BSDCan hasn’t officially started, and I keep getting asked when I will write a third edition of Absolute FreeBSD?
The short answer is: I don’t know.
The slightly longer answer is: it depends in part on you.
The much longer answer is:
FreeBSD has added lots of stuff since Absolute FreeBSD came out in 2007. The big, screaming, basic change is that ZFS is really well-supported, and considered a core feature.
But you can’t install to ZFS. Or to a mirror. Or to any of the other really cool options available on FreeBSD. There’s good stuff there, but new users can’t have it.
There are ways around this. For a new user, they range from ugly to absurd. I had hopes for the new FreeBSD installer, but none of the rumored improvements have reached real users. I could write “To install FreeBSD, install PC-BSD.” But my gut rebels. If you want PC-BSD, install PC-BSD.
If I was to write a big FreeBSD book today, it would have to be “1001 ways to install FreeBSD.” It would cover getting FreeBSD onto ZFS, or mirrors, or GELI, or any of the other cool options. That’s not a fun book to write and would not be fun to read.
Some discussions at BSDCan give me hope for an improved installation process. I don’t care if it’s the current installer, or a port of PC-BSD’s installer, or a resurrected sysinstall.
I have no problem spending a chapter on planning an installation, or on things you should know before installing — just look at Absolute OpenBSD. But that chapter can’t be “Here’s FreeBSD disk management system, so you can boot off a live filesystem and manually edit disks and create zpools and GELIs and mirrors and and and…” Experienced FreeBSD users put up with this, but you can’t give this to a new user.
FreeBSD should have a decent partitioning scheme at boot. If the OpenBSD folks can manage that with their text-only installer, surely FreeBSD could do so. But at least it’s possible to partition the disk with the current installer.
So: if you’re a programmer and want a new version of the book, work on the installer.
If you’re not a programmer: bribe one.
I have some small books on FreeBSD on my schedule, but that’s a very different thing. Until the installer changes, Absolute FreeBSD 3 isn’t even on the schedule.