Subject: Re: Differing IP laws
From: Elaine -HFB- Ashton <elaine@chaos.wustl.edu>
Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 19:20:11 -0500

Ben_Tilly@trepp.com [Ben_Tilly@trepp.com] quoth:
*>
*>I don't know their history.  I thought that their first publication was
*>the Emacs documentation, but I am probably wrong about that.

No, wasn't the Emacs book. I pulled the Make book off the shelf and,
actually, it wasn't the first but one of the first published in 1986 which
sold for a whopping $9. It would be fun actually if ORA did a little
timeline or brief history on their site.

*>Good luck enforcing it.

I didn't say they could enforce it, but it does bring up problems that
discourage publishers from releasing books with CD content or entire books
on-line. The copyright is pretty clear about making the content available
for anyone who visits your website though :)

*>Errata I agree with you on.  But there are plenty of books that aged
*>well.  Like the Dragon book on compilers, The Mythical Man-Month,
*>Code Complete, Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment, The
*>Design and Evolution fo C++, ...

There are books that will age well and those that will not. OpenSource
software and such are constantly changing, some more than others and this
determines the freshness of the documentation. Good programming practices
don't change as dramatically as Perl does on a yearly basis. It would be
interesting to see statistics of technical book returns from bookstores as
it would indicate a pattern of what might be getting a bit dated.

*>Personally I find dead trees very useful when I want to really learn
*>a subject, or when I want to browse and get an overview.  I find in
*>particular that I remember visually where in a book a topic was, but
*>finding it on a website or in online documentation is harder for me.

My eyes are getting old and they'll have to wrest the treeware from my
dead body, but the option to have on-line updated info for a book I
already have is one way to go. Addison-Wesley has an Almanac series which,
when you purchase the book, it gives you a key to visit the books website
with weekly or monthly updates. A few publishers are experimenting with
this as well. What about a wearable computer with a heads-up display? Or
"Programming Perl" in some sort of VR/holodeck scenario with Larry as your
personal tutor? There are a lot of ways to go, information is the
commodity, how to best deliver it and keep it current without compromising
the rights of the publisher/author is the question. 

e.