Humble Bundle Books: Functional Programming


292 points | by ranit 339 days ago


  • tzs 338 days ago

    Quite a few people seem to be under the impression that O'Reilly DRM-free ePub and PDF books are no longer available, or maybe are only available now with DRM.

    Not so.

    O'Reilly stopped selling those on its own site, but they still produce them and sell them through retailers.

    For example, carries them in both DRM-free ePub and DRM-free PDF [1].

    When searching at, you can add "Format:18" to your keywords to search for DRM-free PDF, or "Format:17" to search for DRM-free ePub.


    • g-b-r 338 days ago

      Yeah, but the prices are ridiculous. The O'Reilly books in the recent years were clearly priced taking into account that most people would have taken advantage of their perpetual 50% or periodic 60% discounts. At full price they are absurd.

      I've been following the newsletter for several months, but they seem to have at most rare discounts of 20% (understandable since that's probably close to what they get paid).

      Even if I managed to overcome my distaste for O'Reilly since their move and if worthwhile new titles kept being published, I would be very reluctant to spend those sums for a single ebook.

      Personally I've been "lucky" enough to spend thousands of dollars on them in the last years and there are few titles that I'm still missing.

      • g-b-r 338 days ago

        Here's what's probably all the information available on the situation for O'Reilly's ebooks:

        • hendi_ 338 days ago

          Wow, that is great, thank you for posting this.

          Just the other day I've torrented a PDF that I couldn't buy from O'Reilly.

          • clumsysmurf 338 days ago

            For O'Reilly PDFs, are these conversions from another format or sourced directly from O'Reilly ?

            • vbernat 338 days ago

              Dunno for (whose prices are significantly higher), but on Google Playstore, ePub is clearly not sourced from O'Reilly. Line heights are not even consistent.

            • a3n 338 days ago

              When I bought from Oreilly they maintained a download anytime list, and sent me free update lists. Who if anyone does this now?

              • miah_ 338 days ago

                The Pragmatic Bookshelf at still does.

            • icc97 338 days ago

              Another great book amongst these is the Parallel and Concurrent Programming in Haskell [0]. There's a great video lecture series from Bartosz Milewski that goes through it [1].



              • skizm 338 days ago

                FYI: The $25 box is checked automatically and there is no confirm window after the paypal window. I just accidentally payed $10 over what I wanted to pay. That "checkout area" needs to be a little more clear I think. I didn't even realize that was the checkout area. I honestly didn't even notice the amount bubbles and was wondering when I was supposed to plug in what I wanted to pay. I was super confused when I got to the last page. Didn't notice until I got the paypal notification on my phone and went back to the main page.

                I realize I'm dumb, but maybe someone will read this and not make the same mistake.

                • bawigga 338 days ago

                  At least some of that $10 went towards a good cause!

                  • Jare 338 days ago

                    All of it went to good causes imho. :)

                  • mavrc 338 days ago

                    Having done this myself, in my case, a quick email to the Humble support team got the order cancelled and I was able to re-order at the correct price.

                    I agree that it would be nice if the price required active confirmation; it's too easy to choose the wrong thing.

                    • staikken 338 days ago

                      Note also if for some reason the payment fails (for example an error with the captcha) the payment resets to $25. Didn't catch it the second time through the payment process.

                      • ineedtosleep 338 days ago

                        Yep, I also did the same and accidentally clicked on the "Pay Instantly with Paypal" button -- which indeed did what it said it would. I supposed I'm not too torn up about it since I put a large majority of the purchase towards charity, but I feel like I fell for a subtle UX trap even after 10+ Humble Bundle purchases.

                      • sekh60 338 days ago

                        Seems like a very good buy. I generally like O'Reilly books. That said I am still very disappointed they decided to stop selling ebooks directly in favour of pushing their subscription service. Other than HumbleBundle I don't know a DRM free way to buy them.

                        • newscracker 338 days ago

                          When that switch was made, I wrote a strong mail to them. Those who dislike this move and have the Safari Online subscription through their companies should boycott that too.

                          I used to buy eBooks from O'Reilly somewhat often, but the push for subscription, as if books are like music streaming services, left a bad taste in my mouth.

                          • KSS42 336 days ago

                            Have you tried your local library?

                            Toronto Public Library offers Safari Online and and many other online services

                          • vbernat 338 days ago

                            Recently, O'Reilly stopped providing ePub. If you want this format, you can buy from Google Playstore but the typography here is bad. Has someone checked how are the ePub in the bundle? Good old O'Reilly ePubs or quickly converted from some HTML?

                            • lewapkon 338 days ago

                              Mobi files are easily convertible to ePub without any loss (you can use for instance Calibre).

                              • vbernat 338 days ago

                                Buying Mobi files is sending a signal that DRM are OK.

                                • Spivak 338 days ago

                                  I have a lot of DRM-free Mobi files. Do you just mean that .mobi are typically shipped with DRM? Because the same is true for ePUB too.

                                  • vbernat 338 days ago

                                    You are right. In my head, Mobi files were always downloaded from Amazon (and here, they always come with a DRM, right?).

                              • yla92 338 days ago

                                The ePubs from the bundle are quite okay. I just tried one of the books with FBReader on Ubuntu.

                                • vbernat 338 days ago

                                  Here is an example of an O'Reilly book in ePub format, as bought on Google Playstore: Clearly, nobody took a glimpse at this version before publishing. The second image is from an old JunOS book bought directly on O'Reilly website.

                                  EDIT: Just bought the bundle, checked the Rust book and ePub is pretty good!

                                • djvdorp 338 days ago

                                  The ePub's look rather okay!

                                  • 338 days ago
                                  • solidangle 338 days ago

                                    FYI, Real World Haskell (one of the books in the bundle) is available for free on the author's website:

                                    • Tomte 338 days ago

                                      But please note

                                      "It's old. RWH was written at a time version 6.8 of GHC was being used."


                                      "That being said, it's still a useful resource for general guidelines. But keep in mind that many libraries changed since its release."

                                      • icc97 338 days ago

                                        Only in an 'online' format though. If you want the ePub / PDF then its better to buy the book. Having the content free online is really useful for linking/referencing to the content.

                                        It's similar with Learn You A Haskell [0]. That too is free online, but I read through an ePub copy that I got via a Humble Bundle. I could never actually fully read through an online version of a book I think.


                                        • ranit 338 days ago

                                          Fair point. It is free in HTML format on its page. And as the authors said (on the page you linked) "We make the content freely available online. If you like it, please buy a copy."

                                          This looks like a trend: to provide a free on-line copy and still sell "better" formats.

                                        • sotojuan 338 days ago

                                          Programming Rust is currently ~$50 new on Amazon ($30 digital)... if you don't mind it being digital this is a bargain. I wonder why they decided to put this on there considering it just came out, but what a great thing.

                                          • lallysingh 338 days ago

                                            And when did Rust become a functional language?

                                            • yetanotheruser 338 days ago
                                              • steveklabnik 338 days ago

                                                Please note that this is from 2014, before Rust 1.0, and therefore is inaccurate in a few ways.

                                                We talk a little bit about Rust and functional programming in the book:

                                                > Rust’s design has taken inspiration from a lot of existing languages and techniques, and one significant influence is functional programming. Programming in a functional style often includes using functions as values, by passing them in arguments, returning them from other functions, assigning them to variables for later execution, and so forth. We won’t debate here the issue of what, exactly, functional programming is or is not, but will instead show off some features of Rust that are similar to features in many languages often referred to as functional.

                                                • yetanotheruser 338 days ago

                                                  Thanks for replying. I've got to check this out.

                                          • aaron-lebo 339 days ago

                                            Great deals - the Rust book is easily worth $15 by itself.

                                            • ranit 338 days ago

                                              I usually buy HumbleBumble's programming bundles without much hesitation. There is always at least one book that is worth the whole deal. And the money is going to a good cause.

                                              • reificator 338 days ago

                                                That's my approach as well.

                                                Mobile book bundle? I don't typically do much mobile outside of the browser, but I'll grab it just in case I get the itch.

                                                Security? I don't make a living there but it's always been a fun hobby of mine. Sold.

                                                Cryptocurrency? Not interested in investing, but I might as well get a deeper dive on blockchain et al.

                                                Usually 10-15 books for the price of one? Sign me up.

