looking for an old Unix book

15 views
Skip to first unread message

Eli the Bearded

unread,
Nov 14, 2017, 5:37:31 PM11/14/17
to
When I started out with Unix, someone gave me a second-hand book. This
was in the 1991-1992 timeframe. I learned a lot from that book and I
later passed the book on to another person for them to learn from.

Now decades later, I'd like to relocate a copy of that book, but I don't
remember the title or author. General searches of second hand computer
books have not been fruitful so far.

Probably the best way I can positively identify it as the same book, is
the cover. This one had a picture of the planet springing to life[*]
at the end of _Star Trek: Wrath of Khan_ because the special effects had
some tenuous connection to Unix, such as the graphics software ran on a
Unix system.

That book taught me things about the standard utilities, kernel tuning
with adb, why ed is useful, etc. I'd kinda like to get the book and see
how well the advice has held up in Linux almost everywhere world.
Clearly adb isn't used for kernel tuning any more (and most people
don't even know about the assembly debugger, preferring to think of the
Android program), but I still use ed knowledge, even if it mostly is
from the : line of vi / ex / vim.

Is there anyone left reading here? And who knows the book I describe?
A title and author would be great.

[*] Or whatever, it's been a long time since I've seen the book, and I
saw the book more recently than I've watched _Wrath of Khan_.

Elijah
------
decided long ago that he didn't care about Star Trek

Randal L. Schwartz

unread,
Nov 15, 2017, 7:43:12 PM11/15/17
to
>>>>> "EtB" == Eli the Bearded <*@eli.users.panix.com> writes:

EtB> Is there anyone left reading here?

Hi Eli. Sorry I can't help you... the googles aren't helping.

--
Randal L. Schwartz - Stonehenge Consulting Services, Inc. - +1 503 777 0095
<mer...@stonehenge.com> <URL:http://www.stonehenge.com/merlyn/>
Perl/Unix/Dart consulting, Technical writing, Comedy, etc. etc.
Still trying to think of something clever for the fourth line of this .sig

Eli the Bearded

unread,
Nov 15, 2017, 7:56:32 PM11/15/17
to
In comp.unix.questions, Randal L. Schwartz <mer...@stonehenge.com> wrote:
> Eli the Bearded <*@eli.users.panix.com> writes:
>> Is there anyone left reading here?
> Hi Eli. Sorry I can't help you... the googles aren't helping.

Nice to know the message was read at least. I've been stopping in
comp.lang.perl.misc from time to time and noticed you've started
visiting that group again.

Do you still have a SOURCE license for your car? I understand they have
a lot of code in them these days.

Elijah
------
those LoC numbers probably include the Linux kernel in the radio though...

Phil Dobbin

unread,
Nov 16, 2017, 8:23:10 AM11/16/17
to
Hi.

The only tome that I can think about (this version is from 1995) is:

<https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0131510517/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I26UNIVWET7NAI&colid=FNVWAZMWYDBS>

The cover photo does not look like Star Trek but it's kinda like the same buzz & is distinct.

I've bought every version of this book since the 2nd version & was saddened to hear of Evi Nemeth being lost at sea off New Zealand a few years back. She was the driving force behind the book and I'd like to think she be happy to see a new version come out a few months ago.

Cheers, Phil.

Doug McIntyre

unread,
Nov 16, 2017, 11:48:40 AM11/16/17
to
Eli the Bearded <*@eli.users.panix.com> writes:
>When I started out with Unix, someone gave me a second-hand book. This
>was in the 1991-1992 timeframe. I learned a lot from that book and I
>later passed the book on to another person for them to learn from.

>Now decades later, I'd like to relocate a copy of that book, but I don't
>remember the title or author. General searches of second hand computer
>books have not been fruitful so far.


You could probably search a used book reseller like https://www.alibris.com
for unix books and see if any of the many 1000s that come up match
what you remember.


--
Doug McIntyre
do...@themcintyres.us

Joe Morris

unread,
Nov 17, 2017, 3:21:02 PM11/17/17
to
Not so long ago in comp.unix.questions, Eli the Bearded wrote:
> When I started out with Unix, someone gave me a second-hand book. This
> was in the 1991-1992 timeframe. I learned a lot from that book and I
> later passed the book on to another person for them to learn from.

> Now decades later, I'd like to relocate a copy of that book, but I don't
> remember the title or author. General searches of second hand computer
> books have not been fruitful so far.

