Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programmers

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Recommend me some books or articles

I’ve been looking for something to read on these topics, can you help?

  • a history of the Unix wars (the ‘workstation’ period involving Sun, HP, Apollo, DEC, IBM, NeXT and SGI primarily, but really everything starting from AT&T up to Linux and OS X would be interesting)
  • a business case study on Apple’s turnaround 1997-2001. I’ve read plenty of 1990s case studies explaining why they’ll fail, and 2010s interpretations of why they’re dominant, and Gil Amelio’s “On the Firing Line” which explains his view of how he stemmed the bleeding, but would like to fill in the gaps: particularly the changes from Dec 1997 to the iPod.
  • a technical book on Mach (it doesn’t need to still be in print, I’ll try to track it down): I’ve read the source code for xnu, GNU Mach and mkLinux, Tevanien’s papers, and the Mac OS X Internals book, but could still do with more
posted by Graham at 14:39  


  1. “A Quarter Century of Unix” and “Dueling UNIXes and the UNIX Wars” both by Peter Salus, spring to mind.

    Various news group archives contains lots of raw material.

    Comment by Derek Jones — 2017-10-05 @ 23:11

  2. Thanks, I’ll add those to my tsundoku :)

    Comment by Graham — 2017-10-06 @ 07:53

  3. For Mach, maybe try Programming Under Mach by Boykin et al, 1993. The only thing I recall from it at this point is being aghast at having to manually fill out the thread state appropriately for the processor at play when spawning a new thread. Not so portable, that.

    Comment by jeremywsherman — 2017-10-27 @ 00:58

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