Book review: High Performance Linux Clusters by Joseph D Sloan

Like distributed computing, clusters are a hot topic in the current computing climate. The reason is simple, with the explosion of Linux and cheaper components it’s actually become quite simple and inexpensive to put together a relatively high-powered cluster. Driving the cluster production is an increased need for computing power as applications are developed for different situations.

Book review: Degunking Linux by Roderick W Smith

Over the course of a typical computer’s lifetime you will probably create all sorts of files, temporarily install software and generate lots of information and data that you don’t really want to keep. Unfortunately, computers tend to have a terrible habit of keeping these files and information about. In Degunking Linux by Roderick W Smith you’ll find hints on how to clean and, as the title suggests, degunk your Linux installation to help free up disk space, CPU time and help optimize your machine. You’d be amazed how much of a difference degunking your machine can make.

Book review: From Bash to Z Shell by Oliver Kiddle, Jerry Peek and Peter Stephenson

If you use a free software operating system or environment, chances are one of your key interfaces will be through some kind of shell. Most people assume the bulk of the power of shells comes from the commands available within them, but some shells are actually powerful in their own right. Many of the more recent releases being more like a command line programming environment than a command line interface. “From Bash to Z Shell” published by Apress, provides a guide to using various aspects of the shell.

Book review: Zope 3 Developer’s Handbook by Stephan Richter

Like its subject matter, the Zope 3 Developer’s Handbook, has benefited from the mistakes of its predecessor, “The Zope Book”, and is a finely-engineered work. It is written in an extremely concise and carefully thought-out style, to make the immensely complex machinery of Zope 3 understandable to the reader in a mere 456 pages. It's easy to imagine a less-well-written book needing three times the volume to cover this material half as well. As a result, however, it is not a very casual book—you will need to read slowly and pay attention, if you want to get the most out of it.

Book review: Web Mapping Illustrated by Tyler Mitchell

When I started Anansi Spaceworks in 2001, we were keen to create an interactive online browser for the planetary maps that we sold at that time, but didn’t know how to do it. With this book though, I’m tempted to try it again just for the fun of it! Whatever your interest in maps is, this book will help you out.

A straightforward introduction to creating interactive mapping sitesA straightforward introduction to creating interactive mapping sites

Book review: The Official Samba-3 HOWTO and Reference Guide, 2nd Edition by John H. Terpstra and Jelmer R. Vernooij

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for quite a few years, you’ve probably heard of Samba, the free software server that provides Windows networking compatibility. For new users coming from a Windows networking environment who want to avail themselves of all the advantages of free software server platforms, Samba is the ticket, and the ticket to Samba is good documentation.

The Official Samba-3 HOWTO and Reference Guide, 2nd EditionThe Official Samba-3 HOWTO and Reference Guide, 2nd Edition

Book review: Samba-3 By Example, 2nd Edition by John H. Terpstra

Humans often learn best by example, and the Samba documentation team has responded with this very admirable collection of example Windows networking projects with Samba. I liked the design of this book, and although you will obviously need to access the Samba-3 howto for reference purposes, I would personally recommend buying this one and reading the howto online, if you must choose. This is essentially a cookbook, but it also has a consistent context which makes the examples hang together.

Samba-3 By Example, 2nd EditionSamba-3 By Example, 2nd Edition

Book review: Running Linux, 5th Ed. by Matthias Kalle Dalheimer & Matt Welsh

Running Linux begins with the subtitle “A distribution-neutral guide for servers and desktops”. This subtitle manages to capture the essence of the book extremely well, containing extensive information for both a desktop and server environment within its 972 pages.

The book’s coverThe book’s cover

Book review: Agile Web Development with Rails by Dave Thomas and David Heinemeier Hansson, et al

The last time I looked at Ruby was many years ago, when the language was still relatively new. At that time it had yet to find wide acceptance when competing against the older and more established script-based languages such as Perl and Python. Although Ruby has since become more popular as a general purpose language, one of its most significant impacts has been within the web development space due to the development/deployment environment that is Ruby on Rails.

Book review: Programming Ruby by Dave Thomas (with Chad Fowler and Andy Hunt)

Many say that the Ruby language has clearly overtaken both Python and Perl as the popular choice for software development, both for standalone applications and also for web based solutions (through the magic of Ruby on Rails). Programming Ruby, by Dave Thomas was almost certainly instrumental in that process. The first edition of the book has been credited—by Yukihiro Matsumoto, the developer of Ruby—as a key reason for the popularity of the Ruby language outside of Japan.

