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O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?

by Anonymous Monk
on Mar 03, 2006 at 02:03 UTC ( #534109=perlmeditation: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

It seemed to me, since I've been apart of PerlMonks for many, many years now (yes, I am posting as anonymous because I know some of you worship O'Reilly staff) that Perl, in a way, is just another way for them to advertise their books and services.

First clue was Perl.com is owned by O'Reilly. The domain should be public domain as Perl is open source. Instead it's owned by a specific company trying to reap money off of it.

Secondly, they release a million books on the topic every few months it appears and trying to be the only books available for this specific language. It's obvious they are trying to be a monopoly for Perl and it's really heartbreaking.

Thirdly, Merlyn is here and he always links to and posts about his articles regarding Perl on the O'Reilly site or newsletter. I realize this is a Perl community for such information, but when is it that information is no longer information but more of a sales letter?

I don't purchase O'Reilly books anymore because I don't like what they're doing and requested our local library a year or two ago to stop their books all together. They said they'd look into it, but since they don't have much money and the IT department is not a top priority, no such books will be ordered any time soon.

I'm not saying the information they give is bad and they don't help the Perl community. I just think they are here more for monetary gain than to assist others.

Many of you are friends with Merlyn which means your replies and opinions would be somewhat biased, I know him only by reading his replies in the CB and SOPW. I'm not looking for an arguement or anything but I am curious to see what other people think about this.

Comment on O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?
Re: O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?
by dragonchild (Archbishop) on Mar 03, 2006 at 02:13 UTC
    1. More than half the books in print about Perl are from publishers other than O'Reily. It's surprising, but a number are from Microsoft Press (or subsidiaries thereof). It just so happens that the good books tend to be printed by O'Reilly. I think that's because the good authors prefer to work with O'Reilly, where possible.
    2. Someone has to pay for perl.com. I'm glad a private entity stepped up to do so. If it was in the public domain, would you help pay for it?
    3. Tim O'Reilly is a very big opensource advocate and sponsor. Not just of Perl, but of the whole community. As such, he is very well regarded.
    4. I have written more articles for perl.com than Randal has. He writes for Linux Magazine.
    5. I doubt many people here are friends with merlyn. Many of us respect the hell out of him, but that doesn't mean we worship him.

    My criteria for good software:
    1. Does it work?
    2. Can someone else come in, make a change, and be reasonably certain no bugs were introduced?
      2) If it was public domain, sure I'd help. I'd donate every now and then. I think there's much more reward in having a non-profit party holding the domain for an open source language than someone doing it more for the monetary gain.

      3) If he's such a big sponsor, then he should give back the domain or atleast remove the business-side of it. Have it be an open forum and community portal. Much like PerlMonks is.

      4) You may have written more, but on here and elsewhere on the web, who advertises the articles more? You or him (or anyone else for that matter). It's Merlyn, he's always promoting on here and other Perl related sites.

        2) problem. A donation here and there doesn't mean very much. Especially for amount a traffic and hardware needed for the site. What is this reward that would arise from a non-profit group running the place? For one thing a business would have the finances to have a "decent" group of people to maintain the place. Why is monetary gain bad? Are you writing Perl for free?

        3) Ok why does he need to do this? What has he done that is wrong? Has he controlled Perl development?

        4) Merlyn promotes, but he also helps. He has responded with things that I thought were nuts and way more harder then they needed to be. Then there are the times he is totally on

        So where is the problems?

Re: O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?
by Marza (Vicar) on Mar 03, 2006 at 02:26 UTC

    Well if you have been here many many years, you shouldn't feel the need to hide behind anon monk. But that is just me.

    A monopoly? I really don't see where you are getting at? Are they defining how Perl will be developed? Or were they smart enough to recognize what was going to happen and court major people to write for them?

    Now as to perl.com being public domain? Why? What is gained by it? They are paying to house it and they are paying for the ISP. Are they charging you for access?

    Now as to their publishing? Are they preventing others from doing the same? I have other publishers and I have found a couple books to be better then O'Reilly. For example, I don't always recommend "Learning Perl" Some people I know would respond better to other books.

    Finally, Merlyn's posts? Again so what? Yes he announces things. Why is that wrong? Are others prevented from doing the same? Why is it an issue? By your logic the Chatterbox should not be allowed as it is not always about Perl. PM's too.

    Finally, I have yet to see your point here. You haven't presented a good argument that O'Reilly is hurting Perl.

      Who cares if they pay for hosting and the domain name? Look at http://php.net/. This is completely open-source and community run and it's far more respected and used.

      Someone is obviously paying for this, they have many sponsors. As said in the last post, O'Reilly is a sponsor of Perl and other languages so why can't O'Reilly dip in their pockets, along with other companies and users, and support an open community?

      It's sure as heck working for PHP.

        Ok??? they are supporting Perl? Is perl.com a closed community? Are they charging you to use it?

        Again, you haven't shown how either have hurt Perl.

