Professional Linux Programming

 in
This book is a huge credit to both its authors and publishers.
Where the Book Succeeds

The success of the book lies in several factors, not the least of which is readability. This is a book that can be read cover-to-cover: for a tome of 1150+ pages, such quality is remarkable. The information is presented clearly and leaves the reader with a sense of having gone on a rather enlightening journey (without the flight delays).

Another factor in its success is the timeliness of its topics: this is information from which all programmers can benefit given current trends in software development. It takes into account the increasing need for networkable applications that don't require extensive training time for staff to become comfortable with them. The book also presents a vast array of less commonly discussed tasks such as LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol), building device drivers and distributing the application. Such topics may, in time, prove to be the direction of information technology. For now, they are useful as foundations on which to build increased repertoires of environments for which applications are needed.

There are two primary authors, but another eleven contribute information based on their individual areas of specialization: Browne, Clements (Python), Froggatt, Goodger (Python), Griffin, Licquia, van Loon (multimedia), Ranawake (Beowulf), Rawat (networks), Sundbakken (QT), Thomas (PHP), Turnbull (internationalization) and Woodhouse (device drivers). The synergy behind such a collective effort is apparent, as each contributor's work, experience and expertise have created a comprehensiveness to Professional Linux Programming not often found in “tech-lit”. If only more authors follow these gentlemen's fine example of collaboration.

The publishers, Wrox Press, even provide a support site for programmers: http://p2p.wrox.com/. This includes source code used in the book, as well as a forum for discussing programming issues.

Where the Book Falls Short

If you're a Debian developer, or want to be, this book will help in numerous respects, but there is no discussion of the .deb package format, or its relevant tools. Given the increasing numbers of developers who want to develop applications for Debian (or Corel, or Storm, or Libranet, or...), the topic would have merited at least a passing mention. The Connectiva Discovery (a version of APT that is RPM-aware) aside, the ubiquity of RPMs negatively impacts their wonderfulness.

Additionally, there are no autographs in the book. One can only assume this is rectifiable solely through writing to the authors and asking them sweetly for their missing signatures (you may need to send return postage).

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!

Stephanie Black is a writer—of words and code. When not writing, she runs a Linux consultancy, Coastal Den Computing, in Vancouver, BC, Canada. In her off-hours, she's usually playing fetch with her cats or collaborating/colluding with her partner, a fabric artist and business manager.

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