Two Sites for Free University Text Books

Almost all over the world, students are either back to school or preparing to do so. With this comes the headache of getting text books for the semester and its attendant costs. For a myriad of reasons, costs of school text books, especially those of higher learning have skyrocketed. If you are looking to cut costs (and who doesn’t anyway?), then the following 2 sites should come in handy.
This site gives you free download access to text books across a wide array of university disciplines. The books are written by university professors specifically for the site supported by “a few in-book ads.” All the books are in PDF format and can be downloaded without registration whatsoever. They also have travel guides available for travelers.
Just like BookBooN, this site also features a wide selection of books across the various university disciplines. However, unlike the above where you get to download the books, this site lets you read online for free. From the site

“Instead of $100 plus, our books are FREE online. It’s that easy. No tricks. No popup ads. No “a premium subscription is needed for that”. In fact, our free online books go beyond what standard print editions provide with integrated audio, video, and interactive features, powerful search capabilities, and more.. Our business model eliminates the catch. We’re giving away great textbooks and making them open because it solves real problems for students and instructors. In so doing, we are creating a large market for our product. We then turn around and sell things of value to that large market.”

In essence, these two sites offer quality standard, university grade books for free. If you are a student, you’d really want to take a look at these sites and get yourself the books you’ve been putting off buying.

Useful Linux command guide for beginners

Being a perpetual beginner myself, I always set out to look for tutorials that are easy to understand both for me and for anyone I may teach. The two-page ebook attached below has some pretty straight to the point Linux commands that will make the life of a newbie easy. I encourage you to print it out and have it handy, you’ll very soon find yourself very conversant with the CLI to be able to do your everyday task with much confidence.

Direct Link

5 open source and free software books that are worth your time

Aside from the book Open Source Licensing and Intellectual Property, there are other freely available books that will enrich your knowledge and understanding of the concept of  Free Software and Open Source. The following are 5 of such books that are worth your time.
As the name suggests, you probably do not have time to read through a 500 page book so as to understand FOSS, right? Then this is your book. According to the author, this book is focused on cost-effective uses of computers. I assume that you are not a computer professional – but if you have used email or the web in the past, then you know enough to make use of Free Software. This book will show you how.” Worth your time.
The author of this book aims at showing us how the advent of the computer and the Internet have given rise to the expansion of the academic/scholarly notions of sharing, and how this in turn has brought us free and open software, which will bring about a major change in the way we do business.
Licensing is a major part of what open source and free software are all about, but it’s still one of the most complicated areas of law. Understanding Open Source and Free Software Licensing explains your licensing options, how they compare and interoperate, and how license choices affect project possibilities. If you’re an open source/free software developer, this book is an absolute necessity.
What is the status of the Free and Open Source Software (F/OSS) revolution? Has the creation of software that can be freely used, modified, and redistributed transformed industry and society, as some predicted, or is this transformation still a work in progress? Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software brings together leading analysts and researchers to address this question, examining specific aspects of F/OSS in a way that is both scientifically rigorous and highly relevant to real-life managerial and technical concerns.
It is common to argue that intellectual property in the form of copyright and patent is necessary for the innovation and creation of ideas and inventions such as machines, drugs, computer software, books, music, literature and movies. In fact intellectual property is a government grant of a costly and dangerous private monopoly over ideas. We show through theory and example that intellectual monopoly is not necessary for innovation and as a practical matter is damaging to growth, prosperity and liberty.

EDIT– Please note that because of the Apture plugin I’m using on this blog, you’d have to right-click and choose save as to download the direct PDF linked books. 

[BOOK] Open Source Licensing and Intellectual Property Law

Open Source Licensing  Software Freedom and Intellectual Property Law is a great book written by Lawrence Rosen that gives a deep insight into the various open source licenses.
It has 13 chapters:
  1. Freedom and Open Source
  2. Intellectual Property
  3. Distribution of Software
  4. Taxonomy of Licenses
  5. Academic Licenses
  6. Reciprocity and the GPL
  7. The Mozilla Public License (MPL)
  8. The Common Public License (CPL)
  9. The OSL and the AFL
  10. Choosing an Open Source License
  11. Shared Source, Eventual Source, and Other Licensing Models
  12. Open Source Litigation
  13. Open Standards
The book was originally published by Prentice Hall in 2004 and is now available online Academic Free License version 3.0. You could consider supporting the author by purchasing a printed copy of the book. 
Whether you are new to the world of Free Software and Open Source or a seasoned pro, this book is a must read. You are certain to find something new in there that you did not know.

