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Books Media Education GNU is Not Unix

MIT Press Book On Open Source Now Free 51

eaglemoon writes "MIT Press has released its book Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software as a free PDF download. The book is a collection of research essays covering topics such as open source motivation, economics, business models, software development process and tools, law, and community. Sort of like 'Open Sources' from academics. David Parnas, Larry Lessig, Eric von Hippel, and Clay Shirky are among the contributors."
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MIT Press Book On Open Source Now Free

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  • Free? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by omeomi ( 675045 ) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @01:36PM (#18417483) Homepage
    So, is anybody going to argue that it's not "free" because you can't edit and redistribute it yourself?
    • Yes:

      © 2005 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

      All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the publisher.
      • Re:Free? (Score:5, Funny)

        by omeomi ( 675045 ) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @01:57PM (#18417847) Homepage
        Oh goody! I, for one, can't wait until people start arguing that free beer isn't free, because you can't open, modify, and then redistribute it legally. That will make the whole "free as in beer" argument so much more exciting.
        • You can open, modify, and redistribute free beer, but it's called something else by then and doesn't taste so good.
        • But, you actually can open, modify and redistribute free beer legally if you're a restaurant with a beer and wine license, provided you pour it in a glass first and your redistribution area doesn't extend beyond the property line.
          • by omeomi ( 675045 )
            provided you pour it in a glass first and your redistribution area doesn't extend beyond the property line.

            Well, that doesn't sound very free, then, does it?
    • by webword ( 82711 )
      What are the rights on this? I scanned the page but did not see...
    • Why would this not be free? PDF is a fully open, documented standard; Adobe licenses their patents on it royalty-free.

      There's no reason to be stuck with Adobe Acrobat Reader(tm). Go get a real PDF editor [wisc.edu] and modify away! Dump the whole thing to text or LaTeX if you want.
      • by omeomi ( 675045 )
        Why would this not be free? PDF is a fully open, documented standard; Adobe licenses their patents on it royalty-free.

        I think you're confusing the medium and the message. The openness of the PDF standard (the medium) has nothing to do with the openness of the content (the message).
        • I think you're confusing the medium and the message.
          Not really, I was just being an ass.

          This is no different than music... someone owns the copyright and you're not allowed to modify or redistribute without permission, even if the format is open and Free (ogg/flac/etc.). You're allowed to remix or cite under Fair Use, but not distribute.

          Just because the book discusses open source doesn't mean the book IS open source.
  • Direct link to pdf (Score:4, Informative)

    by LotsOfPhil ( 982823 ) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @01:38PM (#18417521)
  • What is the license used to distribute the book? Does it even have a license?
    • There is no license. It is gratis, but not libre.
    • MIT, as the owner of the copyright, has decided to distribute the book for NO COST. This does not mean that you can redistribute it, as you do not own the copyright. If you do, you are subject to copyright infringement as your redistribution has infringed on MIT's sole right to decide what to do with the damn thing: they might want to make it "for profit" once again and remove the "free download."
  • Suggestion (Score:3, Interesting)

    by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @01:45PM (#18417659) Homepage Journal
    I haven't checked it out yet, but this sounds like the sort of thing that should handed around to managers at Windows-only shops. I spent 10 years in development teams that only worked on Windows (and Microsoft development tools) and management had no comprehension of what open source was really about. They ignored it because they didn't understand it. I wish I had something like this back then.
    • They ignored it because they didn't understand it.
      And speaking as an ex-manager at a Windows only shop that made heavy use of Python, Perl and cygwin, you clearly don't understand it either.
      • If you don't know that Python, Perl, and cygwin aren't Microsoft development tools (or didn't bother to read that part of my post), then there's really nothing for you to say at all.
  • by east coast ( 590680 ) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @01:51PM (#18417753)
    MIT has made a ton of stuff free to the unwashed masses. Is this a big deal simply because it involves open source or is this a really noteworthy book like "Design Patterns" or "Code Complete"?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by garcia ( 6573 )
      IMHO, it's certainly not nearly important as them offering OpenCourseWare [mit.edu] to the masses for free.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by morgret ( 1072856 )
        MIT isn't the only one offering their courses to the masses for free. Many institutions, both K12 and higher ed, have their courses online now. Of those, many have the Creative Commons licenses that can allow for remixing the content. http://www.oercommons.org/oer/oer-providers [oercommons.org] has everything from Free High School Science Texts from South Africa to webcasts from UC Berkeley to MIT's OpenCourseWare, as well as dozens of other sources.
      • That is incredibly amazing. The EE/CS part seems particularly enjoyable. Well, I'm off to study some photonics. And then tell everyone I studied at MIT!
    • Only one good way to find out. Read it.
    • I printed out a few chapters for the commute home[1], but I left them at work. But from the bits I quickly scanned, it looks more like a collection of essays - background reading, you could say.

      [1] Don't panic, I take the train.
  • anybody read this, i have no time to read a whole book right now
    • Since you don't have time to read it:
      The butler did it and miss Green knew it but tried to frame Mr Rogers, who had a secret relation with Mr Green. Inspector McMacsome figured it out, because Mr Rogers doesn't smoke and the butler used lipstick. The horse in the closet was a death give away, who else but the butler would use a gattling gun to murder Mr Rich? Ofcourse in the end it gets clear that Mr Rich was involved with bike smuggle operations and tree abuse and the butler was an undercover secret Ecopo
  • MIT and Openness (Score:5, Informative)

    by wile_e_wonka ( 934864 ) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @03:15PM (#18419035)
    MIT publishes a magazine called Technology Review [technologyreview.com], which I have been a reader of for some time now. There came a time a few years back when they required a subscription to view online material, much like Scientific American and many other magazines do. This was after the school had begun their OpenCourseWare program, and I thought it seemed contrary to where the school was headed. I emailed the magazine and told them essentially that. I have no idea if my email played a part (I'm sure it was one of many similar emails--Technology Review really is a great magazine (one I'd be willing to pay for if I wasn't so darn poor...I'm a student)). But anyway, within a few days, the content was all freely accessable again.
    • You weren't the only person who sent them an email, I know myself and at least one other colleague did. Though, I'm sure numbers always help. :)
      • I'm hoping someone on the Technology Review staff will respond to my comment. Maybe people like us made a difference, or maybe just very few people subscribed and they make more money as an ad-supported magazine (meaning it was all about "the benjamins" and our emails served little purpose).
    • by Acer500 ( 846698 )
      Thanks! I always liked Technology Review since my university had a subscription (which they didn't renew, sadly), and when I tried to access it online I found out I couldn't...

      I had no idea it had switched to open access, good news that. (BTW, I'd like to subscribe but I'm probably even poorer than you... 3rd world student :) )
  • by cursorx ( 954743 ) on Tuesday March 20, 2007 @03:44PM (#18419575)
    I bought this a while back when it was fresh. Some of the articles are very, very good. But a considerable part of the content was already free back then, only not as a part of the book (i.e. the authors themselves had made some of the articles freely available before publication).

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant