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Re: Debian Book Published

On Sun, 19 Oct 1997, Marcus Brinkmann wrote:

> On Sat, Oct 18, 1997 at 10:06:00PM -0700, Bruce Perens wrote:
> > I haven't yet figured out how Dale's book fits in the distribution.
> > We should probably discuss this on the policy list.
> > 
> > It doesn't fit the free software guidelines because it discriminates
> > against printing, and the status regarding modification is not stated.
> > However, it is redistributable and viewable online by the user. I am left
> > wondering if we should treat books the same as other software or not.
> > 
> > 	Thanks
> > 
> > 	Bruce
> Bruce, it is somewhat more difficult:
> The end user can print out the book for personel use. He is not allowed to
> resell the printed copy.
> But you are right with the restriction on modification. No author wants his
> words to be changed, so it would be worth to consider acceptance of not
> modificable books.
> On the other hand, a technical document is not sensible to modifications
> (compare this with a political book!), and it could be enchanted even if the
> original author would orphan it.
> After all, a difficult decision.
> Dale Scheetz, what is your opinion?

Well, first, with respect to modification: The copyright, I believe, makes
modification of the text impossible. This is true of any copyright
material, unless there is a license condition that allows such
modification. As you point out, this is a different situation to the
problem of modified source code, where modification is often more than
simply desirable.

With respect to distribution of the "electronic" form of the book. I have
already answered several private inquiries from CD distributors about
this. The copyright gives complete freedom of distribution for the HTML
version of the book. You can include it on a CD for sale, or put it up on
an ftp site, or send it to a friend on floppy, as well as any other
distribution form you can think of that does not involve print on paper.
Selling the printed version of the book is the only restrication I have
placed on distribution. (This is obviously protection for the Publisher
and indirectly protects my chance to make some money for the work.

The current book has a life expectancy of about three more months
(assuming we get 2.0 out in January) at which point both the Publisher and
myself have every intention of releasing an "updated" version to go along
side the 2.0 release.

While I understand the problems making this into a Debian package, because
this is non-free by the definition that I understand. On the other hand, I
encourage all CD manufacturers to include the HTML version of the book on
their CDs. 

I also appreciate all the feedback I can get on typos, or other
inaccuracies that may be found in the book. The prime source for the fixed
version of the book will remain http://www.linuxpress.com/ and corrections
will continue to be made to this copy into the indefinite future. (First
task is to get my name spelled right ;-)

It is my hope that this book will provide additional installation and use
information not found in the current installation docs and help ease the
new user into a Debian system with as little pain as possible. To this end
I look forward to feedback relating to my success or failure in this

Waiting is,

_-_-_-_-_-_-                                          _-_-_-_-_-_-_-

aka   Dale Scheetz                   Phone:   1 (904) 656-9769
      Flexible Software              11000 McCrackin Road
      e-mail:  dwarf@polaris.net     Tallahassee, FL  32308

_-_-_-_-_-_- If you don't see what you want, just ask _-_-_-_-_-_-_-

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