This post has been sitting for a long time in the drafts folder. As 2020 comes to an end, I thought that I’d finish and publish it now or delete it altogether.
As some would say, better late than later.
2019 was a year where I’ve invested a lot of time learning through video courses on Pluralsight and O’Reilly Learning. In that regard, O’Reilly had the extra benefit of online live video courses in addition to pre-recorded ones. Being live, it was possible to interact with the instructor and other course participants, which in my opinion is way better than pre-recorded material.
O’Reilly Learning also encompasses a vast online e-book library and although it’s very useful for quickly digging into a specific topic, there are a few issues that make me still prefer e-books in PDF format or physical books:
- I prefer fac-simili layouts to auto flow layouts. The differences are more notable when there are images such as diagrams or illustrations;
- O’Reilly offers an app for reading on the phone, but I don’t like the phone’s form-factor.
- More than once, I’ve found material that was present in the PDF or print version that was lacking from O’Reilly’s platform;
Although I’d started reading several books with the initial intent to read them from cover to cover, I almost always got distracted along the way abandoning them in favor of the next shinny thing to cross my field of vision.
All that being said, that’s why the list is so meager. I don’t think I’d do justice in reviewing a book without reading most of it or at least the parts I committed myself to.
Oh, and by the way, for the sake of transparency both book cover images below are affiliate links to Amazon. If you click on them and buy anything there, you won’t be charged anything more than their normal price, but I’ll get a little commission.
PGP: Pretty Good Privacy: Pretty Good Privacy
by Simson Garfinkel
I’ve already wrote a little about GnuPG a couple of times and following the rabbit whole of learning more about it’s concepts and history I’ve ended up buying a used copy of this book.
The book was published back in 1995 and is divided in two parts.
The first part goes over the history and motivations that lead to the creation of PGP – the precursor to GnuPG and other OpenPGP implementations.
The second part is a reference on how to use the software package. This second part is unsurprisingly totally outdated. So when I decided to buy the book I knew whatever I was going to pay for it I’d be paying for only the history part. And it was totally worth it!
The Cathedral & the Bazaar
by Eric S. Raymond
Back in the 90’s I’ve read several books on Bill Gates, the history of Microsoft and the economic principles behind its modus operandi.
This book, on the other hand, helped me in getting started on the culture and economic forces behind open source software development and why this way of producing software has for the most part won the war against closed source alternatives.
As most of the print books I’ve bought in 2019, this was an used copy as well and was totally worth the price I paid for it.