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Rebel Code

by Glyn Moody

Book, hardback, 334 pages, also comes in softback; hardback lists for $17.95.

Rebel Code is a 300 page treatment of the history of open source software, through Unix and GNU but mostly tracing the progress of GNU/Linux systems and related ideas and software throughout the 90's. The book is interesting and full of information, but perhaps too slow for some. If memory serves, the greater part of the book does not extend well into the new millenium, stopping short of the release of Windows 2000. Prominent characters include the recognizable RMS, ESR, Torvalds, and many many others.

The approach to the book is many-faceted, i.e. confusing. The book progresses approximately chronologically by topic in some places, but fast forwards and rewinds a great deal. There is not a good sense given of the big picture; I suppose one is expected to already know the big picture. That is to say, this is a book about hackers and geeks for hackers and geeks. There are some places in the book where knowledge of Unix is implicit, such as discussion of the X Windows System. To reiterate, this book is mostly for the geek in you.

Also, this book is very person-specific, most often concentrating on the actions of single people and events that happen to single people, though usually in relation to a project or idea.

Similar or recommended historical books include Just For Fun (An autobiography of The Finnish Messiah), The Cathedral And The Bazaar by ESR, The Joy Of Linux (Yep, you guessed it), The Jargon File and The Art Of Unix Programming for some Unix background information and wisdom.

Rebel Code is copyright Glyn Moody. Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds.

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