Ubuntu Unleashed 2010 5th Edition Covering 9.10 and 10.04 Review.

One of my 5 recommendations for Ubuntu newbies to become power users in the shortest possible time is for them to have their own reference manuals. Among the hundreds of such  reference manuals available, one that I highly recommend you get a copy of is Ubuntu Unleashed 2010 5th Edition. This book, written by Andrew Hudson, Paul Hudson, Mathew Helmke (a friend on Facebook) and Ryan Troy is a very authoritative manual on everything Ubuntu- covering the current Karmic Koala and the upcoming Lucid Lynx in April next year.
It is divided into 7 parts with 32 chapters and 3 appendixes. The 7 parts are:
  • Part 1- Installation and Configuration
  • Part 2- Desktop Ubuntu
  • Part 3- System Administration
  • Part 4- Ubuntu As a Server
  • Part 5- Programming Linux
  • Part 6- Ubuntu Housekeeping
  • Part 7- Appendixes 
The 1st part focuses on how to get Ubuntu running running on your system in a really simple and hassle free way. You are also taken through a brief introduction to the Terminal. Then the book subtly transitions you to the 2nd part which teaches you how to turn your Ubuntu install into a productivity box by tackling how to play multimedia, make use of the various productivity tools and also tackles the issue of printing on Ubuntu.
The 3rd part deals with maintaining your system, setting up users, backing up and also tackles networking. Then the 4th part is dedicated to the server aspect of Ubuntu with an emphasis on Apache Web Server Management. Part 5 teaches you programming in the Linux environment using Pearl, working with Python, writing PHP Scripts and more. Part 6 is what I call the geek mode where you are you are taken through the command line master class. Then finally, part 7 has three appendixes dealing with Ubuntu under the hood, installation resources and Ubuntu and Linux internet resources.
This book was written on the assumption that you are very new to Ubuntu and thus nothing is left to your imagination. The power users are also not left out and are adequately supplied with parts that will put a smile on their faces. The language used is also that of the everyday English we are all used to and thus no need to have a dictionary by your side. This book is available on Amazon for a pre-release order and ships for free with Super Save Shipping. Ubuntu Linux is a great distro, and getting yourself this indispensable book will help you get the best out of it and also put you on the path to becoming a power user.

Why can’t they leave Google alone?!

I love Google, very much, and I really want Google to make a lot of money. And I mean a lot. Because for every cent Google makes, I benefit in some way. There is no doubt that Google has done a lot to make computing easier for millions of people, especially in developing countries with its massive array of splendid, free products. And if for nothing at all, Google is nice to Open Source.
The recent brouhaha over its book deal really irks me a lot. The deal has the potential of making valuable knowledge available to virtually every being on this earth on a scale never known to man. And yet what do we see? Various competitors, led by arch rival Microsoft, are doing all they can to thwart the deal. The way I understand the deal, and please correct me if I am wrong, is that Google will have the right to display and sell books from authors who it can’t find, and then save any profit from those for five years in case the rights holder shows up.
At least this sounds sane to me. Making knowledge easily accessible is nothing bad. But I understand the apprehensions Google’s competitors, especially Microsoft are experincing. If there is one company out there that can match Microsoft boot for boot, then it is Google, and thus Microsoft’s vehement opposition to the deal. But what about the benefits that the deal has the potential of bringing? From the primary level right up to university through to top level management, all stand to benefit from the deal.
I really wish all the mostly empty opposition to the deal will just end. So far Google’s Book Search has indexed over10 million books from among the top universities in the US and around the world. This is no doubt a great array of knowledge available to all. Also, what I understand from the deal is that books in copyright but out-of-print become available for viewing and purchase by the public, and researchers and students at universities will get access to the full technology.
This is not something to be glossed over in the name of competition. The Google book deal simply has the potential of changing how knowledge is disseminated, and that is not something harmful to mankind. Microsoft has more monopoly power than Google has, and yet every single move by Google is scrutinized with the eyes of a hawk. 
I humbly urge all authorities involved in the book deal settlement to give a deep thought to the unprecedented benefits the deal will bring to the hundreds of millions of students, researchers, authors, publishers, and readers alike.To all those who are opposing the deal, I say to them, please leave Google alone. For it is the only global company on the internet that really has its users at heart. Please just leave our Google alone for us. We love Google and Google loves us back.
What is your take on the Google Book Deal? Do you think it is worthwhile? Have you used the Google Book Search before? What are your experiences? Please share your thoughts.