[nSLUG] tech books in Halifax?

D G Teed donald.teed at gmail.com
Mon Oct 15 23:08:41 ADT 2007

I can recall when Chapters started booming and the Internet was booming at
the same time around the late 90's.  I was astounded at the size of the
IT section.  At least at the Chapters near Bloor and Spadina area, IT
was almost the whole second floor.  I felt it was too much.
(The dot com crash came within a couple of years.)

I remember looking up topics I was interested in, and in many cases the book
covered it by listing URLs and dozens of references to TLDP.  So I concluded
those books were a waste of money (and left them on the shelf).

In programming and use of software which is advancing constantly
(bind, apache, postgresql), the value of static books is lessened
in recent years.  Much of the syntax in a 2 or 3 year old book
is now invalid.  So we have to look it up online, and there it is
online, current, correct, and free.

In my experience and for my needs, the only brand of fairly consistent
value is O'Reilly.   They now sell electronic versions of their books,
for less than the paper versions.  This together with the online references
being more current and free, are two forces that have taken a big gouge out
of paper book publishing and sales.

All the same, I took a look at what was in a Sudbury Chapters this summer
and I was astonished at the lack of general purpose Unix textbooks.  I don't
know where young people are going to go to learn the ABC's of what
you can do at the shell prompt.  So I'm hanging on to my earlier material.
I still have "Running Linux Companion CD-ROM", from 1996 with
Redhat 3.0.3, a Bourne shell guide from 1990, and some other oldies
that perhaps I need to ditch since troff and uucp is out of style.
You know you have a decent starting point when they include a couple
of sentences about the use of Control-S and Control-Q used together.

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