Gift a book: 8 Linux and open source recommendations

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Chances are many of you are thinking about what to get others for the upcoming holiday season as well as what to add to your own wishlist. Regardless of the reason or the season, though, these eight books are ones our writer community recommends to give and receive for any occasion or time of the year.

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Chances are many of you are thinking about what to get others for the upcoming holiday season as well as what to add to your own wishlist. Regardless of the reason or the season, though, these eight books are ones our writer community recommends to give and receive for any occasion or time of the year.

8 books for your gift list

The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage

by Clifford Stoll (Recommended by Alex Callejas Garcia) 

I love this book about the dawn of Unix, which is located in the Cold War, as a story about spies and first-generation hackers, giving us a vision of the birth of the operating system, its protocols, and the first great events at the internet level. It is great to read firsthand about how the scourge of the Morris worm was experienced. Cliff Stoll is a superstar in the use of Unix and a great storyteller.

Camel in Action, Second Edition 

by Claus Ibsen and Jonathan Anstey (Recommended by Daniel Oh)

How do you address complex integration across the legacy systems? What is your solution to bring them on the cloud at scale and speed? Apache Camel is your answer to make your integration easier and more accessible to developers. Apache Camel has fundamentally changed the way enterprise Java developers think about system-to-system integration. Start learning about Camel in this ebook, which includes excerpts from the book Camel in Action by Claus Ibsen and Jonathan Anstey (Red Hat engineers who are core developers of Apache Camel).

Introducing Istio Service Mesh for Microservices

by Burr Sutter, Christian Posta (Recommended by Daniel Oh)

Are you in a relentless pursuit to better serve your customers and users? Need to build and deploy cloud-native applications based on the microservices architecture? In your microservices applications are you struggling with reliability and complexity? Istio is the implementation of a service mesh that creates resilience in your applications as you connect, manage, and secure microservices. Red Hatter’s Christian Posta and Burr Sutter introduce you to several key microservices capabilities that Istio provides on Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShift.

RHCSA/RHCE Red Hat Linux Certification Study Guide

by Michael Jang and Alessandro Orsaria (Recommended by Alan Formy-Duval)

I like light holiday reading topics, like the O’Reilly books, on fundamental topics such as BIND/DNS, DHCP, AWK, UNIX, LVM, etc. These are the technologies we rely on daily but often take for granted. We’re usually doing something much more high-level and exciting like deploying app servers, writing code, or project management. Yet, when things go wrong, or worse… when someone gets hacked, it is in these fundamental areas where we find mis-configurations or a weak cipher or something that opened a vulnerability.

For example, the SSH daemon default installation on many distributions includes ciphers and settings that may be on the weak side in the interest of compatibility and/or ease of setup. Last night, I was setting up a new server and hardening the SSH configuration and wound up removing a few old keys and algorithms and disabling some unneeded features.

Openshift Cookbook

by Shekhar Gulati (Recommended by Alan Formy-Duval)

The next book I’m interested in reading is something related to Openshift/Openstack.

The Linux Programming Interface

by Michael Kerrisk (Recommended by Moshe Zadka)

At times, systems programming in Linux can get non-trivial. How to use shared memory? What is the meaning of various options to the “mount” command? This book delves into the nitty-gritty details. It is useful as a reference when writing low-level systems software or systems management. While diving deep, it explains concepts from basics, assuming little besides a basic understanding of C. 

The Universal Computer

by Martin Davis (Recommended by Marty Kalin)

Davis has written a book that’s easy to read and rich in both historical and technical detail. The book traces the origins of computing from Leibniz through Boole and up to Goedel, Turing, and von Neumann. At every step along the way, Davis pushes the notion that today’s computers are not just remarkable engineering feats, but also general-purpose logic machines. Davis has the chops for such a book. He was among the early programmers of the ILLIAC computer, and along with three other researchers has credit for the MRDP theorem, which shows that Hilbert’s tenth problem is unsolvable. At ninety, Davis continues as moderator for the prominent e-mail group FOM (Foundations of Mathematics).

Each of the book’s nine chapters focuses on a figure important in the history of computing. Some are better known than others. For example, Boole lives on in boolean algebra, a topic familiar to any student of computer science. Boole’s deceptively simple formula

x(1 - x) = 0

says in English: Nothing can belong and fail to belong to a given class x. Boole thereby shows how Aristotle’s principle of contradiction can be expressed algebraically. Because the principle of contradiction is at the core of logic, Boole suggests that logic as a whole is algebra. A less familiar figure is perhaps Frege, who played an equally decisive role in the intellectual evolution that Davis covers. Syllogistic, the logic of Aristotle, cannot handle inference patterns such as this:

If x > y and y > z, then x > z. ## x, y, and z range over numeric values

Frege’s contribution, now known as first-order logic, captures this pattern and far richer ones so common in mathematics, computing, natural science, and other technical disciplines.

Modern computers still exhibit the classic von Neumann architecture, named after the brilliant mathematician who, among other things, helped to design the original stored program computer named the EDVAC. Indeed, common acceleration techniques in modern architectures, such as pipelining and cache memory, are but continuing efforts to counter the von Neumann bottleneck, the channel that connects memory to a processor. Davis is especially good at laying out how the deep theoretical contributions of Goedel and Turing inspired von Neumann’s simple and persistent design for computers.

This relatively short book (200 pages or so in length) is worth reading—and not just once.

Using FreeDOS 

by Jim Hall (Recommended by Jim Hall)

You may already know FreeDOS is an open source DOS-compatible operating system that you can use to play classic DOS games, run legacy business software, or develop embedded systems. Any program that works on MS-DOS should also run on FreeDOS. FreeDOS turned 24 years old in June 2018 and is still going strong. Celebrate FreeDOS with our anniversary book, Using FreeDOS, available in EPUB, PDF, and print versions. Using FreeDOS includes how-tos on installing FreeDOS, essays about running DOS applications, and quick reference guides for the FreeDOS command line and batch programming.

USD $47.20 in print via our publishing partner Lulu, or free to download as EPUB or PDF.


What books are on your wishlist? Which books have you gifted or will you be gifting to others this year?

Posted by Web Monkey