Review Of Working With Unix Processes

It's difficult for me to identify the target audience for this book. It's got some good stuff for lots of different people, including systems administrators, Unix scripters, and Ruby developers. In a nutshell, this book gives you a medium-level tutorial on creating, managing, and forking new processes on Unix-based systems.

Specifically, the author shows you how to use many powerful features of the Unix system API using Ruby.This topic may sound mundane or even useless to a lot of people, but if you spend time writing or managing applications that run in operating systems like Linux and OS X, then this is really fantastic knowledge to possess.

One really wonderful thing about this book is that it makes the Unix system API much more accessible to most systems administrators. Most books about the Unix API assume that you know how to program in C. The problem is that most systems administrators don't know how to use C, and they don't really have an opportunity to learn on the job.This book uses Ruby, a high-level, interpreted, and popular scripting language to showcase the Unix API. In my opinion, this makes the API much easier to understand and much less intimidating. Also, if you don't know Ruby, then it is:

Another great thing about this book is that it really "put a lot of pieces together" for me regarding the Unix process model. I've been using Unix since 1995, and I've been administering large applications on it for 12 years. I definitely consider myself to be an intermediate user, but there's still a decent number of gaps in my knowledge. This book filled a couple of those major gaps for me, and I feel that I am a much more confident and knowledgeable Unix user as a result.

The only real downside of this book is that it's a bit short for what you pay. The latest version of this book weighs in at about 143 pages. Also, while the book does include a sample project called Spyglass, its documented by a short appendix and verbose comments in the source. I would have liked a little more depth in the appendix, but it's hard to say if it's really necessary since the comments are designed to be the tutorial.

However, for me, this book was still definitely worth the money. I now know much more about how Unix systems work, and I now am aware of a whole new world of concurrent programming options.

Last Updated 2012-06-21 18:47.