      Don't feed the trolls... it only encourages them!

      -- WARNING: You are logged into reality as root.
Re: O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?
by hossman (Prior) on Mar 03, 2006 at 02:41 UTC

    First off: There is a serious flaw in your logic: "Perl, in a way, is just another way for them to advertise their books and services." ... so what, Perl exists just so you'll buy their books about Perl? I doubt that. Perl exists and will continue to exist regardless of wether O'Reilly writes books about it. The fact tha they write books about it can only help make people more aware of perl -- if they make money in the process good for them.

    Second: The fact that someone publishes a lot of books on a topic does not mean that "It's obvious they are trying to be a monopoly for Perl" ... The Girl Scouts make a lot of cookies every year -- that doesn't mean they are trying to have a monopoly on the cookie market, it means that cookie market is a good market, and they think they can be competative, so they sell a product in that market. People like it, so they buy lots so the Girl Scouts make more. O'Reilly publishes as many books as they do, because people buy them. More importanly to your specific thesis: a monoply assumes that the company in question is the only one producing/selling an item in demand. O'Reilly is not hte only company selling perl books, and they are not engaged in any practices that I know of to unfairly limit the ability of other companies to compete with them. if you have specific information that contratdicts that, I suggest you take it to the US Department of Justice.

    I don't purchase O'Reilly books anymore because I don't like what they're doing and requested our local library a year or two ago to stop their books all together. They said they'd look into it, but since they don't have much money and the IT department is not a top priority, no such books will be ordered any time soon.

    That's just sad. I weep for the people of your community, that your narrow minded viewpoint may in some small way prevent them from having access to usefull books, just because you have a (seemingly irrational) predjudice against the publisher.

    As for perl.com...

    • http://perl.org/ is the "community home" of Perl.
    • Yes, perl.com is owned by O'Reilly. They bought it, they keep paying the registration, and they use it to provide a lot of good free articles about perl, and the price you pay for reading those articles is seeing their adds for perl books. If you don't like it, offer them enough money that they are willing to sell it, and do whatever you want with it -- but frankly if you have that kind of money to support perl with, I'm guessing a lot of people can think of a lot better ways that money could be used.
    • If you think it's a travesty that perl.com is owned by a for profit company which promotes the use of Perl, then you have obviously never considered some of the possible alternatives, like http://python.com/
      The Girl Scouts make a lot of cookies every year -- that doesn't mean they are trying to have a monopoly on the cookie market

      Oh dear. You took off your tinfoil hat, and the Girl Scouts' mind control satellite now has you brainwashed.

      Let this be a lesson to others: NEVER take off the tinfoil hat.
      All good points, but a NWS (or rather GFS) at the end would have been appreciated. :)

      -Lee
      "To be civilized is to deny one's nature."
      http://python.com/
      Note: this site is not safe for work!

      thor

      The only easy day was yesterday

Re: O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Mar 03, 2006 at 03:01 UTC
    I just think they are here more for monetary gain than to assist others

    Profit is not a dirty word.

    • It pays to employ people.
    • It pays their mortgages and their medical insurance.
    • It delivers taxes that are used to fund governments. Which means hospitals, schools, (and perhaps more relevant in this case) colleges and universities.

    If it wasn't for the profits Pair make by selling their services, this site probably wouldn't exist.

    Wake up and smell the coffee.

    I doubt merlyn would rank me amongst his friends, but he is a seriously knowledgable Perl practitioner, and goes out of his way to ensure that even the articles he writes to earn a living are made available to anyone who care to go looking--for free.

    I've had more than a few run-ins with him, and do not agree with everything he says, but that does not prevent me from reading everything he writes and learning something new everytime. He is worthy of anyone's respect if they do anything with Perl--and he has mine. He makes a living from Perl--maybe even a good living--and more power to his elbow for doing so.


    Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
    Lingua non convalesco, consenesco et abolesco. -- Rule 1 has a caveat! -- Who broke the cabal?
    "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
    In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.
      Profit is not a dirty word.

      Testify!

Re: O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?
by shotgunefx (Parson) on Mar 03, 2006 at 03:11 UTC
    Rant On
    You petitioned your library to stop carry good technical books because the company who publishes them are too involved in the community? Trying to deprive people of good books because of some odd personal beliefs rather than content? How idiotic.

    It's a stupid argument. O'Reilly has nothing to do with anything. I mean, yes , the host perl.com, but no one forces you to go there. You could use Perl with almost zero interaction with O'Reilly.

    And how are they a monopoly? How do they shut out other people? Broken kneecaps in back alleys? Where are all the other sponsors waiting in the wings? How exactly are they being held back?

    Merlyn might be self promoting, but so what? If he was posting crap code, that would be one thing. When one of his articles is relevant to someone's question, should he rewrite it to avoid pointing someone to an outside website? (This coming from someone who's butted heads with Merlyn on more than a couple occasions over the years.)

