If thou desirest with True Desire to tread the Path of Wizardly Wisdom, first learn the elementary Postures of Kernighan & Pike's The Unix Programming Environment ; then, absorb the mantic puissance of March Rochkind's Advanced Unix Programming and W. Richard Stevens's Advanced Programming In The UNIX Environment. Immerse thyself, then, in the Pure Light of Maurice J. Bach's The Design Of The UNIX Operating System. Neglect not the Berkelian Way; study also The Design Of The 4.3BSD UNIX Operating System by Samuel Leffler, Kirk McKusick et. al. For useful hints, tips, and tricks, see UNIX Power Tools, Tim O'Reilly, ed. Consider also the dark Wisdom to be gained from contemplation of the dread Portable C And UNIX Systems Programming, e'en though it hath flowed from the keyboard of the mad and doomed Malvernite whom the world of unknowing Man misnames "J. E. Lapin".
These tomes shall instruct thy Left Brain in the Nature of the UNIX System; to Feed the other half of thy Head, O Nobly Born, embrace also the Lore of its Nurture. Don Libes's and Sandy Ressler's Life With UNIX will set thy Feet unerringly upon that Path; take as thy Travelling Companion the erratic but illuminating compendium called The New Hacker's Dictionary (Eric S. Raymond, ed., with Guy L. Steele Jr.).
(In this wise shalt thou travel the Way of the Camel.)
(In this wise shalt thou travel the Way of the Lion.)
In this day of Boot-Time Autoconfiguration and Dynamically Loadable Device Drivers, reassembling a Kernel is no longer the daunting Test and Seal of Mastery that once it was. However, writing and verifying thine own Device Driver for some piece of Exotic Hardware is still a worthy challenge to thy Budding Guruhood.
The Rite of the Rewrite is not the only Path to Mastery, but it is perhaps the highest and most Sacred of all Paths. Few indeed are those who, travelling it, have crossed the dark and yawning Abyss of Implementation to Delivery. Many, yea, many in truth stagnate yet in the Desert of Delay, or linger ever in the ghastly limbo called Perpetual Beta.
If thou dost these things faithfully, if thou travellest with high heart and pure intention, soon shall thy callow Newbiehood be shed. By degrees imperceptible to thyself shalt thou gain Power and Wisdom, striving and doing all the while. Gradually shall thy puissance unfold and deepen.
O Nobly Born, if thou dost all these things, thy Wizardhood shall surely come upon thee; but not of a sudden, and not until after thy arrogant Mind hath more than half forgotten that such was its aim. For know this --- you may not by thyself in Pride claim the Mantle of Wizardry; that way lies only Bogosity without End.
Rather must you Become, and Become, and Become, until Hackers respect thy Power, and other Wizards hail thee as a Brother or Sister in Wisdom, and you wake up and realize that the Mantle hath lain unknown upon thy Shoulders since you knew not when.
(In this wise shalt thou travel the Way of the Child.)