Found in 6 comments on Hacker News
jll29 · 2022-10-15 · Original thread
It's upsetting to see how children's and young people's education gets dumbed down. I went to a toy shop earlier this week and the kits for scientific experiments (chemistry, electronics) have been dumbed down compared to the 1980s. Back then, you had a huge box with chemicals and tools and a proper 100+ page handbook full of experimental instructions (chemistry) or resistors, transistors capacitors etc, and a handbook full of design schemas that you may want to construct e.g. a little radios (electronics). Now you can do "20 safe experiments" like making a LED flash.

In computing, students want to do their coursework on their iPad in a notebook environment, relying mostly on step-by-step instructions given as PDF file or from an online tutorial, based on copy & paste, without understanding what they paste there instead of compiling libraries or write a makefiles from scratch.

Starting next summer, I will include a 2-3 hour UNIX command line (and also a 2-3 hour LaTeX) intro into all courses I teach where that can be justified. (The UNIX Power Tools [1] book is a useful resource for teaching, I found in the past.)


nf-x · 2022-09-21 · Original thread
In the end, you’ll end up using approx 20 commands. Maybe reading a book is worth it. For me it was. I could recommend two: (old but gold)

webnrrd2k · 2015-06-16 · Original thread
If you're into the command line, I'd recommend getting a physical copy of Unix Power Tools [1] and spending some time with it. This is a nice article, but Unix Power Tools is better in almost every way for learning the basics (and more) of the Unix command line. This article mentions a few more modern tools, but Unix Power Tools has a far better explanation of what's going on.


I cut my Linux teeth on Gentoo stage 1 and 2 installs, which I found enormously frustrating and equally educational.

Today, I'd recommend working through Linux From Scratch. You'll develop a rich understanding of how a UNIX-like OS fits together, including a fair bit of shell functionality:

My favourite dead-tree UNIX book would be UNIX Power Tools, 3rd Edition ( It may be a while before it's a truly valuable resource, but keep it in mind.

bad_user · 2012-05-25 · Original thread
About your productivity levels, don't worry about it because in the end you'll end up being much more productive.

The one thing you must do is to embrace the Unix way of doing things. Learn the basic command-line tools and use them daily. Learn to use Emacs, because the same shortcuts are available in the shell.

This book is great btw: Unix Power Tools (

Another thing you have to realize is that Unix was built for polyglots. Many Windows developers usually stay within the walls of .NET, but on Unix that's a mistake. Learn Java, learn a good scripting language (I recommend Ruby because it is great for scripting, has a thriving community and can also run on top of the JVM), learn C along with the POSIX APIs.

Eclipse or IntelliJ IDEA are good substitutes for Visual Studio, however I work with Emacs, because in dynamic languages the APIs and workflow are optimized for non-IDE usage and an IDE just stays in my way. I still use an IDE for Java, but that's only because in Java I can't drop to a REPL.

Also, Linux is great for your desktop, but only if you have hardware that's compatible with it. So be careful when picking hardware and do some reading first, otherwise it will ruin your mood. OS X is also an option btw, but I wouldn't make long-term commitments to this platform because Apple is even worse than Microsoft in some regards.

brianm · 2009-01-08 · Original thread
Get a copy of and experiment with interesting topics in it.

Fresh book recommendations delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday.