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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
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On 13/11/2010 17:25, Robert S. Horning wrote:
> Much of what I was trying to get started was covered on this very
> mailing list. If you go into the archives and look up Wikijunior to see
> some of the efforts that were made, including some initial publications
> that were made through Lulu (that were also removed from Lulu at the
> request of the WMF). The organizing efforts were being done on
> Wikibooks as much as could be done, and that was pretty much where it
> ended too.
Why was Lulu removed?
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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
On Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 12:51 PM, SlimVirgin <slimvirgin@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 13:59, Ting Chen <wing.philopp@gmx.de> wrote:
>> I know that also this example is not without flaw, as comparisons always
>> are. What I want to say is, if a company can provide us a service that
>> we really desperately need and we cannot get elsewhere, and it shares
>> the same value as we are, I think it is a correct decision to take that
>> service. I am sure this answer is maybe not satisfactory, but I hope it
>> can explain a little what my personal opinion is.
>
> I understand exactly what you're saying, Ting, and I appreciate your
> thoughtful response. I suppose my reaction is an emotional one, but
> I'd argue no less valid for that. It's that much of the content of
> Wikipedia is written and administered by a surprisingly small number
> of people. We do it for nothing because we believe in the concept of
> free (in all senses) information. But now to the left of my vision,
> with every edit I make, there is a "create book" button, where a
> private company is quite openly making money from our work. That feels
> discouraging.

Every edit you make is also mirrored by answers.com, which quite
openly makes money off of our work as well. This particular line of
reasoning has not historically served as a discouragement to most of
our editor base.

The crux of the question seems to me to rather be who and how we
directly partner with, and what services do we offer to readers (and
contributors) by such partners through the site itself. In the case of
PediaPress, it's fairly low-key; what you see in the sidebar is
actually a link to the "book creator" tool, which is extension code to
make a collection of pages that can then be generated as a pdf. It is
only after you click through and do this that you are offered a link
to "Get a printed book from our print-on-demand partner" and a link to
PediaPress appears. People are quite free to create a pdf collection
and never send it to PediaPress, which wouldn't generate a dime for
them, and my instinct is that this accounts for the majority of the
tool's use.

I don't mean to be dismissive, though; asking about partnerships is a
totally valid question, and we should at the very least keep any such
partnerships open so that we can always consider if there are other
and better services, extensions, etc. available to offer in addition
to or in place of existing ones.

-- phoebe

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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
On 11/13/10 12:25 PM, Robert S. Horning wrote:
> Much of what I was trying to get started was covered on this very
> mailing list. If you go into the archives and look up Wikijunior to see
> some of the efforts that were made, including some initial publications
> that were made through Lulu (that were also removed from Lulu at the
> request of the WMF). The organizing efforts were being done on
> Wikibooks as much as could be done, and that was pretty much where it
> ended too. The problem was that PediaPress offered money, which we didn't.
>
So you're saying that the Foundation should have partnered with a
completely proprietary service (Lulu), that wasn't interested in
donating any software or income back to the Foundation? That doesn't
sound like a very appealing partnership, nor can I imagine the community
supporting such a decision (especially considering how skeptical they've
been of the PediaPress partnership).

Ryan Kaldari

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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
On Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 11:10 PM, Michael Snow <wikipedia@frontier.com> wrote:
> Let me ask this question. Suppose the Wikimedia Foundation were to buy
> PediaPress from Brainbot, including whatever intellectual property is
> associated with its service such as the LaTeX export. If Wikimedia did
> this and brought the service in-house, assuming the LaTeX export is
> released as open source, it would probably continue to contract with
> Lightning Source or some other company to do the actual printing (our
> competencies are much more on computer and web technology than print
> publication). Assuming that all of this was possible - and I have no
> idea what would be a reasonable price for PediaPress, whether Brainbot
> would sell, or whether that would be an appropriate use of funds in the
> context of our mission and strategy - would people be okay with the
> current placement of the service, including continuing to charge people
> who order printed books?
>
Well, you first need to check if it would be/is generating enough
revenue that justifies the investment. and see the usage of the
collection extension and how many books they already printed etc. I
don't know what is wrong with charging money to print the books, if
someone needs a hardcopy of an article collection, then WMF should be
the one providing it, if feasible.

user:alnokta

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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
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On 13/11/2010 17:51, SlimVirgin wrote:
> I understand exactly what you're saying, Ting, and I appreciate your
> thoughtful response. I suppose my reaction is an emotional one, but
> I'd argue no less valid for that. It's that much of the content of
> Wikipedia is written and administered by a surprisingly small number
> of people. We do it for nothing because we believe in the concept of
> free (in all senses) information. But now to the left of my vision,
> with every edit I make, there is a "create book" button, where a
> private company is quite openly making money from our work. That feels
> discouraging.

Indeed.

There seems to be a significant divergence in the interpretation of the
Wikipedia mission between the Foundation and the community. Added to
lots of other hints, it makes me wonder how much the WMF is
representative of the general community. Is this gap real? Am I badly
informed?

In any way, shouldn't the WMF be subordinate to the community's will? I
have the current understanding that this is not at all the case. Could
someone take a little of his or her time to explains to me the general
idea of what the relationship between the WMF and the community should be?
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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
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On 13/11/2010 18:10, Michael Snow wrote:
> Let me ask this question. Suppose the Wikimedia Foundation were to buy
> PediaPress from Brainbot, including whatever intellectual property is
> associated with its service such as the LaTeX export. If Wikimedia did
> this and brought the service in-house, assuming the LaTeX export is
> released as open source, it would probably continue to contract with
> Lightning Source or some other company to do the actual printing (our
> competencies are much more on computer and web technology than print
> publication). Assuming that all of this was possible - and I have no
> idea what would be a reasonable price for PediaPress, whether Brainbot
> would sell, or whether that would be an appropriate use of funds in the
> context of our mission and strategy - would people be okay with the
> current placement of the service, including continuing to charge people
> who order printed books?

Maybe I'm not entitled to give my opinion, but here's my vision of what
could be a correct behavior towards the knowledge that we are spreading:
it's as free as we can make it, because we want everyone to have access
to it, and nobody should have a special power nor ownership on it.

So making books and selling them at the price of the cost is okay, the
extreme limit: the sustainable limit. Selling them with profit is not.

Spreading through healthy, citizen, public or free NGO or associations
is "promising". Dealing with for-profit, governmental, financial or
private organisms or corporations is "worsening".

Etc.


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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
It's pretty obvious that there are some back-justifications being made for a
blatantly imperfect decision. There are both real strengths and benefits to
the decision (making print copies easily accessible) as well as deep flaws
(promoting an exclusive relationship with a for-profit company).

It would probably be best if the PediaPress relationship were handled like
Wikipedia's other link-to-outside-entities, such as Special:BookSources.

On Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 5:24 PM, Noein <pronoein@gmail.com> wrote:

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>
> On 13/11/2010 17:51, SlimVirgin wrote:
> > I understand exactly what you're saying, Ting, and I appreciate your
> > thoughtful response. I suppose my reaction is an emotional one, but
> > I'd argue no less valid for that. It's that much of the content of
> > Wikipedia is written and administered by a surprisingly small number
> > of people. We do it for nothing because we believe in the concept of
> > free (in all senses) information. But now to the left of my vision,
> > with every edit I make, there is a "create book" button, where a
> > private company is quite openly making money from our work. That feels
> > discouraging.
>
> Indeed.
>
> There seems to be a significant divergence in the interpretation of the
> Wikipedia mission between the Foundation and the community. Added to
> lots of other hints, it makes me wonder how much the WMF is
> representative of the general community. Is this gap real? Am I badly
> informed?
>
> In any way, shouldn't the WMF be subordinate to the community's will? I
> have the current understanding that this is not at all the case. Could
> someone take a little of his or her time to explains to me the general
> idea of what the relationship between the WMF and the community should be?
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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
Andrew Garrett wrote:
> Shockingly, making decisions like this does not necessarily involve
> reasoning, but judgement. Yes, the answers are not simple and logical
> ‹ because you have to weigh the costs against the benefits.

I was focusing more on who the "you" was and who said so. Apologies if that
wasn't clear.

MZMcBride



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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
In a message dated 11/13/2010 11:08:33 AM Pacific Standard Time,
magnusmanske@googlemail.com writes:


> 1. Given the limited of number services (one, plus Robert's which I
> missed in the thread, if it still exists), it probably seemed
> pointless
> 2. Any service would have to develop the appropriate interface to
> MediaWiki first, and also integrate with Wikimedia servers, as far as
> I can tell; therefore, users adding buttons would be non-functional
> without Foundation's active help anyway
> 3. PediaPress might have "bought" a head start with the extension.
> This is pure speculation on my part, though.
>
>

1) Assumption. We do not know how many services there might be. Assuming
there is only one, because one one has been allowed is beating a man with his
own staff.

2) This is not true. Clicking "Make a book out of this page, and hold on
I'm going to add some more pages to this book" has nothing to do with
integration. I can build a list of the pages you choose, right now, with a Php
script and without any foundation approval. My button interface might not be
"pretty" of course, but it would work.

