[tex4ht] dvilualatex and tex4ht

Johannes Wilm mail at johanneswilm.org
Fri Jul 22 03:49:32 CEST 2011

On Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 3:50 PM, Karl Berry <karl at freefriends.org> wrote:
> I don't have any inclination to debate the future of publishing here :).

I see, you just happen to do today on your blog instead. There you make it
clear there that you are against ebooks.

Pure coincidence, right?

Look I don't want to get into a discussion around whether or not ebooks
should be made. It is simply a fact that printed books are about to be
history, at least as stand-alone versions. I don't think you can change that
by keeping the capabilities of creating ebooks out of LaTeX. Instead you
just end up making LaTeX irrelevant.

I wrote a book/thesis in laTeX the first time in 2004. And I came on the
editorial board of an undergraduate journal. we wanted to have our articles
spread as far as possible. The whole thing about publishing-for-money was
not an issue as I imagine it isn't for just about any student. The entire
printing operating relied on the anthropology department funding it and
additionally for them to buy and give the journal/book away as christmas
presents to the entire staff. I was of course the LaTeX person and back then
just converting it to a PDF file we could upload everywhere was more than
enough to have 'digital distribution" even though it would have been nicer
to just have it on web pages.

Now we are in 2011. I write my next thesis (PhD) and try to get my ideas
about politics in Nicaragua spread as far as possible. Yes, there will be a
print version, but it will e priced so that it can cover for its own
printing costs + the returns I expect. Again -- no money made. If I manage
to turn it into an ebook, quite differently from the ideas in your post,
this is not to for ever control the book. It will be DRM-free and after a
possible initial period in which I will let the book sellers have a monopoly
on it, it will be completely for free for download for anyone to use as they
please. I've risked my life many times in obtaining this information, yet I
only want to spread it. doing so in traditional book form will be very
limited. Think for example about third world countries (such as Nicaragua).
Who there will be able to pay the 35 USD or whatever it ends up being
(including postage)? So quite frankly, yours and rms's attitude seems not
only outdated but also quite elitist.

By the way, I've also been quite involved in very much open source software
for the past 12 years and certainly have hardly made any money of it. Google
someone like me, before you make similar statements next time. Just because
something is open source does not usually mean that there is no master plan.
Quite on the contrary -- look at the many years of planning behind luatex.

Yet, given the state of affairs and if there is possibly even some kind of
anti-ebook attitude to be found in the LaTeX-world, I guess next time I will
have to go back to Microsoft Word (or well, Libreoffice, which I think will
have to convert to doc) -- the only format accepted by smashwords and the
only thing that currently seems practical to convert to epub. :(

Thanks. That was it for my rant.

Johannes Wilm
tel: +1 (520) 399 8880
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