This book is intended for folks who are new to programming and new to Unix-like operating systems like macOS and Linux distributions like Ubuntu. Most of the technologies discussed in this book will be accessed via a command line interface. Command line interfaces can seem alien at first, so this book attempts to draw parallels between using the command line and actions that you would normally take while using your mouse and keyboard. You’ll also learn how to write little pieces of software in a programming language called Bash, which allows you to connect together the tools we’ll discuss. My hope is that by the end of this book you be able to use different Unix tools as if they’re interconnecting Lego bricks.
Unix forms a foundation that is often very helpful for accomplishing other goals you might have for you and your computer, whether that goal is running a business, writing a book, curing disease, or creating the next great app. The means to these goals are sometimes carried out by writing software. Software can’t be mined out of the ground, nor can software seeds be planted in spring to harvest by autumn. Software isn’t produced in factories on an assembly line. Software is a hand-made, often bespoke good. If a software developer is an artisan, then Unix is their workbench. Unix provides an essential and simple set of tools in a distraction-free environment. Even if you’re not a software developer learning Unix can open you up to new methods of thinking and novel ways to scale your ideas. My goal for this book is to help you get started with Unix by writing the book I would have wanted when I was first learning Unix. If you have any additions, corrections, or comments for this book please open an issue or send a pull request to: https://github.com/seankross/the-unix-workbench. If you’re unsure what a pull request is don’t worry, you’ll find out in the Git and GitHub chapter of this book!