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Re: Futile bug reports?

From: Bill Richter
Subject: Re: Futile bug reports?
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2001 20:11:43 -0500

       But it's possible that a specific non-free manual might have
       advantages over the existing free manuals.  This could be for
       lots of reasons---e.g. the stretched resources of the FSF.

   That can certainly happen.  It can even happen that there is no
   free manual for a certain topic.  The question is, what should we
   urge people to do in that case?

   If we tell people that it's ok to use a non-free manual in these
   circumstances, in effect we give legitimacy and encouragement to
   non-free manuals.  In the long run, that will mean more non-free

If someone gets interested in Emacs Lisp, I'll tell them they should
read a Scheme book like SICP by Abelson or `How to Design Programs' by
Felleisen, and then the Emacs Lisp reference manual will make sense to
them.  I can't see how anyone could understand the Emacs Lisp
reference manual without having prior knowledge of Scheme/Lisp.

Or even more obvious, the Gcc manual won't do you any good if you
don't already know C, and there are only proprietary C books out
there.  Telling folks not to read the proprietary C books and stick to
the Gcc manual... it only reduces the number of C programmers.

   In the GNU Project, we urge people not to buy any non-free manuals.
   That is the way to have more free manuals in the long run.  Please
   don't mention non-free manuals on GNU mailing lists in the future.

Hmm, is there a distinction here between manuals and other books?

If manuals means books that e.g. compete with the Emacs manual or the
Emacs Lisp reference manual, then I'm all for not mentioning such
manuals on GNU mailing lists, because these competing manuals cut into
sorely needed funds for the FSF.  And I really doubt any of these
competing manuals are any improvement over the Emacs manual or the
Emacs Lisp reference manual.  I don't see this as an issue of
proprietary vs. free books, though.

       Well, you mentioned Glickstein's proprietary Emacs book in your

   You had already mentioned it, so it would have been futile for me
   to avoid mentioning it now.

Richard, you mentioned it before I did, or  at least responded to such
a mention.  Here's from the post of yours I responded to:

       You know what's funny ? Bob Glickstein know a lot about GNU
       Emacs, he actually wrote a book about it

   Unfortunately, the book is proprietary, not free--you are not allowed
   to copy and redistribute and modify it.

So it would have been futile for me to avoid mentioning it as well :)

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