View Full Version : which format will win?


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renareto
02-19-2010, 06:22 PM
Hi all,
I would have some opinion about the ebook format that would be the standard in next future.
I know it its a stupid question, but, i would buy an ereader, and i want to be sure it will support the 'standard' of ebook.

my idea is that this should be epub.
what do yo think about?

TIA

Renato

JSWolf
02-19-2010, 06:23 PM
ePub is already the standard and there's nothing out there to even remotely replace it.

koland
02-19-2010, 09:10 PM
Just beware of which DRM scheme you buy - Sony (so far) uses straight ADE, B&N uses the new ADE+CreditCard+Name and it looks like Apple won't use ADE at all, but their own unique DRM on top of epub (and since they are not licensing the adobe server, presumably won't read drm'd epubs from other sources, in addition to locking their content to their device).

Bremen Cole
02-19-2010, 11:34 PM
_________________ePub_____________________

weedfreak
02-20-2010, 07:01 AM
Just beware of which DRM scheme you buy - Sony (so far) uses straight ADE, B&N uses the new ADE+CreditCard+Name and it looks like Apple won't use ADE at all, but their own unique DRM on top of epub (and since they are not licensing the adobe server, presumably won't read drm'd epubs from other sources, in addition to locking their content to their device).

I will never buy any DRMed ebook, eventually there will only be DRM free ebooks.

K-Thom
02-20-2010, 07:34 AM
There won't be "a" standard.

Several formats already co-existed for the last ten years, and this will continue. Honestly, I really don't care which format will become "the" standard, as long as it's possible to buy any eBook I'd like to read and convert it into my favorite format.

kennyc
02-20-2010, 07:40 AM
.




EPUB




.

JSWolf
02-20-2010, 09:00 AM
I will never buy any DRMed ebook, eventually there will only be DRM free ebooks.

Then you'll be missing out on a lot of eBooks as most do come with the added bonus of DRM.

JSWolf
02-20-2010, 09:01 AM
There won't be "a" standard.

Several formats already co-existed for the last ten years, and this will continue. Honestly, I really don't care which format will become "the" standard, as long as it's possible to buy any eBook I'd like to read and convert it into my favorite format.

ePub is already THE standard. Of course, Amazon has yet to realize this.

Zetmolm
02-20-2010, 09:17 AM
Depends on which part of the world you're talking about.In Russia, fb2 is the de facto standard.

JSWolf
02-20-2010, 09:19 AM
Depends on which part of the world you're talking about.In Russia, fb2 is the de facto standard.

Sorry Russia is not with it. :rolleyes:

Zetmolm
02-20-2010, 10:10 AM
Well, fb2 is a format that came out of the Russian readers community, and their efforts have led to a situation where the Russians are far ahead of us in making copyrighted contents available in a way that makes readers, authors, and publishers happy. There are several legal Russian sites where you can read any book you want (in Russian, of course) for free online, or download them for a price of often less than 1 dollar. And all the legal rights and fees arfe taken care of!

loveangel
02-20-2010, 10:12 AM
EPUB!!

HarryT
02-20-2010, 10:44 AM
Well, fb2 is a format that came out of the Russian readers community, and their efforts have led to a situation where the Russians are far ahead of us in making copyrighted contents available in a way that makes readers, authors, and publishers happy. There are several legal Russian sites where you can read any book you want (in Russian, of course) for free online, or download them for a price of often less than 1 dollar. And all the legal rights and fees arfe taken care of!

But that's just down to some strange "loophole" in Russian copyright law which says that this is "legal" if the site claims to be collecting payment on behalf of the copyright holder. The trouble is, there is no enforcement of the fact that they are actually paying it, and I very, very much doubt that they are, if the equivalent MP3 sites in Russia are anything to go by. I really wouldn't hold this up as a shining example of fairness if I were you.

Zetmolm
02-20-2010, 11:02 AM
@Harry,
This is somewhat off topic, but still:
You refer to the 'allofmp3'-construction. Do you have proof that these sites use a similar loophole? They claim to have agreements with the publishers of the books they make available.
Also, on the site of ast.ru, for instance, which is one of the biggest publishers in Russia, you'll find links to some cheap web shops. They would not do that if they don't get any money from those shops, would they? And these shops also sell fb2, without DRM!

HarryT
02-20-2010, 11:21 AM
@Harry,
This is somewhat off topic, but still:
You refer to the 'allofmp3'-construction. Do you have proof that these sites use a similar loophole? They claim to have agreements with the publishers of the books they make available.
Also, on the site of ast.ru, for instance, which is one of the biggest publishers in Russia, you'll find links to some cheap web shops. They would not do that if they don't get any money from those shops, would they? And these shops also sell fb2, without DRM!

But reading "any book you want", free online, or download for less than US$1? It sounds too good to be true. Perhaps I'm just being cynical, but I can't see this being legit. Perhaps, though, I'm wrong. I certainly have no evidence one way or the other.

GhostHawk
02-20-2010, 12:04 PM
Why Epub?

Because its relatively easy to put DRM on it? Same for PDF?

You can't open it on a pc without first loading special software for it.
Which is not true of several other formats.

BillSmithBooks
02-20-2010, 12:20 PM
Why Epub?

Because its relatively easy to put DRM on it? Same for PDF?

You can't open it on a pc without first loading special software for it.
Which is not true of several other formats.

My thoughts exactly.

Epub has been pushed as an "open format" but every publisher has its own incompatible form of DRM...I think this is going to end up exploding in Epublishing's face once consumers wise up.

Readers are going to demand DRM-free ebooks (that are inexpensive) and publishers had best get with the program or they will face the same fate the music labels have faced.

I'm pretty sure 5, 10, maybe even 20 years from now, people will still be reading HTML. I don't see Epub having that staying power.

Everything can read HTML, it's easily converted to other formats and there are countless free, easy authoring tools. Sure, there are issues--different specs, non-standard tags, and so forth. HTML books in Zip folders nicely resolve things like "multi-media" books with lots of photos, etc.

But despite the fact that HTML is not the most elegant or sophisticated solution, it is an open, accessible format that millions of people are already familiar with and billions of people can already read with the devices they already own.

PCs, smart phones, netbooks, tablets, Nintendo Wiis, Playstations, XBoxes, palmtops, the new generation of smartbooks that will only have a browser, the IPad, even the Kindle--ALL of them can read HTML ebooks without any additional software. All of them, that is, except for a handful of dedicated ebook readers.

I know I'm going to take a lot of flack for this, but I think HTML could easily be the ebook format of the future, just as MP3 emerged as the clear format of choice for audio despite the format's limitations.

kennyc
02-20-2010, 12:23 PM
But epub IS html ... or xhtml ... just arranged in a specific format.

Have you ever opened an epub file -- use winzip or 7zip or .... and take a look.

HarryT
02-20-2010, 12:24 PM
I'm pretty sure 5, 10, maybe even 20 years from now, people will still be reading HTML. I don't see Epub having that staying power.


ePub is HTML. It's just a bunch of HTML files in a ZIP wrapper.

HTML is a inefficient format for an ebook, because a book will typically consist of a whole bunch of files - HTML files, images, a table of contents, etc. An ePub book just packages all those up into a ZIP file.

HTML books in Zip folders nicely resolve things like "multi-media" books with lots of photos, etc.

That's exactly what an ePub book is. I'm slightly confused about why you appear to be criticizing ePub on the one hand, and on the other, proposing a "solution" which is ePub!

cmdahler
02-20-2010, 12:37 PM
Why Epub?

Because its relatively easy to put DRM on it? Same for PDF?

You can't open it on a pc without first loading special software for it.
Which is not true of several other formats.

Basically because the industry recognized they had to pick something, so they went with a format that uses HTML, which lots and lots of people know how to work with. The industry will DRM anything, so that's not going to influence the decision much. PDF can't really reflow well, so even though it produces output that is lightyears ahead of anything else in quality and readability, you're stuck with a static page, and all the work you put into making that chapter look as good as possible in TeX or InDesign for that device just got blown out of the water when you try to reformat it for another device. Very labor intensive, and no publishing house is going to produce multiple font-sized, multiple screen-sized versions in PDF of every one of their books.

I was disappointed with the choice of ePub just because it uses HTML, which was never designed to be a true typographical engine anyway, so it only produces mediocre output at best, and come on, we are talking about reading books here, not simple web pages. It would have been much better if the industry had gone with a wrapper around a TeX-based rendering engine - that would produce output that looks ten times better than HTML right out of the gate. Oh, well - licensing to Knuth might have been an issue, who knows.

frabjous
02-20-2010, 12:53 PM
You can't open it on a pc without first loading special software for it.
Which is not true of several other formats.

Sorry, but this makes no sense.

You can't read any format without the appropriate software installed. What do you mean by "special"? Do you mean that your operating system comes with the software you need pre-bundled? Surely, what comes prebundled is just a matter of demand. Once books catch on in general, chances are your OS will come with a epub reader. And actually, since your OS comes with a webbrowser and an unzip program, the very simplest of script or plugin is all that needs to be added. You can find scripts (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=51267) or plugins (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=60459) on this website easily enough. (At least barring DRM.)

There aren't some formats that are easier to put DRM on than others. The DRM scheme to PDFs/ePubs are completely unrelated to the part that actually contains the contents of the book. The fact that Adobe's ADEPT DRM is only applied to ePubs and PDFs just reflects that these are the formats they've chosen to use; it could easily be migrated to any other format.

ePub is definitely a better format than most of the competitors out there -- .mobi/kindle format is very inflexible and limited by comparison (as anyone who has ever tried to do anything complex in the format knows), and ePub make use of html and xhtml that a lot of people use for other purposes anyway, so it makes sense to make it a standard.

