Auction Winners

The auctions are over. (They ended late Saturday, but I spent Sunday traveling and couldn’t get the post up.)

The OpenBSD auction went to Jared for $1000, crushing poor Cybermonk.

Cybermonk did triumph in the FreeBSD auction, however, with a top bid of $325.

Congrats to the winners! Send me the receipts for your donations to the respective Foundations and your mailing address, and I’ll get your books to you. (Technically, Ayaka will be mailing the OpenBSD book; she’s taking it for a couple more signatures this week.)

My condolences to those who lost the auctions. Remember, you can still donate and get that warm feel-good dopamine from being a good person.

Ugly Pics of AF3e auction signatures

The auction of Absolute FreeBSD 3rd edition signed by the FreeBSD devs attending MeetBSD is underway.

Gathering the signatures is also underway.

Here are some cruddy pictures taken with my cellphone while sitting in the devsummit audience.

A similar auction for my last OpenBSD book raised $1145. Consider this a challenge to the FreeBSD community.

The overwhelming theme of the commentary seems to be “apologies,” which is slightly worrisome but the cluster admins say “everything is fine” so I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about.

Developer-signed “Relayd & Httpd Mastery” hardcover

This post is for bids on the brand new first-ever hardcover edition of Relayd & Httpd Mastery that I’m going to have signed by every developer I can catch at MeetBSD. Proceeds go to the OpenBSD Foundation.

Rules are on the announcement page, but in short: the auction ends on 20 October 2018, at the close of MeetBSD. Each bid must be at least $5 more than the prior bid. I’ll hand over or mail the copy upon getting a copy of the receipt for the OpenBSD Foundation.

The auction takes place entirely on this page. Folks at MeetBSD get no special advantage.

FreeBSD & OpenBSD fundraisers

TLDR: FreeBSD auction here, OpenBSD auction here. Bids on this page will be ignored.

The brand-new third edition of Absolute FreeBSD is in one of my greasy mitts right now. As is customary, I’m using this to persuade other people to give money to the FreeBSD Foundation.

In unrelated news, I’ve just come up with a hardcover version of Relayd and Httpd Mastery. I have the test proof of that book in my other greasy mitt. I might as well use this to persuade other people to give money to the OpenBSD Foundation.

In my third greasy mitt, I’ll be speaking on Why BSD Saturday morning at MeetBSD.

As I’m going to a con anyway…

I’m taking an AF3e and this R&HM proof to MeetBSD. There I’ll get as many FreeBSD and OpenBSD devs as possible to sign them. There’s a FreeBSD devsummit the day before the con, so I should be able to get a bunch there. I don’t know how many OpenBSD folks will be there, but I’ll grab any of them I can capture with my fourth greasy mitt. (I’m told at least a couple will be, and I’m really looking forward to them asking questions of our esteemed Intel hosts.) I’ll probably get the MeetBSD con chair to sign, because why not?

I’m proactively auctioning off both of these for donations to the respective Foundations.

The auctions will run in different posts, here on this web site, from now until the evening of 20 October 2018. That’s the last night of MeetBSD. Yes, I’m hoping to run up the price.

Some comments and rules.

  • Is this a cynical scheme to raise money for further development of assorted BSD-related projects?


  • Do the Foundations know you’re doing this?

    No. Why would they? This is between you, me, and the random committers I get to sign the books.

  • Why do this here, instead of an auction site like eBay?

    Partly because authors normally do this sort of thing on their web pages. Partly because it simplifies the running of the auction. And partly because it means I have no financial connection to the results. Touching donated money causes me weird non-financial risks, thanks to the unholy trifecta of how federal and state law interacts with my family situation. (No, I won’t explain that. It’s personal. Deal.)

  • Why not have each Foundation run this, then?

    They’re busy doing real Foundation work.

  • Why not just give money yourself?

    While I make more than the US national average, almost anyone who reads these books makes tens of thousands of dollars more than I do. Past auctions have shown that y’all can pay far more than I, when motivated by some silly prank inspired to do so.

  • When does the auction end?

    6 PM PST Saturday, 20 October 2018. Or sometime shortly after that.

  • That’s a stupid time. Where’s my countdown timer?

    It’s convenient for me. It also will discourage last-minute sniping.

    If last minute bids are coming in fast and furious, I’ll let it run until bidding stops for five minutes or so. Fight it out fair and square.

  • When does the auction start?

