Personal Development

Free Programming Books


Last month I came across a GitHub project which is primarily a list of free programming books.

Originally a clone of a StackOverflow listing, it has been updated with dead links removed and is now collaborative. If you know if any freely available programming books out there, you can submit your own updates.

It comes in multiple non-programming languages, too. B-)

There are books organized by language, such as C++, Ada, JavaScript, and TeX. Other books are language-agnostic, so you can find tomes on algorithms, cellular automata, mathematics, programming paradigms, and regular expressions, among others.

Besides the language-specific and math books, there are books on networking, licensing, open source culture, operating systems, and security.

Some books are about professional development. Others are about architecture.

But it’s amazing how many books there happen to be out there, freely available.

The downside? There are two I can think of.

One, many of these resources are somewhat older. To be fair, not all of them are. Still, enough of them are that you sometimes feel like you’re reading a history of computing, which may not be a bad thing if you’re curious about how things have evolved to today’s state of the art.

Two, most of these freely available books require you to be connected to the Internet to peruse. I wish more were available in PDF or epub format, but most are much like Eric S. Raymond’s The Cathedral and the Bazaar: there are a series of web pages to read, but there is no ebook there.

Now, I purchased the hardcopy version of Cathedral back when it was first released, but that’s besides the point. Many other resources linked to from this book list don’t have an ebook version.

Some of the links to free books are to PDFs and are labeled as such.

Others do have either bound books forms or ebook formats, but if you want it, you need to pay. It’s basically shareware applied to books. You get to to try out the free version, and if you like it enough, you can pay for the full version to read on your tablet at your leisure. And some of these links show more aggressive marketing than others, so there’s something else to learn there if you pay attention. B-)

What’s your favorite free book from this list?