Austin Ziegler wrote:
> Okay, I'll admit it. I'm really pissed off. I don't pay attention to
> what goes on on the #ruby-talk IRC channel these days all that much,
> but something happened this afternoon that thoroughly pissed me off.
> 
>  [0515/16.53] hatezilla: seriously, pick it up. if you're iffy, get
> on emule and search
>  for "ruby for rails" ... there's tons of pdfs floating around if you
> know where to look
> 
> I consider David Black a friend of mine. I am *seriously* pissed off
> that some pissant little freak would advocate this action at all. I
> was similarly annoyed that people reacted as badly to Dave Thomas's
> announcement that the Rails 2nd Edition would be the same price. These
> people have done a *lot* for the Ruby community.
> 
> They deserve your financial support. Don't be a pissant thief. Even
> temporarily. There are "sample chapters" for a reason.
> 
> -austin

Agreed, we should support the PragProg guys so they can continue to do 
the great stuff they have been doing.  Stealing is wrong and we 
shouldn't encourage it here or on irc.  As an undergraduate, or what you 
might call "a pissant" student, I read a copy of The Pragmatic 
Programmer that I BORROWED from a professor, and I seriously believe it 
changed the way I approach life.  Their lifelong learning approach, 
basically focused on making smart, conscious decisions at every step, is 
something I took to heart.  That same dirty, bent-up copy was passed 
around between many of my friends, and we all regard it as classic.  Now 
I own the book myself, as well the ruby, rails & subversion books they 
wrote since.  Oh, but maybe I should never have looked at that copy my 
OS professor lent me.  It was evil and wrong to not pay the authors for 
their hard work, wasn't it?  What if he had just sent me the PDF to read 
instead?  Would that have produced a substantially different outcome?
   Life is not that black and white, and downloading a PDF to peruse, or 
to read in its entirety, is barely different from checking out a book 
from the library or borrowing from a friend.  I think taking a hard line 
attitude like this is not only useless, because we will never digress 
back to "the way it used to be," but it is also counter productive.  The 
way you succeed as an author or publisher is not by punishing your 
future clientele, but by trying to win them over as passionate fans.  If 
you can get people engrossed they will end up buying much more than one 
book, and in the long run that is how you make a living.
   Bands that have taken this to heart are succeeding, and I think the 
PragProg guys will continue too, unless they get worked up like you are 
and start making rash decisions.  The String Cheese Incident, for 
example, releases on their own label and directly to the fans.  You can 
download great recordings soon after live shows, or you can show up and 
record a less stellar copy for yourself.  That is how you get people 
excited, and earn their respect.  My hope is that the PDF model they are 
using now continues to get even more "live."  Rather than buy a book I 
think it would be cool to subscribe to one.  I'd eat up a new chapter of 
the pickaxe, for example:  maybe some meta-programming, some more 
advanced discussion on networking, or even better some in depth 
discussion of the language implementation itself.  How does YARV work? 
I'd pay for all that, but do I really want to pay for the rest of the 
pickaxe again, maybe with some typos corrected?  No.  It's a waste of 
paper, and I'm never going to read the first couple hundred pages of 
intro/tutorial again anyway.
   In the end, building a larger community of rubyists, who will almost 
all buy books eventually, is the most important factor for the survival 
of the authors, like your friend David, that we would like to support. 
If a few people are first introduced to this world through 
ultra-illegal, black market copies of PDF versions, big deal.  My guess 
is if they dig it they'll buy the next copy so they can read it in bed. 
  I did.

-Jeff

P.S.  How about this for piracy?
http://gadgets.qj.net/How-to-Pirate-a-Vinyl-Record/pg/49/aid/39381