As of now, PDF is still my preferred format, since it's the only way to get proper typography in ebooks, like kerning and ligatures and end-of-line hyphenation, or to properly typeset mathematics or other formal symbolisms in a robust way. But in principle, I think once ePub supports MathML, SVG images, and gets typographically richer rendering software, it'll eventually match or surpass PDF in my estimation.

BillSmithBooks
02-20-2010, 12:56 PM
But epub IS html ... or xhtml ... just arranged in a specific format.

Have you ever opened an epub file -- use winzip or 7zip or .... and take a look.

Yes, quite often.

But that the way the Epub format is promoted IS the problem.

Epub publishers don't tell you, "hey, you can read this on any PC you already own, just change the extension to zip and open."

Instead, "You have to use our reader/software," "Buy our device," etc. and they tremendously muddle the waters...all because they're locking up content with DRM that's incompatible between different distributors. All within an "open" format? Epub's "industry standard" and "openness" is a complete distortion of the truth because of DRM. :smack:

Many, many ebook advocates and producers promote Epub as a different format. (I believe they have done this to separate ebooks from "just webpages" so they can sell them.) But most people believe they need a dedicated reader or special software to read ebooks.

I think ebooks could grow much more quickly if the industry line had been, "Yeah, ebooks are just like webpages. Read them on any browser or ebook reader. Please send us $5 to get your book."

It really has been a needless trainwreck.

kennyc
02-20-2010, 01:06 PM
Yes, quite often.

But that the way the Epub format is promoted IS the problem.

Epub publishers don't tell you, "hey, you can read this on any PC you already own, just change the extension to zip and open."

Instead, "You have to use our reader/software," "Buy our device," etc. and they tremendously muddle the waters...all because they're locking up content with DRM that's incompatible between different distributors. All within an "open" format? Epub's "industry standard" and "openness" is a complete distortion of the truth because of DRM. :smack:
...

Well, true and I do hate drm, but the fact that it is html make it more compatible than many other formats. And I'm sure that's a big part of it's popularity/adoption since tools already exist to edit and display and convert...

cmdahler
02-20-2010, 01:08 PM
As of now, PDF is still my preferred format, since it's the only way to get proper typography in ebooks, like kerning and ligatures and end-of-line hyphenation, or to properly typeset mathematics or other formal symbolisms in a robust way. But in principle, I think once ePub supports MathML, SVG images, and gets typographically richer rendering software, it'll eventually match or surpass PDF in my estimation.

I agree with everything you said, but I have to just add a rant: it's insane and ridiculous that the publishing industry is going to spend years reinventing the wheel, when a solution that Donald Knuth probably would have been willing to license for either free or for a minimal cost already exists that does all of these things and does them very, very well. If epub could just be wrapped around the TeX engine, all of these problems could be essentially solved in a month. Sigh.

frabjous
02-20-2010, 01:14 PM
I was disappointed with the choice of ePub just because it uses HTML, which was never designed to be a true typographical engine anyway, so it only produces mediocre output at best, and come on, we are talking about reading books here, not simple web pages. It would have been much better if the industry had gone with a wrapper around a TeX-based rendering engine - that would produce output that looks ten times better than HTML right out of the gate. Oh, well - licensing to Knuth might have been an issue, who knows.

I'm a huge fan of LaTeX, and think it would be great of a rendering engine like LaTeX were used, but don't confuse the file format with the engine that renders it. There's nothing about the HTML format that prohibits getting output as nice as one gets from running latex on its mark-up language. ePub is not a wrapper around an "engine", but a wrapper around some mark-up code. If a wrapper were put around LaTeX code, that wouldn't be an engine either.

Consider for example, Prince XML (http://princexml.com/) -- which takes HTML and XHTML as input and creates a PDF, much like LaTeX takes its mark-up source and created DVI or PDF, and the resulting PDF uses end-of-line hyphens (in fact, using the TeX algorithm), ligatures, kerning. The fact that we don't get that from the ePub software on our readers isn't a fault of the ePub format, it's the fault of the software used to render it, which knock on wood, will get better in the future. And they can port as much of LaTeX's engine as they want. The differences in the mark-up languages are trivial. MathML isn't any worse that TeX as a mark-up language. If anything it's better (though slightly less humanly readable.)

renareto
02-20-2010, 01:46 PM
Thx to all!
I've never thought to have alla this answer!

Renato

Elfwreck
02-20-2010, 02:17 PM
But that the way the Epub format is promoted IS the problem.

Epub publishers don't tell you, "hey, you can read this on any PC you already own, just change the extension to zip and open."

Instead, "You have to use our reader/software," "Buy our device," etc. and they tremendously muddle the waters...all because they're locking up content with DRM that's incompatible between different distributors. All within an "open" format? Epub's "industry standard" and "openness" is a complete distortion of the truth because of DRM. :smack:

That's not a problem with ePub; it's a problem with publishers and distributors and their marketing methods. They want to say "Here is your EBOOK. It works on [SOFTWARE] or [DEVICE]. If you want more EBOOKS, buy them from us." They don't want you to think of the ebook as "a bundle of html files with an ebook-shaped wrapper;" they don't want you to think of it as "A Word doc output onto fixed letter/A4-sized pages;" they don't want you to think of it as "formatted text with hyperlink-code added for the chapter headers, with pictures shrunk to fit on a 320x320 screen."

They want you to think of it as a "book," like a physical object, that comes with a set of pre-established characteristics that the buyer can't change.

The fact that *none* of the ebook formats work like that is irrelevant. Publishers are working hard to find the format that forces end-users to treat digital content like physical content--fixed and unchangable--with the added bonus (for the publisher) of lacking the ability to transfer ownership.

Their attempts to do this with various formats (ePub and PDF head the list) is not a reflection on the usefulness of those formats.

Publishers are deliberately unclear on what ebooks are and how they work because they want to avoid facing competition (which they will, if you can buy ebooks from anyone for any device) and kill any possibility of a used ebook market. And occasionally because of ignorance. Plenty of them think an "ebook" is somehow intrinsically different from "a Word document."

delphidb96
02-20-2010, 03:40 PM
.




EPUB




.

In Your Dreams!:tongue2:

Derek

delphidb96
02-20-2010, 03:42 PM
But epub IS html ... or xhtml ... just arranged in a specific format.

Have you ever opened an epub file -- use winzip or 7zip or .... and take a look.

Ummm... right. So the Adobe PDF epub format is just html??? Think not. Epub is the wrapper and while most *sane* publishers use html, there are other data formats that can be stuffed inside - and don't even get me started on the wide range of DRM one can use on the contents of the epub container! :smack:

Derek

delphidb96
02-20-2010, 03:45 PM
Sorry, but this makes no sense.

You can't read any format without the appropriate software installed. What do you mean by "special"? Do you mean that your operating system comes with the software you need pre-bundled? Surely, what comes prebundled is just a matter of demand. Once books catch on in general, chances are your OS will come with a epub reader. And actually, since your OS comes with a webbrowser and an unzip program, the very simplest of script or plugin is all that needs to be added. You can find scripts (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=51267) or plugins (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=60459) on this website easily enough. (At least barring DRM.)

There aren't some formats that are easier to put DRM on than others. The DRM scheme to PDFs/ePubs are completely unrelated to the part that actually contains the contents of the book. The fact that Adobe's ADEPT DRM is only applied to ePubs and PDFs just reflects that these are the formats they've chosen to use; it could easily be migrated to any other format.

ePub is definitely a better format than most of the competitors out there -- .mobi/kindle format is very inflexible and limited by comparison (as anyone who has ever tried to do anything complex in the format knows), and ePub make use of html and xhtml that a lot of people use for other purposes anyway, so it makes sense to make it a standard.

As of now, PDF is still my preferred format, since it's the only way to get proper typography in ebooks, like kerning and ligatures and end-of-line hyphenation, or to properly typeset mathematics or other formal symbolisms in a robust way. But in principle, I think once ePub supports MathML, SVG images, and gets typographically richer rendering software, it'll eventually match or surpass PDF in my estimation.

Some people have *strange* tastes. :) I'm more interested in making sure the story is readable and enjoyable-when the typography becomes more important than the story... Well, let's just say that PDF has it's place but as a standard for electronic novels is *not* 'it'.

Derek

kennyc
02-20-2010, 03:55 PM
Ummm... right. So the Adobe PDF epub format is just html??? Think not. Epub is the wrapper and while most *sane* publishers use html, there are other data formats that can be stuffed inside - and don't even get me started on the wide range of DRM one can use on the contents of the epub container! :smack:

Derek

We're talking about formats, not DRM in any case. And epub IS html, just like I said. Yeah, it's a zip file but so what.

Did you go off your meds again? ;)

delphidb96
02-20-2010, 04:22 PM
We're talking about formats, not DRM in any case. And epub IS html, just like I said. Yeah, it's a zip file but so what.

Did you go off your meds again? ;)

Um, no, I don't *need* meds. (Not like some people around here. :) ) And while DRM is not a format, it *must* be considered in the question. Or do you really want to have to deal with FAIRPLAY DRM on any ePub purchase?

Derek

BillSmithBooks
02-20-2010, 04:46 PM
The original point of the thread was "which format is going to win,"which format is going to be the dominant format in the future.

DRM IS very significant to the disucssion since it prevents users from backing up their books and locks them in to a specific device or vendor. People who have bought DRM'd books in the past have been stranded when the DRM servers were turned off or the vendor went out of business, for example. (Microsoft "Plays for Sure" anyone.)