3) Under what RFP ? How was it chosen, how was it vetted, why is the
process to gain this approval now closed to any rival?
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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
Ryan Kaldari wrote:
> On 11/13/10 12:25 PM, Robert S. Horning wrote:
>> Much of what I was trying to get started was covered on this very
>> mailing list. If you go into the archives and look up Wikijunior to see
>> some of the efforts that were made, including some initial publications
>> that were made through Lulu (that were also removed from Lulu at the
>> request of the WMF). The organizing efforts were being done on
>> Wikibooks as much as could be done, and that was pretty much where it
>> ended too. The problem was that PediaPress offered money, which we didn't.
>>
> So you're saying that the Foundation should have partnered with a
> completely proprietary service (Lulu), that wasn't interested in
> donating any software or income back to the Foundation? That doesn't
> sound like a very appealing partnership, nor can I imagine the community
> supporting such a decision (especially considering how skeptical they've
> been of the PediaPress partnership).

At the core of this thread are two questions, in my view:

1. What are the requirements for a partnership with Wikimedia? You've
mentioned a few possible criteria (giving a percentage to Wikimedia, using
open source software, etc.). Is there an actual guideline about this kind of
thing? If not, should there be?

2. Who decides on partnerships? The Executive Director? The Board? The Head
of Business Development? Again, this might be covered by some sort of guide.
For all I know, there's already something on wikimediafoundation.org about
this. I'm just asking questions. :-)

MZMcBride



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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
On 11/13/2010 03:17 PM, Ryan Kaldari wrote:
> On 11/13/10 12:25 PM, Robert S. Horning wrote:
>
>> Much of what I was trying to get started was covered on this very
>> mailing list. If you go into the archives and look up Wikijunior to see
>> some of the efforts that were made, including some initial publications
>> that were made through Lulu (that were also removed from Lulu at the
>> request of the WMF). The organizing efforts were being done on
>> Wikibooks as much as could be done, and that was pretty much where it
>> ended too. The problem was that PediaPress offered money, which we didn't.
>>
>>
> So you're saying that the Foundation should have partnered with a
> completely proprietary service (Lulu), that wasn't interested in
> donating any software or income back to the Foundation? That doesn't
> sound like a very appealing partnership, nor can I imagine the community
> supporting such a decision (especially considering how skeptical they've
> been of the PediaPress partnership).
>
> Ryan Kaldari
>
No, I'm saying that a completely private effort that attempted to
publish content through Lulu was thrwarted on the grounds of trademark
infringement. It was published under the title "Wikijunior Big Cats"
and had some other problems that sort of implied that the WMF was more
involved in the publication than was really the case.

Trademark usage guidelines never have really been spelled out very well
and it still is mostly make an attempt and the WMF will bite back if
they think you are wrong.

Lulu was selected mainly as a starting point as they did print on
demand, one of the first such services that allowed you to upload PDF
files over the internet instead of having to hand-carry your manuscript
physically to a printer or using snail mail. The relationship with Lulu
was not exclusive either and they were used simply as a printer, not as
a publisher. Lulu give you lots of options on how you can do things,
and as I pointed out, the whole issue about how money was going to be
dealt with never really got squared away. These books were being sold
on Lulu at cost, so the editors involved with setting them up on that
site weren't making a dime of profit. As I also said, it was very
preliminary but there were some books being offered at the time made up
of content from the Wikijunior efforts.

Remember, the goal here was to distribute the content, not to make a
profit. That is the point I'm trying to drive home here.

Every effort was made to look at other options, and in terms of
community consensus the general feeling was rather favorable to Lulu,
knowing full well that other options could be found at a later time.

The difference between PediaPress and this other effort is that
PediaPress came from the top down with money in hand, and the group I
had was mostly grass roots with little money to start with in terms of
getting things going. That was precisely why we were using Lulu.
Perhaps PediaPress was a better choice even in hindsight, but I am
saying that they were selected over other efforts including ones
emerging from the community that might possibly have turned out in a
substantially different way than the current relationship between
PediaPress and the WMF.

-- Robert Horning
____________________________________________________________
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Grant Funding May Be Available to Those That Qualify.
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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
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On 13/11/2010 19:14, phoebe ayers wrote:
> On Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 12:51 PM, SlimVirgin <slimvirgin@gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 13:59, Ting Chen <wing.philopp@gmx.de> wrote:
>>> I know that also this example is not without flaw, as comparisons always
>>> are. What I want to say is, if a company can provide us a service that
>>> we really desperately need and we cannot get elsewhere, and it shares
>>> the same value as we are, I think it is a correct decision to take that
>>> service. I am sure this answer is maybe not satisfactory, but I hope it
>>> can explain a little what my personal opinion is.
>>
>> I understand exactly what you're saying, Ting, and I appreciate your
>> thoughtful response. I suppose my reaction is an emotional one, but
>> I'd argue no less valid for that. It's that much of the content of
>> Wikipedia is written and administered by a surprisingly small number
>> of people. We do it for nothing because we believe in the concept of
>> free (in all senses) information. But now to the left of my vision,
>> with every edit I make, there is a "create book" button, where a
>> private company is quite openly making money from our work. That feels
>> discouraging.
>
> Every edit you make is also mirrored by answers.com, which quite
> openly makes money off of our work as well. This particular line of
> reasoning has not historically served as a discouragement to most of
> our editor base.
I didn't know that. How can a site be only a motor of search of our
pages and at the same time charge for it? Aren't we already doing the
same? We can even do it better since we're at the source of this
service. With google ranking us high, we are an "answer.com" too,
naturally. We don't need a professional counterpart, they have no
plus-value to add to us that we can't add ourselves. Knowledge is not
for elitists, knowledge is for everybody, and thus, as free of charges
as possible.

>
> The crux of the question seems to me to rather be who and how we
> directly partner with, and what services do we offer to readers (and
> contributors) by such partners through the site itself. In the case of
> PediaPress, it's fairly low-key; what you see in the sidebar is
> actually a link to the "book creator" tool, which is extension code to
> make a collection of pages that can then be generated as a pdf. It is
> only after you click through and do this that you are offered a link
> to "Get a printed book from our print-on-demand partner" and a link to
> PediaPress appears.
You mean "Get a printed book from our print-on-demand partnerS" and
several links of several partners, among them PediaPress in alphabetical
order to be exact, I presume. All of those partners should be
non-profit, of course.



>People are quite free to create a pdf collection
> and never send it to PediaPress, which wouldn't generate a dime for
> them, and my instinct is that this accounts for the majority of the
> tool's use.
Then the service would be "pdf creator", not "book creator", right?


>
> I don't mean to be dismissive, though; asking about partnerships is a
> totally valid question, and we should at the very least keep any such
> partnerships open so that we can always consider if there are other
> and better services, extensions, etc. available to offer in addition
> to or in place of existing ones.
Yes. And discussing about their moral interest could our first
discussion, actually.




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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
On Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 11:04 PM, <WJhonson@aol.com> wrote:
> In a message dated 11/13/2010 11:08:33 AM Pacific Standard Time,
> magnusmanske@googlemail.com writes:
>
>
>> 1. Given the limited of number services (one, plus Robert's which I
>> missed in the thread, if it still exists), it probably seemed
>> pointless
>> 2. Any service would have to develop the appropriate interface to
>> MediaWiki first, and also integrate with Wikimedia servers, as far as
>> I can tell; therefore, users adding buttons would be non-functional
>> without Foundation's active help anyway
>> 3. PediaPress might have "bought" a head start with the extension.
>> This is pure speculation on my part, though.
>>
>>
>
> 1) Assumption.  We do not know how many services there might be. Assuming
> there is only one, because one one has been allowed is beating a man with his
> own staff.

Note that I wrote "seemed", not "seems". I trying to list possible
reasons why this facility was created the way it was. That is
different to what it should develop into now.

> 2) This is not true.  Clicking "Make a book out of this page, and hold on
> I'm going to add some more pages to this book" has nothing to do with
> integration.  I can build a list of the pages you choose, right now, with a Php
> script and without any foundation approval.  My button interface might not be
> "pretty" of course, but it would work.

Again, please read carefully. I am not talking about the book "setup",
but about the actual preview/order process. You will note that the
PediaPress button goes to [[Special:Books]], which then redirects to
PediaPress. This, at the moment, requires integration. I does not have
to, but currently it does.

> 3) Under what RFP ?  How was it chosen, how was it vetted, why is the
> process to gain this approval now closed to any rival?

Yet again, with the reading. You did see the words "pure speculation"?


I'm getting tired of having to nitpick this discussion. How about
something practical? It should be feasible to conjure up some
JavaScript to add a new button pointing to another service, though I
suspect some internal magic happens before the PediaPress redirect,
handing the book structure data over. So, back to the basic question:
Which service would be able to take a structured page list and spew
out a book?

Magnus

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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
> From: SlimVirgin <slimvirgin@gmail.com>
> If PediaPress's software is open-source the Foundation
> surely wouldn't
> need to buy it. This is what I'm finding confusing, and
> that's partly
> because of my lack of technical knowledge. But as I see it
> Wikimedia
> has developers, paid and unpaid, lots of people who are
> able to
> develop this kind of thing. So it would have made sense to
> ask some
> volunteers to develop it.
>
> Asking a private company to do these things, then giving
> them access
> to the sidebar in exchange for their input, is the same as
> asking a
> bunch of editors to set up a company and start writing
> articles for
> pay, then giving them sidebar buttons because they joyously
> agree.


Just for the sake of transparency --

1. Does anyone on the board, or the board of Wikimedia Germany, have a
remunerated directorship or a consultancy job with PediaPress, or receive
any other perks from this or any other similar partnerships?

2. What is PediaPress's present turnover, and thus, what is the income for
the Foundation, in dollars?

3. Given that the foundation is currently asking for donations, wouldn't it
make more sense for the Foundation to do the printing and generate the
income themselves, to reduce the amount of donations it requires from the
public? Or is PediaPress at present a loss-making business?

I guess it's always been inevitable that someone would be making money from
Wikipedians' work, eventually. However, a non-profit Foundation that asks
for donations from the public should maximise the revenue it can generate
itself from its products to cover its costs. 10% (did I get that right?)
does not seem much.

It also seems to me that it would be more consistent with the ideals of the
project if most of the money made should go to support a non-profit cause.

Andreas




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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
On 13/11/2010 22:14, phoebe ayers wrote:
>
> The crux of the question seems to me to rather be who and how we
> directly partner with, and what services do we offer to readers (and
> contributors) by such partners through the site itself. In the case of
> PediaPress, it's fairly low-key; what you see in the sidebar is
> actually a link to the "book creator" tool, which is extension code to
> make a collection of pages that can then be generated as a pdf. It is
> only after you click through and do this that you are offered a link
> to "Get a printed book from our print-on-demand partner" and a link to
> PediaPress appears. People are quite free to create a pdf collection
> and never send it to PediaPress, which wouldn't generate a dime for
> them, and my instinct is that this accounts for the majority of the
> tool's use.
>

Knowing which articles people are keen on collating is valuable economic
data, regardless of whether the actually print a book. With that
knowledge you have a greater incite into whether a collection is going
to sell, and whether to invest some resources in improving the articles.


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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
On Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 9:20 PM, SlimVirgin <slimvirgin@gmail.com> wrote:
> If PediaPress's software is open-source the Foundation surely wouldn't
> need to buy it. This is what I'm finding confusing, and that's partly
> because of my lack of technical knowledge. But as I see it Wikimedia
> has developers, paid and unpaid, lots of people who are able to
> develop this kind of thing. So it would have made sense to ask some
> volunteers to develop it.

Or WMF could have insisted that Pediapress open source the entire
toolchain in exchange for giving them access to a nice piece of real
estate in the sidebar for, say, a year or something like that (with a
contract pending renewal). It is OK to pay people to develop open
source software and to insist on openness as part of a contract. If
Pediapress said "no", WMF could have kept looking for another partner
who was into the deal.

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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
On Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 12:24 AM, Joe Corneli <holtzermann17@gmail.com> wrote:
> What people seem to have been stepping around in this thread so far is
> the fact that Pediapress's software chain includes some components
> that they have NOT released as open source.

The name given of this type of open source + vendor lock-in has been
on the tip of my tongue since this conversation started, but I've not
been able to dislodge it.

Does anyone recall a name for this beast?

--
John Vandenberg

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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
On 14 November 2010 20:04, John Vandenberg <jayvdb@gmail.com> wrote:

> The name given of this type of open source + vendor lock-in has been
> on the tip of my tongue since this conversation started, but I've not
> been able to dislodge it.
> Does anyone recall a name for this beast?


"Proprietary."

Other terms include "shared source", "open core" or just "trap".


- d.

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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
On Mon, Nov 15, 2010 at 7:06 AM, David Gerard <dgerard@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 14 November 2010 20:04, John Vandenberg <jayvdb@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> The name given of this type of open source + vendor lock-in has been
>> on the tip of my tongue since this conversation started, but I've not
>> been able to dislodge it.
>> Does anyone recall a name for this beast?
>
>
> "Proprietary."

;-)

> Other terms include "shared source",

thats a different, and more ugly, kind of 'convenience' to the one we have here.

> "open core"

thats a new one to me..?

> or just "trap".

and that one is out of RMS' phrasebook, fa sure.

iirc, the first big argument about this was the binary blobs in the
Linux kernel. A few good derogatory terms came out of that.

--
John Vandenberg

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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
On 14 November 2010 20:13, John Vandenberg <jayvdb@gmail.com> wrote:

> iirc, the first big argument about this was the binary blobs in the
> Linux kernel.  A few good derogatory terms came out of that.


As far as I can tell there isn't a standard name for this sort of
thing (open source for marketing, proprietary poison pill) - every
time someone tries it, they come up with a new term to try to cover
for what they're doing. Then everyone realises perfectly well what
they're doing and calls it "proprietary" or "a trap."

So "proprietary with open-source wrapper" or "trap" is just fine.


- d.

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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
A few additional corrections / clarifications:

1) Our partnership with PediaPress has not displaced comparable
community efforts, nor did PediaPress "offer money" and therefore
received attention that other efforts did not get. Most of the
community-based efforts at that time, including the ones Robert is
referring to, were of an entirely different nature: manually
collecting content from projects and creating reasonable-looking PDF
files, then selling them through a print-on-demand publisher like Lulu
(obviously a completely commercial/proprietary operation). There were
a few barely functional PDF exporters, but nothing coming close to the
PediaPress tools.

It's true that a 2006 community-driven effort to publish Wikijunior
content had incorrectly identified "Wikimedia Foundation" as the
authors of the content. That mistake was corrected; as far as I can
tell, the same volume is still available at:

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/wikijunior-big-cats/1875136

You can review some of the relevant threads here:

http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2006-July/thread.html

Volker from PediaPress first introduced himself at the same time, but
nothing much happened between WMF and PediaPress until January 2007,
when we contacted them about working together, which ultimately
resulted in the current business relationship.

2) In terms of open source code, as I explained, PediaPress has
contributed a full alternative parser implementation, a complete PDF
export implementation, a complete tool for assembling and managing
article collections, etc. These are all very important and valuable
contributions. By last count, the PDF feature is used to create about
85,000 PDF files per day, keeping two dedicated servers busy. We'd be
happy to integrate open source LaTeX support if someone provided it,
and we'd be happy to consider paying for implementing it if enough
people found it useful.

3) We've in the past explored various other partnerships with
publishers resulting in commercial use of Wikipedia content. One of
the most elaborate such partnerships was the Bertelsmann "Wikipedia in
one volume", based on the German Wikipedia (using edited lead sections
as mini-articles). Trademark use for this book was negotiated by
Wikimedia Germany with approval by WMF. The book was a commercial
failure. See http://www.amazon.de/Das-WIKIPEDIA-Lexikon-einem-Band/dp/3577091029/
for information about this book.

In general, we've concluded that most such commercial partnerships are
problematic because

a) Commercial publishers are not comfortable with freely licensed
content, and try to find ways to lock it in;
b) Most such partnerships would be poorly scalable one-offs;
c) Both the revenue potential and the mission benefit are relatively small.

We like the PediaPress model, because:

a) it's fully consistent with the intent of free content licensing;
b) it allows people to create their own customized experience in any
supported language;
c) it can scale flexibly to accommodate demand.

That doesn't preclude other models from being potentially viable. Even
the PediaPress model allows for more carefully curated content (using
collections pointing to specific versions of pages that have been
reviewed for book export), and of course it would be great to see more
community efforts to vet, collect and publish content.

Such efforts don't require our permission where no trademark use is
involved. If trademark use is involved, then we'd have to consider
such requests on a case-by-case basis, but we'd certainly consider
them. (There's a big difference between claiming "authorship" of WMF,
or labeling a book "Wikibooks: Physics" -- the former is factually
incorrect and never acceptable, the latter is a potentially
permissible trademark use.) I'd argue that working with PediaPress on
this would be advisable: They have an existing 10% revenue sharing
agreement with WMF, and the existing toolchain allows for export to
multiple formats using entirely open source tools. But alternatives
are always worth looking into.

4) There's a big difference between something like
Special:Booksources, and something like the book creator tool. The
former links to separate and independent services (commercial or not),
the latter operates commercially on Wikimedia project content.
Services that integrate and use our content commercially should at
minimum be vetted by WMF, to establish fair and reasonable parameters
and to ensure compliance.

There's actually an example of a commercial printing operation that's
been entirely developed by individual community members: the
WikiPoster service running on the French Wikipedia. To see it in
operation, click on any image in the French Wikipedia and click
"Obtenir un poster de cette image":

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Pirates_of_the_Caribbean.jpg

I have very little information about this service -- neither whether
they are meeting their promises of donations (I could ask accounting
to examine our records, but we receive no explicit reports), nor
whether any of their software is open source, nor whether it's
functioning correctly and delivering a quality experience. Wikimedia
France may have more detailed numbers. In general, I don't think this
is a good way to develop commercial relationships, but since it's
supported by the French community in this case, and we have no plans
to provide the same service in some other fashion, we've not asked to
remove it.

We'd be more than happy to consider alternative print-on-demand
services. So far, we've had two commercial contacts related to the
print-on-demand tool. One, an alternative printer servicing a specific
geography, was happy to work directly with PediaPress instead of
developing their own wiki-to-print infrastructure. The other was too
small to be relevant.

5) I've given you the scale of sales (about 8,000 per year at current
numbers). As "premium" as the placement in the sidebar may seem, the
reality is that the "Print/export" link is collapsed by default,
doesn't obviously relate in any way to ordering printed books, and
provides access to a number of related services and functions. You
have to expand the sidebar, activate the book creator, assemble your
own book and go through the ordering process to get a printed book.
The fact that this still leads to thousands of sales is testament both
to our huge readership and the actual interest in such functionality.

I understand the desire to apply fair and neutral principles to such
partnerships. Fairness and neutrality, to me, would indicate that
another for-profit publisher would either have to provide some serious
added value (in the form of product or code), or pay a higher
commission to WMF, to make up for the lack of any investment in the
underlying technology. But given the sales numbers and our reluctance
to advertise the tool in any prominent fashion, it's not surprising
that major corporations aren't exactly beating our doors down.

In general, commercial partnerships we've entered that relate to code
or services provided through Wikimedia projects are very careful and
conservative, and tend to focus on mission value more than revenue.
PediaPress falls into this category: the relatively tiny amount of
revenue we're getting from it is not the reason we're engaged in the
relationship. Rather, supporting community efforts to print content
had long been something we wanted to do, and this was a scalable way
to do it. And yes, having a third party responsible for printing and
sales is a good idea from a legal perspective.

External partnerships such as wikipedia.orange.fr , where Wikipedia
content is commercially used (using the Wikipedia trademark) with our
explicit permission, are significantly less conservative and more
revenue oriented. We've generally placed less focus on these types of
business relationships in recent months, as part of our general shift
towards the "many small gifts" revenue model as the central pillar of
our revenue strategy.
--
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
On 11/13/10 3:26 PM, Robert S. Horning wrote:
> The difference between PediaPress and this other effort is that
> PediaPress came from the top down with money in hand, and the group I
> had was mostly grass roots with little money to start with in terms of
> getting things going.
>

Do you have any evidence that PediaPress offered the Foundation money up
front for consideration as a partner? If so, how much money did they
give? This is a very serious accusation that requires some evidence in
my opinion, especially as it is contradicted by what Erik says.

Ryan Kaldari

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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
On 11/15/2010 12:10 PM, Ryan Kaldari wrote:
> On 11/13/10 3:26 PM, Robert S. Horning wrote:
>
>> The difference between PediaPress and this other effort is that
>> PediaPress came from the top down with money in hand, and the group I
>> had was mostly grass roots with little money to start with in terms of
>> getting things going.
>>
>>
> Do you have any evidence that PediaPress offered the Foundation money up
> front for consideration as a partner? If so, how much money did they
> give? This is a very serious accusation that requires some evidence in
> my opinion, especially as it is contradicted by what Erik says.
>
> Ryan Kaldari
>
Let's turn this question around to something more legitimate to ask:
how much money or other consideration has the WMF received from this
effort? Obviously some developer time went into the PDF maker and some
of the things that you see with the button, and that certainly
represents some "other considerations" as well. I am not suggesting
that the money went into the pockets of anybody but the WMF general fund
that is being used to pay for the servers and the rest of the program
and is certainly well accounted for. I haven't looked at the financial
disclosure statements recently for the WMF to see if the PediaPress
money is broken out from other general donations either.

All I'm trying to say here is that once the deal with PediaPress came
through, it sort of blew out of the water any other effort to try
something different, especially stuff that was being done by a largely
adhoc group of Wikimedia volunteers doing stuff out of their own pocket
without substantial financial backing. PediaPress obviously was more
established and certainly had the finances in place to get something
done. That this volunteer effort isn't going any more (mind you, I was
not the only person working on it either) should say something at least
that it discouraged other efforts to provide printed materials. That is
the point I'm trying to make here.

I also am not a huge fan of the automated preparing of texts, at least
all of the automation that is happening. I think books are a work of
art unto themselves and the current content preparation sort of misses
something in the process, making the books that are produced somewhat
sterile and missing some of the flavor that comes with hand crafting the
content. There were certainly some tasks that could be automated, but I
think it also goes a bit too far for my taste as well. It gets raw
content out there, but the process could be improved and right now that
is being blocked because what is being done is "good enough" for most
casual efforts to print books. To take it to the next tier and get a
really professionally published book would take much, much more effort
and the development of tools that are in my opinion now being blocked
because of the presence of PediaPress.

This is not to say that the WMF can't look into alternative fund raising
options, and it certainly is within the right of the WMF to consider
legitimate offers that come along. This offer from PediaPress certainly
filled a niche and has proven to be fairly useful to at least a small
number of Wikimedia users, and the question that ought to be raised now
is if this level of participation and usage of printed materials is
sufficient or is there a potential for other options to also be tried to
perhaps step it up a notch or two. There is some excellent content on
the Wikimedia projects that is often laying around quite hidden and I
think printing the content would be a useful thing to spread that
knowledge to a wider audience.

Unfortunately, stepping the effort up a notch is going to take some
significant effort and possibly some financing... something that also
could potentially increase liability for the WMF if they were more
directly involved too. Increased liability plus being at least for
awhile a fiscal sink doesn't sound too appealing to the WMF, and I
understand why things are being done the way they are being done right
now. Still, I see printed content with inferior quality content
compared to what I see on Wikimedia projects selling in much larger
volumes in major publishing markets... so why is that gap there?

-- Robert Horning
____________________________________________________________
Obama Urges Homeowners to Refinance
If you owe under $729k you probably qualify for Obama's Refi Program
http://thirdpartyoffers.netzero.net/TGL3241/4ce1d698a3ad02ecc71st01vuc

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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
I'm sure the amount of money the Foundation receives from its cut of
actually published books is negligible - probably a few hundred dollars
a year. I'm more interested in your insinuation that PediaPress bought
their partnership status. Since you managed to avoid answering either of
my questions, I'll assume you have no evidence for these aspersions.