> Probably the best way I can positively identify it as the same book, is
> the cover. This one had a picture of the planet springing to life[*]
> at the end of _Star Trek: Wrath of Khan_ because the special effects had
> some tenuous connection to Unix, such as the graphics software ran on a
> Unix system.

Could it be something like this System V/386 book?
https://archive.org/details/bitsavers_attunixSysIXSystemV386Release3.2SystemAdministrato_33969124

Good luck finding it. Too bad abebooks.com has so few cover images

--
Joe Morris Atlanta history blog
jol...@gmail.com http://atlhistory.com

Eli the Bearded

unread,
Nov 17, 2017, 3:55:27 PM11/17/17
to
In comp.unix.questions, Joe Morris <jol...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Not so long ago in comp.unix.questions, Eli the Bearded wrote:
> > Probably the best way I can positively identify it as the same book, is
> > the cover. This one had a picture of the planet springing to life[*]
> > at the end of _Star Trek: Wrath of Khan_ because the special effects had
> > some tenuous connection to Unix, such as the graphics software ran on a
> > Unix system.
> Could it be something like this System V/386 book?
> https://archive.org/details/bitsavers_attunixSysIXSystemV386Release3.2SystemAdministrato_33969124

It's not that book. The cover was definitely _Wrath of Khan_, while that
is multi-colored Earth.

Bitsavers seems interesting, but they don't seem to have a lot of
general materials, focusing on more specific company stuff it seems. I
recall this was a general Unix book, not one for a specific flavor. (But
it may have leaned to SysV and away from BSD.)

> Good luck finding it. Too bad abebooks.com has so few cover images

Yes. And too bad that I have such a terrible memory for names.
Archive.org has covers for everything (that started as a book), but
doesn't seem to have this book, having scrolled through pages and pages
of images. Good idea, though.

Elijah
------
maybe one of the old computer magazines will have a book review

Randal L. Schwartz

unread,
Nov 24, 2017, 12:43:12 PM11/24/17
to
>>>>> "EtB" == Eli the Bearded <*@eli.users.panix.com> writes:

EtB> Do you still have a SOURCE license for your car? I understand they have
EtB> a lot of code in them these days.

Yes, SOURCE has been on 4 different vehicles... currently on my 2002
Z28. My brother had BINARY right up to the time of his death. I have
the plates in my shrine to him.

simp...@simple.gopher

unread,
Dec 9, 2017, 10:02:01 AM12/9/17
to
> When I started out with Unix, someone gave me a second-hand book. This
> was in the 1991-1992 timeframe. I learned a lot from that book and I
> later passed the book on to another person for them to learn from.
>
> Now decades later, I'd like to relocate a copy of that book, but I don't
> remember the title or author. General searches of second hand computer
> books have not been fruitful so far.
>
> Probably the best way I can positively identify it as the same book, is
> the cover. This one had a picture of the planet springing to life[*]
> at the end of _Star Trek: Wrath of Khan_ because the special effects had
> some tenuous connection to Unix, such as the graphics software ran on a
> Unix system.

Maybe it's "C and UNIX : Tools for Software Design" ? Sort of looks like
what you've described WRT 'The Genesis Device' in action.

Several used copies in the usual places; I might pick one up myself..

Book details:

Synopsis
An excellent introduction to the essential features of C and UNIX,
designed to encourage readers to use them together in order to write
more powerful and more efficient programs. Software design is emphasized
throughout the text and every chapter includes a thorough synopsis,
review problems with answers as well as several programming problems. The
appendices contain solutions for nearly all review problems plus summaries
of C, UNIX and vi commands, standard function libraries and C operator
precedences.

Product Identifiers
ISBN-10 0471309273
ISBN-13 9780471309277

Key Details
Author Clifford H. Wagner, Martin L. Barrett
Number Of Pages 464 pages
Format Paperback
Language English
Publisher Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, John
Publication Year 1995

Eli the Bearded

unread,
Dec 9, 2017, 11:50:20 PM12/9/17
to
In comp.unix.questions, <simp...@simple.gopher> wrote:
>> When I started out with Unix, someone gave me a second-hand book. This
>> was in the 1991-1992 timeframe. I learned a lot from that book and I
^^^^^^^^^

> Publication Year 1995
^^^^

Definitely too late. I had A/UX 2.0 and the Quadras had not been
released yet when I was reading the book. Thanks for the suggestion,
though.