    When I hit “publish” on this blog post.

  • How do I bid?

    Comment here with your bid amount. Each bid must be a minimum of $5 more than the previous bid.

  • How do I track competing bids?

    Check the “Subscribe to Comments” box when you bid.

  • Where will the winner be announced?

    On a separate blog post a day or two after the con. I’m traveling the 21st, so I’m not sure how this will work out. You can read the comments and see the winner, though.

  • How do I claim my prize?

    You have three days to make your donation. Send me your PayPal receipt.

    If the donation is sufficiently large, I might ask you to give the Foundation permission to tell me that you actually donated the money.

  • What if the winner doesn’t pay?

    The prize falls to the #2 bidder, who I will contact.

    I won’t blog that the #1 person sucks, but I will say that they didn’t donate and thus the award falls through to #2. You’re perfectly capable of determining a person’s suckage level on your own.

  • What exactly will the winner get?

    A copy of the book you bid on, defaced by developers, leading community members, and myself.

  • Where are the detailed rules?
    In my head.

    Looks, this is supposed to be fun. You know how an auction works. We’re all in the BSD community. But if someone plays silly buggers, I am the final arbiter of how an auction works. I don’t make money no matter how this turns out.

  • Committer-signed “Absolute FreeBSD 3rd Ed” auction

    This post is for bids on the brand new third edition of “Absolute FreeBSD” that I’m going to have signed by every developer I can catch at MeetBSD. Proceeds go to the FreeBSD Foundation.

    Rules are on the announcement page, but in short: the auction ends on 20 October 2018, at the close of MeetBSD. Each bid must be at least $5 more than the prior bid. I’ll hand over or mail the copy upon getting a copy of the receipt for the FreeBSD Foundation.

    The auction takes place entirely on this page. Folks at MeetBSD get no special advantage.

    AF3e ship date and next FreeBSD talk

    The print version of Absolute FreeBSD, 3rd Edition leaves the printer on 4 October 2018. They will absolutely be on hand for MeetBSD.

    Thanks go to Bill Pollock, shot-caller at No Starch Press, for making this happen. Paper shortages drove the printer to slip the ship date to mid-month, which would have made getting the books to MeetBSD impossible. Once he knew of the problem, he was able to properly aim the butt-walloping department and get the books done in time. Bill was also prepared to run a few copies as print-on-demand so I could meet my obligations, which is more than many publishers would be willing to do, but POD of big books is nowhere near as nice as real printing. Besides, my most eager readers, the ones likely to show up at MeetBSD, are the ones who most deserve a properly printed book.

    Plus, if I’m gonna get on a blasted airplane because my new book is out, I at least want the book to be there when it arrives.

    This doesn’t mean Amazon will ship your print book on 4 October. The books need to traverse the physical distance between the printer and the warehouses. But from here on out, it’s all routine.

    In related news, I’ll be talking FreeBSD at on 9 October. With any luck I’ll have print books there too.

    I must credit Walmart

    It’s very important to encourage people and organizations when they do something correct. Even when it’s an organization you don’t care for. I never thought I’d one day be compelled to say something nice about Wal-Mart.

    But, as they say: here we are.

    Walmart is implementing their ebookstore. It’s powered by Kobo, one of my very favorite ebook retailers.

    Here’s the Walmart catalog entry for Ed Mastery as of today.

    Ed Mastery entry at walmart

    It’s categorized as “Books/Computers & Technology Books/System Administration/Linux & UNIX Administration” – all sensible, and what I entered.

    Now here’s the catalog entry for the Manly McManface edition of Ed Mastery. I entered its category as “Books/Computers & Technology Books/System Administration/Linux & UNIX Administration.”

    walmart catalog for ed mastery manly mcmanface

    Walmart has it filed under Books/Computers & Technology Books/Security/Viruses & Malware.

    I’m not sure, but I think Walmart… has started trolling MRAs?

    Tuesday, 21 August 18: me, on ed(1), at SemiBUG

    The headline pretty much says it all, but:

    Next Tuesday, I’ll be presenting on ed(1) at the SouthEast Michigan BSD User Group, 7 PM, Altair Engineering.

    I doubt that any user group or conference will want me to show up to talk about ed(1), even though it is the standard text editor. So, this is probably your one and only chance to see this talk.

    Second Editions versus the Publishing Business

    I find myself with an extremely publishing-wonky moral dilemma, and want my readers’ opinions. My apologies for the length of this post.