    Bills need to be paid, people need to eat. If O'Reilly helps in that department, as long as they are not influencing things, what does it matter? You don't like it, don't read their books or perl.com and it will be like they don't even exist.

    -Lee
    "To be civilized is to deny one's nature."
Re: O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?
by merlyn (Sage) on Mar 03, 2006 at 03:17 UTC
    Not addressing any of the opinions presented here, but there are two factual error that I must refute.
    First clue was Perl.com is owned by O'Reilly.
    This is false on its face. See "whois perl.com":
    Registrant: Perl Consulting 2227 Canyon Blvd, #262 Boulder, CO 80302 US Domain Name: PERL.COM Administrative Contact: Christiansen, Tom tchrist@PERL.COM Perl Consulting 2227 CANYON BLVD APT 262 BOULDER, CO 80302-5634 US (303) 444-3212 fax: 999 999 9999
    Yup. Tom Christiansen. Last time I looked, he was not even an employee of O'Reilly.

    And then there's:

    Thirdly, Merlyn is here and he always links to and posts about his articles regarding Perl on the O'Reilly site or newsletter.
    I've never written for "the O'Reilly site or newsletter". Ever. I've had an article or two on perl.com where I was being interviewed, but I don't think I pointed to that (although I could be wrong).

    I will not challenge the part of "merlyn is here", though. {grin}

    -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker
    Be sure to read my standard disclaimer if this is a reply.

      "merlyn avoids responding to O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?, seeing as others have covered the spectrum"

      Could this not have been a public way to advertise this post to perhaps promote you a little more? You said you wouldn't reply, but you did. You read it first and then after posting in the CB you found an error? Right, that's believable. You didn't find it before you posted the link promoting you (in a bad way, but promoting is promoting).

        Ok. Consider this. Maybe Perl is so pervasive since O'Reilly has published so much.

        I for one had not heard of it as I was originally a unix guy with shell scripting. It was when I was laid off and heard of this language called Perl was a desired skill set. Guess what was the first book I found on it?

Re: O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?
by perrin (Chancellor) on Mar 03, 2006 at 03:40 UTC

    Did it occur to you that maybe O'Reilly just cares more about Perl than other companies do? Anyone could have sponsored perl.com (and paid chromatic to edit it, which he is doing a great job with), and anyone could publish the best Perl books, and anyone could host a great Perl conference, but O'Reilly actually puts their money where their mouth is and does these things. They are currently the most open-source friendly publishing company in existence, and Perl has been greatly helped by their efforts at promoting and marketing it. Feel free to start your own company and do it yourself, but until then, why don't you stop biting the hand that feeds for a minute?

    The reality is more like the Perl communtiy is trying to hold onto a monopoly on O'Reilly's attention and money. I hope it lasts a bit longer.

Re: O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?
by Steve_p (Priest) on Mar 03, 2006 at 05:02 UTC

    I look at my Perl bookshelf and I notice one thing. I have very few O'Reilly Perl books. Object Oriented Perl, Extending and Embedding Perl, Higher Order Perl, and Effective Perl all have prominant spots on my bookshelf next to my old, trusty Web Techniques magazines. So, to say that O'Reilly has a monopoly over the Perl hive mind, to me, seems sadly uninformed.

    I feel that the Perl community is very likely to have knowledgeble Perl authors who are accessible and part of the community. While they have prominant places in the community, few are set off on a pedistal. I can chat with many of these authors online or through email. I can have a drink with them at various events. I can even debate them on various mailing lists. The Perl community is full of many independent spirits, and many differing opinions, but very few factions common among many other open source communities. That's why, for me at least, its disheartening when people make anonymous, ad hominem attacks for no real reason.

Re: O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?
by diotalevi (Canon) on Mar 03, 2006 at 06:08 UTC
      Welcome back Wassercrats. I've missed you.
Re: O'Reilly some sort of perl monopoly?
by chromatic (Archbishop) on Mar 03, 2006 at 06:49 UTC

    You didn't do any research, did you?

    If you had done a modicum of research, you might have found that an O'Reilly employee submitted a patch to p5p last year changing the core documentation as well as the text that appears when you type perl -v to point to perl.org as the Perl home page, not Perl.com.

    You might have noticed that the same employee (and another employee) convinced the rest of the company to donate the text of the glossary of the third edition Camel to the core documentation -- under the same license as the rest of the documentation.

    You might have noticed that the company also sponsors, in part, the time of the same two employees to work on Perl 6 for part of every week.

    You might have noticed that the company has hosted a CPAN mirror for years, is exceedingly generous into letting useful contributors into the rather expensive conferences for free, contributes often to the Perl Foundation, and publishes as much information as financially possible on Perl.com for free to anyone -- even you.

    You might have noticed that "a million books every few months" has, in common with the actual truth, only the word "book".