So much as Epub may be a viable format for the future, anything with DRM is at risk.

Because of the lack of DRM and the fact that almost every device now already comes equipped with a web browser, I maintain that HTML is still the most likely candidate to last in the long run, unpopular though that opinion may be.

Soulcatcher
02-20-2010, 04:52 PM
it won't 'win', but i like RTF.

JSWolf
02-20-2010, 04:56 PM
Why Epub?

Because its relatively easy to put DRM on it? Same for PDF?

You can't open it on a pc without first loading special software for it.
Which is not true of several other formats.

What formats don't you need special software for?

You need a text editor/program to read text files. Notepad will do that.

You need a web browser to read HTML/CSS and Internet Explorer will do that.

You need special software to read just about any format other than text or HTML. By special software, I mean software that does not come with the operating system.

kennyc
02-20-2010, 04:57 PM
I've already said I don't like drm and I don't expect it to survive any more than it has for MP3s. That said, the most likely format is one that is clearly identified as a book format. Epub is it. Only time will tell.

JSWolf
02-20-2010, 04:58 PM
In Your Dreams!:tongue2:

Derek

Sorry, but ePub already HAS become the defacto standard.

Yes there are two different (and soon to be a third) forms of DRM, but every device out there that supports ePub with DRM supports the same adept DRM. And the iPad may very well support adept if the txtr app is allowed on board.

JSWolf
02-20-2010, 05:00 PM
Ummm... right. So the Adobe PDF epub format

So what is the Adobe PDF epub format? :chinscratch:

JSWolf
02-20-2010, 05:03 PM
Apple's eBook store will be using Fairplay DRM and B&N use eReader DRM. But every other eBook store that sell ePub with DRM use the standard Adobe Adept. Even Overdrive uses it. So if any device wants to allow users to read library borrowed ePub, they HAVE to support Adept DRM. And so far, the iPad is the only device that will support ePub that's an unknown as to Adept DRM. But, the iPod Touch and iPhone both have the txtr app that supports Adept DRM.

So it seems to me that ePub with Adept DRM has clearly won the format wars. Mobipocket could have won had they allowed Sony to use it along side BBeB on the 505.

kennyc
02-20-2010, 05:16 PM
Mobi, did seem to have the lead, particularly when Amazon acquired it and morphed it into azm. Even a few months ago my local library had mostly mobi books but now mostly epub.

cmdahler
02-20-2010, 05:21 PM
Some people have *strange* tastes. :) I'm more interested in making sure the story is readable and enjoyable-when the typography becomes more important than the story... Well, let's just say that PDF has it's place but as a standard for electronic novels is *not* 'it'.

Derek

It's all in what level of typography you prefer. If you get the formatting too screwed up, it's not enjoyable for anyone. Truly professional typography that obeys the conventions which have evolved over the last few hundred years is pleasurable precisely because it gets out of the way: you don't notice it at all, but it makes your eye flow across the words effortlessly. Imagine trying to read a book on a 8.5"-wide paper with 0.25" margins and a 10-pt font. Your eye has to move around too much, it tires you quickly, plus the brain is presented with a morass of text that is overwhelming.

Whether text is presented to you in print or electronic form is meaningless: your eye and brain function the same way regardless. So the ideal electronic format for a book is one that ... looks like a book, astonishingly enough. The screen should be large enough and the pixels dense and small enough such that, at least at one font point size, the electronic form of the book is crafted as closely as possible to the conventions of professional typography. If the user needs to depart from that font size and reflow the document, the algorithm controlling the reflow should at least attempt to maintain those standards as much as feasible. Right now epub doesn't even come close to doing that. Hopefully at some point in the coming years it will.

Elfwreck
02-20-2010, 05:34 PM
What formats don't you need special software for?

You need a text editor/program to read text files. Notepad will do that.

You need a web browser to read HTML/CSS and Internet Explorer will do that.

You need special software to read just about any format other than text or HTML. By special software, I mean software that does not come with the operating system.

Macs don't come with Notepad or Internet Explorer. Neither do Linux boxes.

All ebook formats need "special software" to read them; a few types are readable by software that comes with most operating systems, but that doesn't mean it's not separate from the OS itself. EPub is no less accessible than mobi or PDF or RTF. (More accessible than mobi; there's no mobi plugin for Firefox.)

Epub, being HTML in a wrapper, is set to become the worldwide dominant ebook format because the nonDRM'd form is easy to edit with software that almost everyone has, and it's (relatively) easy to create new software to read or edit it.

PDF could be a strong contender--but only if ebook publishers start formatting PDFs for different sized screens and make sure to advertise them that way. As long as they're insisting on the PDF looking like the print version, it'll only view properly on large screens (with a lot of extra wasted space), and most people won't be able make the jump to treating it like a real book: something that lets a reader enjoy absorbing the content and ignoring the container.

TXT is a lousy ebook format; it doesn't have enough formatting options to allow that to happen. HTML has the formatting options, but without a wrapper like epub, can't contain pictures or custom fonts or some aspects of CSS unless a whole set of files are transferred at once. Raw, single-file HTML suffers from lack of control: you can't know what the reader's default settings are so you can't format the book to look right on their screen. (Full-width text on a full-size monitor is hard to read. A narrower reading area is good for full screen; problem for smaller readers. EPub reading programs get around that problem in ways that standard HTML readers just don't.) Word-processing files, whether DOC or RTF or WPD, need special software to open, and while there's plenty of free, open-source software, it's all *editing* as well as viewing software; the cat walks on your keyboard and half your book vanishes.

EPub looks like its winning the format wars; the DRM wars are likely to smash around for a while until customers get annoyed enough for mass bootlegging, like they did with music DRM, and publishers have to remove it. (I expect this to take longer than it did with music; people don't read as much as they listen to music. And book publishers, unlike music publishers, have never thought of two weeks as long enough to overturn a top title's popularity; they're used to having more time to think about market trends.)

cmdahler
02-20-2010, 05:55 PM
PDF could be a strong contender--but only if ebook publishers start formatting PDFs for different sized screens and make sure to advertise them that way.

The way Adobe could really get a lock on the whole market would be to rewrite the PDF standard so one file could include multiple versions of the same document. Then a single PDF file could have the document crafted with three different point sizes, and magnifying the book would just leap you to the same place in the document at a larger font size. Of course, publishers would have to also craft different PDFs for the various screen sizes, but really, that's not that much work. Anyone with a good working knowledge of InDesign or TeX could do all that in a day or two and make everything look quite nice. Not that this idea is going to happen, of course, but it would be a good way of controlling typography while still leaving the user with choices in text size.

Elfwreck
02-20-2010, 06:07 PM
Of course, publishers would have to also craft different PDFs for the various screen sizes, but really, that's not that much work.

You are aware you're talking about the publishers who release ebooks with metadata indicating the title is "0689865384_INT" or "Microsoft Word - Sc_Sc_SpareParts.rtf" (that's a PDF; the title was apparently grabbed from the original during conversion) or "mill_9780345519399_2p_all_r1.qxp:8p insert template," right?

They've yet to really acknowledge that their books are being read on computers, much less that screen sizes are different from print book sizes.

BillSmithBooks
02-20-2010, 06:45 PM
Macs don't come with Notepad or Internet Explorer. Neither do Linux boxes.

All ebook formats need "special software" to read them; a few types are readable by software that comes with most operating systems, but that doesn't mean it's not separate from the OS itself. EPub is no less accessible than mobi or PDF or RTF. (More accessible than mobi; there's no mobi plugin for Firefox.)

Epub, being HTML in a wrapper, is set to become the worldwide dominant ebook format because the nonDRM'd form is easy to edit with software that almost everyone has, and it's (relatively) easy to create new software to read or edit it.

PDF could be a strong contender--but only if ebook publishers start formatting PDFs for different sized screens and make sure to advertise them that way. As long as they're insisting on the PDF looking like the print version, it'll only view properly on large screens (with a lot of extra wasted space), and most people won't be able make the jump to treating it like a real book: something that lets a reader enjoy absorbing the content and ignoring the container.

TXT is a lousy ebook format; it doesn't have enough formatting options to allow that to happen. HTML has the formatting options, but without a wrapper like epub, can't contain pictures or custom fonts or some aspects of CSS unless a whole set of files are transferred at once. Raw, single-file HTML suffers from lack of control: you can't know what the reader's default settings are so you can't format the book to look right on their screen. (Full-width text on a full-size monitor is hard to read. A narrower reading area is good for full screen; problem for smaller readers. EPub reading programs get around that problem in ways that standard HTML readers just don't.) Word-processing files, whether DOC or RTF or WPD, need special software to open, and while there's plenty of free, open-source software, it's all *editing* as well as viewing software; the cat walks on your keyboard and half your book vanishes.

EPub looks like its winning the format wars; the DRM wars are likely to smash around for a while until customers get annoyed enough for mass bootlegging, like they did with music DRM, and publishers have to remove it. (I expect this to take longer than it did with music; people don't read as much as they listen to music. And book publishers, unlike music publishers, have never thought of two weeks as long enough to overturn a top title's popularity; they're used to having more time to think about market trends.)

I largely agree with much of what you wrote above, but just wanted to clarify an early point:

EVERY currently shipping OS (Mac, Linux or Win) comes with a web browser, whether it's IE, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, or Safari. They can read HTML ebooks as a single file right out of the box.

MOST OSes ship with a Zip utility built in, so most can read multiple-file ebooks or ones with embedded images right out of the box.

How many PCs (Win, Linux or Mac) will ship with a dedicated ebook reader program? A handful.

