BLUG: Book Review - Free as in Freedom

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Review: "Free as in Freedom"
Reviewer: David Jameson

I have just finished reading "Free as in Freedom" Richard Stallmans crusade for free software by Sam Williams. The book, I sense, starts out to be a biography of Stallman then seems to move to discuss the philosophy surrounding open source software (or as Stallman prefers free software) and then again moves to relate how the author ended up writing the book at all! Quite a feat. A nice aside was how the author met his wife to be!

The book itself is distributed under the GNU Free Documentation License.

For a relative new comer to open source software the book cleared up a lot of misconceptions for me for example I thought Linux started it all rather it was EMACS but there you go! The book also has a lot of nice information about how prog
rams came about eg vi was written by Bill Joy of UC Berkeley before he went to Sun Microsystems sometimes you think these programs just appear from like nowhere!

The book is laid out in thirteen chapters each fairly concise and easy to read. The real gems of the book are the endnotes, of which the vast majority are web addresses which takes you further and further into the subject matter. I was particularly pleased to see that those I looked up actually existed and were really interesting in themselves bearing in mind they are now a few years old.

Naturally Microsoft gets a few mentions but not as to be Microsoft v Open Source as usually happens and the book does not kick that issue to death.

So overall book is a great read and the end notes alone are worth pursuing.

By Russell Matbouli
Created: Mon, 9 Dec 2002 16:13:02 +0000