Book details of 'UNIX for the Mainframer : The Essential Reference for Commands, Conversions, TCP/IP'
|Title||UNIX for the Mainframer : The Essential Reference for Commands, Conversions, TCP/IP|
|Author(s)||David B. Horvath|
|Publisher||Prentice Hall PTR|
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The Virtual Bookcase Reviews of 'UNIX for the Mainframer : The Essential Reference for Commands, Conversions, TCP/IP':
Reviewer Rob Slade wrote:
First of all, there is no point in even pretending to be unbiased in
this review. I am acquainted with David Horvath, and we corresponded
all the time he was writing this book. He even mentions me (and plugs
*my* book!) in the acknowledgements. I've reviewed the book twice,
once in an earlier draft so that I could make suggestions.
Still, it would have been disappointing, having encouraged David, if
he had then produced a bad book. He hasn't: this is a work of quality
with a good reason for its existence.
The intended audience is the experienced and trained (qv.
"brainwashed" :-) IBM mainframe systems programmer, and that I am
not. Therefore it is hard for me to say with finality that the book
is completely suitable. However, from my time spent with IBM systems,
I feel that it is. It has aspects of the "look and feel" of IBM
documentation, which makes for a good comfort level. The book
presents the common tasks for management of a mainframe, and then
explains the UNIX means of accomplishing the same job.
There is a great deal about UNIX that the book does not cover, but the
systems management tasks are dealt with pretty fully. Other aspects
of UNIX are not necessarily within the interest or scope of the
applications programmer, although the UNIX user can also find much of
interest and value within these pages, and, even though mainframers
are the intended readers, any determined novice could learn UNIX from
this work. The book is a fair size, but management is a sizable task.
Horvath does not waste any space introducing concepts that the
intended audience should already be familiar with, only the new ways
of dealing with them. Because it is aimed at technically experienced
people, some detail and internals are also included. One thing struck
me about the section on shell scripts: while the example scripts are
useful, often complete replacements for mainframe utilities, perhaps
simpler and smaller scripts might illustrate some of the functions
The glossary is an important part of the book. Generally, computing
concepts are the same anywhere: only the terminology changes. (For
example, the fact that a systems programmer is what everyone else
calls a sysadmin.) The current glossary is a good start, with IBM
terms referring to the UNIX counterparts. However, I think it both
could and should be expanded. Or, perhaps an additional appendix
could provide a quick reference for common mainframe functions and the
UNIX equivalent. (This is, of course, the body of the book, but a
quick reference would be helpful.)
I know of only one other UNIX book intended for this target audience,
"UNIX for MVS Programmers" (see reviews
), which doesn't really
approach the topic from the mainframe perspective that Horvath uses.
For those wanting to go further with UNIX, the bibliography that
Horvath provides is first rate.
With the ideas behind such buzzwords as "distributed computing",
"client/server", and "data warehousing", integration of mainframes
into networks is becoming more, rather than less, important. UNIX is
the de facto "glue" behind multi-vendor networks, so a "meeting of
minds" between the IBM and UNIX worlds is vital. Appendix F, on
TCP/IP, is fairly important. In keeping with the idea of UNIX as a
link between mainframes and networks, so TCP/IP is important to SNA
(System Network Architecture).
David Horvath has written an excellent introduction, tutorial, and
reference for those mainframe programmers and administrators who need
or want to become part of the larger computing and network world. It
is solidly structured, technically sound, and more than passably
copyright Robert M. Slade, 1996
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