How many PCs ship with dedicated ebook reading software that can handle DRMd Epub? ZERO.

Every PC shipped with an OS in the past 15 years has shipped with a browser pre-installed and most have come with zip pre-installed.

Most DRM'd ebook readers can't run on anything older than an XP machine, but there are still millions of them in use. But all of these older PCs--which are more likely to be owned by people of limited income or which are probably backup machines for kids, etc.--CAN read HTML ebooks...as can previously mentioned XBoxes, Wiis, Playstation 3, Win CE devices, the ITablet/IPhone/IPodTouch and the Kindle (which both have built in web browsers), as can smart phones, Blackberries and...well, it'd be quicker to list the devices that can't read HTML.

I am a Linux user. To the best of my knowledge (which is admitted limited :) ) there is no software that allows me to read DRMd ebooks without WINE. Granted, I know that Linux is a tiny percentage of the market and publishers need not accommodate everyone, but I think it backs up my point, especially as Linux derivates will become more and more common (which it will as cheap netbooks and smartbooks proliferate).

We are a couple of years away from $100 netbooks (actually, they're already here, but a year, maybe two from mainstream $100 netbooks). At most 3-4 years from $50 netbooks you buy at RiteAid right next to the cheap digital cameras. Almost all of them will run Chrome, Android, Linux or some other Linux variant...none of which are supported by a DRMd ebook reader and so none of which will be accessible to the B&N, Amazon or SONY stores.

I know I'm beating a dead horse, but I believe this is a very significant issue affecting accessibility for these ebooks and their widespread acceptance...and issues that will play a huge issue in the future of ebook publishing.

frabjous
02-20-2010, 07:12 PM
Bill, again, please separate the format from the DRM. DRM sucks. We all know that. But none of that will affect the viability of the ePub format generally.

Some people have *strange* tastes. :) I'm more interested in making sure the story is readable and enjoyable-when the typography becomes more important than the story... Well, let's just say that PDF has it's place but as a standard for electronic novels is *not* 'it'.


What do you mean? PDFs are in general much more readable than ePubs are. It's important to have good typography mainly because bad typgraphy detracts from readability -- I find it very distracting trying to read something in ADE, for example, which makes even well made ePubs look atrocious.

PDF only has a bad reputation in the ebook crowd because most PDFs currently in existence were made for A4 or letter sized paper, which doesn't fit on their ebook reader. Of course, a file not made with ereading in mind isn't going to good for ereading. But that's not a problem with the format. PDFs actually made to be ebooks, formatted for device screens, are awesome.

No, they're not as portable, which is why I hope in the future ePub renderers get better typography.

K-Thom
02-20-2010, 08:00 PM
PDFs are in general much more readable than ePubs are. It's important to have good typography mainly because bad typgraphy detracts from readability

No they're not. THE most important to qualify as a "good" eBook format is readability. Not typography! On any screen, in any given resolution, with any given font. And PDF sure does not qualify.

If you're into typography buy them printed books.

delphidb96
02-20-2010, 08:36 PM
Bill, again, please separate the format from the DRM. DRM sucks. We all know that. But none of that will affect the viability of the ePub format generally.



What do you mean? PDFs are in general much more readable than ePubs are. It's important to have good typography mainly because bad typgraphy detracts from readability -- I find it very distracting trying to read something in ADE, for example, which makes even well made ePubs look atrocious.

PDF only has a bad reputation in the ebook crowd because most PDFs currently in existence were made for A4 or letter sized paper, which doesn't fit on their ebook reader. Of course, a file not made with ereading in mind isn't going to good for ereading. But that's not a problem with the format. PDFs actually made to be ebooks, formatted for device screens, are awesome.

No, they're not as portable, which is why I hope in the future ePub renderers get better typography.

Design a PDF-formatted ebook that I can download and read on a 240x240 pixel mono-LCD display, a 640x480 3.5" color-LCD display, a 600x800 6" grayscale e-ink display and a 21" flat-panel monitor at 1650X1050 pixels - AND have it be an enjoyable experience (all as a single file - no cheating by forcing me to download multiple files, nor by choosing a single font size that displays HUGE on the 21" and microscopic on the 240x240 display) and I'll agree with you. Can't be done.

Derek

frabjous
02-20-2010, 08:41 PM
No they're not. THE most important to qualify as a "good" eBook format is readability.

Good typography and readability are the same thing. The key to good typography is to make the eyes flow, and eliminate distracting inconsistent whitespaces, and so on.

Compare this (mobi on a Kindle):

http://people.umass.edu/phil592w-klement/misc/kindle-overbar.gif

To this (ePub in ADE):

http://people.umass.edu/phil592w-klement/misc/imade.png

To this (PDF):

http://people.umass.edu/phil592w-klement/misc/latex2.png

If you're telling me that you prefer one of the former two, and think it is more "readable", I can only think you're being disingenuous.

And the source used to create that PDF could be used to produce multiple PDFs of various sizes formatted for various devices. In fact, I made that PDF, and made six different versions, for different sized paper/devices.

What I want is an ePub rendered that can make shot #2 look like shot #3 on the fly, which is certainly possible.

DawnFalcon
02-20-2010, 08:41 PM
I hope in the future ePub renderers get better typography.

It's XHTML. There's no difference between what you can do with any web page and ePub. Blame publishers lazyness, not "ePub". (Or blame how hard it is to do proper layouts in XHTML, which is entirely down to the W3C...)

Frabjous, looks like you need to embed the appropriate font. Or use MathML, which some ePub readers already support, and looks to be standardised fairly soon.

kennyc
02-20-2010, 09:16 PM
No they're not. THE most important to qualify as a "good" eBook format is readability. Not typography! On any screen, in any given resolution, with any given font. And PDF sure does not qualify.

If you're into typography buy them printed books.

Agreed. I avoid pdfs like the plague.

frabjous
02-20-2010, 11:32 PM
It's XHTML. There's no difference between what you can do with any web page and ePub. Blame publishers lazyness, not "ePub". (Or blame how hard it is to do proper layouts in XHTML, which is entirely down to the W3C...)

Frabjous, looks like you need to embed the appropriate font. Or use MathML, which some ePub readers already support, and looks to be standardised fairly soon.

Dawn, who the heck are you talking to? Please read my posts.


As of now, PDF is still my preferred format, since it's the only way to get proper typography in ebooks, like kerning and ligatures and end-of-line hyphenation, or to properly typeset mathematics or other formal symbolisms in a robust way. But in principle, I think once ePub supports MathML, SVG images, and gets typographically richer rendering software, it'll eventually match or surpass PDF in my estimation.


... don't confuse the file format with the engine that renders it. There's nothing about the HTML format that prohibits getting output as nice as one gets from running latex on its mark-up language. ... The fact that we don't get [good typography] from the ePub software on our readers isn't a fault of the ePub format, it's the fault of the software used to render it ...



What I want is an ePub rendered that can make shot #2 look like shot #3 on the fly, which is certainly possible.


The point I was making was about typography, not about the ePub format. Everything I've said so far has been pro-ePub. I just mentioned that currently my favorite format is PDF, but that once ePub gets better support for MathML and typographically superior rendering it may surpass PDF in my estimation.

I just get tired of hearing people who don't know what they're talking about bash PDF, when it's unquestionably true that right now PDF offers things ePub doesn't. I hope in the future that changes.

But I should say that just embedding fonts won't do the trick, since you still won't get the kinds of features I was talking about. And comparing the possibilities to websites is hardly relevant. Most websites have worse typography than ADE. (Indeed I worry it's lowering people's standards.)

But which ePub renderers already support MathML, out of curiosity? I don't know of any offhand.

Agreed. I avoid pdfs like the plague.
Given the increased portability of ePub, I can see why you'd want to acquire an ePub originally, but that's no reason to avoid PDF. You do realize that you can make a PDF with any font, any sized font, any justification, anything else? Indeed, I think it would be great if booksellers sold ePubs, and that the software on your home computer would take that ePub and convert it to a nice PDF using your customized settings before loading it onto your reader. In fact, only DRM prevents that now, in light of, e.g. jellby's wonderful epub2pdf script. (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62939)

DawnFalcon
02-21-2010, 12:32 AM
I was making the point that you're basically looking a web page. You can do all sorts of pretty things which are going to help some books lay things out properly. Of course, that does require you move away from print layouts.

And Bookworm (http://bookworm.oreilly.com/) supports MathML, I believe. Along with things like flash embedding for videos and so on.

Consider this, actually, for future potential: <canvas> tags in eBooks. It'd be possible to, for instance, embed math problems in the book text (And show text based on the current state of the problem - explaining common errors, for example, as well as say "click here for hint" areas, etc. etc.).

cmdahler
02-21-2010, 01:59 AM
They've yet to really acknowledge that their books are being read on computers, much less that screen sizes are different from print book sizes.

Yes, I'm aware, that's why I said "not that it's going to happen." In a perfect world...

cmdahler
02-21-2010, 02:15 AM
No they're not. THE most important to qualify as a "good" eBook format is readability. Not typography!

