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:
Read the Book
To track progress and receive notices about new versions, you can follow the project on Facebook and Twitter. To read a running commentary on how the Internet is evolving, follow the Systems Approach Blog.
The latest release is v6.0, which you can roughly equate with a 6th Edition. Read the Preface to find out what's new in this version. Note that Morgan Kaufmann (Elsevier) plans to publish a 6th edition of their textbook based on a fork of this version, but going forward, open source releases found here will not necessarily stay in sync with any future published editions.
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:
- Gitbook Toolchain
- Node.js Package Manager
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:
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
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
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,
cd ~/systemsapproach make lint
If you'd like to contribute and are looking for something that needs
attention, see the current
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
firstname.lastname@example.org, or better
yet, join the
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.
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