    Now maybe in your ideal world people would do the same amount of work at the same level of quality for free. (Maybe in your world bandwidth is free.) Would I (hey, one of the employees mentioned earlier, strangely enough...) still write and publish about Perl if I weren't an O'Reilly employee? Absolutely.

    I wouldn't be able to write or code or publish as often, though.

    You certainly don't have to be grateful for the meager scraps a big (ha) bad (ha ha) publishing monopoly (ha ha ha stop, you're hurting me!) throws your way, but given the amount of research and careful thought your post here demonstrates, I'm surprised you didn't spell "Perl" with a Q or something.

    PS - publishing celebrity news would be more financially rewarding than technology books. Trust me.

      It is good that you admit you are an O'Reilly employee, but that still makes your words susspect.

      But you have inadvertently proved me correct without knowing. You admit that O'Reilly has added its own copyrighted material to the perl core. As everyone knows, the GPL is viral, so this means that O'Reilly has control of perl. This makes me sad, because I love perl, but I will now not use it any longer and demand that my local library remove all scripts written in perl from its web page, because it is now being controlled by a corporation.

      Please, people, consider this, do you want to go on working for a corporation without getting paid? We should all move to PHP, it is a better language anyway and it is true Open Source. Everyone who loves freedom must agree with me.

        What makes you think that, license wise, PHP is any better than Perl? Besides, PHP is property of Zend.
        I will [...] demand that my local library remove all scripts written in perl from its web page, because it is now being controlled by a corporation.
        While you're at it, make them remove all of MS-Windows as well.

        You are spreading FUD!!!!!

        As soon as O'Reilly GPL'ed that stuff it doesn't mean that O'Reilly has control of Perl, it means that the Perl community has control of material that O'Reilly paid to write. And O'Reilly as a corportation CANT add anything to the perl core. That is done by Larry Wall and the Pumpkings. And you know what, if you dont like it, go ahead fork perl. Theres nothing anybody can do to stop you. The only thing is you won't be able to call it 'perl'.

        You are so totally fully of shit that it is not funny. And if you do what you say you are going to do it will be the loss of your local library, and noone else. You claim to be an open source advocate but you are repeating lies and misinformation about how open source works. Its just ridiculous.

        And your last sentence just shows your true colors. You dont care about perl at all. You are some kind of PHP troll trying to use misleading arguments and FUD and outright lies to achieve some kind of misguided anti-perl crusade. Well thats fine but take it up elsewhere.

        ---
        $world=~s/war/peace/g

        Funny, I'm a Perl commiter and when I add something to Perl, I currently assign the copywrite over to Larry Wall, not O'Reilly. Better yet, here's the copyright and licence on perlglossary.pod.

        Based on the Glossary of Programming Perl, Third Edition, by Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen & Jon Orwant. Copyright (c) 2000, 1996, 1991 O'Reilly Media, Inc. This document may be distributed under the same terms as Perl itself.

        Control of the glossary passed over to the Perl community, not vice versa. Patches welcome!

        So either you need a tinfoil hat, or this thread is a good example of troll bait. Your arguments about O'Reilly controlling Perl are so idiotic that I won't try to continue to argue it.

        I will argue about PHP, though. PHP is under the control of a corporation. Zend employs many of the core developers of PHP. It is also suspected that Zend is in talks to be acquired by Oracle. So, please enjoy your freedom. Bye bye!

        'viral' is a term usually used by opensource detrators because of it's negative connotations.

        If O'Reilly has given it's own copyrighted material to perl, under the same terms as perl, then that means they have given away certain rights to that material, it doesn't mean that they have gained any rights to perl at all.

        Perl is distributed under both the GPL and the perl Artistic license. Anybody using perl can choose which license they wish to use, so it doesn't even need to be to GPL. And if they don't actually distribute perl, they don't even need to state which license they are using perl under.

        The only 'control' of perl that O'Reilly has is that if the perl license changes in future, the file contributed by O'Reilly would have to be removed if they didn't agree to the new license. That's it.

        You admit that O'Reilly has added its own copyrighted material to the perl core. As everyone knows, the GPL is viral, so this means that O'Reilly has control of perl.

        Please go back to AboveTopSecret or something.

        Makeshifts last the longest.

        you spelled "suspect" wrong.

        and your phrase "But you have inadvertently proved me correct without knowing" is redundant contains redundancy. thanks McDarren :-)

        meh.

        Well, this proves once and for all that you're unrepentantly evil, unremittingly stupid, or unimaginably ignorant. Regardless of which, there's no point talking to you.

        print substr("Just another Perl hacker", 0, -2);
        - apotheon
        CopyWrite Chad Perrin

        I think this whole thing is hilarious. C'mon, the OP/AM can't be serious, it's just too laughable.
Re: O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?
by demerphq (Chancellor) on Mar 03, 2006 at 07:33 UTC

    My only bitch that has anything to do with O'Reilly is that Amazon still hasnt sent me the last 12 books I ordered, and im going squirly waiting for them to arrive.

