Preface

This site contains source text for Computer Networks: A Systems Approach, now available under terms of the Creative Commons (CC BY 4.0) license. The community is invited to contribute corrections, improvements, updates, and new material under the same terms.

Like many open source software projects, this one has been seeded with once restricted content: the 5th edition of Peterson and Davie, copyrighted by Elsevier. Our hope is that open sourcing this material will both make it widely available and serve as an attractor for new content: updating what's already there, expanding it to cover new topics, and augmenting the text with additional teaching collateral.

We will initially play an editorial role (curating and wordsmithing) for contributions that come back, but our plan is to share ownership of the project with others committed to its success.

And if you make use of this work, the attribution should include the following information:

Title: Computer Networks: A Systems Approach
Authors: Larry Peterson and Bruce Davie
Copyright: Elsevier, 2012
Source: https://github.com/SystemsApproach
License: CC BY 4.0

Read the Book

An online version of the book is published at https://book.systemsapproach.org. You can also find PDF and eBook versions here. To track progress and receive notices about new versions, you can follow the project on Facebook.

Build the Book

The source content is organized as a git repository per chapter, each of which focuses on a major networking topic (e.g., Internetworking, Congestion Control). A "root" repo (this one) contains the gitbook files that can be used to create a full book. To build a web-viewable version, you first need to install a couple packages:

Then do the following to download the source:

mkdir ~/systemsapproach
cd ~/systemsapproach
git clone https://github.com/systemsapproach/book.git
cd book
git submodule init
git submodule update

To build a web version of the book, simply type:

make

If all goes well, you will be able to view the book in your browser at localhost:4000. (If all doesn't go well, you might try typing make a second time.)

You can also build other versions of the book (e.g., pdf, ebook), but doing so requires installing other packages, as documented on the GitBook Toolchain site.

How to Contribute

We hope that if you use this material, you are also willing to contribute back to it. If you are new to open source, you might check out this How to Contribute to Open Source guide. Among other things, you'll learn about posting Issues that you'd like to see addressed, and issuing Pull Requests to merge your improvements back into GitHub.

If you do want to contribute either patches or new material, you will need to sign a Contributor Licensing Agreement (CLA). You'll be prompted to sign the CLA the first time you make a pull request.

The CLA is pretty straightforward: it establishes that (a) you have the right to contribute what you're contributing, and (b) what you contribute is available to everyone else under the same CC BY terms as the existing content. The CLA is a little unusual in that it explicitly calls out Elsevier's rights (which are the same as everyone's), but this does signal their intent to continue publishing textbooks based on the material.

You should also familiarize yourself with the guidelines for contributing. As a first step, we recommend you check to see if any new text you'd like to submit passes our MarkDownLint test. To do this, run

cd ~/systemsapproach
make lint

If you'd like to contribute and are looking for something that needs attention, see the current Project Board. We'd also like to expand the set of topics/chapters beyond the initial set inherited from the 5th edition, so if you have ideas, we'd love to hear from you. Send email to discuss@systemsapproach.org, or better yet, join the forum.

Finally, in as much as this is an on-going effort, we will try to record and track our progress. For now, think of this as a poor-man's release notes. Additional information about work-in-progress can be found in the wiki.

Join Us

We hope you've gotten value out of Computer Networks: A Systems Approach over the years, and we're eager to have you join us in this new venture.

Larry Peterson & Bruce Davie
August 2018

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