[linux-elitists] 32 essential computer books?

Nick Moffitt nick@zork.net
Wed Dec 17 19:03:39 PST 2003

For starters, there's a list of books I always wanted to use in
sequence as a reading club:


The rundown is:

Levy, Steven,  "Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution".
	This is the book that everyone read in the 1980s and felt sad
	that there were no more hackers and poor RMS was all alone.
	Damn it's great that he won that battle.

Hillis, Daniel, "The Pattern on the Stone".
	This is the best layman's explanation for how to conceptualize
	computers.  It is a great gift book for non-geeks in your
	life.  It basically explains everything with the overall
	thesis that functional decomposition is the *only* thing we do
	with computer technology.  It's got an epilogue that says that
	won't cut it for AI.  

Felliesen, Matthias et al., "The Little Schemer".
	This is an amazing book, and I'd send it even if you were
	sending SICP.  If I were sending books to people who didn't
	have access to computers, this is the one I'd send.  It's a
	dialogue between master and novice, with leading questions as
	the only technique.  Damn fine book.

Hofstadter, Douglas, "Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid".

begin  Ben Finney  quotation:
> Beazley, "Python Essential Reference (2nd Edition)", New Riders
>     Python is an excellent language for first-time programmers, and also
>     allows highly complex systems to be managed well.  This book acts as
>     both a good tutorial text and a complete reference.


begin  Michael Bacarella  quotation:
> The Design & Implementation of the 4.4BSD Operating System
>     by McKusick, Bostic, Karels, Quarterman

	Yep, that's a good one.

> TCP/IP Illustrated Volume 2
> Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment
> UNIX Network Programming
>     by W. Richard Stevens

	I'd definitely send APIUE and UNP.  TCP/IP illustrated is a
close second, but Advanced Programming and Network Programming are the
two big ones for me.

> UNIX Internals: The New Frontiers
>     by Uresh Vahalia
> Design of the UNIX Operating System
>     by Maurice J. Bach

	If you ask me, these two are not as useful as the 4.4BSD book.
ALl of them are out of date, but at least the BSD book covers
something even REMOTELY modern.

> A Guide to LaTeX 2e
>     by Kopka, Daly

	Hmmm.  Me, I just use Lamport.  My brother actually has a
spiral-bound first edition that says "DO NOT REMOVE FROM MATH
DEPARTMENT" on the front page.  Oops.

"Forget the damned motor car and build cities for lovers and friends."
	-- Lewis Mumford


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