The Python Papers Edition One

Steven D'Aprano steve at
Sat Nov 25 22:28:19 CET 2006

On Sat, 25 Nov 2006 08:13:58 -0800, Noah Slater wrote:

> On Nov 22, 12:41 am, "tleeuwenb... at" <tleeuwenb... at>
> wrote:
>> Thanks for the comments. PDF is, to some extent, a requirement. To
>> preserve the entire journal as a single "entity" with a reasonably high
>> production quality, there seems to be no way around it. I could not
>> find a sufficiently simple way to do multi-format publishing with an
>> attractive layout and good typesetting.
> Which is more important to the Python comunity...
> Good typesetting or good, searchable, copyable, usable information?

Such a sweeping generalization, as if "the Python community" only wanted
one thing.

In any case:

(1) Whether the Python Papers is "good" depends on what content it
includes, not the file format it is published in.

(2) Google can index PDF files. If the Python Papers aren't reachable by
Google's spiders, well, I consider that the Kiss of Death for them.

(3) Code in the Python Papers are certainly legally copyable, and if your
PDF viewer doesn't let you copy text from PDFs, use another PDF viewer:

[quote from page 4 of the Python Papers]
def process(self):
      Processes the payment into the financial system
def _recordPayment():
      Make a permanent record of the payment in the database

Works fine for me, although I would question the choice of TWO spaces for

(4) The Python Papers are certainly legally usable, for non-commercial
use. For commercial use, you have at least two legal options:

- treat the work the same as you would any piece of code with an
unacceptable licence, and develop your own NON-derivative version. It's
only copyrighted, not patented: you are still allowed to write your own
independent version. Merely having read a work doesn't necessarily
contaminate whatever you write next.

- contact the author of the work and ask for a commercial licence. You may
have to pay a licence fee, or perhaps not.

Instead of bitching and moaning about it, how about you submit your own
work to the Python Papers under a dual licence? It can be both CC
Non-commercial, and GPL (or whatever licence you like).

I assume the purpose of the Non-commercial licence is to prevent somebody
taking up the Python Papers in full and charging for it. (Personally, I
think that is a very low risk -- who cares if somebody tries to charge
for it? They can't compete with the gratis version being given away for
nothing.) Dual licences for the contributed articles will still protect
the over-all integrity of the magazine from being sold for profit, while
still allowing coders to duplicate useful code and use it in whatever they

That way, the Python Papers themselves continue to be free as in beer, and
individual articles can, according to their authors wishes, be *at least*
gratis and possibly free as in speech as well.


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