Michael W. Lucas posted about his results selling an early edition of his recent DNSSEC book through Leanpub. He lays out all the numbers in detail, the sort of thing I love to see. The idea of self-publishing and open source go hand in hand, but the idea of that selling is often talked about in speculative terms rather than concrete. He’s now opening his own direct sales store, which hopefully means more direct BSD material.
If you are a BSD Magazine subscriber (meaning you provided your email to download a free issue), you can get a 20% discount on a security e-book from Craig Wright. As the promtional email said, ‘Write to email@example.com with “BSD ebook” in the title of message to get the special code’. I have no idea of the contents; just the existence of the sale.
Michael W. Lucas needs people who know DNSSEC, BIND, have some time, and are willing to criticize him. He’s finished his first draft of DNSSEC Mastery, and needs reviewers.
No theme evolved this week, but that’s OK.
- Here’s a good coincidence: I already had a link to post from Ycombinator about the rather scary Ken Thompson compiler hack. Note that the Ycombinator answers are generally, “Nah, this hack is extremely unlikely to happen.” Except Christian Neukirchen happened to note separately that this really happened as recently as 2009, with Delphi.
- This poster doesn’t understand that “removing the license” is not a legitimate use of BSD-licensed code.
- That crazy anti-BSD ranter on phoronix is getting a fan club – just what every troll desires, unfortunately.
- OpenBSD is actually looking at paring down ports, which makes sense when you read why.
- LearnYouAHaskell.com – a free tutorial on the programming language Haskell. It’s entertainingly written. (via EFNet #dragonflybsd)
- Courier Prime, a new version of the ‘traditional’ Courier monospace font. (via) Reading about Courier Prime to the end leads to a mention of Inconsolata as a good ‘coding’ font. Anyone tried it? Sans-serif monospace fonts are the most subtle way you can make your xterm look modern, I think. Update: Thomas Klausner just added courier-prime to pkgsrc, so you can try it now. Inconsolata is already there.
- Who hasn’t thought about doing this with the computers in their house, really?
- “Storyboard was born of my insane desire to consume videos without actually having to watch them.“
- A modem from the 1960s, communicating. I’d like this even if it didn’t work; the box is nice. I remember watching text scroll on screen like that with a 1200-baud unit. (via aggelos on EFNet #dragonflybsd)
- Related to that: The sound of the dialup, pictured. (via)
Your unrelated link of the week: MeTube: August sings Carmen ‘Habanera’. Might be NSFW, probably will make you mildly confused or uncomfortable. Here’s the ‘making of’ video which is all in German, I think. If that’s too much, try a recent Cyriak-animated video. I never thought I’d recommend a Cyriak video as the less disturbing thing to watch.
Michael W. Lucas is working on a DNSSEC book that he’s self-publishing, similar to SSH Mastery. He’s making an early draft available for purchase, at a discount. You get access to the updates, so you effectively get the book for less, plus you can offer feedback before the publishing date.
This is a familiar concept for software, where early purchasers get access to a ‘beta’ version of software for testing… It’ll be interesting to see how it works for a book.
- This is a good thing.
- This is a (description of) a bad thing. (via)
- Linux is becoming the opposite of UNIX. (via makx on EFNet #dragonflybsd)
- Found via the previous article: “It’s a UNIX system. I know this.“
- Arch/FreeBSD. This mixing is still weird. Don’t take this stuff seriously, yet. (via)
- Gygax Magazine, a reinvention of gaming magazines that no longer exist. It’ll apparently include What’s New with Phil and Dixie, from the original Dragon magazine.
- What does the middle initial “B” stand for in “Benoit B. Mandlebrot”? Benoit B. Mandelbrot.
- So that’s where Markov chains came from.
- The first computer image of a person, and of course it’s porn. (via)
- Hey, that’s my haiku!
Your unrelated comics link of the week: Kyle Baker comics, available as PDFs for free. Go, read.
Michael W. Lucas has a coupon code for his new edition of Absolute OpenBSD, so jump on it now. I haven’t read his first edition, but his other books are certainly good.
Michael W. Lucas announced his next book will be about DNSSec, which is good. It’s also self-published, which I like to see. I don’t know if it necessarily makes him more money, but I like to see more exploration of this new way of publishing.
