Good Free Software related books as a present

After my last year’s blog entry on Free Software books for friends I received new recommendations for this year. So I read them, and here my new list of Free Software related books 2009 which are also good for people who have not heard much about Free Software before:

The books

The books

  • Lawrence Lessig: Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity. The book about Free Culture. After reading you cannot prevent from getting interested in that topic. Lot of parts feels like reading a thriller. All people whom I gave it loved it.
  • Joshua Gay (Ed.): Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman. Definitely the English classic for Free Software. A selection of Richard’s essays from GNU’s philosophy pages in book form. (In former times I printed out the articles from GNU philosophy and put them in the boothroom. My flatemate at that time said it is perfect there to read and think about it. :) )
  • Lawrence Lessig: Code: And Other Laws of Cyberspace, Version 2.0. The book was on one of my professor’s literature lists on regulation. It helped my understanding the political dimension software. Afterwards I used it for writing, it also made it into my diploma thesis. It describes how law, norms, market and architecture — which also includes software — regulate our life. If you have friends who are interested in politics, it is the book I recommend them to read. (PDF of the new version).
  • Glyn Moody Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution. The book is based on interviews with Richard Stallman, Linus Torvalds, Alan Cox, and others. Good documentary about the history of Free Software. From the beginings of GNU until the end of the 90s. I liked reading all the quotes from different people from our community. But you should be a bit interested in technical details or at least like reading about different hardware architetures, programming languages, kernels, etc. To put it short: If you have been at FOSDEM before and you liked it there, read that book and you feel like beeing at FOSDEM again.
  • Neal Stephenson In the Beginning…Was the Command Line. Yes, Neal Stephenson has also written about his experiences with Free Software. Nice short reading about his own computer history. Perfect book for a long flight trip.

And as I happen to speak German, here a list of German books:

  • Lawrence Lessig: Freie Kultur is the German version of “Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity” (see above).
  • Volker Grassmuck: Freie Software. The German classic. You need no technical background to understand it. Usually I order at least 10 of them at a time. For only 2 EUR per book it is very good as a small present. Also during the year. Everytime a friend (in my case my colleagues know about Free Software) has no clue about Free Software I can throw one of the books at him ;)
  • V. Djordjevic, R.A. Gehring, V. Grassmuck, T. Kreutzer und M. Spielkamp: Urheberrecht im Alltag (PDF version 15 MB). This is the book version of irights.info, a portal for all kind of questions and answers about copyright in the digital work. Your friends ask you if it is allowed to copy software, music, movies? Or how they can publish their own works? This book is a good reference book for people who want to fast find short answers to their questions. As for Volker Grassmuck’s “Freie Software” I also recommend to order some more.
  • Lawrence Lessig: Code und andere Gesetze des Cyberspace. German version of “Code and other laws of cyberspace” above.

As last year, if you have suggestions, please write an e-mail to our public discussion list or to me in private.


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4 thoughts on “Good Free Software related books as a present

  1. Does anyone know a bookzilla-like site with cheaper UK delivery? I don’t want to support amazon’s alleged poor distribution centre worker treatment but EUR 7.50 shipping for a UK-published book to round-trip to Germany is painful two ways.

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  3. “In the Beginning…Was the Command Line” by Neal Stephenson is really worth reading. Sadly, Bookzilla is selling an e-book version of it which is tainted with digital restrictions management. You can download the essay for free on the author’s homepage:

    http://www.cryptonomicon.com/beginning.html