    I'm happy that O'Reilly sees supporting Perl as being a profitable business. The relationship is entirely symbiotic not parasitic. Their support doesn't deprive anybody of anything, nor damage the community, so I dont see the problem.

    And frankly I'm seriously underimpressed that you recommended your local Library to stop buying their books. I mean did you suggest a good old book burning at the same time?

    Frankly this post is so mindboggling stupid ill just say you should wander back to wherever it is that you come from and leave us alone.

    ---
    $world=~s/war/peace/g

Re: O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?
by strat (Canon) on Mar 03, 2006 at 09:00 UTC

    Best regards from the German Perl Workshop (where O'Reilly is one main sponsor, and IIRC has also been for at least the last six years) -> http://www.perl-workshop.de/

    Best regards,
    perl -e "s>>*F>e=>y)\*martinF)stronat)=>print,print v8.8.8.32.11.32"

Re: O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?
by fireartist (Chaplain) on Mar 03, 2006 at 12:45 UTC

    I'll admit up-front that I don't have any strong feelings either way for O'Reilly ;)

    I rarely look at perl.com anymore since they stopped funding the perl6 summaries, and they rarely have new articles. I also haven't bought an O'Reilly book in a while, partly because recent releases haven't been too relevant for me, but also because now I have a good grounding in perl, I can find out a lot of the things I don't know via the internet.

    I would still recommend O'Reilly's Learning Perl and Intermediate Perl to anyone new to perl.

    Even though I'm not a lover of O'Reilly, I have to reply, because I find that not a single point in your post makes sense. (strange, given that most programmers are quite good at logic ;)

    First clue was Perl.com is owned by O'Reilly. The domain should be public domain

    Why? The perl 'homepage' is perl.org, not perl.com. (I am also pleased that recent versions of perl now state the perl homepage to be perl.org, rather than perl.com, when you run `perl v`.)

    they release a million books on the topic every few months it appears and trying to be the only books available for this specific language.

    I happened to be looking at perl books on amazon last night, so I knew this was wrong.
    According to amazon.co.uk, there were 6 O'Reilly books in the past year and 8 non-O'Reilly.
    In the next 3 months, there will be 2 O'Reilly books out, and 4 non-O'Reilly.

    but when is it that information is no longer information but more of a sales letter?
    If it's providing information, then it's providing information and it'll help someone. So what if it appears to be advertising?
    I just think they are here more for monetary gain than to assist others.

    They're a company, of course they exist for monetary gain.
    But note that they're not 'here', in the sense that they don't control perlmonks, they don't control perl, and you can program in perl without having anything to do with O'Reilly.

Re: O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?
by bart (Canon) on Mar 03, 2006 at 16:04 UTC
    Thirdly, Merlyn is here and he always links to and posts about his articles regarding Perl on the O'Reilly site or newsletter.
    merlyn's articles aren't on any O'Reilly site, they're on is own company's site, in his own, private section. And he's giving them away for free, when he has been paid to write them. I think that's really nice of him.
Re: O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?
by Anonymous Monk on Mar 03, 2006 at 18:58 UTC
    First clue was Perl.com is owned by O'Reilly. The domain should be public domain as Perl is open source. Instead it's owned by a specific company trying to reap money off of it.

    Domain names, as others have pointed out, cost money to register. Web hosting also costs money. Last time I registered a domain (many years ago), I paid a few hundred dollars for the priviledge of having it online with a given name. Secondly, they release a million books on the topic every few months it appears and trying to be the only books available for this specific language. It's obvious they are trying to be a monopoly for Perl and it's really heartbreaking.

    You can always do what I did years ago; as a poor student, I couldn't afford a $50 book, so I read the free man pages that came with Perl instead. Others can correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I know (and have been able to tell upon skimming the core Perl books), the information in the man pages about the language itself is essentially the same, if presented in a more concise form.

    Thirdly, Merlyn is here and he always links to and posts about his articles regarding Perl on the O'Reilly site or newsletter. I realize this is a Perl community for such information, but when is it that information is no longer information but more of a sales letter?

    Who cares? Just because someone advertises something doesn't force you to buy it. Excercise your freedom NOT to buy into things you don't like. If you don't like O'Reily books, don't buy them. I don't buy them. I think they're reasonably good books; well written and accurate; I just don't like learning languages from "How to Learn This Language" type books. I personally prefer a detailed specification of the language features, and documentation on available library calls, with quick lookup of specific language details, all of which the Perl documentation pages provide.

    If you really want to boycott O'Reilly, go ahead. I don't see the need. I don't think O'Reilly s a monopoly; I think it's a company that's been successful by virtue of producing books that people actually like. I don't like learning through reading books, but all through university, and on into the workforce, people who like reading tech books tell me they respect the work that O'Reily does.

    And for the record, I don't know Randal Schwarz, so I'm not biased for or against him. I know he wrote Learning Perl, uses the pompous nickname "Merlyn", and got into a big legal fight with Intel; like just about everyone else in the world knows.