Wow, that's just a pretty darn silly thing to say. You're obviously unaware of what typography is for. It's not to create pretty-looking art. You must be thinking about hand-drawn parchment pages from a monastery with gold-painted drawings in the margins. Good typography is what makes text readable, silly. Good typography is completely unnoticeable - that's the whole point to it. If it weren't important at all, then why aren't you reading your books on your reader in a monospaced typewriter font? You may not be aware of the fact, but you are reading text that has been typeset even when you're just reading this post: you're just not reading text that has been typeset well. But even done as poorly as a web browser renders it, it's still better than reading monospaced 12 pt. Courier in ALL CAPS, right? And if you're going to read a book, which is obviously something in which text is the whole point, you might as well do the typesetting as well as possible, which is not something most of today's portable standards handle with panache. Using PDF-generated output from a well-designed typesetting engine is the only way currently to get typeset text that approaches professional quality. You're confusing reading a PDF that was generated for a 8.5x11 page on your tiny ereader (and of course that's not going to look good) with a PDF that was generated for your particular screen size from InDesign or TeX: and there the difference between even a well-crafted ePub and the PDF is going to be stark and clear. It's like going from an old TV to HD on a 52" flat panel in one step. Obviously PDF doesn't work for portability, and hopefully the HTML rendering engines in readers will eventually catch up to what InDesign and TeX can produce in a PDF. Until then, however, you won't catch me putting some crappy ePub on my reader: I'd rather spend a couple hours pouring the text into a InDesign template and outputting a very nice book, thank you very much. If you're happy reading your ePub or Mobi crap, good on ya.

HarryT
02-21-2010, 03:38 AM
DRM IS very significant to the disucssion since it prevents users from backing up their booksbe.

I'm sorry - how does DRM "prevent you from backing up your books"? An eBook is just a file; it can be backed up, regardless of what it contains.

AlexBell
02-21-2010, 03:41 AM
For what it is worth I also think that ePub is the format for the future. But (at least on my ECO Reader) there are still some things that I'd like to do with ePub books but can't and yet can do with mobipocket books - change font and change between justified and right aligned text for example.

Perhaps other ePub readers can do them, but I'd still very much like to see these capabilities on my ECO Reader for ePub books.

Regards, Alex

HarryT
02-21-2010, 04:17 AM
For what it is worth I also think that ePub is the format for the future. But (at least on my ECO Reader) there are still some things that I'd like to do with ePub books but can't and yet can do with mobipocket books - change font and change between justified and right aligned text for example.


That's a feature of your reader, not of the format. The CyBook Opus, for example, allows you to switch between left and full justification, and to choose your font for an ePub file (provided that the file doesn't "hard code" these items). Don't confuse what the format can do with the limitations of a particular reading application!

pdurrant
02-21-2010, 04:41 AM
I'm sorry - how does DRM "prevent you from backing up your books"? An eBook is just a file; it can be backed up, regardless of what it contains.

A backup is no good if it can't be read. With DRM, if the device the ebook is authorised for breaks, and the authorisation server is no more, no amount of backups will do you any good.

Two instances recently spring to mind:


Overdrive dropping Fictionwise
Adobe dropping support of older DRM servers

HarryT
02-21-2010, 04:45 AM
A backup is no good if it can't be read. With DRM, if the device the ebook is authorised for breaks, and the authorisation server is no more, no amount of backups will do you any good.

Two instances recently spring to mind:


Overdrive dropping Fictionwise
Adobe dropping support of older DRM servers


That's a different issue, Paul, from "not being able to make backups". You're talking about being able to read the book on a device other than the one you bought it for. With the greatest respect, that has absolutely nothing to do with being able (or unable) to backup the original file. That is a simple archiving process.

pdurrant
02-21-2010, 05:25 AM
With the greatest respect

Always a bad sign!

that has absolutely nothing to do with being able (or unable) to backup the original file. That is a simple archiving process.

We are clearly talking about different things. Of course, bytes are bytes and can be backed up for later retrieval when the original bytes get corrupted or lost.

BillSmithBooks argument (with which I agree) is that with DRMed ebooks this backup process is pointless - it is not a true backup in the event of data loss. You can get the bytes back, but not necessarily the data.

For example, suppose you have some DRMed Mobipocket books bought from Fictionwise for your Mobipocket reader installation on your PC. Your PC suffers a catastrophic hard disk failure, which also takes out the motherboard. You do, of course, have a good backup of all your user data, including your ebooks. But you have to re-install Mobipocket Reader. On a new motherboard/hard disk. Which gets you a new PID.

Oh dear, all your ebook backups won't work with this new PID. And you can no-longer re-download half of them from Fictionwise, because they were from the overdrive server, which no longer works with Fictionwise.

DRMed ebook == no backup possible.

One reason why I didn't buy DRMed ebooks for several years, until a certain shadowy individual posted some python scripts...

Kevin2960
02-21-2010, 05:32 AM
I know this idea i9s very Left Field and all that, and it's a rather retrograde idea, but for sheer Readability, and Format simplicity, How about using ........ RTF .....Yeah I know it's Wacky, but just think about it, ........ To my very poor eyes, SIMPLE is always Best !

EowynCarter
02-21-2010, 06:29 AM
ePub is already THE standard. Of course, Amazon has yet to realize this.
What john said.

HarryT
02-21-2010, 06:32 AM
We are clearly talking about different things.

We are. You are talking about transferring your books to a new device. I am talking about getting your books back in the result of (say) a disk crash on your PC. That, to me, is what "making a backup" means. Transferring your books to a device that you may buy at some future date is indeed important, but it has nothing to do (IMHO) with "making backups".

K-Thom
02-21-2010, 07:19 AM
@ frabjous & cmdahler:

You both still don't get it, do you? Stick to books, really. Honestly. Do yourself that favor.

Jellby
02-21-2010, 07:35 AM
We are. You are talking about transferring your books to a new device. I am talking about getting your books back in the result of (say) a disk crash on your PC. That, to me, is what "making a backup" means. Transferring your books to a device that you may buy at some future date is indeed important, but it has nothing to do (IMHO) with "making backups".

There's short-term backups and long-term backups. For short-term backups DRM is not a problem, because if you can read it now, you can read it next week. For long-term backups DRM is death, because it's not in your hands to make sure they will be useful in, say, 5 years.

GhostHawk
02-21-2010, 08:47 AM
Kevin as much as I truly hate to say it, I agree with you.

*.rtf is my preferred choice.

DawnFalcon
02-21-2010, 08:55 AM
That's a different issue

No it's not. Without the ability to ensure it'll work, you might as well take a peanut and call it the backup. You'd be nuts to rely on it, either way!

Pardoz
02-21-2010, 08:57 AM
Sorry, but ePub already HAS become the defacto standard.

That's all down to how you define "de facto standard", though. In e-publishing, it's the "de facto standard" for...what? 30% or so, depending on the estimate? of the market. If you're basing it on real-world usage, the de facto standard is .azw/.mobi, because that's currently the most widely used. It'll be interesting to see what impact Apple's entry into the market has.

kennyc
02-21-2010, 09:07 AM
That's all down to how you define "de facto standard", though. In e-publishing, it's the "de facto standard" for...what? 30% or so, depending on the estimate? of the market. If you're basing it on real-world usage, the de facto standard is .azw/.mobi, because that's currently the most widely used. It'll be interesting to see what impact Apple's entry into the market has.


Is it? Do you have numbers? I'm skeptical.

frabjous
02-21-2010, 09:46 AM
@ frabjous & cmdahler:

You both still don't get it, do you? Stick to books, really. Honestly. Do yourself that favor.

Was there an argument in there? I haven't a clue what you're trying to say. You're telling me not to use ebooks? Why not? There are lots of programs that will convert fairly easily any ebook format the kind of typography I like. It's not difficult. In fact, I already do this. Only DRM stands in my way of doing it with everything I read. With a small upgrade in processing power, surely viable soon, this software could be put on our readers. Experiments are already being done for using latex on ebook readers to reflow on the fly, but well. The latex algorithm is decades old, and very efficient. It, or something like it, could be adapted to handle almost any file format, including ePub.

Why are you advocating in favor of ugly, unreadable books?

*.rtf is my preferred choice.

The .rtf format has its uses, but it is clearly unsuitable for much beyond the simplest of books.

BillSmithBooks
02-21-2010, 10:01 AM
pdurrant: Thank you! You clarified my point exactly.

HarryT: quote: "I'm sorry - how does DRM "prevent you from backing up your books"? An eBook is just a file; it can be backed up, regardless of what it contains."

My jaw hit the floor.

I'm confused:

Do you really not understand how being unable to decrypt a DRM file (even though you can theoretically back it up) is an impediment to the book being usable?

Or are you deliberately misinterpreting my point to avoid refuting the argument?

Non-open formats are going to be a significant issue to long-term usage and adoption of ebooks. Yes, yes, I know, epub is an open format...but that doesn't mean ANYTHING when the epub book is shrink-wrapped in DRM to prevent the average person from using the book in the manner they see fit.

To the average person who does not bother to look into the details, the epub format will be blamed. If publishing does not get its act together, in the consumer's mind the equation will be "ebook = crippled, tied to a specific machine, can't use on other devices I own, time to go search the torrents."

Publishing refuses to acknowledge that, I really don't want to see it happen because it hurts everyone, but that is what IS going to happen if publishers don't get it.

And Epub, open standard and all that, is irrelevant--and will be blamed for this mess, even though it is DRM's fault--if you can't back it up, read it on your other devices, and use the book you bought (and not licensed, no matter how much publishers want to cram the word license down our throats).

I would LOVE to be able to decouple the Epub discussion from the DRM discussion -- and if you read my earlier posts, I do distinguish between a plain vanilla epub reader and a DRM-enabled epub reader -- but I CANNOT at this time because the publishers WILL NOT ALLOW IT.

It's like trying to discuss bacon while ignoring the fact that it comes from pigs. At this time the two are intertwined and big publishing shows no signs of changing that. THAT is harmful to readers and harmful to the original poster's objective:

"about the ebook format that would be the standard in next future. I know it its a stupid question, but, i would buy an ereader, and i want to be sure it will support the 'standard' of ebook."

