ON THE SHELVES: Planting the Linux seed

ON THE SHELVES: Planting the Linux seed

The Cathedral & the Bazaar:

Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary Eric S. Raymond 255 pages, $59.95 Jim Allchin, Microsoft's Windows operating system chief, describes it as an un-American, intellectual property rights destroyer, while IBM is sufficiently interested to invest $US1 billion in its development. Anyway you look at it, Linux is creating a stir. And if you don't already know about it, it's about time you did.

From a layperson's point of view, the second edition of The Cathedral and the Bazaar is an excellent starting point from which to delve into the mysterious world of Linux and open source programming.

Spurred on by the unprecedented success of Linux, Raymond first released this collection of essays in 1999 in an attempt to promote the potential business opportunities arising from the prolific open source software hacker community. He writes with the enthusiasm and the insight of a keen hacker with a long-term involvement in the development of open source software. The result is a text which is at once accessible to non-programmers and propeller heads alike.

This new edition has been expanded in the spirit of open source software development, where code is open to peer review, and debugging is an almost communal ritual. The book now includes responses to questions raised by its first release, as well as updates regarding the progress of the open source hacker campaign. Raymond manages to clear up some popular misconceptions about the hacker community, and explains how high-quality software has developed in the unstructured, almost anarchical, open source environment.

Rather than simply providing insight, The Cathedral and the Bazaar leaves the reader with the slightly heady feeling that stems from being privy to the first murmurs of a revolution in the way software will be written - and business conducted - in the 21st century. Raymond's writing overtly invites readers to find out more and explore some of the possibilities of an open source economy.

Understanding the Linux Kernel

By Daniel P. Bovet and Marco Cesati

702 pages, $99

Described as a guided tour of the code that forms the core of all Linux operating systems, this book is not for the code-shy beginner. Pitched at those with a significant understanding of programming, Understanding the Linux Kernel explains why Linux is considered so efficient, how suitable it is for various applications, and what can be learned from looking at the kernel source code.

Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source RevolutionEdited by Chris DiBona, Sam Ockman and Mark Stone280 pages, $59.95 The leaders of the open source revolution come together to discuss the new vision of the software industry they have created. The essays in this volume offer insight into how the open source movement works, why it succeeds and where it is going.

Open Sources reveals how businesses can leverage freely available software for a competitive business advantage.

Linux in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition

by Ellen Siever, S. Spainhour, S. Figgins and J. P. Hekman

812 pages, $85.00

A must for any Linux user, this book covers the core commands available on common Linux distributions. This isn't a quick reference, but a complete reference to all user, programming, administration and networking commands.

New material in the third edition includes common configuration tasks for the GNOME and KDE desktops and covers a wide range of GNU tools.

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