    He's just zis guy, you know? :-)

    --
    Ytrew

Re: O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?
by swampyankee (Parson) on Mar 03, 2006 at 19:00 UTC

    O'Reilly is a publishing company; like all companies it exists to make money for its owners. They happen to make a significant amount of money selling books about computer related topics, some of which are based on open-source projects, including Perl. So do a number of other companies; the fact that except for a few university presses, publishing companies are profit-making ventures, so refusing to deal with them because they make money on open-source or "free" software is rather, to be delicate, inane. Indeed, punishing O'Reilly for having the perl.com web site (as, for example, by organizing boycotts against their books) is not unlikely to reduce net support for open source, which is already berated as being anti-business.

    Since Larry Wall is (according to his bio in Programming Perl) an associate of O'Reilly, he makes money from books sold by O'Reilly, is he party to this conspiracy?

    Presumably, O'Reilly pays merlyn for his columns on perl.com. They may even pay him based on how many readers his columns attract. O'Reilly, and all the other publishers selling books (except the vanity presses) pay merlyn and brian d foy, Damian Conway, Simon Cozens, and all their other authors for writing the books they sell. Are these authors to forego significant earnings because publishers exist to make money?


    Edited to remove reference to merlyn's columns on perl.com.

    emc

    " When in doubt, use brute force." — Ken Thompson
      Since Larry Wall is (according to his bio in Programming Perl) an associate of O'Reilly, he makes money from books sold by O'Reilly, is he party to this conspiracy?

      Actually Larry no longer works (directly) for O'Reilly, see this article for more details. Now he might still get royalties from O'Reilly for the books he wrote, but as Dominus recently said thats not nearly as much $$ as you might think.

      -stvn

        In my very small (2 people) sample of non-fiction writers, 50% hold down conventional full time jobs. The other one has started to write fiction because the money is much better.

        emc

        " When in doubt, use brute force." — Ken Thompson
Re: O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?
by mattr (Curate) on Mar 03, 2006 at 19:11 UTC
    What massive FUD, I dare you to sign your name.

    1. O'Reilly doesn't own Perl
    2. It publishes great books
    3. It does great things for Perl
    4. Profit is okay in the U.S. dude read Atlas Shrugged already
    5. If you are a real man or whatever you read perldocs more than O'Reilly anyway
    6. When I drop by once every few months by chance they usually have an interesting article
    7. You worked against what libraries are there for
    8. I usually don't buy many books but one of theirs on SOAP in Perl is really fabulous so far.. my one programming book this past year and I saved up over $50 to buy it overseas, it is worth it even so.
    9. Nice flame thread how nostalgic, now go apologize to your library.
    10. You are mentally ill and you have no obligation to pay O'Reilly anything.
    11. Please illustrate your point by indicating the high quality texts you have published worldwide for free
    12. There is no evil conspiracy at O'Reilly or Perlmonks
    13. We need more great publishers like O'Reilly, not less, to increase the number of high quality Perl related texts on the shelves of bookstores which tend to be about other languages. This is a commercial endeavor and O'Reilly is doing a good job vis a vis the community as far as I know.
    Feel free to add more below.. I enjoy listing good things about O'Reilly books. Every one I've ever seen has looked great and not just the cover! Of course if you have negative things to post please use negative numbers. 'KTHX
      I upvoted you before you added the bit about counselling/meds and now wish I hadn't. Can we leave out that kind of stuff, please?
        Your wish is my command. Sorry, you are quite right.
      You and I both know, along with anyone else here, no matter who started a post against O'Reilly would get downvoted by the community her. Let's say for instance (sorry guys, just picking off the Other Users who are online right now), GrandFather or blokhead wrote this instead of me.

      They are both respected here, like I believe I am, but they, too, would get downvoted and attacked here. So would it be wise to sign a name? No, but that doesn't mean my opinion should go unheard any more than everyone elses.

      My point was the mere fact that Perl.com should be more of a resource than it is a business tool, much like Merlyn's presence here. From what I have seen, he does more publicizing here than anything else (taking in chatterbox conversations and posts I've seen over the three years I've been here).

      For the record, that comment that talked about PHP wasn't by me. That was some OTHER anonymous monk.

      Simply put, that's all I was saying. The ownership of the domain doesn't so much show how runs runs it, but just the owner. O'Reilly dominates the domain with ways to make them money. Money isn't a bad thing, but I feel O'Reilly is really pressing PerlMonks and other communities for publicity.

      I have to disagree that they make Perl more known, Perl is a wonderful language and it can speak for itself.

        ... but that doesn't mean my opinion should go unheard any more than everyone elses.

        If you are unwilling to put forth even the minimum amount of effort required to show that you actually participate in this community, why should anyone who actually does participate care about your opinion even to tell you that you are wrong?

