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Ulrich Drepper

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Publishing Update [Aug. 13th, 2007|08:43 pm]
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A few weeks back I asked how I should publish the document on memory and cache handling. I got quite some feedback.

  • There was the usual it doesn't matter but I want it for free crowd.
  • Then there was the even $8 for a book is too much for me. These are people from outside the US and $8 translated to local currency and income is certainly far too much for many people. I do not throw this group in with the first.
  • Several people (all or mostly US-based) thought the idea of printed paper to be nice. The price was no issue.
  • Most people said a freely PDF is more important than a printed copy. Some derogatory comments about lecturers who require books were heard. Others said editing isn't important.

Because of this first obnoxious group of people I would probably have gone with a print-only route. This attitude that just because somebody works on free software he always has to make everything available for free makes me sick. These are most probably the same people who never in their life produced anything that other found of value or they are the criminals working on (mostly embedded) project exploiting free software.

But since I really want the document to be widely distributed and available to places where $8 is too much money I will release the PDF for free. But this won't happen right away. Unlike some of the people making comments I do think that editing is important. Fortunately having professional editing and a free PDF don't exclude each other.

I'll not go with a publisher (esp not these $%# at O'Reilly, as several people suggested). This would in most cases have precluded retaining the copyright and making the text available for free.

Instead the nice people at LWN, Jonathan Corbet and crew, will edit the document. They will then serialize it, I guess, along with the weekly edition. It's up to Jon to make this decision. The document has 8 large section including introduction which means my guess is that after 7 installments the whole document is published. Once this has happened I'll then make the whole updated and edited PDF available.

This means if you think it's worth it, get a subscription to the LWN instead of waiting a week to read it for free.

So in summary, I get professional editing, keep the copyright, and might be able to help getting some more subscribers for the LWN. Win, win, win. If the L in LWN bothers you I've news for you: the document itself is very Linux-centric.

I haven't forgotten the printed version. I've read a bit more of the Lulu documentation. Apparently there is a model where I don't have to pay anything. People ordering the book pay a per-copy price and that's it (apparently with discounts for larger orders). If I submit it in letter/A4 format I don't have to do any reformatting and the price is less (for the color print) since there are fewer pages.

I'll probably try to do this after the PDF is freely available. People who like to have something in their hands will have their wishes. The only problem I see right now is that Lulu has a stupid requirement that the PDF documents must be generated with proprietary tools from Adobe. Of course I don't do this, I use pdfTeX. If this proves to be the case I guess I'll have to have a word with Bob Young...