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A Message from the Publisher

Thank you for your interest in Software Conflict 2.0, by Robert L. Glass. We're excited about this project, and we had the crazy idea that other people might be interested in hearing more about the book and the story behind it.

A few years ago I was engaging in one of my favorite activities: rummaging through the shelves of a used bookstore. I stumbled into a copy of a goofy looking book called Software Conflict: Essays on the Art and Science of Software Engineering, written by a guy whose name I recognized: Robert L. Glass. I recognized this name because of Bob's column that has for years now appeared on the back page of IEEE Software magazine. I say the book was "goofy looking" in a nice way, because the book had a whimsical cartoon drawing on the cover that you can safely say is of fashion with today's software book design trends. 1990 wasn't all that long ago, but in technology and design years of course it really was a long time ago. But I digress.

I picked the book up and knew within seconds that I'd be taking it home. I'm glad I did take it home, well read and dogeared as it was, because I found that the book was full of surprises. It's relevance and insights had held up to the test of time quite well. The book had over 50 essays in it, most of them a few pages or less, easy to read in a single sitting at lunch or before bed. I found that even though the essays were short and easy to digest, I usually only wanted to read one of them at a time so that I could sit with the thoughts and ideas one of these essays would stir up. It took me awhile to read the whole book for this reason, but sticking with it was easy.

The range of subject matter was diverse, yet there was a thread flowing through all of the essays, even beyond the unifying "conflict" theme. What I really felt I was gaining while reading through the essays was a sense of perspective, both "horizontally" across the industry and academia outside of my own narrow corner of the software universe, and "vertically" through history and into the future. I found that the content had a timeless quality, and over time it began to bother me that this book was out of print, and that so few people had read it. Selfishly, at the very least, I wanted some other people to talk to about it.

Long story short, somewhere along the way the idea for a new book publishing company called developer.* Books came up, and my partner Gayle Devereaux was crazy enough to agree with me that it seemd worth a try, so she pitched in to help. Also somewhere along the way, Bob published an essay of mine in his Software Practitioner newsletter, and later in an email to Bob I broached the subject of Software Conflict, it's lamentable out-of-print status, and our interest in publishing a new, updated edition. Bob was I'm sure skeptical at first, but he expressed enthusiasm at the prospect.

We got the contract details worked out, Bob re-read the first edition, wrote six new "retrospective" essays for each of the book's sections, and also wrote a new Preface. Pragmatic Programmer Andy Hunt also agreed to write a new Guest Foreword (for which we're most thankful). Nicholas Zvegintzov and Don Reifer agreed to include their contributions from the first edition. Woody Comptom drew a great likeness of Bob for the About the Author page. Giles Hoover at ospreyDesign did an incredible job with the cover and interior book design—and here we are.

As publishers, we've done our best to put together a book that is as high quality in presentation as the essays inside. (Our collaborators get most of the credit.) We hope you're pleased with the result, and that enjoy the book. Thanks for your interest.

—Dan Read,
writing on behalf of myself and my developer.* Books partner Gayle Devereaux, without whom this project would not have been possible

P.S.
As an independent outfit in a publishing world dominated by some pretty big players, we're not above asking for help from people who share our enthusiasm for Software Conflict 2.0. For those who might be inclined to, here are some simple, low committment ways you can help:

  • Buy a book!
  • Mention Software Conflict 2.0 on your blog or web site.
  • Write a review of or rate Software Conflict 2.0 on Amazon.
  • Create an Amazon Listmania list, including Software Conflict 2.0 and other favorite books.
  • Buy a copy for your manager, professor, employee, teammate, or your mother.
  • Pass copy to on you your professor and suggest it for the summer reading list.

Thank you again.

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