Unix Books

Lions' Commentary on UNIX 6th Edition, with Source Code
John Lions. ©1996 Peer-to-Peer Communications. ISBN 1-57398-013-7.

This is a must-have book! John Lions' commentary describes how the kernel of 6th Edition UNIX works, line by line. Originally written for his undergraduate univerity students, it became a much sought-after book for all UNIX programmers and kernel hackers in the late 70's and early 80's. AT&T had restricted its distribution to one copy per UNIX installation. Because of this, many people had n-level photocopies of someone's original.

After some excellent sweet-talk by Peter Salus and Dennis Ritchie, SCO (who now owns the rights to 6th Edition UNIX) allowed the book to be legally published. You can now obtain it from Peer-to-Peer Communications. The Lions' Commentary has its own entry (Lions Book) in The Jargon File.


The Bell System Technical Journal
Vol 57, No 6, Part 2, July-August 1978. ©1978 AT&T. ISSN 0005-8580.

This issue of the BSTJ was devoted solely to papers about the Unix operating system. Papers by many of the original Unix designers describe its implementation, the Bourne shell, C, system portability, MERT, PWB/UNIX, and document preparation.


AT&T Bell Laboratories Technical Journal
Vol 63, No 8, Part 2, October 1984. ©1984 AT&T.

This is ``the second issue of the 'Technical Journal' devoted exclusively to papers on the family of computer operating systems bearing the UNIX trademark of AT&T Bell Laboratories.'' as noted in the Forward by A.V. Aho.


The Design and Implementation of the 4.3BSD UNIX Operating System
Sam Leffler, Kirk McKusick, Michael Karels & John Quartermann. ©1989, Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-06196-1.

This book covers the 4BSD branch of Unix development, and 4.3BSD in great depth. It has its own entry (Devil Book) in The Jargon File. The sequel covering 4.4BSD-Lite is eagerly anticipated.


The Design and Implementation of the 4.4BSD Operating System
Marshall Kirk McKusick, Keith Bostic, Michael j. Karels & John S. Quartermann. ©1996 , Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-54979-4.

This sequel to Leffler et al. covers the 4.4BSD operating system.


Life with UNIX
Don Libes & Sandy Ressler. ©1991, Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-13-536657-7.

If you are interested in the sub-culture of Unix, with those details that the manual pages forgot to mention, this is the book for you. This isn't so much a history of Unix as a look at its impact on programmers and computer users. It has lots of information on Unix books, periodicals, conferences, user groups and publically available software. Its only deficiency is that it is now slightly dated.


The New Hacker's Dictionary
Eric S. Raymond. ©1991. Printed by MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-68069-6. 430 pages.

This fabulous book is a complete dictionary of all those folklore terms you've come across in the field of computing. It covers many of the socialogically important systems, such as ITS, TWENEX and Unix with verve and humour. A great reference book, and a great book to browse.


A Quarter Century of UNIX
Peter H. Salus. ©1994, Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-54777-5. 250 pages.

This is a must-buy book if you are interested in the history of Unix, and its effect on the computing community in technological and socialogical terms. It has the authorative description of the development of Unix, interviews with over 100 key Unix people, and looks at the philosophy of Unix and why it succeeded.


The UNIX Programming Environment
Brian Kernighan & Rob Pike. ©1984 Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-13-937681-X. 350 pages.

The canonical description of the Unix environment for the versions around the 7th Edition and 32V. This book is still one of the clearest descriptions of Unix and how to use it. It covers basic Unix use, shell programming, Unix filters, standard I/O and system calls via C, and nroff document processing. This is a classic text and a collector's item.


The C Programming Language
Brian Kernighan & Dennis Ritchie. ©1978 Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-13-110163-X. 230 pages.

This is the original book describing the C programming language. Like `The UNIX Programming Environment' this book is clear, concise and elegant. This is a classic text and a collector's item, and has its own entry (K&R) in The Jargon File.

Warren Toomey