Online Books

Below is a list of books (mostly) about Linux, Unix and related topics that are available on the Internet for free online viewing and/or downloading. See note at bottom of page for more information about this list.

Advanced Linux Programming, First Edition - by Alex Samuel, Jeffrey Oldham and Mark Mitchell, 2001. Intended for the programmer already familiar with the C programming language. Available for both online viewing and as a PDF download.

The Art of Unix Programming - by Eric S. Raymond, 2003. Intended for (1) experienced Unix programmers who educate novice programmers, (2) C, C++ and Java programmers with experience on other operating systems and who are about to start a Unix-based project, (3) persons with beginning to intermediate Unix skills but who have little development experience under Unix, (4) non-Unix programmers who have realized that the Unix tradition might have something of value to teach them and (5) application architects considering platforms or implementation strategies for a major application. Available for online viewing.

Bash Guide for Beginners - an introduction to Bash (the default shell on Linux) scripting for experienced Unix users. By Machtelt Garrels. Released in 2003 under the GNU Free Documentation License Version 1.1 and revised in 2004. Available for viewing online.

Beyond Linux from Scratch - by Mark Hymers, 2002. This book takes up where Linux From Scratch leaves off and guides the reader through additions to the system including networking, X Window support, sound support and printer support.

The Book of Webmin Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love UNIX - by Joe Cooper, 2003. Documents system configuration and maintenance using the Webmin web-based administration tool. Available for online viewing.

Brian and Tom's Linux Book - by Brian P. Bilbrey and Tom Syroid, 2001. Available for online viewing and as a downloadable tarball.

Cygwin User's Guide - by Red Hat, 2003. Extensive information about Cygwin, the Linux-like environment for Microsoft Windows. Available in HTML and PDF formats.

Debian GNU/Linux Desktop Survival Guide - by Graham Williams, 2004. Designed to make the reader quickly productive with Linux, particularly the highly regarded Debian distribution. Available for online viewing.

Debian GNU/Linux System Administrator's Manual - by Ardo van Rangelrooij, Tapio Lehtonen Tapio and Oliver Elphick. Last updated in 2003. Covers all aspects of system administration for a Debian system. Available for online viewing.

Everyday Linux - by Kathy Miles and Ethan Metsger, 2001. Designed to help turn one's computer into an enjoyable tool and less of an irritation. Available for online viewing.

Free as in Freedom - by Sam Williams, 2002. This O'Reilly book provides a political, social and economic history of the free software movement together with biographical information about GNU project founder Richard Stallman. The book begins by telling how the movement started: a desire for source code from Xerox in order to make printing more efficient. Available for viewing online.

FreeBSD Handbook - covers the installation and use of FreeBSD 4.10 and 5.2.1. Last updated in 2004. Available for viewing online and downloading.

Free for All: How LINUX and the Free Software Movement Undercut the High-Tech Titans - by Peter Wayner, 2000. Although slightly dated, this book still provides useful insights about how open source software is taking over the world. Available as a PDF download.

GNU Manuals Online - contains manuals in multiple formats for numerous GNU programs, from acct to wget. Each is available in a choice of formats.

Grokking the GIMP - by Carey Bunks, 2000. The GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is is a highly rated open source program that compares favorably with the very pricey (US$649!), but excellent Adobe Photoshop. The book covers image manipulation concepts such as layers, selections, masks, colorspaces and the use of blending modes. It also explains how to make the most effective use of the GIMP tools for touchup, compositing, 3D rendering and the presentation of graphics on the Web. Available both for online viewing and as an HTML download.

In The Beginning Was The Command Line - by Neal Stephenson, 1999. A wide ranging look at the development of operating systems for personal computers. Although the emphasis is on Microsoft Windows and the Macintosh, this material could be of interest to many Linux users and developers as well. Available for online viewing and downloading in .zip and .sit (Macintosh) formats.

An Introduction to GCC - by Brian J. Gough, 2004. The GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) is widely regarded as the most important piece of open source software.

Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide - by Machtelt Garrels, 2002. An overview for new users but also suitable for more advanced trainees as a desktop reference. There are many real life examples derived from the author's experience as a Linux system and network administrator, trainer and consultant. Available for online viewing as well as downloading in HTML, PDF, Postscript and SGML formats.

LDAP Operations HOWTO - an introduction to the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol for system engineers and other personnel responsible for supporting LDAP-enabled systems. By Machtelt Garrels. Released in 2003 under the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 and revised in 2004. Available for viewing online.

Learning Debian GNU/Linux - by By Bill McCarty, 1999. The first edition of this O'Reilly book. Available for online viewing.

Learning the Unix Operating System - by Jerry Peek, Grace Todino & John Strang, 1998. The fourth edition of this O'Reilly book. Available for online viewing.

Linux Administration Made Easy - by Steve Frampton, 1999. Part of the Linux Documentation Project, this work describes day-to-day administration and maintenance issues commonly faced by system administrators. Available for both online viewing and downloading in HTML, PDF, Postscript and SGML formats.

Linux Device Drivers, 2nd Edition - by Alessandro Rubini and Jonathan Corbet, 2001. This O'Reilly book is not just about writing device drivers but also about the Linux kernel as well. Available for viewing online as well as in downloadable PDF and DocBook formats.

Linux Dictionary - by Binh Nguyen. An on-going work that provides approximately 24,700 definitions and 2000 pages covering Linux, Unix and POSIX terminology and jargon. Released under the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 0.16. Available for online viewing and in downloadable forms.

Linux From Scratch, Version 5.0 - by Gerard Beekmans. Step-by-step instructions for assembling a minimalist Linux distribution using only the source code for the kernel, utilities and a few other small programs. Working through this project takes considerable time and persistence, but the reward is a better understanding of what makes Linux tick, including how things work together and depend on each other. Constructing a Linux distribution from scratch also makes possible (1) a high degree of customization, (2) a very compact system and (3) tight control over security. Available for viewing online and also downloadable in several formats.

The Linux Kernel - by David A Rusling, 1998. This well written and useful (although somewhat dated) book is available for viewing online on The Linux Documentation Project website.

The Linux kernel - by Andries Brouwer, 2003. Covers a wide range of topics related to the kernel including system calls, signals, filesystems, memory, processes, character devices and block I/O. Available for viewing online.

Linux Kernel 2.4 Internals - by Tigran Aivazian, 2002. This introduction to the Linux 2.4 kernel covers booting, process and interrupt management, the virtual file system, the page cache and inter-process communication (IPC) mechanisms. It is part of the Linux Documentation Project and can be viewed online and downloaded in various formats.

The Linux Kernel Module Programming Guide - by Peter Jay Salzman and Ori Pomerantz, 2001. A book for dedicated kernel hackers that begins gently with an explanation of kernel modules and the traditional "Hello World" programming example. Available for viewing online.

LINUX: Rute User's Tutorial and Exposition - by Paul Sheer, 2002. Covers Linux system administration for popular distributions including Red Hat and Debian. Suitable for use as a tutorial for new users and as a reference for experienced administrators. Available for online viewing as well as in downloadable HTML and PDF versions.

The LPIC-2 Exam Prep - by Wim-Jan Hilgenbos, Alain van Hoof, Heinrich W. Klöpping, Beno T.J. Mesman, Piet W. Plomp and Willem A. Schreuder, 2001. The Linux Professional Institute Certification exam differs from Red Hat's exam in that it is completely vendor independent and distribution neutral and that it is developed and conducted by an independent, non-profit corporation.

Maximum RPM, Taking the Red Hat Package Manager to the Limit - by Edward C. Bailey, 2000. RPM not only helped Red Hat Linux become the top distribution in just two years, but it has also been ported to several commercial Unix systems and is used by other commercial software companies. The first half of the book explains how to use RPM, and the second half exhaustively covers building RPM packages. Available for viewing online.

