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Books Python

Remirroring Mark Pilgrim's Sites 46

First time accepted submitter ServerCobra writes "Last week, Mark Pilgrim 'pulled down his popular 'Dive Into...' sites. I remirrored a couple of them, because they are far too helpful and important to lose.,, and"
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Remirroring Mark Pilgrim's Sites

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  • by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Thursday October 13, 2011 @11:02PM (#37709860) Homepage

    I run a site that catalogs books that have intentionally been made free by their authors (see my sig). By far the majority of such books are just free-as-in-beer, not free-as-in-speech.

    The half-life of the free-as-in-beer books seems to be something like 5 years. That's about how long it typically takes before the author takes them down off the web, and they are lost forever. (This is not just like a printed book going out of print. These books are typically not sitting around in libraries. That means they're as lost as a lost play by Aristophanes.)

    Free-as-in-beer books are different. The beautiful thing about copyleft licensing is that once you provide the world with the gift of a piece of copylefted information, it's free forever. It basically doesn't matter at all that Mark Pilgrim has taken down his web site. Because his books are free-as-in-speech, his valuable contributions to the digital commons are still out there, making people's lives better.

    We would all be a lot richer if more people could be convinced of what a good thing copyleft licenses are. When it comes to books, the problem seems to be that people underestimate how hard it is to do commercially successful writing. They have this illusion that they're going to make all kinds of money from their wonderful book, and they see copyleft licensing as being incompatible with that. The hard truth is that even a good, well-written book is seldom significantly profitable.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI