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Re: Program structure of Pstricks, what is its basic structure?


From: Tim McNamara
Subject: Re: Program structure of Pstricks, what is its basic structure?
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2004 08:18:45 -0600
User-agent: Gnus/5.1006 (Gnus v5.10.6) Emacs/21.3.50 (darwin)

address@hidden (Crashedandburnt) writes:

> Herbert Voss <address@hidden> wrote in message
> news:<c1a78u$6bm$01
>
>> The problem is, that there is no documentation about this low level
>> structure.
>
> I am sorry to report a telephone conversation that I had some years
> ago with the author of this package. I vaguely remember his exact
> name, Timothy van zandt or sth like that. But what I clearly
> remember is that he was some kind of economist and wrote this
> package to write his book(s). He said that Leslie Lamport has made
> millions from his LaTeXbook and he expects [big] money for his
> package. He said that he has not released documentation on the
> package and will not release the documentation on how it works. I
> asked how he knew LL had made million? He said, just look at the
> printings, it has over a million. Assuming LL gets a dollar for the
> royalty, he has made a million bucks.

Welcome to the normal world:  people want to get rich from their
efforts.  Is this a surprise to you?  Of course, this genteleman is
deluded if he thinks the publishing industry is going to let him get
millions of dollars from the sale of a book about software!  People
write these things with dolar signs in their eyes, but thepower
structure of the publishing industry is so slanted that authors see
almost no compensation for their work.

> The conclusion I want to present to the readership is the following.
> Only Richard Stallman, and Linus Trovalds are the true gnu/free
> software people.  Gnu is coming with good books and manuals on the
> software.

That's rather insulting to the thousands of people managing and
maintaining free software packages.

> But Donald Knuth and others are all using free software slogan for
> their virus software. The Texbook is not available free, LEGALLY. It
> cannot be re-formed. Knuth has made millions off his books. Omega
> and Lout are emerging as strong competitors to TeX. Unless there is
> real free software, with good documentation on its usage and
> implemenation, it is not free software, but a virus software.

Oh puh-leeze.  Let's not get carried away.  Commercial software is
not virus software.  Sheesh.

> If a group of volunteers want to save TeX/LaTeX, what is needed is
> to combine existing free manuals into a single good and
> comprehensive free manual. I can assure you, if it is free, tons of
> people will contribute to it, and Knuth+Lamport+Timothy's books and
> manuals will be obsolete overnight. What we need is a trust worthy
> coordinator like Mr Richard Stallman.

An independently wealthy coordinator?  While I agree with darn near
every word in _Free Software, Free Society_, Stallman does gloss over
the fundamental desire people have to make a living.  Writing free
software is not a great business model for the purpose of
profitability, no matter its importance socially.  It is intended to
be "free as in speech," but most users will treat it as "free as in
beer."

> Knuth's book is scrap. It is convoluted by malice or twist of his
> mind. It mixes advanced usage with basics. For contrast, compare, for
> example, the Adobe cookbook or thinking in postscript. I pick
> postscript because it is as extensive as TeX in its functions. CB has
> a very nicely organized glossary. Knuth wrote his book to impress his
> colleagues so that he can get an early retirement from Stanford by
> dominating his colleagues. This is exactly what the abuse of software
> to control the world is, and what Richard Stallman is crusading
> against. Gnu is now active in the next phase of its mission which is
> quality documentation. But since TeX is not FSF software, they are not
> likely to focus on it. Someone active in this group is gonna have to
> do that.

How about you?


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