Programming Ruby: Improvements, copyright issues

Discussion in 'Ruby' started by twinxor@gmail.com, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. Guest

    I've been learning Ruby with the help of version 1 of the introductory
    book Programming Ruby, which has been released by the publisher under
    the Open Publication License. Of course, there are newer books
    available, but I've found the Pickaxe is convenient because it's free
    and available as HTML files.

    I've noticed a couple issues with the online version of the book, and
    I'm interesting in working on them. In particular, I'd like to:

    - Add code samples and images not extracted from the paper text
    - Add more hyperlinks, and anchors within each chapter for more
    precise links
    - Expand the table of contents to include subsections of each chapter
    - Add an index
    - Make the library reference pages more consistent

    I haven't seen all these changes implemented elsewhere, but several
    folks have done some work on them. For instance, Gavin Kistner has
    made a version available at phrogz.net/ProgrammingRuby with a more
    detailed TOC and an index.

    I'd just build on the existing versions, but there's some copyright
    issues too. Newer versions of the book, such as the one hosted at
    RubyCentral, aren't so free. The license is more restrictive, banning
    "substantively modified versions", which would seem to preclude the
    changes I'm talking about. The changelog for the Debian package
    (http://packages.debian.org/stable/doc/rubybook) discusses the license
    change - a previous version of the online version was licensed under
    the OPL alone, with no additional conditions. (I can't even find the
    XML versions Dave refers to in the README - I'd be interested to see
    what others have cooked up with those.)

    So, I'm asking for a little backstory and advice. Why was the license
    changed? Would it be sensible to do some work on the old version of
    the book, even though it's dated?

    Thanks,
    Jesse
    , Apr 26, 2007
    #1
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  2. Dave Thomas Guest

    On Apr 26, 2007, at 3:10 AM, wrote:

    > So, I'm asking for a little backstory and advice. Why was the license
    > changed? Would it be sensible to do some work on the old version of
    > the book, even though it's dated?



    The license changed? Maybe I did that, but I can't remember doing it,
    and I don't think anyone else _can_ change the license, as the
    copyright was originally held by Addison Wesley and is now held by us.

    Can you show me where the license changed?



    Regards


    Dave
    Dave Thomas, Apr 26, 2007
    #2
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  3. On 26.04.2007 10:05, wrote:
    > I've been learning Ruby with the help of version 1 of the introductory
    > book Programming Ruby, which has been released by the publisher under
    > the Open Publication License. Of course, there are newer books
    > available, but I've found the Pickaxe is convenient because it's free
    > and available as HTML files.
    >
    > I've noticed a couple issues with the online version of the book, and
    > I'm interesting in working on them. In particular, I'd like to:
    >
    > - Add code samples and images not extracted from the paper text
    > - Add more hyperlinks, and anchors within each chapter for more
    > precise links
    > - Expand the table of contents to include subsections of each chapter
    > - Add an index


    There *is* an index. See http://www.ruby-doc.org/docs/ProgrammingRuby/

    > - Make the library reference pages more consistent


    That effort rather goes into the original code IMHO so everybody can
    benefit via ri.

    > I haven't seen all these changes implemented elsewhere, but several
    > folks have done some work on them. For instance, Gavin Kistner has
    > made a version available at phrogz.net/ProgrammingRuby with a more
    > detailed TOC and an index.
    >
    > I'd just build on the existing versions, but there's some copyright
    > issues too. Newer versions of the book, such as the one hosted at
    > RubyCentral, aren't so free. The license is more restrictive, banning
    > "substantively modified versions", which would seem to preclude the
    > changes I'm talking about. The changelog for the Debian package
    > (http://packages.debian.org/stable/doc/rubybook) discusses the license
    > change - a previous version of the online version was licensed under
    > the OPL alone, with no additional conditions. (I can't even find the
    > XML versions Dave refers to in the README - I'd be interested to see
    > what others have cooked up with those.)
    >
    > So, I'm asking for a little backstory and advice. Why was the license
    > changed? Would it be sensible to do some work on the old version of
    > the book, even though it's dated?


    I would not. Rather talk to Dave and Andy and see where you can lend a
    hand, maybe for 3rd edition. I think it's a great book and it deserves
    to be bought.

