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Running Xen, a Hands-On guide to the Art of Virtualization

© May 2008 Anthony Lawrence
  • Running Xen, a Hands-On guide to the Art of Virtualization
  • Joanna N. Mattews, Eli M. Dow et al.
  • Prentice Hall
  • 9780132349666

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm starting to think that books like this shouldn't be written. I don't mean that this is a bad book: it's not. It's well laid out, encyclopedic in its coverage.. but it's already out of date.

I don't mean horribly, and I certainly don't mean so much as to make this useless. But this is a common problem in the fast moving field of open source: things can change radically in the time it takes to get a book out the door.

For example, the first thing I learned here was about a Xen LiveCD. Chapter 2 is devoted to playing with that, and it's a great idea: a non-threatening, very quick intro to Xen. Unfortunately, that's way out of date: the LiveCD can still be found, but it's not where the book says it is because it is several versions old now. It's 3.03, current Xen is 3.2.1 (or was as I write this). Try https://runningxen.com/chapters/chapter2/ if you want to follow along with the book.

Of course the book has advice, and much of that will remain useful for some time. But books like this just can't keep pace with developers, and that definitely makes them less useful. I'm not picking on just this book: most of my library is out of date and ready for the trash heap: when I need information today, of course I head for the web.

I like books. I don't like reading on-line, but it's easy to see that printed books really aren't able to meet our needs in areas like this.

Tony Lawrence 2008-05-16 Rating: 3.5

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Sat May 17 11:01:11 2008: 4204   TodDeshane

In some ways I want to agree with you that books on fast moving
technologies shouldn't be written. It is a logical argument. We don't
always want and/or we are not always ready to handle what is best for
us though. Many people still want something physical that they can
hold on to and read, something to take on the plane, for example.

I still find myself taking a look at the book first instead of trying
to google for it, searching the mailing list archives, asking on irc,
or reading the source code. It is good to have a place to start, as
basis of how things were at the snapshot of the book release. I can
then move forward to find what has changed.

The liveCD is still the newest officially released from Xen.org. There
are newer ones released such as the VMKNOPPIX (
http: // (link dead) unit.aist.go.jp/itri/knoppix/vmknoppix/index-en.html) one that
is posted off the runningxen.com chapter 2 resources.

As with any fast moving technology, new versions will come, new
features will be added etc. Our purpose in writing the book was to
give people a starting point, the fundamentals don't change much. We
are tracking the changes as they are happening and will post errata
and other important updates on the book website (
http: (link dead) //runningxen.com). When enough fundamental new things are added
and/or thee are enough interested new features, then a second edition
would probably be in order, I don't think that is the case yet.

Sat May 17 11:03:00 2008: 4205   TonyLawrence

Yeah, I understand and agree: I hate reading books on line and really don't want to give up the physical version. But everything moves so darn fast..

Sat May 17 18:40:32 2008: 4206   JonR

I wonder if, instead of giving a link to some page that is either out of date by the time the paper book is published, or shortly after, or that simply no longer exists, it might not be at least an improvement to give a "permalink" to a page that will presumably remain in place and contain updated links to the material under discussion. Granted, "permalinks" are laughably named, since nothing is or can be "permanent," especially, it seems, on the Web, but at least their goal is to have a non-expiring, accessible link for future use.

Sat May 17 19:00:58 2008: 4207   TonyLawrence

Good point, Jon.

Mon May 19 17:14:33 2008: 4216   ToddDeshane

We had thought about the permalink idea quite a bit and towards that purpose we have the website. I had hoped to make that more clear in the first edition, but more more was needed to get the infrastructure for permalinks in place.

Going forward, I hope that we can implement more of the permalink idea for future editions. The links in general are useful. We update links as we can on the runningxen.com website and a permalink setup could really help readers.

Thanks for the input on that.

Thu Aug 27 13:42:33 2009: 6799   TonyLawrence

Just came across this:


Other articles there too - good site!


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