You might have noticed my blogging has slowed down to a lull; never fear, this is just because I have been working  it is been because I have been hard at work writing I am working full steam on finishing up Programming F#. But I cannot finish this book without your help, read on.

The good news

The good news is that the first three chapters of Programming F# should be available online at O’Reilly’s Rough Cuts site very soon. (Maybe this week…) Signing up for Safari will give you access to pre-release chapters of the book as well as give me feedback on how to make the book better. (Something I would greatly appreciate.)

The bad news

But to be honest, as much as I’d like your feedback on early chapters of the book what I really need your help on is convincing ‘the man’ that Programming F# deserves a better cover than merely a fish, a rat, or a rabbit. Seriously, a rabbit?!? The linked books are all great, but having some cute and cuddly creature on the front doesn’t really inspire me to take the technology seriously.

That is why when I first announced the book I mocked up a cover with a Squig.

The Squigg - old and busted 

But ‘the man’ shot me down. You see, if O’Reilly is going to start having creatures more awesome than a frog on the cover they need to enforce a few other rules:

  • The creature should be easily identifiable. The awesomeness of the Squig is self-evident, but few can name what it is exactly. The cover on the book should be something people could recognize.
  • The creature can’t be copyright. Most of the Squig’s awesomeness was due to the fact it was created by Games Workshop, currently licensed to Mythic Entertainment. Licensing stuff like this makes lawyers cry at night.

So I literally went back to the drawing board to think about what animal best represents F#. Something that conveys its multi-paradigm nature. Specifically, it supports imperative, object-oriented, and functional programming

Then it hit me. What creature has three heads and totally kicks ass?




Cerberus (Greek: Κέρβερος, Kérberos) is the name given to the entity which, in Greek and Roman mythology, is a multi-headed dog which guards the gates of Hades, to prevent those who have crossed the river Styx from ever escaping.

Now we are onto something, but to be honest having the gatekeeper for hell on the cover of my book doesn’t sit too well with me. While certainly keeping the denizens of Hades in check is a noble task, it carries along a lot of spirtual baggage. Is Cerberus evil? Or just doing his job?  Also, it isn’t like there are many cerberi – rather there is just the one (that I know of).

So, unfortunately I need to try again. But the more I think about it I like my second choice much better. Instead of Cerberus I went with a G-D-M-F-fire-breathing-HYDRA!



You don’t F with those, you know why? Because it’s got multiple heads, and since the specifics on hydras are pretty unclear I’m going to go ahead and say that the hydra on the cover of my book is both undead and breathes fire.

Yes people, a lich hydra that breaths hellfire from its multi-paradigm heads of destruction.

So, I present to you, the cover of my book hopefully awesome enough to make the powers that be rethink their ‘cute and cuddly’ colophons.

Hydra Half

Use Multi-Paradigm Programming to Devour Your Foes!

“The only thing better than one fire-breathing paradigm is three!”

Yeah, NOW we are talking.

Call to Action!

However, to be clear this isn’t my official book cover, but it would certainly be awesome if it was. So I need your help to convince the good folks at O’Reilly the same.

So please politely send a tell to @LaurelAtOReilly on Twitter and let her know that a Hydra would make a much better cover than whatever the hell is on the cover of Unix in a Nutshell.

I also have a Cafe Press site up for T-Shirts. I haven’t received mine in the mail yet so I can’t comment on how well they will turn out.

Thanks for your help and support. And remember: the ability to breath fire is always better than being furry. Always.