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Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment


Some material is very old and may be incorrect today

© January 1997 Tony Lawrence

This is the nitty-gritty reference and programming guide for Unix.

The information found here is not in the manuals, is not in the include files, but is here.

Stevens covers both System V Release 4 and 4.4BSD. This adds tremendous value, especially for those of us who sometimes need to port things from here to there or back again.

Stevens approaches the subject by breaking it down into major chunks. Chapter 3, for example, is File I/O. He briefly introduces the subject, explains file descriptors and the conventions of their enumeration, notes the POSIX constants and discusses limits. He then jumps into actual calls, starting (of course) with open().

As would be expected, Stevens details open()'s arguments, the include's necessary, and the possible returns. You could get that from a man page, but Stevens takes it further, discussing the variances of SVR4 and 4.3BSD vs. POSIX. He covers the rest of the related calls (creat, close,lseek,read,write), giving examples and showing output from those examples, and then jumps into I/O efficiency, file sharing, appending, dup'ing file descriptors and so on. He therefore covers File I/O as completely as you could ask for, and this, of course, is just one chapter.

Stevens writing is clear, his examples are useful, and his level of detail is wonderful. This is a must have book for anyone programming on Unix.


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