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I've started digging in to O'Reilly's Perl Llama book, and can remember from when I studied COBOL that it was important to be familiar with the environment, not just the language itself. It was IBM 370 OS/VS and when I dug into the OS commands, I found there were things that could be done using the JCL that were far simpler and quicker than doing them within the application itself.
I don't know if this will be so in this case. I'm just looking to do some very simple, basic things. My familiarity with Linux has basically been on a need-to-know basis, but an overview certainly can't hurt.
JCL, OS/370, COBOL? Just how old are you Marcia? (....I'm kidding, just kidding, oh come on, really I'm kidding :) )