Book review: Ed Mastery

Book review: Ed Masteryed is a powerful line text editor for the Linux and Unix-like systems. It was one of the first standard Unix text editor developed in 1969 by Ken Thompson. Much older and legacy Unix like system only shipped with ed for the rescue purpose. There was no vi. So learning ed might be a good idea. A low-level understanding of ed editor helps when one uses a high-level application such as vi or vim. The “Ed Mastery” book teaches you how to use the ed and forgotten art of Unix where the line-oriented paradigm is the only option. The author describe book as, “If you don’t know ed, you’re not a real sysadmin. Forty years after ed’s introduction, author Michael W Lucas has finally unlocked the mysteries of ed for everyone. With Ed Mastery, you too can become a proper Unix sysadmin.”


Ed Mastery

There are eight chapters. Each chapter introduces to basic concepts of ed text editor. These chapters teach you concepts such as:

  1. Getting started with ed
  2. How to view, print, delete, find/replace and edit a file
  3. How to enter and end all commands
  4. Advanced search and replace text
  5. File management (writing or loading files) and running Unix shell commands
  6. Moving around a file or append something to the file
  7. Shell scripting and more.

The author covered FreeBSD (macOS) and Linux version of ed with some feature specific to Linux or FreeBSD only.

The modern text editor such as vim or emacs is arguably one of the best text editors in existence. But, they lack the simplicity of ed. Unix like system known for its simplicity and KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid), principles. If someone wants to learn ed, grab this book. Much of stuff learned in this book can apply to other applications. Some might say ed is hard to learn. Ed’s learning curve is steep but “Ed Mastery” will take away the fear of learning line editor.

The book is available in two editions as follows:

  1. Ed Mastery: The Standard Unix Text Editor (IT Mastery) – Priced at $9.99
  2. Ed Mastery: Manly McManface Edition: The Standard Unix Text Editor – Every so often, men contact the author complaining that his books use both male and female pronouns. This special edition, using only male third-person pronouns, is for those special people. As the market is so much smaller, it’s unfortunately priced higher. For each copy of the Manly McManface edition sold, the author will donate one dollar to his local chapter of Soroptomists International – Priced at $29.99

Book Info:

  • Title: Ed Mastery.
  • Author: Michael W. Lucus.
  • Publisher: Tilted Windmill Press.
  • Length: 104 pages.
  • Target: System administrators or developers.
  • Rating: 5/5.
  • Disclaimer: Tilted Windmill Press sent us a review copy.
  • Purchase online at Amazon (Ed Mastery: Manly McManface Edition: The Standard Unix Text Editor at Amazon).

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I'm Vivek Gite, and I write about Linux, macOS, Unix, IT, programming, infosec, and open source. Subscribe to my RSS feed or email newsletter for updates.

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