Inside The Machine v2.0: Coming Soon With More ARM

In the coming weeks I’ll begin chipping away at second edition of my book, Inside the Machine: An Illustrated Introduction to Microprocessors and Computer Architecture. There are two features of the new version that I’m really excited about:

First, I’ll be replacing the book’s discussion of PowerPC architectures with ARM architectures. I may leave in some PowerPC content in an appendix, but the book will focus on ARM and Intel x86.

Second, I’ll be “open-sourcing” the book under a Creative Commons license for noncommercial use. (My publisher, No Starch Press, will still retain the commercial rights to the book.)

I’m currently planning to use Michael Hartl’s excellent Softcover gem to publish an online version of the book and host the source in a GitHub repo. I’ll be porting the book over and uploading it in parts to GitHub, and then updating it and adding new content. I’ll also be taking pull requests, just as with any other open source project, so if you want to get involved then stop by and poke around. Right now there isn’t anything there, but that will change as I start work on it.

If you clicked through to the GitHub repo above, you noticed that it’s hosted under the Collective Idea account. I’m excited to have the online version of the second edition be a Collective Idea project, and we’ll eventually be setting up hosting and putting out the online version at

The ultimate plan is to take the book all the way up through Intel’s latest processor family and the latest ARM architecture, and to try to keep it current after that. I may at some point want to discuss AMD and other x86 efforts, but I can’t do it all so for now the plan is to keep the focus on Intel products for the x86 part of the book.

As I update the repo I’ll be posting updates here periodically with my progress. So you can check back here to follow how things are going. Or, if you’re a GitHub user you can watch the repo.

Photo of Jon Stokes

Jon is a founder of Ars Technica, and a former Wired editor. When he’s not developing code for Collective Idea clients, he still keeps his foot in the content world via freelancing and the occasional op-ed.


    Nic Steussy
    September 15, 2015 at 18:59 PM

    Looking forward to this. I enjoyed the first version. I’ve not the level of knowledge to contribute, and so will lurk.

    If you want to expand the book, I’d suggest GPU architecture as a computing platform. It is huge in my field (biophysics)

  2. July 03, 2019 at 11:38 AM

    Hi, any news about the second edition? Thanks for the great work!

  3. Oklo
    July 03, 2019 at 20:00 PM

    Curious about your progress too, wondering whether I can wait for the second edition or just pick up the first one. Fantastic work either way! (:

    Keith Thompson
    July 04, 2019 at 22:36 PM

    I saw a link to a PDF copy of the first edition at
    joe90 DOT yolasite DOT com/resources/InsidetheMachine.pdf
    The copy includes the “No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means” wording on the copyright page.

    Is that a legitimate copy, or is it pirated?

  5. raphael
    August 30, 2019 at 3:31 AM

    when is the release date of the second book? :) excited much sorry.

  6. the dude
    August 31, 2019 at 14:46 PM

    Cmon asshole, it’s been 4 years where’s the book??