A Living Book : After The Software Wars

There is an interesting interview on CIO.com with (ex-Microsoft) programmer/author Keith Curtis. The intro to the interview presents Curtis’ view that the proprietary software model impedes human progress, while free software offers to free us from the dark ages. My interest was stirred enough to Google for Curtis’ book; After The Software Wars.

What really hooked me on this book was how it is published. Lulu.com publishes on demand, meaning that you can buy a paper copy and it will be produced in its latest revision and shipped to you. No discount bins of unwanted over-production or old editions. If you don’t feel the need to hold a paper copy you can download the PDF (currently draft 1.023 05/04/2009) gratis. I’m happy to save a tree and the shipping cost (both $ and carbon footprint) so went with the download and PayPal’ed a ‘donation’ to the author via his website, keithcu.com. Soon after, I received a warm and non-automated response from the author. Image that!

I used to frequent book stores, mostly looking for sales because big, heavy books are expensive. I have shelves full of books on obsolete topics. Good for nothing but recycling.

Now it’s ‘click’ Hmmm, this is interesting. Google, ‘click’, download, PayPal. I get a good, though-provoking read. The author gets some money. We both get thank-you’s and feel good. No trees are hurt and no (or at least negligible) fossil fuels are burned. And this book lives! As technology and/or the author’s ideas evolve he can upload new versions of his work to the publishing site and I can download those new versions should I be so inclined.

The publishing parallels the books discussions of how we must shake off old paradigms. Embrace the gnu!

I haven’t read even 1/3 of the book yet so won’t offer a review here other than to say I am enjoying reading it.



The CIO.com interview.
After The Software Wars on Lulu.com

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