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By SoupIsGood Food, (, June 27, 2002

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So you want to learn more about the Unix side of Mac OS X. Here’s four of my favorite Unix work tomes for you to camp out in the Barnes & Noble cafe with. These aren’t Mac OS X specific, but rather encompass a very broad sampling of Unix, and as a result, will help you approach the whole topic from the collected wisdom of more than thirty years worth of study and practical experience in the ever fluid field of Unix operating systems. These books are not timely, they are timeless. The links are to the Authors’ sites.

  1. Think Unix

    By Jonathan Lasser

    A gentle primer into the Unix way of thinking, with some solid tutorials for the rank amateur and real–world examples written in an easygoing style.

  2. Unix Systems Administration Handbook

    By a bunch of smart people (Ok, ok, they’re Evi Nemeth, Garth Snyder, Scott Seebass, and Trent R. Hein.)

    This is the down and dirty, nitty gritty of how Unix systems run. It focuses on the four most popular flavors of Unix (besides Apple’s), so it has a platform agnostic viewpoint. Invaluable if you want to learn more about networking, server configuration, and general systems administration wisdom. I cannot recommend this book enough if you find yourself saddled with a Sun, HP or Linux system in amongst your Macs. Older editions cover more platforms, such as SGI and Digital Unix operating systems, and are worth scooping up despite their dated information, and the very latest edition is a special Linux–only version called the “Linix Systems Administration Handbook.” .As a lot of the topics that a Linux Sysadmin needs to know also come in handy on OS X (especially with Fink installed!), this is also a worthwhile addition to your library.

  3. Unix Power Tools

    By Jerry Peek, Tim O’Reilly and Mike Loukides

    A vast overview of all the things you can do with the Unix shell and a few simple programs common to every Unix flavor, a thousand pages long. It’s basically a collection of useful usenet posts, and makes great browsing for idle moments, and it’s comprehensive index is handy if you’re in a hurry to find out about a topic. If you need to own one of O’Reilly’s famous “animal books,” this is the one, even though it has a power drill on the front.

  4. System Performance and Tuning, 2nd Edition

    By Gian-Paolo D. Musumeci and Mike Loukides (who wrote all of the first edition.)

    Black magic and major mojo. You won’t understand half this book. but you will come away with a lot more crammed between your ears than you bargained for. Absolutely essential to grok the inner workings of the beast. While it’s better than the first edition in many respects, the 2nd edition’s almost exclusive focus on Linux and Solaris is irritating, but not insurmountable for the Mac OS X afficionado. This is also from O’Reilly, and has a swordfish on the cover for no other reason than it looks cool.

So, what’s on your reading list? Share below.

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