    Kind regards

    robert
    Robert Klemme, Apr 27, 2007
    #3
  4. Guest

    On Apr 26, 7:08 am, Dave Thomas <> wrote:
    > The license changed? Maybe I did that, but I can't remember doing it,
    > and I don't think anyone else _can_ change the license, as the
    > copyright was originally held by Addison Wesley and is now held by us.
    >
    > Can you show me where the license changed?
    >
    > Regards
    >
    > Dave


    The footnote on the pages in the Ubuntu "rubybook" package reads:

    "Copyright © 2000 Addison Wesley Longman, Inc. Released under the
    terms of the Open Publication License V1.0.
    This reference is available for download."

    While the version at RubyCentral (a newer version, I think) is more
    restrictive:

    "Copyright © 2001 by Addison Wesley Longman, Inc. This material may be
    distributed only subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the
    Open Publication License, v1.0 or later (the latest version is
    presently available at http://www.opencontent.org/openpub/)).

    Distribution of substantively modified versions of this document is
    prohibited without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.

    Distribution of the work or derivative of the work in any standard
    (paper) book form is prohibited unless prior permission is obtained
    from the copyright holder."

    In addition, the maintainer of the Debian package, Oliver M. Bolzer,
    mentions the change in the README.Debian file:

    "This package contains revision 0.2 of the online edition of the book.
    Newer revisions are available for download above, but the license has
    tightened to not allow "Substantive modification" and distribution in
    "any standard (paper) book form" is prohibited, making the work "non-
    free" in the context of the Debian Free Software Guideline. For this
    reason, newer revisions will not be packaged, but the substance of the
    book has not changed and this revision can still be considered useful."
    , Apr 27, 2007
    #4
  5. Guest

    On Apr 26, 9:48 pm, Robert Klemme <> wrote:
    > That effort rather goes into the original code IMHO so everybody can
    > benefit via ri.


    That's a good point. ri is designed to be updated, while this is an
    old version of the Ruby text, and ri is distributed with Ruby already.
    , Apr 27, 2007
    #5
  6. Peña, Botp Guest

    From: [mailto:] :
    # Distribution of substantively modified versions of this document is
    # prohibited without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.

    i think, to be really certain, you just have to ask the authors =
    Dave/Andy.
    And besides, courtesy and goodwill could go a long long way.

    kind regards -botp
    Peña, Botp, Apr 27, 2007
    #6
  7. Dave Thomas Guest

    On Apr 27, 2007, at 3:10 AM, wrote:

    > While the version at RubyCentral (a newer version, I think) is more
    > restrictive:
    >
    > "Copyright =EF=BF=BD 2001 by Addison Wesley Longman, Inc. This =

    material =20
    > may be
    > distributed only subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the
    > Open Publication License, v1.0 or later (the latest version is
    > presently available at http://www.opencontent.org/openpub/)).
    >
    > Distribution of substantively modified versions of this document is
    > prohibited without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.



    I honestly don't remember making the change, but I don't see what =20
    impact that will have. Andy and I now own the copyright, and we're =20
    generally known as fairly helpful folk. So just ask us about the =20
    modifications you'd want to make, and see what we say.

    However, if you're talking about the reference part of the book, be =20
    aware of something.

    I originally write the PickAxe by reverse engineering the source code =20=

    of Ruby. Soon after we published the book, we released the HTML =20
    version for free.

    When it came time to do the second edition, I went through the source =20=

    code again, looking for changes and documenting them. However, this =20
    struck me as being a silly thing to do, so when the second edition =20
    was finished, some volunteers and I spent a couple of weeks taking =20
    the documentation from the book and adding it back into the source =20
    code. To make this work, I wrote the first version of RDoc. The =20
    intent was that from now on, the source code would _be_ the master =20
    copy of the documentation: when anyone changed the source they'd also =20=

    update the corresponding comment. Should there be a third edition, =20
    it's reference section will come directly from the source.

    So, it you want to update this documentation, the best place to do it =20=

    is in the source code of Ruby itself.

    If you want to change the output, my recommendation would be to take =20
    RDoc's XML output and transform it. (Yes, the distributed RDoc has =20
    broken XML generation. I have a patch that fixes it, but I've lost =20
    track of who's maintaining RDoc)


    Dave
    Dave Thomas, Apr 29, 2007
    #7
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