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Thu 25 Mar 2004
The Good (Computer) Books Guide
Category : Commentary/goodbooks.txt
I'm going over the Panther Server, peeking under the hood, but I keep thinking about a couple of books I've read as I'm doing it. I don't know why but, maybe, I'm thinking about what it takes to put all these technologies together.
Tracy Kidder's "The Soul of a New Machine" was probably the book that started the genre - the one that made reading about computers and computer companies fun. Who remembers Data General, or DG, or Damn Good, as their then Singapore-based GM called his company, when he gave a talk to us students, back in 1983? It's twenty years on. From the mini-computer to the workstation, to the iBook. I've worked on them all.
The other hacker classic is - "Hackers" by Steven Levy. In there, you'll meet Richard Stallman, and recursive acronymns, and GNU's not Unix.
If you haven't read them, then you ought to. If they work for you the way they worked for me, then you might also want to read : "Rebel Code", Glyn Moody, about Linux and the Open Source Revolution; Jeremy Campbell's "Grammatical Man"; Downes and Mui's "Killer App"; and Nicholas Negroponte's "Being Digital".
Also, "Open Sources" - Voices from the Open Source Revolution, which is not that good, because it's really a collection of articles of varying quality, but interesting, all the same.