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Book review: Producing Open Source Software by Karl Fogel

Many people who start an open source project just announce their project without any prior planning. But now Karl Fogel—who has worked on the development teams of CVS, GNU Emacs and, most recently, Subversion, and is also the writer of “Open Source Development with CVS”—has introduced an extremely comprehensive project guide that will change the way people begin and think about open source projects.

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Book review: Pro Apache Ant by Matthew Moodie

This book covers the popular Java-oriented build tool, Ant. It is a combination of reference manual and user guide, which demonstrates how to create Ant scripts that can compile projects, test them, and perform the many other manual tasks involved in the build pipeline, above and beyond standard compilation phase.

Pro Apache AntPro Apache Ant

Book review: Write Portable Code by Brian Hook

How many times do programmers have to port software written to run on one particular architecture into another (or more than one) architecture? Does it always go smoothly? If you answered “yes”, you might not need this book. But if your answer was “no”, then this book is for you.

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Brian Hook is a professional software developer, and has worked primarily in the gaming and entertainment industry. He collected his experiences in this book in order to advise us on how to write portable software.

Book review: Perl Best Practices by Damian Conway

The book is published by O’Reilly, who don’t need any introduction. Conway, the book’s author and fellow Australian (but no, his nationality didn’t influence my judgement on the book!), is working on Perl 6 with Larry Wall, the man who created Perl in the first place.

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Book review: Open Source Solutions for Small Business Problems by John Locke

Businesses are often bound to proprietary and closed source software solutions. So, when they try to adopt free software, they often face difficulty. John Locke wrote this book to give advice on when and how to make the transition from properietary/closed source software to free/open source software. The author deals with the most common and useful software a small business is likely to require.

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Book review: Open Sources 2.0

Few people take the time to truly consider just how free software concepts have affected, and continue to affect, the software industry, developers, corporations, organizations and the entire web community. The book Open Sources 2.0 takes many essays from free software and open source leaders that have shaped free software as a thought process and as an industry, and places them into a single compilation.

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The contents

Book review: Just Say No To Microsoft: How To Ditch Microsoft And Why It’s Not As Hard As You Think by Tony Bove

This book, the contents of which should be evident in the self explanatory title, makes you feel a bit revolutionary. It isn’t just the catchy headings, which are clever paraphrasings of song titles and geeky cultural refecences; it’s also the air of genuine excitment which permeates the pages, and makes you feel inspired during and after the reading process. I think many people’s continuing use of Microsoft, even when they know about the insecurities, and the bugs, and the horror, is caused by inertia. And this is just the book to get them up and off their swivel chairs!

Book review: Moving to Linux by Marcel Gagne

Moving to Linux, written by Marcel Gagne and published by Addison-Wesley, serves as a practical guide that takes the reader on a step-by-step journey into the world of GNU/Linux. This book is not for the hardcore techie, but for the person who wants to see how the common tasks they now perform in Windows can be done better with GNU/Linux.

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A practical guide that takes the reader on a step-by-step journey into the world of GNU/Linux

The contents

Book review: The Practical Manager’s Guide To Open Source by Maria Winslow

Cover of The Practical Manager’s Guide to Open SourceCover of The Practical Manager’s Guide to Open Source

Free software has grown in leaps and bounds. All too often though, there is a lack of concrete evidence of its usefulness in the workplace. While you and I know the advantages of free software, in the world of business it’s all about money. Most IT directors have experience with free software, so they know the money they’d save. Showing that to a board of directors is completely different.

Book review: Linux Made Easy—the Official Guide to Xandros 3 for Everyday Users by Rickford Grant

Recently, a guy I know told me he had spoken to a friend of his about the possibility of installing GNU/Linux. “Hah!” Snorted his friend. “You? And GNU/Linux? Get real. That’s for hardcore geeks. You wouldn’t last.” And thus began the battle of spreading the free software word: trying to make my friend understand that GNU/Linux can ACTUALLY work for non-geeks and that making the switch won’t require him to suddenly understand jokes about binary. But, I knew all my friend really needed was a book like Linux Made Easy by Rickford Grant.

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