    Tech and academic publishers will frequently release a new and updated edition of a book simply to goose sales of the book. In college I bought three different versions of the same calculus book because they changed constants in the exercises. Calculus hadn’t changed, but the publisher gouged my wallet because they could. I had better use for that money, like getting desperately needed dental care.

    Today I have my college degree, a bridge, and an assortment of fillings that rivals Jaws from 70s Bond flicks.

    Second editions for the sake of second editions have a special place in my heart. A place with lots of flames, pitchforks, and high-power belt sanders applied to really delicate locations.

    Second editions can be worthwhile and necessary, though.

    I recently released a second edition of SSH Mastery. Unlike calculus, tech changes. The first edition contained actively incorrect information that would hurt people and dozens of minor flaws. It needed a polish. I’ve openly declared, repeatedly, that if you bought the first edition and kept up on changes in SSH, you don’t need to buy the second edition. Absolute FreeBSD is getting a new edition, eleven years after the previous edition. That’s too long, but life happens.

    Similarly, TCP/IP Illustrated got a second edition. It needed one.

    I’m finding myself in a moral quandry, though. One driven by publishing business.

    My Tilted Windmill Press print books are available exclusively through Amazon’s CreateSpace print-on-demand program. This has been a potential problem for quite a while. I’m not a fan of monopoly or monopsony in my business dealings. The other major print on demand provider, IngramSpark, requires a publisher provide ISBNs. I deferred this purchase for several years, because ISBN pricing for US citizens is absurd.

    Last December, I finally purchased a block of one thousand ISBNs so that I could use non-CreateSpace printers.

    Ed Mastery and the new SSH Mastery were released on both CreateSpace and IngramSpark. FreeBSD Mastery: ZFS and FreeBSD Mastery: Advanced ZFS were re-issued under my own ISBNs and channeled through both printing services.

    After a few months of sales data, I’m confident in saying that adding IngramSpark has increased book sales. I’m selling print books in Asia and Australia, which I’ve never done before. I expect to recoup my investment in ISBNs entirely in 2018, which is far ahead of my predictions. Cool.

    Why did those sales increase? I’m considering this experimental evidence that CreateSpace’s non-Amazon distribution is not as good as one would hope. This is utterly unsurprising, as Amazon has repeatedly shown that they’re not interested in playing nicely with competitors.

    The problem comes with changes in CreateSpace. Amazon is merging CS into their pure Amazon program, Kindle Desktop Publishing. Creditable industry scuttlebutt says that non-Amazon distribution will only get worse. It’s time to re-release all of the Tilted Windmill Press titles under new ISBNs. For most of the books, this only requires I take the time to assign ISBNs and make a couple minor changes in the

    Some titles are troublesome, though. Specifically Networking for System Administrators, Tarsnap Mastery, Sudo Mastery, and DNSSEC Mastery.

    I outsourced the design of these books. I used old ebook layout methods. The smart thing for me to do is insource all of them, redo the print layouts and covers, re-convert them to ebook, and reissue under new ISBNs.

    But… all of these books contain nits.

    DNSSEC Mastery covers DLV, which is no longer a thing, and the recommend algorithms have changed. Sudo development isn’t exactly breakneck, but there’s a couple new features that merit a nod in Sudo Mastery. Tarsnap Mastery specifically declares that there is no Tarsnap GUI. In the best tradition of tech publishing, the GUI came out right after I released the book. Networking for System Administrators, though… surely network principles are timeless? There’s stuff I would alter, add, and update. There’s always more to say about networking.

    As long as I’m doing these reissues, shouldn’t I take a little time and update the text? It wouldn’t take terribly long, right?

    Those updates would make the books second editions, though.

    DNSSEC Mastery specifically says that DLV is going away, and to check for the current recommended algorithms. The Tarsnap GUI–well, frankly, who cares about that kind of error? “Oh, a GUI came out after the book was released? Cool, cool.” New sudo features? Sure, that’s life.

    When I write my tech books, I do my best to future-proof them.

    But if I don’t release second editions, then I’m reissuing books with known fixable warts.

    I could put on the back cover: If you’ve read the first edition, and kept up with changes, you don’t need this second edition. My gut not only calls that lame, it does so in a loud taunting voice.

    And I always try to play straight with my readers. Y’all bought me that bridge and those fillings.

    So, what would you rather see? What makes sense to you?