Please send me any comments you may have on this essay. I consider all suggestions, many of which have already improved this essay.
I have placed this essay under the GNU Free Documentation License. This license is not specifically designed for essays. Essays are usually intended to be coherent and convincing arguments that are written from a single point of view in a single voice. I hope this essay is a short and pleasant read.
I also hope that it is instructive. Although not a textbook, it is broken into many small sections to which new sections can be freely added. If so inclined, you are encouraged to expand upon this essay as you see fit, subject to the provisions of the License.
It may be arrogance to imagine that this document is worthy of extension; but hope springs eternal. I would be joyous if it were extended in the following ways:
The addition of a comprehensive reading list to each section,
The addition of more and better sections,
Translation into other languages, even if only on a subsection-by-subsection basis, and/or
Criticism or commentary in-lined into the text.
The ability to build into different formats, such as palm formats and better HTML.
If you inform me of your work, I will consider it and may include it in subsequent versions that I produce, subject to the provisions of the License. You may of course produce your own versions of this document without my knowledge, as explained in the License.
Robert L. Read
The original version of this document was begun by Robert L. Read in the year 2000 and first published electronically at Samizdat Press(http://Samizdat.mines.edu) in 2002. It is dedicated to the programmers of Hire.com.
After this article was mentioned on Slashdot in 2003, about 75 people sent me email with suggestions and errata. I appreciate them all. There was a lot of duplication, but the following people either made major suggestions or were the first to find a bug that I fixed: Morgan McGuire, David Mason, Tom Moertel, Ninja Programmer (145252) at Slashdot, Ben Vierck, Rob Hafernik, Mark Howe, Pieter Pareit, Brian Grayson, Zed A. Shaw, Steve Benz, Maksim Ioffe, Andrew Wu, David Jeschke, and Tom Corcoran.
Finally I would like to thank Christina Vallery, whose editing and proofreading greatly improved the second draft, and Wayne Allen, who encouraged me to initiate this.
Original Author's Bio
Robert L. Read lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and two children. He is currently a Principal Engineer at Hire.com, where he has worked for four years. Prior to that he founded 4R Technology, which made a scanner-based image analysis quality control tool for the paper industry.
Rob received a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin in 1995 in Computer Science related to database theory. In 1987 he received a BA in Computer Science from Rice University. He has been a paid programmer since the age of 16.