Scotts Radio :: Preface or Why We Released this Under the GNU Free Documentation License
Last updated: 8/20/2002; 9:08:10 AM
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Scotts Radio :: Preface or Why We Released this Under the GNU Free Documentation License

Moving to the GNU Free Documentation License for My PHP Writing

I wrote most of this material several months ago.  Since that time I've continued to blog, been the author of the Radio chapters in the O'Reilly blogging book "Essential Blogging", written tons of code, gotten new clients and done just many different things.  I also see these pages continue to get hits week after week, day after day.  It occurred to me that my release of them was so long ago (well in web years) that they could benefit from "packaging" them into a whole – as a book. 

As I noted in Why I'm Releasing the FuzzyOffice Documentation under the GNU Free Documentation License, I'm the author of two (well 1 full book and partial author of 1 is more accurate) commercially published computer books published in the past 6 years and I have to say that I am suffering with rage about the process.  I don't want to bother people with a brutal rant.  I will comment that during the writing of my most recent computer book, I was so frustrated that I took the time to find a professional literary agent and consult with him.  After discussing the situation with him, he made a very interesting comment that has been zinging around my brain ever since:

"If you can write ANY other type of book besides a computer book then you should do so."

His point was very simple – computer books are easy to get published but the compensation basically sucks, the publisher has all the control and it's pretty much a rigged game.  And, on this, I'd have to agree with him.  I'd also add that publishers are pretty much incompetent in general.  Even technical publishers seem to suffer from this.

So, if I have a case of rage against the system then I clearly don't want to publish these as a conventional dead tree book.  It just wouldn't make sense.  And, to be very honest, I'd rather flip burgers or utter once of these two phrases on a regular basis:

  • Would you like fries with that?
  • Would you like foam with that latte?

I'm taking a lead here from Mark Pilgrim's use of the GNU Free Documentation License that provides a legal framework for freely releasing written works.  Thanks Mark!


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