FUD and DTP
This post would share about FUD about events happening in India and also FOSS desktop publishing
I have been an ardent follower of any and all events where FOSS trainings are given as a FOSS professional (which means there is a vested interest) . For sometime now I have been seeing a trend of few individuals who are FOSS professionals who spread FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) in people’s minds either about the organization which is holding the workshop or/and telling that proprietary groups will take over the workshop and implying in not so many words that they are the only ones who can stop it.
This really bugs me for even if I know the couple who are the major people organizing the workshop. I know them personally and if they are open on a personal level (which means open on their lifestyle) then I don’t see how they can be otherwise professionally. In other words they seem pretty straight-forward. The other thing is I don’t like the idea that they only know how to forestall or detect proprietary software issues or arguments. Also for what little I have experienced, it doesn’t necessarily pay to be aggressive all the time. So all in all leaves a bitter taste int he mouth.
The other thing that has been bothering me for sometime now is the high ticket prices for books. I have long been an admirer of the gutenberg project but few months back I came to know that they are not doing so good 😦 Even while they have been good enough to send me the CD’s when I wanted them.
I do hope they can come out of the hole they are in. The other digital free book resource I like is archive.org which also scans books (although they use proprietary software for their scanning needs) . Just as an e.g. . One thing to note that archive.org is tilted quite a bit towards American way of life but then that’s to be expected. I have been trying to see if there have been out of copyright hard copy printed version but haven’t come across any low-cost publishers of that and that I feel is a pity also as a golden opportunity is being missed here. For whatever its worth I still like the feel of books rather than e-books and all of that.
What has been interesting however is the press release of ‘Moby Tablet’ specifically this part
Printed textbooks are not current: Many textbooks are already outdated or obsolete by the time they leave the publishers’ loading docks and they are expected to be used for many years. According to a study by the New York Library Association, the average book in New York public school libraries is between 21 to 25 years old.
Now while even this is true and I have got second-hand/third-hand books from book sales which are from New York libraries I have found them to be in pretty good shape. Obviously the people who do yard sales or whatever it is called when they sell the books for a $1 it is in very good condition. I cannot say the same for Indian books.
There is seriously something wrong here. I have looked at some of the other interesting things which have been happening. For e.g. Pediapress as well as Print on demand . The only popular low-cost author I know is Chetan Bhagat whose books work out to be less than Rs. 100/- and if you get a second-hand it is so much more reasonable.
I have another blog travelexperiences.wordpress.com . While I travel either for work or leisure I have been trying to see libraries and the range of books they have as part of my personal passion. What has been really ridiculous to see that almost 95% of the libraries have sanitized books. While you may get some sort of soft-porn books the really controversial ones are never there.
For e.g. I just got this book “Murder in the Collective” by Barbara Wilson . The book talks of many things on many levels . For one I didn’t know that ‘Collective‘ is something similar to the co-operative structure we have here in India. The other topics which the book treads upon were classism, feminism, homophobia,compulsory heterosexuality and couple of other topics. All this in a murder mystery. I found it fascinating as how the other topics were covered while not trying to be preachy at all. It also talks about the authoritarian rule by Ferdinand Marcos of Philippines and the various leftist movements . What was also interesting to read what a Filipino thought of America. Very interesting all in all without making it heavy reading. What has been interesting is that the publishers ‘Seal Press‘ seems to be with the LGBT movement .
I also came to know about this book “Fly by Wire: The Geese, the Glide, the “Miracle” on the Hudson” by William Langewiesche . The only problem being that the book is priced at around Rs. 1000/- . What is interesting about the book is that it has illustrations about modern avionics for the general public.
Such books which either give you insights about either different political systems and beliefs or give insight about science should be priced more reasonably and in fact be also given impetus. Sadly this is missing in both Indian libraries and majority of people who are patrons to such libraries. I know I am making a broad generalization and that is wrong but I am stating from what little or more experiences I have had in libraries. In most of the libraries even Indexing is not proper. I have seen quite a few books from Overseas libraries which have symbols which atleast gives you an inkling of what the book is about. For e.g. bowler hat and pipe to indicate that the book is a mystery and so on and so forth.
I don’t really if we can improve our library systems or not but I had to vent out. More so when I see/know that many people go hungry and don’t have Rs. 20/- to fill their stomachs . As a bystander I just feel helpless that there is nothing I can do 😦 Also are my priories not in the right-place. I just don’t know. In lot of ways I have come to understand that Reading is a luxury.