The main issue is, as I see it, "I want a way to read ebooks now and in the future. What is the best way to do that?"

I've posted my lengthy arguments in favor of plain old HTML -- and I do support non-DRMd epub -- but the only argument shooting down HTML is "DRMd Epubs CAN be backed up." But if you can't actually read them after backing them up, the point is irrelevant.

LCF
02-21-2010, 10:03 AM
Depends on which part of the world you're talking about.In Russia, fb2 is the de facto standard.

:dtw: for FB2! It's not only Russia! :)

I know, I know, this might not be the eBook format, but there are whole countries, where this is pretty much the only available eBook format.

Pardoz
02-21-2010, 10:10 AM
Is it? Do you have numbers? I'm skeptical.

Lots of numbers. Problem is, like 87.2498% of all marketing statistics they were made up on the spot. As far as I know nobody is actually releasing real sales numbers, which makes accurate measurement tricky.

The lowest estimates I've seen of the Kindle's market share put it at around 60% of the market, with some skyrocketing as high as 90%, which seems rather excessive. I don't think there's any real doubt it's the current 800 lb gorilla, though - if you look outside the geek blogs "kindle" is becoming a generic word for "electronic book", which is usually a fair indicator of market dominance. Analysis base on anecdote isn't much help either - virtually nobody I know uses Internet Explorer, but that doesn't mean it isn't the market dominant Web browser, regardless of how well it holds up to paper standards.

kennyc
02-21-2010, 10:13 AM
Lots of numbers. Problem is, like 87.2498% of all marketing statistics they were made up on the spot. As far as I know nobody is actually releasing real sales numbers, which makes accurate measurement tricky.

The lowest estimates I've seen of the Kindle's market share put it at around 60% of the market, with some skyrocketing as high as 90%, which seems rather excessive. I don't think there's any real doubt it's the current 800 lb gorilla, though - if you look outside the geek blogs "kindle" is becoming a generic word for "electronic book", which is usually a fair indicator of market dominance. Analysis base on anecdote isn't much help either - virtually nobody I know uses Internet Explorer, but that doesn't mean it isn't the market dominant Web browser, regardless of how well it holds up to paper standards.


But this isn't about hardware, it's about books sales in a particular format. Those are the numbers I'd be interesting in seeing to back up your statement of mobi being on top.

Pardoz
02-21-2010, 10:13 AM
Yes, yes, I know, epub is an open format...but that doesn't mean ANYTHING when the epub book is shrink-wrapped in DRM to prevent the average person from using the book in the manner they see fit.

Thus why Amazon probably won't be adopting it any time soon - the CS nightmare of trying to explain to the customer why their device which "supports epub, it says so in the ad!" won't read the book they just bought from Sony, or B&N, or the Apple bookstore.

As a container design, .epub is great. As a standard file format it's a total disaster, because there isn't one, practically speaking.

Pardoz
02-21-2010, 10:17 AM
But this isn't about hardware, it's about books sales in a particular format. Those are the numbers I'd be interesting in seeing to back up your statement of mobi being on top.

Again, no solid numbers to be had. Plus, people who are educated, intelligent, and good-looking enough to disinfect DRM aside, you can't really separate hardware from book sales in the current market, and I really doubt that the Sony bookstore moves more books than the Kindle store does.

BillSmithBooks
02-21-2010, 10:20 AM
RTF: Actually, I personally like RTF for much of the same reason I like HTML: It can be read on a variety of word processing programs and most OSs (but not all) come equipped with a compatible word processor: Word, WordPad, AbiWord, OpenOffice, etc.

The problem with RTF is that image files embedded in RTFs are HUGE.

But RTF is great for text only books.

I also like txt (you can do formatting notes, just clarify them in introductory text, like brackets mean /italic/ and asterikseses :D mean *bold* ... but again, not so good for anything with illustrative matter.

I've gotten used to PDF...but the fact that PDF is generally built with a specific screen size in mind means that you often get wonky results if reading on a non-standard screen and I often have to resize to suit my screen to the point where reading a PDF is a constant combination of scrolling and clicking, scrolling and clicking...plus load times for new pages tend to be fairly slow on my PCs PDF reader. PDF is tolerable, but it really is designed to be printed out for the most part, at least in my experience.

HarryT
02-21-2010, 10:29 AM
I'm confused:

Do you really not understand how being unable to decrypt a DRM file (even though you can theoretically back it up) is an impediment to the book being usable?


I'm sorry that you're having difficulty understanding this. It is a very simple concept.

You can take any ebook file and back it up to any storage medium. There. You have backed it up, thus refuting your claim that "DRM prevents you from being able to back it up".

Backing up has nothing whatsoever to do with being able to use it on some future device you might own in 10 years time. It really doesn't help anyone to try to conflate these two entirely separate topics.

kennyc
02-21-2010, 10:57 AM
Again, no solid numbers to be had. Plus, people who are educated, intelligent, and good-looking enough to disinfect DRM aside, you can't really separate hardware from book sales in the current market, and I really doubt that the Sony bookstore moves more books than the Kindle store does.

I don't doubt that either, but overall sales world-wide (which amazon only recently entered) is more what I'm interested in. Overall sales (by all bookstores) of ebup (or other formats) vs mobi.

BillSmithBooks
02-21-2010, 11:01 AM
I'm sorry that you're having difficulty understanding this. It is a very simple concept.

You can take any ebook file and back it up to any storage medium. There. You have backed it up, thus refuting your claim that "DRM prevents you from being able to back it up".

Backing up has nothing whatsoever to do with being able to use it on some future device you might own in 10 years time. It really doesn't help anyone to try to conflate these two entirely separate topics.

Um, no, I'm not having difficulty understanding your point.

I was trying to, erm, politely point out it seems to me that this argument is spurious.

It seems similar to when cereal manufacturers promote sugar-laden breakfast cereals as "healthy" because they have extra calcium...so, sure, in theory you'll have strong bones if the diabetes doesn't get you first. But in today's marketplace, you don't have the option of getting one without the other.

I'm not trying to be a troll, really, and I understand we disagree on the significance of this point. I respect that you disagree with me.

But right now and for the foreseeable future, the two issues CANNOT be separated and I think my argument is much more in line with the views the average consumer will have as they get more familiar with ebooks. Already there are lots of grumblings about being "locked in" with specific hardware and vendors because they cannot port their "open format" epub books over to other devices.

Not only that, a print library can last decades. Will anyone have that same Sony or Nook reader more than 4-5 years down the road? So being concerned about compatibility a decade or so down the road is a VERY significant issue.

Now, if tomorrow, B&N, Sony, Apple, or Amazon announce they are going DRM-free, well then my primary point is rendered moot overnight (and I will be the first to rejoice at this).

But until then, this is a significant obstacle.

Pardoz
02-21-2010, 11:12 AM
I don't doubt that either, but overall sales world-wide (which amazon only recently entered) is more what I'm interested in. Overall sales (by all bookstores) of ebup (or other formats) vs mobi.

Well, it's really only recently that e-reading devices have taken off world-wide - this is a pure guess, but I'd suspect the US is still the market leader, in terms of e-reader adoption, by a large enough margin that the global numbers won't look too different from the US numbers. That's subject to rapid change, of course.

"Standard" aside, .epub is probably a decent solution for long-term viability, since even if the format itself continues to splinter to the point of unusability, once you disinfect it you can pull out the source XHTML, and that will still be useful long after the various container formats have gone the way of .lzh.

Elfwreck
02-21-2010, 12:12 PM
I'm sorry that you're having difficulty understanding this. It is a very simple concept.

You can take any ebook file and back it up to any storage medium. There. You have backed it up, thus refuting your claim that "DRM prevents you from being able to back it up".

Backing up has nothing whatsoever to do with being able to use it on some future device you might own in 10 years time. It really doesn't help anyone to try to conflate these two entirely separate topics.

It's not backed up if it's not readable. An unreadable "backed up" file is a lot like "storing" a car by squishing it into a 4' cube... sure, the parts are all there, but nobody sane thinks it's still a car.

The backup problems aren't limited to a future device. A hard disc crash can result in a need to re-install the OS and other software--which makes the books not readable, even on the same device.

Ebooks are often sold with a notice that "you need to install our software to read this ebook." They are often *not* sold with a notice that says, "if we shut down our servers, which we may do at any point we decide it's financially useful, you will no longer be able to acquire the software-verification you need to read this book."

(Would love to see a lawsuit insisting that DRM removal is legal on the grounds that companies with DRM servers retain the right to shut them off at any time, and removing DRM before that point is the only way to secure access to one's data.)

kennyc
02-21-2010, 12:31 PM
...

(Would love to see a lawsuit insisting that DRM removal is legal on the grounds that companies with DRM servers retain the right to shut them off at any time, and removing DRM before that point is the only way to secure access to one's data.)

:2thumbsup :2thumbsup :2thumbsup

cmdahler
02-21-2010, 12:44 PM
@ frabjous & cmdahler:

You both still don't get it, do you? Stick to books, really. Honestly. Do yourself that favor.

Right, because expecting improvement has never benefited anyone. Tell you what. I'll keep reading my books on my reader in the best possible way available to me at any given time. You go read your ebooks in the format that exists today and never change, ok? Since today's tech is obviously acceptable to you, if the rendering engine behind your epub is improved at some point to produce better output, you personally will have zero interest in upgrading, right? Because you have no interest in improvement, right? Right, that's what I thought.

