UNIX System User's Handbook
Posted by notKlaatu , 24 March 2009 · 142 views
I was at a used bookstore the other day looking for old sci-fibooks, and on a whim I thought I should look through the computer sectionas well. So I asked the shop proprietor if he had a computer book shelf,and he said well, yes he did, but it was all very out of date, and I said"Good!" -- because the very reason I wanted to look through the computerbook section was to see if I could find any old gems from the yesteryearsof computing.So I looked through the obligatory "Word 95 for Dummies" and "Visual BasicProgramming Guide" books, and finally started coming across a few oldMac-related books, which were nifty, and then onto some really big "Fortranfor VAX" tomes, and then finally, tucked between a COBOL and an ElectricalEngineering book I found a small-ish yellow wirebound book with the AT&Tlogo on it, and the title: "UNIX System User's Handbook". And sure enough,it was a handbook on how to use the [already] decade-old AT&T OperatingSystem, UNIX. It is pretty cool; it's got a lot of commands that are stillrelevant today in it (in fact I've learned a few new nifty tricks), andsome that were apparently specific enough to AT&T not to have survived pastwhenever AT&T finally sold UNIX off. Almost as neat is the fact that thereis a Xerox'd copy of a "Vi Cheat Sheet" in the front flap of the handbook,probably left there by Christopher Aiken (the former owner of the book) --the neat thing about this, aside from being a slice of history in itself,is that "vi" is now "vIM" (vi-improved) and happens to be my text editor ofchoice, and it's kind of neat to see a cheat sheet for its former incarnation.In the back is a pamphlet published by some place called SSC,called "UNIX System Command Summary for Berkeley 4.2 & 4.3 BSD" --obviously the handbook itself is for System V unix.So, basically, it's just a neat curiousity item find, as well as being apretty darned helpful review of essential UNIX concepts. The handbookitself dates back to 1982 so it's not like it's ancient (i guess by ancienti mean "1970") but it feels old. Certainly it represents an older *nix, soit's cool to have.