[linux-elitists] Open-sourcing a book

Heather star@betelgeuse.starshine.org
Thu Mar 22 17:28:37 PST 2001


> begin  kmself@ix.netcom.com quotation:
>  
> > I'd also check licensing of current HOWTOs.  I believe some are simply
> > GPLd, despite the round hole/square peg fit of SW licenses to content.
> 
>...
>    "Program," then, may not necessarily be a computer software program --
>    any work of any nature that can be copyrighted can be copylefted with
>    the GNU GPL. 
> 
>    The GNU GPL references the "source code" of a work; this "source code"
>    will mean different things for different kinds of information, but the
>    definition of "source code" -- provided in the GNU GPL -- holds true in
>    any case: "The source code for a work means the preferred form of the
>    work for making modifications to it." 

To give a more concrete examples rather than cheerfully repeat the FSF 
mumbo jumbo, the source code to Jim's book is in LaTeX, and was modified 
by the publisher with some odd macros (ZTeX or somesuch) before going to 
press.

If (which it ain't) it were "GPLd" then not only could many people have
"binary copies" of it (what, pdf or .dvi files? plaintext most often,
followed by Store Bought Books) but we'd have to post the True Source 
someplace accessible, and anybody who does derivitives would have to do 
the same (or "offer to" provide it, according to one of the clauses).

Under a more BSDish license of course you get to be indemnified from all
those crazy derivitives out there :)

What it's actually under is more typical commercial fluff (what?  they
forgot smoke signals and braille!  oh, there's braille, under handicap
support two paragraphs down) but if they ever stop printing ... you 
know they will eventually ... all rights revert to Jim completely. So
the bits do *not* get lost to the void, esp. since we still havr the
original LaTeX. Look out for exciting nitpicks in the "standard boiler"
that might nick you, while you're at it.  We shot down a few of those.

* Heather * It is against the grain of modern education to teach children 
            to program.  What fun is there in making plans, acquiring 
	    discipline in organizing thoughts, devoting attention to 
	    detail, and learning to be self-critical?  -- Alan Perlis



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