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Re: Emacs as word processor

From: Steinar Bang
Subject: Re: Emacs as word processor
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 2013 17:39:34 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.130008 (Ma Gnus v0.8) Emacs/24.3 (gnu/linux)

>>>>> Richard Stallman <address@hidden>:

>     RMS: You said you wished for Emacs features using LibreOffice.  What
>     kind of document were you editing?  Which features did you miss?  How
>     did you work around their lack?  (Please be specific.)

> It was stallman.org/ebooks.pdf.  Not very complicated.  I wish I could
> specify fonts in Emacs in a way that would really be useful in
> making such a document.

Hum... below follows ebooks.org (an org-mode translation of that
document). I use visual-line-mode in org-mode, which is why you see the
long lines. The text could just as easily be formatted with wrapping at
79 columns (or whatever).

Load ebooks.org a garden variety emacs, and try various exports (`C-c C-e'
followed by an appropriate export, you will be prompted).

Also, M-RET and M-arrow works for me for adding items to the items lists
and moving items around, and changing the item levels. But that was a
non-standard setting, and I can't remember which one.

I don't know how to change the fonts in the exports from the default,
I've never felt I needed to, but I'm sure others will jump in to say

* The Danger of Ebooks

In an age where business dominates our governments and writes our laws, every 
technological advance offers business an opportunity to impose new restrictions 
on the public. Technologies that could have empowered us are used to chain us 

With printed books,
 - You can buy one with cash, anonymously.
 - Then you own it.
 - You are not required to sign a license that restricts your use of it.
 - The format is known, and no proprietary technology is needed to read the 
 - You can give, lend or sell the book to another.
 - You can, physically, scan and copy the book, and it's sometimes lawful under 
 - Nobody has the power to destroy your book.

Contrast that with Amazon ebooks (fairly typical):
 - Amazon requires users to identify themselves to get an ebook.
 - In some countries, including the US, Amazon says the user cannot own the 
 - Amazon requires the user to accept a restrictive license on use of the ebook.
 - The format is secret, and only proprietary user-restricting software can 
read it at all.
 - An ersatz “lending” is allowed for some books, for a limited time, but only 
by specifying by name another user of the same system. No giving or selling.
 - To copy the ebook is impossible due to Digital Restrictions Management in 
the player. and prohibited by the license, which is more restrictive than 
copyright law.
 - Amazon can remotely delete the ebook using a back door. It used this back 
door in 2009 to delete thousands of copies of George Orwell's 1984.

Even one of these infringements makes these ebooks a step backward from printed 
books. We must reject ebooks that damage our freedom.

The ebook companies say denying our traditional freedoms is necessary to 
continue to pay
authors. The current copyright system supports those companies handsomely, and 
most authors
badly. We can support authors better in other ways that don't require 
curtailing our freedom, and
even legalize sharing. Two methods I've suggested are:
 - To distribute tax funds to authors based on the cube root of each author's 
popularity. (See http://stallman.org/articles/internet-sharing-license.en.html.)
 - To design players so users can send authors anonymous voluntary payments.

Ebooks don't have to attack our freedom (Project Gutenberg's ebooks don't), but 
they will if companies get to decide. It's up to us to stop them.

*Join our cause: sign up at* http://DefectiveByDesign.org/ebooks.html

URL of this handout: http://stallman.org/articles/ebooks.pdf

Copyright 2011, 2012 Richard Stallman
Released under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.

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