Advocating FDL University-courses

Wouter Vanden Hove Wouter.Vanden.Hove at
Tue Jul 16 04:49:06 UTC 2002

Hi to all,

If a publisher releases a book (more than 100) under the Free
Documentation License, is the physical book considered an opaque copy? I
assume yes. Therefore the publisher is obliged to create a public
accessible online (transparant) version if there is not a transparent
copy contained in the book?

For example: Is O'Reilly obliged to create a cleaned-up (not generated
from Docbook like their sample-chapters) html-version the RMS-biography?

Currently, I'm in debate with some professors trying to convince them to
release their syllabus under the FDL. But appearantly they are then
required to do a lot of extra work creating an online version (which
doesn't exist now), a work worsened by the fact that they use Microsoft
Word and don't know HTML? Am I seeing this wrong?

Have any of you ever advocated the use of FDL for educational textbooks
(not related to software)? Any luck?

These are some relevant excerpts of the FDL:
"Examples of suitable formats for Transparent copies include plain ASCII
without markup, Texinfo input format, LaTeX input format, SGML or XML
using a publicly available DTD, and standard-conforming simple HTML
designed for human modification. Opaque formats include PostScript, PDF,
proprietary formats that can be read and edited only by proprietary word
processors, SGML or XML for which the DTD and/or processing tools are
not generally available, and the machine-generated HTML produced by some
word processors for output purposes only." 
"If you publish or distribute Opaque copies of the Document numbering
more than 100, you must either include a machine-readable Transparent
copy along with each Opaque copy, or state in or with each Opaque copy a
publicly-accessible computer-network location containing a complete
Transparent copy of the Document, free of added material, which the
general network-using public has access to download anonymously at no
charge using public-standard network protocols. If you use the latter
option, you must take reasonably prudent steps, when you begin
distribution of Opaque copies in quantity, to ensure that this
Transparent copy will remain thus accessible at the stated location
until at least one year after the last time you distribute an Opaque
copy (directly or through your agents or retailers) of that edition to
the public." 

Wouter Vanden Hove

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