Actuality/Accuracy of The pfSense Book



  • I have pfSense 2.3-RELEASE (amd64) installed on a SHUTTLE DS437.

    I am thinking about buying the "The pfSense Book".

    How recent,  how actual, how accuracy is the now available "The pfSense Book" version PDF-file? How old is the on paper printed "The pfSense Book" ISBN 978-0-9790342-8-2? Will there be a new one soon?

    Rgds
    AW


  • Netgate

    Any printed version is pretty outdated at this point.

    Your best bet is probably a Gold Membership giving you access to the online version, plus other benefits.


  • Administrator

    There have been 30 commits to the book since March. Now that 2.3 out there will be more time to spend on the book.

    
    pfsense-book jdillard$ git log --oneline --after={2016-03-01} | wc -l
          30
    
    


  • @AW_sensepf:

    Will there be a new one soon?

    The new version of the book has been going to be released publicly "real soon now" for a couple of years.

    Unfortunately, there just isn't any sort of good documentation for pfsense. There is the old book, which you've found, but it covers version 1. So much has changed, it isn't really helpful - other than for very general information.

    There are wikis galore, but 99% of them are outdated rendering them incomplete at best, or just plain wrong at worst.

    At this point, the only choice for any real documentation is to buy a gold subscription and get the PDF version of the new book.


  • Administrator

    @GomezAddams:

    The new version of the book has been going to be released publicly "real soon now" for a couple of years.

    That was never promised. The book is a living document, putting out static "public versions" of it would only cause issues.

    @GomezAddams:

    Unfortunately, there just isn't any sort of good documentation for pfsense. There is the old book, which you've found, but it covers version 1. So much has changed, it isn't really helpful - other than for very general information.

    There are wikis galore, but 99% of them are outdated rendering them incomplete at best, or just plain wrong at worst.

    That is a lie, the wiki gets plenty of attention: https://doc.pfsense.org/index.php?title=Special:RecentChanges&limit=500&days=30

    @GomezAddams:

    At this point, the only choice for any real documentation is to buy a gold subscription and get the PDF version of the new book.

    Depends on your definition of "real documentation", but it is not the only source. You could say best source, but not only.



  • Any book is a living document that becomes static the moment it is published. I'm sure the first book was a living document before it was released. That obviously wasn't a reason to not release it.

    I didn't say the wiki didn't get attention. I said most of what's there is outdated and either wrong or incomplete.

    I'm not complaining, I use pfsense, and I am grateful for the people who put the work into making what it is. But as a neophyte pfsense user, it took me a while to realize trying to figure out how do do something in pfsense meant doing a fair amount of digging in the wikis (with a very critical eye) and searching this message board.

    Oh, and here's a thread from 2013 saying the book is 95-99% complete, and that it would be published as soon the details were worked out with Amazon.
    https://forum.pfsense.org/index.php?topic=64781.0



  • In defense of Gomez, the early reviewing of the updated book was based on the "old-fashioned" idea that it would actually be published as a particular edition at some point (and might even have both hardcopy and electronic publishing). But the long threads discussing the book drifted over time towards the "constant evolution" softcopy model.

    IMHO it would be good for an authorized person to post a sticky in the Documentation forum that states the current policy on the book - how it is now available (via the Gold or Support subscriptions…), how it is planned to update and publish it for the future (e.g. "for the foreseeable future it will be an online document in formats x, y and z that is kept up-to-date as soon as possible after (or with) new pfSense software releases), and what other future ways of accessing the book are planned (maybe it will be published for purchase through some electronic publisher or...).

    That will save people looking through various historical threads trying to work out what is the current "state of the nation".



  • I think it would be a good way to generate revenue from folks not doing the gold.

    Plus, its nice to have a snapshot of "how we did it at this time".  You never know if that kind of thing could be important in the future.



  • I'm considering buying a Gold Membership to obtain access to the pfSense Book and to support the project.  I'd appreciate any comments from users on how complete and up to date the book is.  How quickly is it updated once a new pfSense version is released?  How useful is it for users who are technically inclined, used to reading man pages, etc, but are not networking professionals?

    Thanks,

    Kevin


  • Netgate

    It is your single-best source for information on pfSense.

    It is being constantly updated in general.