If you look at his announcement, there’s a link to something else: vendor-free SSL certificates. These are possible? That’s one of those things I didn’t even realize I wanted; having to deal with a certification authority is annoying.
Michael Lucas’s worthwhile book, SSH Mastery, is currently having one of those sudden price cuts on Amazon – for the paperback version, about 25%. Now it a good time to nab it before the price bounces back up.
This is the version that the OpenBSD Project is selling, so the profit goes to the people who made OpenSSH. It’s an excellent idea.
I’ve reviewed Michael Lucas’s book here before, so when he offered a chance to read his newest, SSH Mastery, I jumped at the chance. Michael Lucas has published a number of technical books through No Starch Press, and started wondering out loud about self-publishing. This is, I think, his first self-published technical volume.
It’s a very straightforward book. The introduction opens with a promise not to waste space showing how to compile OpenSSH in text. Chapter 2 ends with the sentence, “Now that you understand how SSH encryption works, leave the encryption settings alone.” This stripping-down of the usual tech-book explanations gives it the immediacy of extended documentation on the Internet. Not the multipage how-to articles used as vehicles for advertising, but an in-depth presentation from someone who used OpenSSH to do a number of things, and paid attention while doing it.
It’s a fun read, and there’s a good chance it covers an aspect of SSH that you didn’t know. In my case, it’s the ability to attach a command to a public key used for login. It even covers complex-but-oh-so-useful VPN setups via SSH.
If you’re looking for philosophical reasons to buy it, how about the lack of DRM?
The physical version is not available yet, but the electronic version is available at Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), or from Smashwords (every other format ever, including .txt). The Smashwords variety of formats means that you’ll be able to read it on your phone, one way or another; I’d like to see more books that way in the future.
I received an email from No Starch Press about reviewing this book, and my first reaction was to say no. I assumed this was essentially a book about using Bash, and therefore probably not useful to people reading the Digest.
I read it despite my knee-jerk reaction, and I didn’t need to reject it so suddenly. Almost all of the book will apply to any Unix-like system.
My first real experience with something that wasn’t Windows or a Mac was at a summer job during college, sitting in front of a SparcStation 5 editing files and processing data for real estate. Much of my muscle memory about vi and file manipulation dates from then. This book, even though it’s technically for a different operating system, would have been just what I needed. There’s no system administration in the book, just making your way around a filesystem and the tools you need to get results. It’s the kind of skills I think people lose out on when they boot to a graphical interface in Ubuntu, for example, and then never experience these tools.
Negatives: a few areas won’t be of use to most BSD users, like the section on packaging, or the bash-centric instructions in the shell programming area. There’s the occasional off comment, like that OpenSSH originates from “the BSD project”. There’s surprisingly little of this however, and I had to think a bit to write this negative paragraph.
Positives: The book puts the proper focus on some complex but rewarding aspects of command line use, like using vi (alright, vim) and understanding regular expressions. Much of what it covers is the same material I’ve learned to use over time, and explained to others.
There’s clearly two areas to the book; the first half is about using the command line to accomplish work, and the second is about shell programming. Making it at least through the first half will result in being able to work at a prompt with little issue, with the shell programming a nice bonus. It’s not the normal mix of admin tasks and introductory text; it’s about working at the command line. I imagine giving it to new software testers in a lab, or to a Windows user that has to deal with the occasional unfamiliar environment. There isn’t an equivalent BSD-centric book like this, so it wouldn’t hurt a BSD user, either.
It’s available now at the No Starch website.
Background: You may remember some time ago, I posted a review of Michael Lucas’s Network Flow Analysis. He’s written several BSD books and so I figured it was worth reading further, knowing that this network-specific book would be BSD-friendly. Also, he made it easier by sending me a copy.
No Starch Press, the company that published all the books linked in the previous paragraph, asked if I’d read/review another book from them. This would be Practical Packet Analysis, 2nd edition. (Review continues after the break…)
Michael Lucas sent me a copy of his newest book, Network Flow Analysis, on the grounds that I read it and write what I thought. While book reviews aren’t usual fare for this site, it’s appealing to write something different from my usual brief summaries.
(more after the jump…)