Elijah
------
had forgotten the phrase "Genesis Device"

simp...@simple.gopher

unread,
Dec 11, 2017, 11:49:32 AM12/11/17
to
>>> When I started out with Unix, someone gave me a second-hand book. This
>>> was in the 1991-1992 timeframe. I learned a lot from that book and I
>
>> Publication Year 1995
> ^^^^
> Definitely too late. I had A/UX 2.0 and the Quadras had not been
> released yet when I was reading the book. Thanks for the suggestion,
> though.
>
> Elijah
> ------
> had forgotten the phrase "Genesis Device"

Heh, no problem. I did notice the later date but human memory being
a rather malleable thing I thought it might still be The One.

Eli the Bearded

unread,
Aug 16, 2020, 10:03:15 PM8/16/20
to
In November 2017, I wrote here (c.u.question and c.u.misc):
> When I started out with Unix, someone gave me a second-hand book. This
> was in the 1991-1992 timeframe. I learned a lot from that book and I
> later passed the book on to another person for them to learn from.
>
> Now decades later, I'd like to relocate a copy of that book, but I don't
> remember the title or author. General searches of second hand computer
> books have not been fruitful so far.
>
> Probably the best way I can positively identify it as the same book, is
> the cover. This one had a picture of the planet springing to life[*]
> at the end of _Star Trek: Wrath of Khan_ because the special effects had
> some tenuous connection to Unix, such as the graphics software ran on a
> Unix system.
>
> That book taught me things about the standard utilities, kernel tuning
> with adb, why ed is useful, etc. I'd kinda like to get the book and see
> how well the advice has held up in Linux almost everywhere world.
> Clearly adb isn't used for kernel tuning any more (and most people
> don't even know about the assembly debugger, preferring to think of the
> Android program), but I still use ed knowledge, even if it mostly is
> from the : line of vi / ex / vim.

There were a bunch of suggestions, but no one had _the_ answer. I'm
reporting back today to say that I've figured it out.

I saw some references to Khan this week, so I tried my periodic search
again. Today, I used Bing image search for "{year} unix book" with years
of 1990, 1989, and then 1988. Up popped an image from Abe Books UK that
looked right:

https://i.imgur.com/IzB33Px.jpg

Kaare Christian's _The Unix Operation System_, second edition, published
in 1988.

The preface to the third edition (1994) can be read at archive.org, (or
the whole book "borrowed" with an account) and the first page of that
preface (page 6 as scanned, page v as numbered), confirms it for me:

https://archive.org/details/unixoperatingsys00chri/page/n5/mode/2up

Both the first and second editions of this book were notable for the
cover, a single frame from the movie _Star Trek II, The Wrath of
Khan_. The image was created by Ed Catmull, Alvy Ray Smith, and
others at Lucas Film Ltd, and at the time was the state of the art
of computer graphics.

First edition was 1984, which would be too old to be the one I read.

I've found a copy, I think of second edition, for sale by Goodwill of
Seattle and ordered it today, ~$12 with shipping.

Archive.org's second edition copy:

https://archive.org/details/unixoperatingsys0000chri

You can't preview that one far enough to read about the cover.

Elijah
------
those bing image search results included some distinctly not Unix results

m...@ph.or

unread,
Aug 17, 2020, 12:39:32 PM8/17/20
to
Heh, glad you found your book and it jived with your memory. When you
first posted I was picturing something different, basically a planet
undergoing transformation.

Think this is the frame from the film's terraforming sequence:

https://youtu.be/jKOwIVjwSPc?t=115

Enjoy your book reunion!

-m4

Eli the Bearded

unread,
Aug 18, 2020, 3:06:14 PM8/18/20
to
In comp.unix.questions, <m...@ph.or> wrote:
[ Archive.org's second edition copy:
https://archive.org/details/unixoperatingsys0000chri
]
> Heh, glad you found your book and it jived with your memory. When you
> first posted I was picturing something different, basically a planet
> undergoing transformation.

That's certainly how I remembered it and probably described it, but what
a "transformation" looks like can vary in one's mind's eye.

> Think this is the frame from the film's terraforming sequence:
> https://youtu.be/jKOwIVjwSPc?t=115

About there. I hadn't seen that sequence since about when the movie was
new.

> Enjoy your book reunion!

Hasn't arrived yet, but I plan to.

Elijah
------
became less of a Trek fan over the course of the eighties
Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages