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Wikibooks, and books about wiki*, on Amazon

While catching up on some reading, I was astonished to notice that there are some Wikibooks on Amazon!


Wikibooks published and for sale on Amazon.

So I have two questions.

1. Is this old news, or is someone doing this publishing on the sly? (Either way, I like it.)

2. What books are essential reading for those interested in Wikipedia-as-a-phenomenon/free culture, and related ideas in that space?

So far I have thought of:

Books I’m not sure about but suspect that they don’t offer significant insight:

Hm, I thought there was more. What am I missing? If you’ve read any of the above books, are they worth reading or a waste of time?

02 October, 2008 • , ,

Comment [4]

Fundraisers a-go-go; a new license on the block

Card-carrying free culture proponents, here’s what’s hot at all hip water coolers this week:

It’s fundraiser time


A school in Zambia:
© Florence Devouard CC-BY-SA-3.0

The WMF fundraiser continues, with some interesting comments from Board chair Florence Devouard in an interview with the Wikipedia Signpost this week, about the success so far and whether or not there will be matching donations.

Wikipedia is many things to many people. While to some it’s nothing more than status or a game, imagine what it could be for the students of this school.

Also happening is the iCommons Auction. Thirty items have been donated by free culture leaders, and they range from the limited edition to the slightly weird. (I can’t say I have a hankering for the lead item, Lawrence Lessig’s coat. What would you do with it, sniff it? Wear it? About the only place you would get bragging rights for it is at the iSummit.)

More interesting, to me at least, are prints of our very own Joi Ito’s photography:


You can join the iCommons mailing list to be notified when particular items become available for bidding.

A new license: Affero GPL

No beta for this baby, straight to version 3!

The Free Software Foundation, the folks behind the mighty GPL and the less-championed GFDL, have announced the release of GNU Affero General Public License (so file this acronym away: AGPL).

The idea behind it is thus: The GPL came about because RMS wanted the right to view and modify source code of programs on his machine. You can make a web app available using GPL code without releasing the code, and that is OK, because the code doesn’t go onto users’ machines and you’re offering a service (use of a program) rather than a product (the software itself). I think that’s the story.

So, some people in the FLOSS movement find this dodgy and feel that such developers should be obligated to release their code, while others feel that that would be a radical and unwelcome interpretation of the GPL. Hence, new license. Soon you’ll be saying “Is it Affero GPL?” quicker than you can mouth Open Social.

Well, maybe. In this age of APIs where users can be grateful to have the very data that they contributed released back to them in an accessible format, is it too late for AGPL to have an impact?

Mako has some thoughts on it worth reading.

Free culture/free software symbiosis

Mako has also published a short piece Free Culture Advanced which describes how the nascent free content movement has drawn inspiration from the free software movement. As one of the authors of the Definition of Free Cultural Works he is hardly an impartial observer but it is a useful primer. As an even more basic guide I suggest the Ideology and philosophy section on the Wikimedia Commons “Choosing a license” guide, which, um, I mostly wrote. (Lately even that is overkill, given you can learn who to namedrop via xkcd.)

I have a vague memory of a CC-authored “free content definition”-style document being mentioned on one of the CC mailing lists, but I can’t find it now. Anyone else recall this?

Amazon’s Kindle ebook reader

Ebooks are great except for one nagging problem… The Future of Reading has some sobering quotes to contemplate.

Cool toy: GunnMap

Enough Serious Biz. Say hello to GunnMap (Flash, sorry). No more handcoding coloured maps! Just tick, tick, write, click, “Save SVG”, upload as CC-BY-SA, done! (Confession: I haven’t actually used it. I’m not a map creator by trade. But it looks pretty awesome and I hope it works as well as it looks.)

PS: For Facebook addicts, RSVP to the Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year 2007 event so you won’t forget to vote! :)

20 November, 2007 • , , , ,

Comment [1]

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