Re: books on programming

From: Robert S. Thau (
Date: Tue Jan 02 2001 - 18:18:56 PST

Tony Finch writes:
> I would say you don't need to know any Unix in order to appreciate it,
> and that was probably the state of the students it was written for.

Errrmmmm... not really. The book assumes access to all of Bell Labs'
supplied documentation, to which it frequently refers, and does not
itself give a broad overview of the system because it assumes that the
reader will have ready reference to the standard docs --- in
particular, the CACM/BSTJ article, "The Unix Timesharing System",
which gives an overview of both the API and the internal data
structures, and which the student is advised to reread "at least once
per month" in chapter one. The book wasn't meant to stand alone, and

(Note also the way that readers are referred to Bell Labs' tutorials;
the expectation seems to have been that most students wouldn't need

> Its best use is as a practical reinforcement for an OS fundamentals
> course, so the students should already have covered paging and so
> forth.

Actually, if you know the basic concepts, at the level of the CACM
article, I think you can get a lot just reading it on your own, and
I'd very much recomment that. It's a great book --- but once again,
not for the novice.


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