Ryan Kaldari

On 11/15/10 4:55 PM, Robert S. Horning wrote:
> On 11/15/2010 12:10 PM, Ryan Kaldari wrote:
>
>> On 11/13/10 3:26 PM, Robert S. Horning wrote:
>>
>>
>>> The difference between PediaPress and this other effort is that
>>> PediaPress came from the top down with money in hand, and the group I
>>> had was mostly grass roots with little money to start with in terms of
>>> getting things going.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>> Do you have any evidence that PediaPress offered the Foundation money up
>> front for consideration as a partner? If so, how much money did they
>> give? This is a very serious accusation that requires some evidence in
>> my opinion, especially as it is contradicted by what Erik says.
>>
>> Ryan Kaldari
>>
>>
> Let's turn this question around to something more legitimate to ask:
> how much money or other consideration has the WMF received from this
> effort? Obviously some developer time went into the PDF maker and some
> of the things that you see with the button, and that certainly
> represents some "other considerations" as well. I am not suggesting
> that the money went into the pockets of anybody but the WMF general fund
> that is being used to pay for the servers and the rest of the program
> and is certainly well accounted for. I haven't looked at the financial
> disclosure statements recently for the WMF to see if the PediaPress
> money is broken out from other general donations either.
>
> All I'm trying to say here is that once the deal with PediaPress came
> through, it sort of blew out of the water any other effort to try
> something different, especially stuff that was being done by a largely
> adhoc group of Wikimedia volunteers doing stuff out of their own pocket
> without substantial financial backing. PediaPress obviously was more
> established and certainly had the finances in place to get something
> done. That this volunteer effort isn't going any more (mind you, I was
> not the only person working on it either) should say something at least
> that it discouraged other efforts to provide printed materials. That is
> the point I'm trying to make here.
>
> I also am not a huge fan of the automated preparing of texts, at least
> all of the automation that is happening. I think books are a work of
> art unto themselves and the current content preparation sort of misses
> something in the process, making the books that are produced somewhat
> sterile and missing some of the flavor that comes with hand crafting the
> content. There were certainly some tasks that could be automated, but I
> think it also goes a bit too far for my taste as well. It gets raw
> content out there, but the process could be improved and right now that
> is being blocked because what is being done is "good enough" for most
> casual efforts to print books. To take it to the next tier and get a
> really professionally published book would take much, much more effort
> and the development of tools that are in my opinion now being blocked
> because of the presence of PediaPress.
>
> This is not to say that the WMF can't look into alternative fund raising
> options, and it certainly is within the right of the WMF to consider
> legitimate offers that come along. This offer from PediaPress certainly
> filled a niche and has proven to be fairly useful to at least a small
> number of Wikimedia users, and the question that ought to be raised now
> is if this level of participation and usage of printed materials is
> sufficient or is there a potential for other options to also be tried to
> perhaps step it up a notch or two. There is some excellent content on
> the Wikimedia projects that is often laying around quite hidden and I
> think printing the content would be a useful thing to spread that
> knowledge to a wider audience.
>
> Unfortunately, stepping the effort up a notch is going to take some
> significant effort and possibly some financing... something that also
> could potentially increase liability for the WMF if they were more
> directly involved too. Increased liability plus being at least for
> awhile a fiscal sink doesn't sound too appealing to the WMF, and I
> understand why things are being done the way they are being done right
> now. Still, I see printed content with inferior quality content
> compared to what I see on Wikimedia projects selling in much larger
> volumes in major publishing markets... so why is that gap there?
>
> -- Robert Horning
> ____________________________________________________________
> Obama Urges Homeowners to Refinance
> If you owe under $729k you probably qualify for Obama's Refi Program
> http://thirdpartyoffers.netzero.net/TGL3241/4ce1d698a3ad02ecc71st01vuc
>
> _______________________________________________
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> foundation-l@lists.wikimedia.org
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>

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Re: PediaPress [ In reply to ]
On 16 November 2010 01:10, Ryan Kaldari <rkaldari@wikimedia.org> wrote:

> I'm sure the amount of money the Foundation receives from its cut of
> actually published books is negligible - probably a few hundred dollars
> a year. I'm more interested in your insinuation that PediaPress bought
> their partnership status. Since you managed to avoid answering either of
> my questions, I'll assume you have no evidence for these aspersions.


You seem to be making a point of harping on an aspersion that only you
can see. It's not clear that doing so adds more light than heat.

There is no reason to assume the PediaPress mess is anything more than
SNAFU and that everyone at Wikimedia is anything other than as sincere
and honest as we know they are.

*However*, that is orthogonal to whether a privileged private closed
source partnership is an acceptable arrangement to keep around. And
the consensus appears to be that this is a question that needs some
serious thought.


- d.

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