Book Review: Linux Command Line and Shell Scripting Bible

May 11, 2012
“I’ve finished reading the Linux Phrasebook and want to learn more! Where can I go next?”

If you have finished that excellent pocket reference, then the next book with a long title that I heartily recommend is the Linux Command Line and Shell Scripting Bibleby Richard Blum.

To get a full understanding of how Linux operates and how to unlock its power, learning the command line is must, and the Linux Command Line and Shell Scripting Bible will help expand your command line knowledge by focusing on scripting.

My Thoughts

This is another book that I consider essential Linux reading. It is a thick book consisting of twenty-six chapters in about 800 pages (for the 2008 edition), but do not let the size deter you. All chapters are organized logically, and the writing style is friendly, easy to understand, and fun to follow. I was enjoying this book so much that I found myself halfway through it without realizing how much I had read.

Unlike the Course Technology books, this one is not a text book, so there are no quizzes or practice examples to fill up extra space. All pages are used, and you will enjoy yourself through the journey following clearly laid out, practical examples.

While the Linux Phrasebook lays a solid foundation for the command line, the Linux Command Line and Shell Scripting Bible adds to that knowledge by introducing new concepts and scripting lessons not covered in the Linux Phrasebook such as environment variables, different shells, and shell programming.

While much of the first part of the book presents commands already discussed in the Linux Phrasebook, the Linux Command Line and Shell Scripting Bible focuses mainly on the Bash shell and Bash scripting. No prior knowledge is needed since the book gently guides the reader from basic concepts into more advanced topics.

All procedural programming concepts that Bash supports are introduced. Conditional statements, variables, script files, loops, functions, and other programming concepts are taught. Once the basics have been mastered, later chapters build upon them with more advanced concepts.

Once Bash has been exhausted, the latter part of the book devotes chapters to the ash, tcsh, Korn, and zsh shells so their fans are not overlooked. However, Bash is in the spotlight since it is usually the default shell with every Linux distribution.

What I like most about a Bash book like this is that it never goes out of date. Bash is Bash no matter when you learn to script for it, so even though the original Linux Command Line and Shell Scripting Bible was written in 2008 (a newer, 2011 version is now available), practically everything it teaches can be used on any modern Linux distribution today.


This book is good. Real good. It is one of my favorites, and I continue to use it to refresh and review Bash scripting since it is filled with useful examples that help remove “script writer’s block” in an easy-to-find layout.

Bash shell scripting is extremely useful and convenient. So, if you are new to Bash scripting and eager to learn, then the Linux Command Line and Shell Scripting Bible is a worthwhile investment. Highly recommended.

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