                                                • tasty_freeze 338 days ago

                                                  Honestly, the price of a book doesn't matter to me. I'm far, far more constrained by time than money. Give me 15 free books and most of them are just going to sit on my shelf for a long time.

                                                  Unlike reading a novel, I find reading technical books don't really "stick" unless I invest significant time, right then, using the language and actually trying out what I'm learning.

                                                  It is akin to my experience with learning an instrument -- it is easy to get sucked into buying books and watching videos, but it does zero for my ability unless I'm actively playing and struggling with it.

                                                  • g-b-r 338 days ago

                                                    Some fair points but if like most people you can spend only so much, getting more books for that same much is useful: if you have 15 books of a same subject matter you can rather easily compare them with a quick skim and devote significant effort only to the best ones, or pick only the best parts from each. Otherwise you can easily end up spending weeks on what only when you'll have gained more experience you'll realize was a worthless crappy book.

                                                    Even if you're careful in checking the reviews before buying, a lot of technical books have only few, questionable ones, and sometimes there are remarkable books behind them nonetheless!

                                                    • reificator 338 days ago

                                                      I like having a library that I can flip to when I'm bored and want to do something productive.

                                                  • CameronBanga 338 days ago

                                                    Same, I usually just buy in order to encourage more of these bundles. I bought this one without hesitation, even though I'll probably never read any of them.

                                                    • ocdtrekkie 338 days ago

                                                      Same. I figure I'm building myself a pretty handy reference library for a fraction of what I'd spend on Safari... now the only way O'Reilly is offering these ebooks directly.

                                                      • outsideoflife 338 days ago

                                                        I really learn much better from a paper book, so I use Humble Bundle as a cheap way to preview the books! It is still worth 15 bucks!

                                                        • NicoJuicy 338 days ago

                                                          Same, development books and electronic books. There was also a mobile dev book and java bundle recently.

                                                        • illuminati1911 338 days ago

                                                          Is it worth reading if one already knows basics of rust and has read ”the book”.

                                                          • steveklabnik 338 days ago

                                                            They're very different books, and I think compliment each other well. I co-authored "the book" and still am quite happy to have spent $50 on it.

                                                          • eberkund 338 days ago

                                                            I bought it just for that and consider the other dozen or so books a bonus :)

                                                          • jeanmichelx 338 days ago

                                                            How is Functional Thinking? I'm starting to write a toy SAT solver in scala and I could probably benefit from some good,non-trivial design examples

                                                            • jeremy_k 338 days ago

                                                              I really enjoyed Functional Thinking, read it a few months ago. Its a very good introduction to get yourself thinking... functionally! All the examples are Java 9, Scala, Groovy, or Clojure, which isn't my cup of tea since I don't write code on the JVM, but its more about understanding the concepts (and shouldn't be an issue for you).

                                                              A quick rundown of some high level keywords I jotted down while reading. Map, Reduce/Fold, Filter, Apply, Curry, Partial Application, Memoization, Lazy Loading / Streams, Either / Option in Scala.

                                                              • vorg 337 days ago

                                                                > All the examples are Java 9, Scala, Groovy, or Clojure

                                                                Some of those languages are more functional than others. I'd put them on a scale from least functional to most like so:

                                                                  Java 8 (least functional)
                                                                  Apache Groovy
                                                                  Java 9
                                                                  Clojure (most functional)
                                                                • jeanmichelx 338 days ago

                                                                  Thank you, I'll probably pick it up

                                                              • Avshalom 338 days ago

                                                                Who the hell at o'rielly is responsible for choosing the animals?

                                                              • bloaf 338 days ago

                                                                Does anyone have any F# books they would recommend?

                                                              • ballenf 338 days ago

                                                                Is there any hope for getting browsers to implement proper tail calls?

                                                                • Scarbutt 338 days ago

                                                                  Safari already does it, don't know about the status of other browsers.

                                                                • vymague 338 days ago

                                                                  I haven't bought humble book bundles for a few years. Is there something wrong on my end, or is the only charity option Code for America?

                                                                  • brewdad 338 days ago

                                                                    Different bundles will have different charities that they support, however each bundle usually only offers one charity. You still have the option of spreading your payment around to Humble, the developers, or the charity in whatever ratio you prefer.