Review: a Linux Programming Book for Beginners

by Ibrahim F. Haddad

Programming Linux: A Beginner's Guide is designed for newcomers to Linux programming. It explains how to program the BASH and TCSH shells and how to program Gnome and KDE GUI. In addition, readers will also learn Perl, Tcl/Tk and Gawk programming fundamentals.

The book has a lot to offer. It presents valuable, precise programming syntax and advice for every Linux programmer, whether you are a novice, an intermediate or an expert. Aside from providing the syntax, it also provides brief explanations and programming examples for each command, and advice on how, when and why to use each command, helping you choose the most suitable one for your particular task.

The book is written to present all the essential skills for first-time Linux programmers. It is a self-paced learning solution for those who would like to get started on their own. The examples throughout the book are very structured, short enough so you can try them yourself. At the same time, it still contains all the major concepts that are necessary to present. In general, the use of examples is to clear up questions that readers may still have after reading the concept, and Peterson's examples serve that purpose well.

Programming Linux: A Beginner's Guide offers the opportunity for beginners to get acquainted with different programming languages in Linux. Various programming languages are introduced so that starting programmers can get a flavor of the different languages and their capabilities. The book is divided into three parts. Part I covers an introduction to Linux programming, followed by two chapters on BASH Shell Scripts and BASH Shell Control Structures and another chapter on TCSH Shell Programming. Part II covers high-level languages with a dedicated chapter for each of Gawk, Perl, Tcl and Tk. Part III covers GUI programming with GNOME and KDE. The appendix contains the answers to the book exercises.

New comers to Linux programming will find the book suitable, with all the example code annotated and commentary that points to the particular technique illustrated. Besides, the book is targeted as a learning tool for teaching programming concepts. These concepts are divided into logical modules ideal for linear learning, where each module teaches the reader a specific programming skill. By applying the coding exercises in each module, the reader will learn different concepts and build on one another, from simple to complex.

I found the book to be a useful learning reference. It is the second of Petersen's books that I've had chance to review. Petersen's writing style is clear and concise, making the book easy to read and follow.

If you want to get started with programming in Linux, Programming Linux: A Beginner's Guide is a very good, self-paced learning solution.

Ibrahim Haddad ( works for Ericsson Research, the Open Architecture Lab in Montreal, Canada, researching carrier-class server nodes in real-time all IP networks.

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