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Expert Shell Scripting (Expert's Voice in Open Source)

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I learned the basics of programming when I was in school; I learned how to shell-script by example.

I’ve met and worked with many system administrators and other *NIX folks, each of whom has their own bag of tricks when it comes to managing a system, interacting with their environment, or coding a script. It’s always very useful to have conversations and interact with people like this because you invariably gain some tidbits that you can throw into your own collection of tricks. I decided to collect all the useful shell-scripting and interaction techniques I have learned through the years and combine them into one beneficial reference guide. In fact, I used some of my own notes about those techniques while writing this book. Since I haven’t memorized everything present in this book, I would periodically look up items when I was working on various tasks. I want this book to be the beginning of a higher-level reference library that can be added to and can grow continually.

You might be aware of the large number of shell-scripting books and online resources aiding in the mastery of shell scripting. Many are excellent and cover a wide range of topics. The main purpose of this book is to combine some of the most unique tools, code snippets, and scripts that go beyond the level of basic scripts. I wanted to create a cookbook of sorts— lesser-known recipes and fairly advanced algorithms that have proved useful to me.

I have included scripts you can use as is, and sample scripts illustrating a specific algorithm. I also demonstrate a few complex commands that may be useful on the command line. I have tried to tailor the scripts to be useful at multiple levels. Most times, however, there is little or no error-checking since that is not necessarily the point of a specific script. You must be prepared to make modifications to fit your local environment.

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