        Okay, thank you for your reply. I understand where you are coming from and hope I am not offending you too much. (Though your bombshell thread is quite offensive to others.) That is, it sure is hard to tell you Anonymous people apart from each other! :)

        Things are not black and white, which can be annoying (to me too, often). There is a spectrum of commercialism and of course if things were as bad as you suggest be assured there are enough intelligent people involved that equilibrium would be regained.

        Indeed, I am very happy that the Perl community seems to have a relatively high level of intelligence and sincerity, and PM gets visits from kind students, pros, and Perl Gods far more than maybe is always deserved. The Perl Community also reaches out to corporations for sponsorship, as with the Perl Foundation Grants which are an amazing thing. Perhaps the goal of many Perl programmers is to be able to contribute to the Perl world, to donate time or money for example, by adding a module to CPAN, evangelising or teaching coding style. So you are not an outsider to be sure and I can see why you would prefer to be Mr. A. Monk.

        I don't know Merlyn personally, but I don't have enough time in the day to worry about what he might or might not think. In general he seems to be a positive force for good I think.

        Ditto for O'Reilly. One thing I can say is I was at a recent Lightweight Language Day & Night event in Tokyo which was a massive blast. Totally sold out so I couldn't get to the evening event which was a bummer, and the entry way was indeed commercial with an O'Reilly table there (others too of course). There was little space to talk to people and half was taken up by such tables. Personally I would have appreciated a less commercial situation but it does cost money to do it, I'd like to see more such events.

        In fact there is a massive Perl event YAPC::Asia coming up in Tokyo March 29-30 and I will definitely be there, but I find it a bit expensive and the tickets sold out instantaneously! (I finagled a seat by going through International signup). It would have been much cooler I think if they could have gotten a university to donate some massive space, and allow students to come free with a lower entry fee in general. Though I have not been to other YAPC so I don't know what to expect it seems the most important thing is to get critical mass of Perl people in one place. On the other hand, if it makes money there will be more.

        I do agree with you about Perl being a wonderful language. However talented people are being attracted to Python too, and you have to wonder why for example wxPython has so many more resources than wxPerl (recently covered in a Wx::Perl thread). We don't need Perl for Dummies but we do need to tell people the good news about Perl and to support Perl learning and development. O'Reilly does a good job of that.

        As for the domain, .com means commercial. I recommend you contribute to a non-commercial perl website or create your own, perhaps focused on a certain perl topic so it is easy for others to also contribute too. I totally understand your attitude to commercialism but I think your comments about O'Reilly go too far. They have their place in the universe and they are a good example of a company that can fulfill its raison d'etre (to make money) while giving back to the community. This is why I really would like to encourage you to praise O'Reilly for what they do, and encourage other companies to back Perl too. Put another way, how much would they have to contribute to make it okay in your book? They do it in their way and you can do it in yours.

        While your attitude is valid and understandable intellectually, it is clear with the number of people with articles and books at O'Reilly that many people have not yet reached a pain threshold. Or to put it another way, you are right in one way but if you compare Perl, which was created from day one as a Practical Extraction and Reporting Language i.e. to solve real world problems, and which continues to be used widely in business, to say Smalltalk or some other language which is primarily educational and academic, you can see that the degree of corporate involvement in the community is proportional to the presence of business users of a language. I don't know if there is a solution but you may enjoy a more relaxed state of mind if you surf away from perl.com and contribute to .org sites. There is a tendency to imagine that while hardware costs money, software is free and pure in a philosophical and academic sense. But we are living in the same world, and our lives are bound up together. Personally I seem to be better at doing nonprofit things than at making money and this is a problem unless you're independently wealthy, that's the world we are in. Can you not live and let live? Please share your labors and rest assured criticism is accepted and registered.

        Matt R.

        I don't know who you are or why the hell you think you can hijack a thread started by me. Are you some O'Reilly shill who is trying to spin my argument away?

        It is worse than you say in this post (but you know that, you're just trying to gloss over the trouble, right?). Because the response to my two top postings shows that this site is clearly under the control of O'Reilly staff who want to stifle all contarary opinion. One of them was even marked as "OT troll" so people would not see it for the good reasoning it is. We wouldn't need this kind of censorship if this were still a free community.

        And to mattr, calling someone "mentally ill" is the kind of language which really has no place in serious discussion. I am concerned on the perl community and worry that all the bright people here are being misled to waste their time and energy for a corporation that does not pay them. Earning money is ok but only if you don't exploit others.

Re: O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?
by radiantmatrix (Parson) on Mar 03, 2006 at 19:26 UTC

    Perl, in a way, is just another way for them to advertise their books and services.

    OK... so they support Perl because it's profitable for them to do so. I don't see a problem with that, as it causes no problems with the way Perl is written, released, distributed or supported. Their support is helpful to the Perl community, and I'm glad that they are able to profit from that. Win-win propositions are good things.

