academic

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Wow. Just rejected an editorial offer...

Submitted by gwolf on Fri, 08/01/2014 - 11:32

Yes, I've been bragging about the Operating Systems book all over... Today, a colleague handed me a phone call from somebody at Editorial Patria, a well known educational editorial in Mexico. They are looking for material similar to what I wrote, but need the material to be enfocado a competencias — Focused on skills, a pedagogic fashion.

I was more than interested, of course. As it currently stands, I am very happy that our book is being used already at three universities in three countries (by the different authors) and have heard other people saying they would recommend it, and of course I'm interested in making our work have as big an impact as possible. Of course, we'd have to modify several aspects of the book to cater to the skills focus... But it would be great to have the book available at commercial bookstores. After all, university editions are never as widely circulated as commercial ones.

I had just one hard request to accept this: Our work must be distributed under a free licensing. Explicitly allow book photocopies and electronic distribution (didn't get into the "and modification" part, but I would eventually get there ;-) )

And... Of course, the negotiation immediately fell down. Editorials, this person says, live from selling individual books. She says she was turned down by another university professor and for another subject this same week.

So, yes, I took the opportunity to explain things as I (and the people that think as I do — Fortunately, not so few) see them. Yes, of course, editorials have to make a living. But text books are often photocopied as it is. Who buys a book? Whoever needs it. On one hand, if somebody will be using a book throughout a semester and it's reasonably priced (say, up to 3×cost of photocopies), they will probably buy it because it just works better (it is more comfortable to use and nicer to read).

If a teacher likes the explanation for a particular topic, it should be completely legal for him to distribute photocopies (or digital copies) of the specific material — And quite probably, among the students, more than one will end up appreciating the material enough to go look for the book in the library. And, as I have done throughout my life, if I read (in copies, electronically or in a library) a book I like... Quite probably I will go buy it.

So... Of course, she insisted it was against their corporate policy. I insisted on my explanation. I hope they meet many stubborn teachers refusing to distribute books under a non-free licensing. I hope I contributed to making a dent in an industry that must change. Yes, a very very small dent, but one that helps them break free from their obsolete mindset ;-)

(But yes, I don't know how long I will regret not being part of their very nice catalog of science and engineering books) ;-) )

Editorial process starting in 3... 2... 1...

Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 07/29/2014 - 13:09

Yay!

Today I finally submitted our book, Fundamentos de Sistemas Operativos, for the Editorial Department of our institute. Of course, I'm not naïve enough to assume there won't be a heavy editorial phase, but I'm more than eager to dive into it... And have the book printed in maybe two months time!

Of course, this book is to be published under a free license (CC-BY-SA). And I'm talking with the coauthors, we are about to push the Git repository to a public location, as we believe the source for the text and figures can also be of interest to others.

The book itself (as I've already boasted about here :-} ) is available (somewhat as a preprint) for download.

[update] Talked it over with the coauthors, and we finally have a public repository! Clone it from:

https://github.com/gwolf/sistop.git

Or just browse it from Github's web interface.

Part of the winning black hat team at SGCE2014

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 06/26/2014 - 00:24
Part of the winning black hat team at SGCE2014

Of course, it was not a hacking contest. Some of the speakers were invited on stage as players in the Developers bowl (a Jeopardy-like game) at Software Gurú Conference & Expo 2014. I happened to be in the winning team :-)

( categories: )

Presenting Kaz!

Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 05/19/2014 - 16:27
Presenting Kaz!

My guest and good friend Kaz, ready to start explaining the ext4 filesystem (and kernel module)

Kaz explaining ext4

Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 05/19/2014 - 16:25
Kaz explaining ext4

Kaz explaining ext4

Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 05/19/2014 - 16:19
Kaz explaining ext4

Nice dinner at home after Kaz's presentation

Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 05/19/2014 - 16:18
Nice dinner at home after Kaz's presentation

With eclectic sushi and several other goodies.

Guest class: Jose Juan "Kaz" Casimiro ( @brit_kazito ) dissects the Ext4 filesystem module

Submitted by gwolf on Sat, 05/17/2014 - 16:49

Yesterday night, we had the opportunity to have –for the first time– my friend Kaz as a guest in my Operating Systems class. We are about to finish the semester, and he took the opportunity not just to show how the Ext4 filesystem is structured, but how it is implemented in a current Linux release.

Kaz took a very different approach from what I do: He did it really hands-on, starting with the explanation on how a hello world module would be created, and then digging in following the code of the ext4 module in Linux 3.14 (and some bits in the general filesystem-related includes).

Of course, for a ~2hr session, he did not go into the full details, but did show where the main structures of a filesystem are defined, including a general walkthrough on the general kernel coding style.

The class was very enjoyable and clear. We had the bad luck of the projector's lamp burning out at the beginning of the class, but still, you can see in the pictures the students were really into his exposition. I think the exposition did make it through and got the students involved and interested — And that makes it really worth it!

Now... Sadly, due to a (most probably) human factor, I tried to record this talk but lost most of it :-( I have only the first part, but lost most of the second one. I have some bits recorded by a second camera, but have to check if they make sense by themselves, or do need the whole context. Anyway, I'll be reviewing those bits, and will update this post when I get around to cleaning+fixing+integrating them.

Some more photos...

A talk by Kaz cannot be complete...

Submitted by gwolf on Sat, 05/17/2014 - 16:34
A talk by Kaz cannot be complete...

Until a cartoon version of one of the attendees is produced!

Nice dinner at home after Kaz's presentation

Submitted by gwolf on Sat, 05/17/2014 - 16:34
Nice dinner at home after Kaz's presentation

With eclectic sushi and several other goodies.

The students following Kaz's explanation of ext4

Submitted by gwolf on Sat, 05/17/2014 - 16:34
The students following Kaz's explanation of ext4

A full group of students following on Kaz's thorough explanation

The students following Kaz's explanation of ext4

Submitted by gwolf on Sat, 05/17/2014 - 16:34
The students following Kaz's explanation of ext4

A full group of students following on Kaz's thorough explanation

Kaz explaining ext4

Submitted by gwolf on Sat, 05/17/2014 - 16:34
Kaz explaining ext4

A full group of students following on Kaz's thorough explanation

Kaz explaining ext4

Submitted by gwolf on Sat, 05/17/2014 - 16:34
Kaz explaining ext4

A full group of students following on Kaz's thorough explanation

Little piece of the ext4 explanation

Submitted by gwolf on Sat, 05/17/2014 - 16:34
Little piece of the ext4 explanation

After the projector blew up at the beginning of the class, all of the exposition had to be directly in Kaz's laptop screen...

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