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Those who do not understand UNIX are condemned to reinvent it, poorly.

 Henry Spencer

Edited by Peter Denning, Computers Under Attack: Intruders, Worms, and Viruses, ACM Press, 1990, 0-201-53067-8.

This compendium contains a couple of articles on shell script viruses.


Ken Burtch, Linux Shell Scripting with Bash, 1st edition, Sams Publishing (Pearson), 2004, 0672326426.

Covers much of the same material as this guide. Dead tree media does have its advantages, though.


Dale Dougherty and Arnold Robbins, Sed and Awk, 2nd edition, O'Reilly and Associates, 1997, 1-156592-225-5.

To unfold the full power of shell scripting, you need at least a passing familiarity with sed and awk. This is the standard tutorial. It includes an excellent introduction to "regular expressions". Read this book.


Jeffrey Friedl, Mastering Regular Expressions, O'Reilly and Associates, 2002, 0-596-00289-0.

The best, all-around reference on Regular Expressions.


Aeleen Frisch, Essential System Administration, 3rd edition, O'Reilly and Associates, 2002, 0-596-00343-9.

This excellent sys admin manual has a decent introduction to shell scripting for sys administrators and does a nice job of explaining the startup and initialization scripts. The long overdue third edition of this classic has finally been released.


Stephen Kochan and Patrick Woods, Unix Shell Programming, Hayden, 1990, 067248448X.

The standard reference, though a bit dated by now.


Neil Matthew and Richard Stones, Beginning Linux Programming, Wrox Press, 1996, 1874416680.

Good in-depth coverage of various programming languages available for Linux, including a fairly strong chapter on shell scripting.


Herbert Mayer, Advanced C Programming on the IBM PC, Windcrest Books, 1989, 0830693637.

Excellent coverage of algorithms and general programming practices.


David Medinets, Unix Shell Programming Tools, McGraw-Hill, 1999, 0070397333.

Good info on shell scripting, with examples, and a short intro to Tcl and Perl.


Cameron Newham and Bill Rosenblatt, Learning the Bash Shell, 2nd edition, O'Reilly and Associates, 1998, 1-56592-347-2.

This is a valiant effort at a decent shell primer, but somewhat deficient in coverage on programming topics and lacking sufficient examples.


Anatole Olczak, Bourne Shell Quick Reference Guide, ASP, Inc., 1991, 093573922X.

A very handy pocket reference, despite lacking coverage of Bash-specific features.


Jerry Peek, Tim O'Reilly, and Mike Loukides, Unix Power Tools, 2nd edition, O'Reilly and Associates, Random House, 1997, 1-56592-260-3.

Contains a couple of sections of very informative in-depth articles on shell programming, but falls short of being a tutorial. It reproduces much of the regular expressions tutorial from the Dougherty and Robbins book, above.


Clifford Pickover, Computers, Pattern, Chaos, and Beauty, St. Martin's Press, 1990, 0-312-04123-3.

A treasure trove of ideas and recipes for computer-based exploration of mathematical oddities.


George Polya, How To Solve It, Princeton University Press, 1973, 0-691-02356-5.

The classic tutorial on problem solving methods (i.e., algorithms).


Chet Ramey and Brian Fox, The GNU Bash Reference Manual, Network Theory Ltd, 2003, 0-9541617-7-7.

This manual is the definitive reference for GNU Bash. The authors of this manual, Chet Ramey and Brian Fox, are the original developers of GNU Bash. For each copy sold the publisher donates $1 to the Free Software Foundation.

Arnold Robbins, Bash Reference Card, SSC, 1998, 1-58731-010-5.

Excellent Bash pocket reference (don't leave home without it). A bargain at $4.95, but also available for free download on-line in pdf format.


Arnold Robbins, Effective Awk Programming, Free Software Foundation / O'Reilly and Associates, 2000, 1-882114-26-4.

The absolute best awk tutorial and reference. The free electronic version of this book is part of the awk documentation, and printed copies of the latest version are available from O'Reilly and Associates.

This book has served as an inspiration for the author of this document.


