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Books or Debian wrong? and other stuff

When I, an linux and unix novice, find that commands I am entering are not
yielding the results I expect how do I know if this failure is caused by a
program bug, an error in the book or man page, my error or something else?
For example on page 104 of "Learning the Bash Shell" O'reilly there is the
following command
 vi $(grep -l 'command substitution' ch*)

 According to the text should load into the vi editor a file that is a list
of the files in the PWD that begin with "ch" which contain the string  
"command substition".  The man page for grep would seem to confirm this
However when I typed
 vi $(grep -l 'linux' *.txt) 
it loaded all the documents into vi not a list of documents.  Is  the book 

And as long as I am here, I have noticed that the escape charactor in 
kermit does not work ^\.  Neither does there seem to be anyway to exit 
dosemu other than killing the process.

Finally, if any Debian users would be interested in working through some
books together, sort of in an informal study group, please let me know and
I will set something up. 

As always thank you all for any help



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