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The Art of Unix Programming
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Unix Programming - What Unix Gets Right - The Open-Source Community

The Open-Source Community

The community that originally formed around the early Unix source distributions never went away — after the great Internet explosion of the early 1990s, it recruited an entire new generation of eager hackers on home machines.

Today, that community is a powerful support group for all kinds of software development. High-quality open-source development tools abound in the Unix world (we'll examine many in this book). Open-source Unix applications are usually equal to, and are often superior to, their proprietary equivalents [Fuzz]. Entire Unix operating systems, with complete toolkits and basic applications suites, are available for free over the Internet. Why code from scratch when you can adapt, reuse, recycle, and save yourself 90% of the work?

This tradition of code-sharing depends heavily on hard-won expertise about how to make programs cooperative and reusable. And not by abstract theory, but through a lot of engineering practice — unobvious design rules that allow programs to function not just as isolated one-shot solutions but as synergistic parts of a toolkit. A major purpose of this book is to elucidate those rules.

Today, a burgeoning open-source movement is bringing new vitality, new technical approaches, and an entire generation of bright young programmers into the Unix tradition. Open-source projects including the Linux operating system and symbionts such as Apache and Mozilla have brought the Unix tradition an unprecedented level of mainstream visibility and success. The open-source movement seems on the verge of winning its bid to define the computing infrastructure of tomorrow — and the core of that infrastructure will be Unix machines running on the Internet.


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The Art of Unix Programming
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