home | list info | list archive | date index | thread index

Re: [OCLUG-Tech] survey: how do you see the value of linux books these days?

I bought K&R to pay my dues, similarly the C++ book.

I just look things up on the net now.

On Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 9:01 PM, Alex Pilon <alp [ at ] alexpilon [ dot ] ca> wrote:

> On Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 06:49:17AM -0500, Robert P. J. Day wrote:
> >   a general question for the masses -- what value do you see in
> > linux books these days?
> I'll assume you mean Linux and common userland, and not the kernel
> itself.
> >   if people on this list still buy books, how do you judge whether
> > something's worth purchasing? what do you look for?
> * Technology or trend du jour-agnostic. Books about learning Python 2.x
>   are to be avoided since they'll be obsolete soon. Ditto for books on
>   the latest web framework, desktop, distro, etc. In other words…
> * Focused on concepts and so on rather than implementations of these
>   concepts, though case studies thereof are acceptable provided that the
>   learning exercise doesn't require too much use of said implementation.
>   E.g., a book about programming language design that touches on BASIC
>   is fine as long as I don't lose much of the worth of the book if I
>   can't or don't want to play [1] with BASIC. Ditto for a book on
>   cryptography that compares and contrasts TLS and SSH.
> * If implementation-focused:
>     * Must be about technology that will stand the test of time. E.g.,
>       a study of the engineering of various computer architectures, or
>       (to some extent), the design of one of the original influential
>       Unices.
>     * Either:
>         * Must be a compendium of scattered knowledge that is otherwise
>           a bother to aggregate and filter, or must provide a not
>           readily available angle on the matter.
>         * Must be to provide an update on best current practice that
>           would be otherwise hard to gleam from readily available but
>           still widely referenced documentation, and must provide an
>           immediate benefit.  Had a certain Tkinter-focused site not
>           existed, a *small* book on modern Tk programming would have
>           been acceptable. The same could be said of a C++ book [2] on
>           modern practices, esp. in light of C++ 11 and maybe touching
>           on C++ 14 and the ideas espoused in some of the proposals.
> * Reasonably priced. I don't buy 70$ books unless they transcend the
>   currently related technology and are packed. Alternatively, if the
>   book is a reasonable alternative to certain university courses that I
>   would object to for various reasons (e.g., too much boilerplate, full
>   of Java crud, etc.), and maybe has a few *interesting* and stimulating
>   exercises [3], there would be some value, esp. compared to a
>   few-hundred-dollar course with a name conceived more for marketing
>   rather than accuracy an descriptiveness and poorly vetted TAs.
> * DRM-free, preferrably PDF.
> Alternatively, the book could be an interesting story: interviews with
> the designers of some interesting programming languages, thoughts from
> some **exceptional** programmers on code they particularly liked, etc.
> > […]
> >
> >  * available in e-form
> [1]: Quite the case here.
> [2]: I'm not a C++ programmer. The assumption in this context would be
>      for somebody like a student that just learned incidentally as part
>      of their university or college education, esp. if from some likely
>      outdated reference matter (big, slow-to-publish, overpriced large
>      textbooks).
> [3]: Like certain books on purely functional programming, though half
>      the challenge was the language itself, not the purely functional
>      programming.
> Regards,
> Alex Pilon
> _______________________________________________
> Linux mailing list
> Linux [ at ] lists [ dot ] oclug [ dot ] on [ dot ] ca
> http://oclug.on.ca/mailman/listinfo/linux


*Pick a good wife and you will die a happy man. *

*Pick a bad wife and you will become a philosopher. *