Monday, December 01, 2008

Oh Unix, Oh Linux! (Dec 02 08)

I have read three nonfiction novels about Unix/Linux, and I thoroughly enjoyed all three. For someone who reads only Tom Clancy, Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, George Martin, Orson Scott Card, Terry Brooks, and similar fantasy authors, this is saying something heavy and important about these Unix/Linux stories.

First is the novel "Quarter Century of Unix" by Peter Salus. Here Salus talks about how the CSRG folks Kernighan, Ritchie, and friends at Bell Labs wrote the Unix operating system in the early 1970s. Next is the novel "Soul of a New Machine" by Tracy Kidder. This is a suspense thriller about how programmers at Data General (now nonexistent, like Digital Equipment Corporation) ported the Unix OS to their new 32bit minicomputer. The third one is the almost-autobiography "Just For Fun" in which Linus Torvalds talks to writer David Diamond about why and how he wrote the very popular Linux OS, a modern Unix-workalike, now sweeping the computer world like a storm.

I recommend these three novels to all computer science students, and even to normal folks. They are all very nice reads, and they give you an idea about all the excitement that surrounds the life of a programmer.

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