[Numpy-discussion] Purchasing Documentation

Alan G Isaac aisaac at american.edu
Tue Oct 4 03:01:45 EDT 2005

On Mon, 03 Oct 2005, Travis Oliphant apparently wrote: 
> I hope people can understand that the reality of scarcity 
> dictates that we coordinate efforts through some 
> mechanism.  The price mechanism has been the most 
> succesful large-scale mechanism yet developed. 

> I am interested in feedback.  If  you don't buy the book 
> because you think I'm asking too much money, then let me 
> know, as Tim has done. 

I found this an interesting approach to supporting the 
project.  I plan to buy the book when it is released.
Hmm, why wait?  I should put my money where my mouth is.
Just a moment ... ok, done.

I view the book as a *complement* to other documentation 
that will appear and as a way to support the project. 
I agree with Tim that freely accessible online documentation 
will and must become available as well.  As Chris notes, 
some of this can happen on the Wiki. 

I also plan to ask our library to purchase the book, but 
I am concerned that your statement that multiple users each 
need their own copy might mean a library purchase is 
forbidden.  I assume it did not mean that, and that you 
just meant that making multiple copies is restricted.  (Our 
library supports electronic book check out.)  Ruling out 
library purchases would, I think, be a costly mistake for 
many reasons, which I can list if you are interested. 

Finally, I agree with Tim that seven years is too long and 
at the price I'd hope for a paperback copy.  I think 
a better strategy would be two years copy protection, with 
an updated edition every two years.  (But then I am not 
writing the code!)  The basic concept is really nice, as 
long as it does not make it harder for you to 
- fully document your code, 
- smile on the free documentation that emerges, and 
- keep your sunny disposition. 

Alan Isaac 

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