The book-writing process is really good fun, and gives some opportunities to dive into things that you would otherwise never get around to. The schedule can be tough at times, but taking an hour, an evening, a week, to get really into a topic and find the best way to share it with the rest of the community is a very rewarding experience.
Tonight I've spent a few hours getting into the MBR structure, and finding
od to be a more than worthy tool to tackle it. Something as low-level as the MBR is one of those things where C (or even assembler) is the obvious language to choose, but in fact the shell is more than capable of dealing with it, and od makes it totally painless. Have you ever used
od -t x1 ? You should. It's an awesome tool, and massively underused.
Read the od(1) man page
Shell Scripting Recipes is due out this August. It's got lots of recipes for useful (and a few zany) things to do in the shell, as well as a thorough tour of the features of the Bash shell (including loads of new stuff in Bash v4) and ways that the shell can interact with the Linux kernel itself.
Unlike some other Linux or Bash books it maintains a sense of context and history, because there is much more to shell programming than GNU/Linux. My free online tutorial is fervently UNIX/Bourne compatible, with a real focus on portable scripting. The book gives me the opportunity to take things further, addressing the great stuff that GNU (particularly Bash) and Linux add to the existing functionality of UNIX.
All of this
od functionality is pure UNIX though. Do you know
paste as well as
Also, if there are things that you do want the book to cover, it's not too late; get in touch via the mail me link on the left, or send email to email@example.com.
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