Bill Rosenblatt, Learning the Korn Shell, O'Reilly and Associates, 1993, 1-56592-054-6.

This well-written book contains some excellent pointers on shell scripting.


Paul Sheer, LINUX: Rute User's Tutorial and Exposition, 1st edition, , 2002, 0-13-033351-4.

Very detailed and readable introduction to Linux system administration.

The book is available in print, or on-line.


Ellen Siever and the staff of O'Reilly and Associates, Linux in a Nutshell, 2nd edition, O'Reilly and Associates, 1999, 1-56592-585-8.

The all-around best Linux command reference, even has a Bash section.


Dave Taylor, Wicked Cool Shell Scripts: 101 Scripts for Linux, Mac OS X, and Unix Systems, 1st edition, No Starch Press, 2004, 1-59327-012-7.

Just as the title says . . .


The UNIX CD Bookshelf, 3rd edition, O'Reilly and Associates, 2003, 0-596-00392-7.

An array of seven UNIX books on CD ROM, including UNIX Power Tools, Sed and Awk, and Learning the Korn Shell. A complete set of all the UNIX references and tutorials you would ever need at about $130. Buy this one, even if it means going into debt and not paying the rent.


The O'Reilly books on Perl. (Actually, any O'Reilly books.)


Fioretti, Marco, "Scripting for X Productivity," Linux Journal, Issue 113, September, 2003, pp. 86-9.

Ben Okopnik's well-written introductory Bash scripting articles in issues 53, 54, 55, 57, and 59 of the Linux Gazette, and his explanation of "The Deep, Dark Secrets of Bash" in issue 56.

Chet Ramey's bash - The GNU Shell, a two-part series published in issues 3 and 4 of the Linux Journal, July-August 1994.

Chet Ramey's Bash F.A.Q.

Ed Schaefer's Shell Corner in Unix Review.

Example shell scripts at Lucc's Shell Scripts .

Example shell scripts at SHELLdorado .

Example shell scripts at Noah Friedman's script site.

Example shell scripts at zazzybob.

Steve Parker's Shell Programming Stuff.

"Mini-scripts" at Unix Oneliners.

Giles Orr's Bash-Prompt HOWTO.

Very nice sed, awk, and regular expression tutorials at The UNIX Grymoire.

Eric Pement's sed resources page.

Many interesting sed scripts at the seder's grab bag.

The GNU gawk reference manual (gawk is the extended GNU version of awk available on Linux and BSD systems).

Tips and tricks at Linux Reviews.

Trent Fisher's groff tutorial.

Mark Komarinski's Printing-Usage HOWTO.

The Linux USB subsystem (helpful in writing scripts affecting USB peripherals).

Rick Hohensee has written the osimpa i386 assembler entirely as Bash scripts.

Aurelio Marinho Jargas has written a Regular expression wizard. He has also written an informative book on Regular Expressions, in Portuguese.

Ben Tomkins has created the Bash Navigator directory management tool.

William Park has been working on a project to incorporate certain Awk and Python features into Bash. Among these is a gdbm interface. He has released bashdiff on He has an article in the November, 2004 issue of the Linux Gazette on adding string functions to Bash, with a followup article in the December issue, and yet another in the January, 2005 issue.

Peter Knowles has written an elaborate Bash script that generates a book list on the Sony Librie e-book reader. This useful tool permits loading non-DRM user content on the Librie.

Rocky Bernstein is in the process of developing a "full-fledged" debugger for Bash.

Of historical interest are Colin Needham's original International Movie Database (IMDB) reader polling scripts, which nicely illustrate the use of awk for string parsing.


The excellent Bash Reference Manual, by Chet Ramey and Brian Fox, distributed as part of the "bash-2-doc" package (available as an rpm). See especially the instructive example scripts in this package.

The newsgroup.

Assorted comp.os.unix FAQs.

The manpages for bash and bash2, date, expect, expr, find, grep, gzip, ln, patch, tar, tr, bc, xargs. The texinfo documentation on bash, dd, m4, gawk, and sed.

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