Kevin2960
02-22-2010, 08:10 PM
Kevin as much as I truly hate to say it, I agree with you.

*.rtf is my preferred choice.

Hey why so difficult to agree with me ???

But semi-seriously, i realy do think RTF wold be best !!!

K-Thom
02-22-2010, 08:18 PM
Don't fret. RTF really is a fine format for storage. :) And the most versatile to convert into all different kinds of eBooks formats.

Maybe RTF is more of a "proto-format" than an eBook format itself.

JSWolf
02-22-2010, 08:49 PM
Good typography and readability are the same thing. The key to good typography is to make the eyes flow, and eliminate distracting inconsistent whitespaces, and so on.

Compare this (mobi on a Kindle):

http://people.umass.edu/phil592w-klement/misc/kindle-overbar.gif

To this (ePub in ADE):

http://people.umass.edu/phil592w-klement/misc/imade.png

To this (PDF):

http://people.umass.edu/phil592w-klement/misc/latex2.png

If you're telling me that you prefer one of the former two, and think it is more "readable", I can only think you're being disingenuous.

And the source used to create that PDF could be used to produce multiple PDFs of various sizes formatted for various devices. In fact, I made that PDF, and made six different versions, for different sized paper/devices.

What I want is an ePub rendered that can make shot #2 look like shot #3 on the fly, which is certainly possible.

Now take a look at this which is ePub and it looks better then all three of your samples.

http://img684.imageshack.us/img684/118/48889111.jpg

This shows that ePub can do it if you bother to do it.

JSWolf
02-22-2010, 09:03 PM
Personally, I will not buy an eBook with DRM if I cannot strip the DRM. I find a lot of eBooks are rather poorly formatted. And all it takes to clean them up is some work with the CSS (for ePub). And once I have a well formatted ePub, I could then take the eBook and convert to MS Reade or Mobipocket for good looking versions. I'm not sure if eReader has been fixed up yet in Calibre. The one time I tried it, it looked like a standard eReader format which to me was nasty and would not be a good reading experience.

So really, there is no reason not to make good looking eBooks except for laziness and/or stupidity or both.

DawnFalcon
02-22-2010, 09:08 PM
Now take a look at this which is ePub and it looks better then all three of your samples.

This shows that ePub can do it if you bother to do it.

MathML or SVG, for reference?

JSWolf
02-22-2010, 09:13 PM
MathML or SVG, for reference?

Both actually. Mostly MathML with just the graph being SVG. And well spotted BTW.

frabjous
02-22-2010, 11:20 PM
Now take a look at this which is ePub and it looks better then all three of your samples.

No, it doesn't. First, notice that pair kerning is not used. Next, notice that it doesn't have f-series ligatures. Finally, it doesn't do end of line hyphenation. Notice that you've widened the line, which diminishes the effect of inconsistent whitespace created by lack of hyphenation. But there's no way I can use lines that long on my reader, at least not in portrait mode. But it in the right size for my reader (as my examples all were), and the problem would probably become more apparent. No footnotes either.

The only thing more impressive about it is that it uses a more complicated math example. But that's not the issue. Duplicating that in a PDF is still much easier.

I personally don't think that Computer/Latin Modern font isn't very good for most electronic displays, but font choice is a matter of taste.

But also, what are you using to render this? Not ADE, surely, nor the ePub renderer on a Sony 505, which won't do justified text.

How is the math done? SVG? MathML? If so, then it won't be supported by most renderers. Remember, my problem was never with the ePub format, but the renderers for it. If the renderers I had access to supported those things, I'd be fine with ePub. To repeat myself for the third time, I expect that I'll eventually prefer ePub to PDF, just not now.

(Maybe I could get something like that on my Sony if the entire thing were an SVG, but that's gotta be a lot of work. I wouldn't know how to do it without using PDF as an intermediary.)

Hamlet53
02-23-2010, 12:34 PM
Sort of getting back to the original thread question. I certainly hope EPUB becomes the standard. DRM is, somewhat, a separate issue. To me it seems DRM is currently being used for two purposes; one that makes total sense and one that doesn't. DRM used to assure protection of copyrights and to assure that authors and publishers get fairly compensated for distribution of their books, even in ebook format, I have no problem with. Used to allow ebook distributors to force people to use only the ebook viewer that the distributor sells doesn't.

It is easiest for me to illustrate with an example. We all have an ATF book. Mine is Seven Japanese Tales by Junchiro Tanizaki (English translation of course). My paperback copy has been read so many times over the years that the pages are falling out of the binding. So I have decided to buy it in ebook format.

Now the original in Japanese is I am sure long out of copyright, but the English translation that has been published is still under copyright. So I would have no problem paying a reasonable price for the ebook version. I was in correspondence with Howard Hibbit, the man who did the translation, several years ago with some questions and he was very helpful. He deserves to be compensated with royalties for the effort of translation.

Owning a Sony reader my first thought was to search the Sony Store. No luck there. A general search of known ebook sources as well as a Google search revealed only one source—Amazon. And that in Amazon's proprietary format. The problem I see with Amazon's dominance in the book market is a vertical monopoly in the making. Want a less than common ebook title. You must buy it from Amazon. Want to view it on an ebook reader then buy the Kindle.

Now I will get Seven Japanese Tales in EPUB format with the ability to read it on my Sony Digital Edition, and on any other reader I might purchase in the future! I just would have preferred to do so in a 'strictly legit' fashion. That is why I hope EPUB becomes the universal format viewable on all ebook readers.

Sorry for being so long winded.

drmathprog
02-23-2010, 01:38 PM
I'm a huge fan of LaTeX, and think it would be great of a rendering engine like LaTeX were used, but don't confuse the file format with the engine that renders it. There's nothing about the HTML format that prohibits getting output as nice as one gets from running latex on its mark-up language. ePub is not a wrapper around an "engine", but a wrapper around some mark-up code. If a wrapper were put around LaTeX code, that wouldn't be an engine either.

Consider for example, Prince XML (http://princexml.com/) -- which takes HTML and XHTML as input and creates a PDF, much like LaTeX takes its mark-up source and created DVI or PDF, and the resulting PDF uses end-of-line hyphens (in fact, using the TeX algorithm), ligatures, kerning. The fact that we don't get that from the ePub software on our readers isn't a fault of the ePub format, it's the fault of the software used to render it, which knock on wood, will get better in the future. And they can port as much of LaTeX's engine as they want. The differences in the mark-up languages are trivial. MathML isn't any worse that TeX as a mark-up language. If anything it's better (though slightly less humanly readable.)

I think LaTex was invented by Leslie Lamport. Donald Knuth invented Tex. They are, of course, intimately coupled. :)

Shaggy
02-23-2010, 03:26 PM
There is no standard, and probably won't be one. You see lots of people with their own opinions on what is the best format, but the fact remains that there are many competing formats and no device/retailer supports them all.

Shaggy
02-23-2010, 03:31 PM
To me it seems DRM is currently being used for two purposes; one that makes total sense and one that doesn't. DRM used to assure protection of copyrights and to assure that authors and publishers get fairly compensated for distribution of their books, even in ebook format, I have no problem with. Used to allow ebook distributors to force people to use only the ebook viewer that the distributor sells doesn't.

DRM is useless for copy protection and preventing illegitimate uses of the content. That's just the reason they claim they use it in order to get people to accept it. The real thing DRM is meant for is controlling what their legitimate customers are allowed to do with the content. It's an attempt to strip what are otherwise legal consumer rights.

For example, DRM is much more effective at taking away fair use and first sale rights of legitimate customers than it is at preventing piracy.

mbovenka
02-23-2010, 03:38 PM
Perhaps other ePub readers can do them, but I'd still very much like to see these capabilities on my ECO Reader for ePub books.

Install OpenInkpot (it has its own forum here) on your EcoReader, which is a Hanlin V3 rebrand just like my BeBook, and you can do all of these things.

frabjous
02-23-2010, 03:54 PM
I think LaTex was invented by Leslie Lamport. Donald Knuth invented Tex. They are, of course, intimately coupled. :)

Did I say anything otherwise? I think someone else brought up Knuth. I didn't.

Strictly speaking, LaTeX is an extension to TeX that consists of a set of macros that make it easier to use, though TeX still does the typesetting. "Coupled" is too weak of a relation. LaTeX is built on top of TeX, and many if not most of the algorithms directly related to typesetting are part of plain TeX. Whether or not the LaTeX macros would be involved if the TeX engine were modified to handle ePub source mark-up, I don't know, and doubt it matters much.

jimmyrules712
02-23-2010, 04:06 PM
So I just read through this entire thread and I just have a couple of comments.

#1) Despite the fact that there seems to be a couple of heated arguments I love seeing all of the passion you guys have for ebooks haha

#2)No matter what stance you have on whatever issue you're debating one thing everyone here should be able to agree on is that the publishers (and maybe to some extent the device manufacturers and ebook sellers) are hurting / keeping this market from reaching it's potential by confusing and pissing everyone off with a dozen incompatible formats and DRMs. Honestly I don't care what the standard becomes as long as we get to one soon...

I can deal with it because I'm technologically savvy enough to stirp DRM and convert formats but for the average consumer it's hopeless.

And I understand why people feel like they can't make true backups of DRM'ed ebooks. It's because even if we have a copy of the file we don't feel like we truly have control/ownership of the thing we paid for, and some unthoughtful company out there could potentially remove (or through lack of action cause it to be removed) our ability to use it. With a non-DRMed standardized format we can have confidence that as long as we have a copy of that file we should be able to use it. Period.

clockworkzombie
02-23-2010, 04:15 PM
Backing up has nothing whatsoever to do with being able to use it on some future device you might own in 10 years time. It really doesn't help anyone to try to conflate these two entirely separate topics.


