Like it or not, with Linux comes advocacy. There are a lot of people out there who like to spread the love in whatever ways they can. One nice side effect of this is the abundance of free Linux related information available to anyone. That’s good for us, as we’ll be covering just how to find all this great material.
Certainly not all Linux books are free (just ask Tim O’Reilly) but the nature of Linux means that the “spirit of freeness” tends to surround more than just the operating system. Some of the websites listed below offer full length dead-tree versions of the same books, the purchasing of which could be a great way to support these organizations. Without further delay, here are a few of the sites I’d recommend for anyone wanting to hone their Lin-jitsu.
Scribd describes itself as a “social publishing company”. The idea here is that any aspiring author can upload their book and have it accessible to everyone. I’ve found several high-quality Linux related ebooks here. Another interesting note about Scribd is that they use their own custom made book viewing system called iPaper. It resembles a PDF reader or presentation program built into a web browser. I’ve had both good and bad experiences with iPaper but it does give the site and the books a distinctive feel.
Here’s a shot of Scribd’s iPaper in action:
2. The Linux Documentation Project
We’ve touched on LDP a bit in the past but it certainly deserves a mention here. If there’s one place online to go when it comes to Linux documentation, this is it. According to the website,
LDP is a loosely knit team of volunteers who provide documentation for many aspects of Linux. There are several forms of documentation: Guides, HOWTOs, man pages, and FAQs.
3. Textbook Revolution
Textbook Revolution has a wide range of textbooks available on many topics, including Linux programming and other IT subjects. The interesting thing about Textbook Revolution is that it’s created by students.
Textbook Revolution is a student-run site dedicated to increasing the use of free educational materials by teachers and professors. We want to get these materials into classrooms. Our approach is to bring all of the free textbooks we can find together in one place, review them, and let the best rise to the top and find their way into the hands of students in classrooms around the world.
Compared to ebooks, there’s not as much out there for Linux courseware. There are, however, several places that have related courseware available. Some of the places I’ll list here have Linux specific courses, while others are more general UNIX or other IT.
4. Cornell University/arXiv.org
Links to a reasonable collection of course related materials, books, and papers. From arXiv you can find info on subjects like cryptography or Asymptotically Optimal Assignments In Ordinal Evaluations of Proposals, whatever that may be.
5. Open University
The Open University refers to itself as “the United Kingdom’s only university dedicated to distance learning.” They’ve got a pretty good collection of materials available on the website on a variety of topics. The courseware includes exercises and course summaries. There’s not much here specifically Linux related, but what is there is well organized and easy to sort through.
Have you come across any other useful sites for Linux ebooks and courseware? Let us know in the comments.