    First clue was Perl.com is owned by O'Reilly. The domain should be public domain as Perl is open source. Instead it's owned by a specific company trying to reap money off of it.

    First, you have a factual error. Perl.com is not owned by O'Reilly, but by Tom Christiansen. TC is an O'Reilly author, but is not their employee -- they just publish his books. O'Reilly has chosen to sponsor perl.com to make it as useful as possible. In exchange, they ask for publicity. Seems like another win-win to me. If O'Reilly stopped sponsoring perl.com, I would hope that Tom would either get another sponsorship, or that the community would step up and keep the site running. At that point, of course, all the O'Reilly marketing materials would probably disappear.

    Secondly, they release a million books on the topic every few months it appears and trying to be the only books available for this specific language. It's obvious they are trying to be a monopoly for Perl and it's really heartbreaking.

    That's ridiculous: you said yourself that Perl is open-source software. It's impossible for O'Reilly to monopolize Perl -- they don't and can't own it. Lots of other people publish Perl books, too, and there is nothing O'Reilly could do to stop that.

    The fact that O'Reilly's books appear to be the only ones sometimes only says two things. First, that they were first to fill a niche that no one else was publishing for. Second, that their product's quality is such that they have very little competition. Even if they could monopolize (which they haven't) the Perl book business, they have no way of turning that into control of Perl.

    So the community gets many good Perl books, and O'Reilly gets to make some money. Plus, major Perl community members (like Tom Christiansen, for example) get to make some money from their knowledge of Perl, which provides motivation for them to continue to be active in the community. Hm, win-win again...

    I don't purchase O'Reilly books anymore because I don't like what they're doing and requested our local library a year or two ago to stop their books all together. They said they'd look into it, but since they don't have much money and the IT department is not a top priority, no such books will be ordered any time soon.

    Your decisions are yours to make, of course, and if you feel O'Reilly isn't helping in the way you want, you're free to vote with your wallet. But to ask your library not to provide some of the best books on the market because you have a gripe with O'Reilly's motivation is just stupid. Firstly, by denying access to excellent material, you'd only hurt the community's ability to grow and learn. Secondly, if you're after O'Reilly, you'd be shooting yourself in the foot -- they are the most-recommended Perl books around, and so if the Library doesn't have them, more people will just buy a copy.

    I'm not saying the information they give is bad and they don't help the Perl community. I just think they are here more for monetary gain than to assist others.

    Why is thier motivation even relevant? As long as they are not out to hurt Perl (which you acknowledge they aren't), then who cares why they help?

    O'Reilly is actually fairly enlightened as a company: they realize that Perl can help them make money, and that a strong Perl community means more potential customers. So, they support the community. Since that helps us, and does no harm to us, why should we care if they make some money in the process?

    <-radiant.matrix->
    A collection of thoughts and links from the minds of geeks
    The Code that can be seen is not the true Code
    I haven't found a problem yet that can't be solved by a well-placed trebuchet
Re: O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?
by spiritway (Vicar) on Mar 04, 2006 at 12:42 UTC

    I'm not sure I follow. You say O'Reilly is using Perl to sell their books? And that by publishing books on Perl, they're trying to create a monopoly??

    I believe this is incorrect. First, O'Reilly publishes on a huge number of topics - programming languages, the "hacks" series (including a hack book about *baseball*, for crying out loud), .Net, Microsoft applications and OSes, Linux, Unix, Web development, digital photography, SQL, network security, spam, and much more. Books on Perl are a significant minority of the titles, but a minority nonetheless.

    There are any number of books on Perl by other publishers. I've bought many of them, and most of them are only marginally useful, if at all. O'Reilly's books pack more information into them, and they are often very thorough. Many of the books have close to 1,000 pages, and cost less than similar books from other publishers. O'Reilly is doing nothing more sinister than providing good quality for the money, something I wish more businesses would do.

    As for merlyn's posting links to his articles - could you provide us with a couple? I must have missed them.

    O'Reilly certainly is in business for monetary gain. You are quite correct. Whether they are in it "more" for money than to help people is a matter known only to them. I cannot read a person's heart, and it is irrelevant. They provide a great service and do so in a pleasant way. They are responsive to their customers, something I don't find in many large corporations. Whether they are evil minions of the Dark Side, or angels from heaven, they nevertheless do good things.

    I don't even know merlyn from the Chatterbox; I only know him through his Perlmonks posts and his excellent book (published by O'Reilly, I know). I like what he says because he knows what he's talking about, not because we're buddies.

    I think your concerns for the Perl community are misplaced. Perl is doing quite well. O'Reilly is doing far more good than harm, both to Perl in particular, and to IT in general. There is no Perl monopoly, and there is no Lumber Cartel.

Re: O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?
by tphyahoo (Vicar) on Mar 05, 2006 at 10:40 UTC
    Good troll!
Re: O'reilly some sort of perl monopoly?
by Wassercrats on Apr 23, 2006 at 00:25 UTC
    Not me.

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