Open Source Development with CVS, 3rd Edition - by Karl Fogel and Moshe Bar, 2003. An updated edition of the best-selling guide to the Concurrent Versions System, the most popular version control software for open source projects. Can be downloaded in PDF format. The first edition (1999) is available in multiple formats including online and downloadable HTML. Released under the GNU General Public License.

Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution - a 1999 collection of essays by some of the leaders of the open source movement, including Richard Stallman, Eric Raymond, Linus Torvalds, Larry Wall and Tim O'Reilly. Published in 1999 by O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. The essays have been released under the terms of the GNU General Public License. Available for viewing online.

Parsing Techniques - A Practical Guide - by Dick Grune and Ceriel J.H. Jacobs, 1990. This 320-page book treats parsing in great depth and covers (almost) all parsing methods, not just the popular ones. Available for downloading in PDF and PostScript formats. (A second edition is scheduled for release in 2005.)

Pocket Linux Guide - by David Horton, 2004. A guidebook for building a small diskette-based system called Pocket Linux from source code. Released under the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2. Available for viewing online and downloadable in several formats.

Programming Languages - by Mike Grant, Christian Skalka and Scott Smith, 2002. Emphasizes the fundamental concepts of programming languages including higher-order functions, data structures, mutable state, exceptions, objects and classes, and types as well as language implementations. Released under the GNU Free Documentation License. Available online as well as in downloadable text and PDF versions.

Programming Languages: Application and Interpretation - by Shriram Krishnamurthi, 2003. Available in PDF format.

OpenGL Programming Guide - by Jackie Neider, Tom Davis and Mason Woo, 1994. Available for viewing online and for downloading in compressed form.

Secure Programming for Linux and Unix HOWTO - by David A. Wheeler, 2003. This book provides a set of design and implementation guidelines for writing secure programs for Linux and Unix systems. Such programs include application programs used as viewers of remote data, web applications (including CGI scripts), network servers, and setuid/setgid programs. Specific guidelines for C, C++, Java, Perl, PHP, Python, Tcl, and Ada95 are included.

A short introduction to operating systems - by Mark Burgess, 2001. A long, single page HTML file.

Slackware Linux Essentials - subtitled "The Official Guide To Slackware Linux." Started by Patrick Volkerding in late 1992, Slackware was the first Linux distribution to achieve widespread use, and it is still one of the most highly regarded distributions for experienced users. Released under the GNU General Public License and available for viewing online.

Underground - by Suelette Dreyfus. This is the true story of the rise of the computer underground and the crimes of an elite group of hackers who took on the establishment. It is based on hundreds of interviews and telephone intercepts as well as more than 30,000 pages of court documents. Available for viewing online and downloadable in various formats.

Unix Power Tools - by Jerry Peek, Tim O'Reilly and Mike Loukides, 1997. The second edition of what is widely considered to be one of the best Unix books. Similar to the book Linux Power Tools in name only. Available for online viewing. (The third edition was released in 2002.)

Unix System Administration - by Frank G. Fiamingo, 1996. Available for online viewing.

Upgrading & Repairing PCs Eighth Edition - an older (the 16th edition was released in 2004) but still useful edition of the comprehensive and highly regarded book by Scott Mueller. Covers the full range of PC-compatible systems from the oldest 8-bit machines to high-end 64-bit workstations. Available for viewing online.

Using Samba, 2nd Edition - by Jay Ts, Robert Eckstein and David Collier-Brown, 2003. Extensive information about the highly reliable and free program that allows a Unix machine to replace a Microsoft Windows NT file and print server on a Windows network. Available for viewing online.


Note: Selection criteria for the above list include (1) relevance to Linux or related topics, (2) quality (including content and clarity of writing) and (3) a publication or revision date of 2000 or later (with exceptions for exceptional books).

Many of these books have been published under alternative licenses that allow anyone to redistribute them under certain conditions. Thus, some of them are available at multiple locations on the Internet. When there are multiple locations, the above list attempts to give the original location rather than a mirror site.

Created February 29, 2004. Updated October 27, 2004.
Copyright © 2004 Bellevue Linux. All Rights Reserved.