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Ulrich Drepper

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How to publish? [Jun. 25th, 2007|10:08 am]
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That is meant as a question to the readers. The problem I have right now is that I have more or less finished the paper accompanying one of the talks I gave at the Red Hat Summit in Nashville last year. The slides for the talk about CPU Caches are available. But quite honestly, as most slide sets, they don't do the topic any justice. I had to compress things to < 45 mins which is of course not enough. The paper covers everything I can currently think of and which makes sense with relation to CPU caches and CPU memory, as far as programmers are concerned (nothing for hardware people). The title I currently use it

What Every Programmer Should Know About Memory

and I think this is adequate.

For this reason I usually write a paper on the important topics I talk about. And this topic qualifies. I consider the topic especially important since it's almost never treated in the software world at all. College grads today in most cases have not the slightest clue about this topic. Ideally I'd like the paper be picked up by some lecturers (like they do for many of my other publications) and use it in a course. Heck, I'm even willing to teach it myself if that is what it takes to get credibility.

The problem I'm facing is that the document is (using my usual paper style, two column etc) around 100 densely packed pages long. Some of the people I've shown it to suggested that it should rather be published as a book. I'm a bit unsure about this. I have a few publisher who for a long time keep pestering me about writing something for them (some even prematurely submitted titles to distributors!). One I talked to would be willing to print it even though it's thin for a book. But there are a lot of pluses and minuses all around:

My PDF only
Going this route means the document is easy to change and extend. The format is exactly as I want it. The visibility is restricted, not in the print market. No professional review. Due to the size (and use of color) it is hard to print.
Go with a publisher
Professional editing, maybe a college edition, visibility through listing in catalogs etc. Additionally available as e-book. But it likely means the color has to go (printing in color is expensive) and there will be no free-of-charge copy. Getting a revision out will be almost impossible.
Go with Lulu
The alternative publishing route: I could submit an appropriately formatted PDF to Lulu and have them publish it. Demand printing, ISBN available. B&W and color printing possible. Even e-books if anybody cares. No professional editing.

Going with Lulu has the advantages I want but it's quite an effort. And there are costs associated with it. I do not plan to make money out of all this but I'd have to recover the costs. Excess gains would probably go to charity (in my case this is the Monterey Bay Aquarium in case anybody is interested).

So, the questions I have and would like to get some feedback on are:

  • Are printed copies wanted at all? Especially for those teaching, is it a prerequisite?
  • If yes, do you prefer a professional, more expensive book?
  • Or perhaps an amateur-ish publication which is either B&W and cheap (I guess not much more than $10)...
  • ... or a colored print for around $30. The paper has currently around 60 diagrams and color helps.

If you have an opinion and a mail or add a comment to the blog (which won't be published). I know it is not easy to answer given that you haven't seen the material. But this is the same for most books, isn't it? Look at the slides and assume 100 times more details. I doubt I'll find many people who know all these details now (I had to do research myself).