Tuesday May 05, 2009

OpenSolaris Bible on Google Book Search

Thanks to Jerry for pointing out that our book, OpenSolaris Bible, is now available on Google Book Search. You can't see every page, but Google let's you browse quite a bit. Check it out here.

Tuesday Feb 10, 2009

Free Sample Chapters from OpenSolaris Bible

Although I didn’t mention it in my previous post, Chapter 1 of OpenSolaris Bible has been available for a while from the book website. And now I’m pleased to announce that Wiley and Sun have collaborated to provide free access to two more chapters! Check out Chapter 3 and Chapter 8, both available from opensolaris.com.

To put these chapters in context, you can look at the table of contents. As you can see, both Chapters 1 and 3 are in section I, "Introduction to OpenSolaris." As Dave points out, Chapter 1 is not really representative of the rest of the book, as that chapter is mostly a non-technical introduction to OpenSolaris, while the remaining 23 chapters focus on the OpenSolaris technology. Chapter 3 is a detailed overview of the OpenSolaris operating environment, including introductory information on the GNOME desktop, the bash shell, SMF, the Image Packaging System, networking, and more. Most of these topics are covered in more detail in later chapters, but this chapter, combined with Chapter 2, "Installing OpenSolaris" is a great "crash course" in OpenSolaris for the new user.

Chapter 8 is most representative of the book as a whole, as it’s a thorough examination of a single area of OpenSolaris, in this case ZFS. This chapter falls in Section III, which covers file systems, networking, and security.

These three chapters are just a small part of the full 1000 page OpenSolaris Bible, and we hope, of course, that you will consider purchasing the book. However, we also think these chapters are useful in their own right, and we encourage you to download them and use them as a tutorial or reference even if you don’t buy the book.

Finally, I can’t end this post without noting that OpenSolaris Bible has hit the shelves, so to speak. The amazon page says it’s in stock, and one of my co-authors spotted it at a local Barnes and Noble. That said, I still haven’t seen it myself, and am eagerly awaiting my complimentary copies.

Thursday Jul 05, 2007

Recent Reads

In this holiday week in the US, here's a list of the fiction I've read in the past couple months.

  • Hunting Badger by Tony Hillerman -- Typical Hillerman; a good quick read.

  • Moral Disorder by Margaret Atwood -- I usually like Margaret Atwood's work, but this collection of short stories didn't do much for me.

  • Summerland by Michael Chabon -- My first exposure to Chabon's novels. This fantasy story was interesting, but didn't grab me the same way as other fantasy books I've read. I'll withold judgement on Chabon until I've tried some of his other novels ("The Mysteries of Pittsburgh" is up next).

  • Oblivion by David Foster Wallace -- David Foster Wallace is certainly unique. His writing is quite dense, and for the first time in quite a while I found myself needing to look up vocabularly words in a dictionary while reading fiction. Of the eight stories in the book, I enjoyed about three of them. I'd like to try one of his novels at some point, but maybe not immediately.

  • Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech -- this novel for kids was quite well-written and enjoyable.

  • The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason -- I wasn't impressed with this best-seller. The concept was interesting, but the characters didn't strike me as believable or well-developed.

  • The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow -- It took about 100 pages to get into, but after that the story carried me along.

  • Next by Michael Crichton -- (in progress)

Thursday May 31, 2007

Everything is Illuminated

I read and enjoyed Jonathan Safran Foer’s second novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, last year, and have been looking forward to his first novel, Everything is Illuminated. I finally picked it up from the library and read it. I was quite impressed. Foer managed to write a book that is simultaneously humorous, poignant, disturbing, and uplifting.

Everything is Illuminated is not a straightforward novel. The present-day action describes a fictional Jonathan Safran Foer’s quest to find the Ukrainian woman whom he believes saved his Jewish grandfather from the Nazis. These sections are narrated by Alex, Jonathan’s young Ukrainian gentile "guide." Along on the trip is Alex’s grandfather, who is dealing with issues from his own personal history. Interspersed are Alex’s letters to Jonathan after Jonathan has arrived home, and sections from Jonathan’s “book”, a fictional account of Jonathan’s ancestors in the Trachimbrod shtetl in the Ukraine.

The book is, in some ways, a holocaust story. There are two scenes in particular of startling Nazi brutality. But in other ways it’s more generally about love, friendship, history, and families. In my opinion, the main character was not Jonathan, but Alex, who in the process of guiding Jonathan and writing to him afterword, grows from a timid boy living a fantasy life to a confident man with a deeper understanding of his own family history.

I found the literary devices in the book quite clever, particularly the letters from Alex to Jonathan. I enjoyed most these letters and Alex’s narrations. Alex’s English and way of writing lends particular humor to these sections. For example:

Dear Jonathan,

I hanker for this letter to be good. Like you know, I am not first rate with English. In Russian my ideas are asserted abnormally well, but my second tongue is not so premium. I undertaked to input the things you counseled me to, and I fatigued the thesaurus you presented me, as you counseled me to, when my words appeared too petite, or not befitting. If you are not happy with what I have performed, I command you to return it back to me. I will persevere to toil on it until you are appeased.

I sometimes found myself impatient to get back to the "present" while reading Jonathan’s stories about his ancestors in Trachimbrod. However, the slightly fantastical and over-the-top happenings in these stories provided a contrast with the real world of Jonathan and Alex – at least until the stories reached the time of the holocaust, when they became both fantastical and realistic simultaneously. And they are integral to the book’s theme that "everything is illuminated" through history, specifically the history of ones ancestors, even if that history has to be fabricated.


Nick Solter is a software engineer and author living in Colorado.


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