applicable and beneficiary to all software systems, regardless of the operating system used.
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am 19. Mai 1999
This is a hilarious book ("winnow out the chaff" using prototypes!!!) that is more about the philosophy of reusable software tools and portable data rather than Unix. (Unix just happened to be the vehicle in which these ideas were delivered...) It takes a fairly radical stand on the so-called basic tenets of the "UNIX Philosophy" but does so more to illustrate its points rather than to work anyone with software biases into a frenzy.
This book cuts through hype and approaches software development and design with a pragmatic and timeless sensibility - a methodology book that ignores object oriented programming, Java, the Internet, or any other technology of the day and focuses instead on more universal aspects of software development - What makes code reusable? What makes data portable? What are the evolutionary stages of a killer app?
Read this insightful and amusing book!
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am 27. April 1999
This book was a gift, both in the traditional sense, and in what it gave to my appreciation of the Unix way of doing things. A friend sent this to me, now I have to figure out a way to repay him.
Gancarz manages to put into words the affection I've felt, but never been able to explain, for Unix. Even if you're a member of the other side, one of those who feel like monolithic software is the future, and things like GUI's belong in the kernel, you can still take away from this book some insights into the smaller is better camp.
And, if you do believe in the unix way, "The Unix Philosophy" will show you even more reasons why it simply works. It also provides an intellectual sanity check, a measure to judge your current projects against, and a very high standard to aim for.
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am 14. März 1997
I haven't seen a single book on why Unix is what it is and how it got that way, until I read Mike's book. When most people start working with Unix, there is a common thought that goes through their mind: "Who did this and why"? Mike does a masterful job explaining this and brings some insight to the subject of Unix. This book is not a guide to programming, scripting, etc. It covers an aspect of Unix that was, until now, largely ignored by most authors. For anyone starting to work with Unix, this book is a MUST. For anyone who has been working with Unix, I'll bet there's plenty here you would like to know. I'd compare it to knowing why the Egyptian pyramids were built as opposed to knowing how. There is a difference
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am 24. Oktober 1997
I've used Unix (and variants thereof) for seven years. I've read hundreds of books about Unix, from systems design to advanced X11 programming. This book provides the fundamentals to understanding Unix on all levels.
The Unix Philosophy has made me appreciate Unix like never before; it's totally changed my ideas about programming, program interoperability, and human-computer interaction. You will want to read this book from cover to cover over and over. You'll find yourself using this book as a reference, even though it's not one. The Unix Philosophy is well written, interesting, and insightful.
Read this book. :)
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am 12. Mai 1998
If you work in IS this is the book to read. Not just a book about the UNIX OS, it clarifies how we should engineer software and store data the "UNIX way." It's also much more concise than anything Yourdon ever wrote. Since reading it, I've realized that WindowsNT is the OpenVMS of the nineties.
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