Absolutely incorrect.


I work with computers and data recovery is a major issue. There is no point in having a backup if, at the point it is needed, you cannot use the files you wish to recover.


Backing up is disaster recovery. If you are prudent you will replace your hard drive every couple of years and clone the data to the new drive. Open DRM free formats are excellent as there is nothing stopping you from opening the file when you need to do it.


Technology changes all the time and your data needs to be in a format that will allow it to change too.

Ben Thornton
02-23-2010, 04:45 PM
I bought a load of audible content that I can't now use despite having all the 1s and 0s because it was tied to a device and account that isn't easily available to me. Despite having back-ups, I cannot restore; so I think it reasonable to say that DRM is absolutely related to the ability to make a usable backup.

OT, I think that epub is likely to become the mp3 of the ebook world - the most likely to be supported format. That didn't stop AAC, OGG, that Microsoft one, FLAC etc.
I think LaTex was invented by Leslie Lamport. Donald Knuth invented Tex. They are, of course, intimately coupled. :)But is there any relationship between LaTex and Tex?

dmaul1114
02-23-2010, 04:53 PM
I think eventually DRM will die off like it did for music, then format will be pretty moot as they can all be converted easily.

For straight text--which is all I use e-books for currently, I really couldn't care less about format. I'm not a typesetter etc., text is text to me. I use .mobi now since I have a Kindle, but have no loyalty to the .mobi format or dislike of it and wish they'd switch to .epub etc. Text is text to me.

cmdahler
02-23-2010, 05:04 PM
But is there any relationship between LaTex and Tex?

LaTeX is basically a big set of TeX macros designed to make using TeX easier. If you're familiar with computer programming, TeX is like Assembly language, and LaTeX is like C or Pascal.

kennyc
02-23-2010, 05:07 PM
Absolutely incorrect.


I work with computers and data recovery is a major issue. There is no point in having a backup if, at the point it is needed, you cannot use the files you wish to recover.

..

Uh no. In this context we are not talking about restoring a computer, but simply being to make a backup copy of a file. DRM does not interfere with or prevent that from happening.

kennyc
02-23-2010, 05:08 PM
I bought a load of audible content that I can't now use despite having all the 1s and 0s because it was tied to a device and account that isn't easily available to me. Despite having back-ups, I cannot restore; so I think it reasonable to say that DRM is absolutely related to the ability to make a usable backup.

OT, I think that epub is likely to become the mp3 of the ebook world - the most likely to be supported format. That didn't stop AAC, OGG, that Microsoft one, FLAC etc.
But is there any relationship between LaTex and Tex?


google is your friend. :2thumbsup

Elfwreck
02-23-2010, 05:24 PM
Uh no. In this context we are not talking about restoring a computer, but simply being to make a backup copy of a file. DRM does not interfere with or prevent that from happening.

The only reason for having a backup is in case of data loss. Nobody needs a collection of identical, duplicate files just so they can look at them.

Computer crashes and damaged/corrupt discs are common reasons for that loss. To be useful, a backup has to work *after* a system restore.

drmathprog
02-23-2010, 05:25 PM
google is your friend. :2thumbsup

At lease when you're not talking about social networking services. :o

kennyc
02-23-2010, 05:38 PM
The only reason for having a backup is in case of data loss. Nobody needs a collection of identical, duplicate files just so they can look at them.

Computer crashes and damaged/corrupt discs are common reasons for that loss. To be useful, a backup has to work *after* a system restore.

True but again we are not talking about any of that. The initial objection as that DRM PREVENTS one from backing up the file. It simply isn't true.

And regardless of the computer if the file were transferred to the reader it was intended to be read on, it would work just fine.

fugazied
02-23-2010, 06:29 PM
By all accounts epub will be the standard and will hopefully be properly managed as features are added. Hopefully it will be better managed than standards like HTML which transition so very very slowly.

They will need to feature add faster than the transition between HTML 4 to HTML 5 which is taking years.

Elfwreck
02-23-2010, 08:41 PM
True but again we are not talking about any of that. The initial objection as that DRM PREVENTS one from backing up the file. It simply isn't true.

It prevents *useful* backups. You can store your car in a 4" cube, but you can't drive it again later. A "backup" that doesn't work when you need it is useless.

And regardless of the computer if the file were transferred to the reader it was intended to be read on, it would work just fine.

The "device" may be the computer itself. More people read ebooks on computers than on mobile devices.

dmaul1114
02-23-2010, 08:47 PM
The "device" may be the computer itself. More people read ebooks on computers than on mobile devices.

I've not used any of the PC ebook readers etc., but I'd assume it would be easy enough to tie DRM to one's account in an e-reader program, rather than a machine.

Just like DRMd songs in iTunes in the past were tied to the account and could be on 5 machines (or whatever the number was) that were tied to that account.

And there should be way to transfer the license to different machines--if there isn't already.

Example, the download games on the X-box 360. If your's breaks, they are tied to your Xbox live account. You can redownload them and play them when signed in, as well as call them up and get the licenses transferred to your new Xbox so you can play without being online and signed in.

So yeah, DRM sucks and is a hassle. But there are ways it can be made to work a bit better and not keep people who paid for something from not having access to their content when they switch machines etc.

Ben Thornton
02-23-2010, 08:55 PM
So yeah, DRM sucks and is a hassle. But there are ways it can be made to work a bit better and not keep people who paid for something from not having access to their content when they switch machines etc.But every popular form of DRM gets hacked, so in practice it's the people who pay up and follow the rules who get the worst service. Having lost content that I've paid for to DRM in the past, I get rid of it straight away if I possibly can. All sorts of schemes have been dreamt up that work in theory, but in practice they prevent legitimate, paid-up customers from accessing the content while doing nothing to stop piracy - in fact they make piracy worse (because the legitimate copies are harder to use and less useful).

dmaul1114
02-23-2010, 08:57 PM
I agree, that's why I said DRM does suck. It just hassles the legitimate users and does nothing to thwart piracy.

Was just saying some forums of DRM suck less than others. ;)

clarknova
02-23-2010, 09:00 PM
And regardless of the computer if the file were transferred to the reader it was intended to be read on, it would work just fine.
So if your device is the copy of Kindle For PC that you downloaded your book to, and you suffer a hard disk failure, replace your hard disk, recover your files from backup, and guess what? You still cannot read your file.

This is a semantics argument. If you define "backing up" as "copying to a secondary source," then yes, you can back up anything. If, however, you define "backing up" as "copying to a secondary source in case of accident or disaster with the intent of being able to recover and use the data" then DRM can and often will prevent that. Since the first definition is useless, arguing it is Devil's advocacy.

dmaul1114
02-23-2010, 09:03 PM
So if your device is the copy of Kindle For PC that you downloaded your book to, and you suffer a hard disk failure, replace your hard disk, recover your files from backup, and guess what? You still cannot read your file.


You could as you can have Kindle books on multiple machines (how many varies by book/publisher). I often have a book on my Kindle, my work desktop and my girlfriends laptop etc. So if one broke, I could download it to another machine.

I'm not sure what happens when you run out of machines to put it on. You can deregister machines you no longer have--not sure if that gives you a slot back for each book or not though. It did with iTunes back in the day, not sure with Kindle.

I'd hope you could de-register a machine, and gain access to download it to one other machine afterwards--but someone else would have to confirm that.

kennyc
02-23-2010, 09:56 PM
It prevents *useful* backups. You can store your car in a 4" cube, but you can't drive it again later. A "backup" that doesn't work when you need it is useless.



The "device" may be the computer itself. More people read ebooks on computers than on mobile devices.

It doesn't prevent a backup. What is it you don't understand about that statement?

Sheesh.

BillSmithBooks
02-23-2010, 10:36 PM
It doesn't prevent a backup. What is it you don't understand about that statement?

Sheesh.

This argument strikes me as evading the issue: "Sure you can back it up, you just can't use it."

It reminds me of the opponents of gay marriage arguing that they're not opposed to gay people getting married -- after all, a gay man is free to marry any woman he wants to. (Oh, you mean gay people want to marry *each other*? Oh, can't have that.)

Factually accurate while sidestepping the issue.

I'll go hide now. :)

kennyc
02-23-2010, 10:46 PM
This argument strikes me as evading the issue: "Sure you can back it up, you just can't use it."

It reminds me of the opponents of gay marriage arguing that they're not opposed to gay people getting married -- after all, a gay man is free to marry any woman he wants to. (Oh, you mean gay people want to marry *each other*? Oh, can't have that.)

Factually accurate while sidestepping the issue.

I'll go hide now. :)


Not true that you can't use it. See my example. Sure in some cases you might not be able to, but usability is not the point. AGAIN. The Claim that start this stupid arguing was that DRM prevented you from making a backup which is simply not true.

dmaul1114
02-23-2010, 10:58 PM
Not true that you can't use it. See my example. Sure in some cases you might not be able to, but usability is not the point. AGAIN. The Claim that start this stupid arguing was that DRM prevented you from making a backup which is simply not true.

Yeah, there's really 2 issues here.

1. Can you make a back up?

2. If you device the DRM'd file is tied to breaks, can you put the back up copy on a new device and use it?

The answer to the first is as resounding yes.

The answer to the second is--it depends. Usually you can as long as you replace the broken device with the same device (replace a Kindle with a new Kindle for example) as the DRM is tied to your account which will be moved to the new device. But even then there may be issues depending how many Kindles/Kindle Apps you've downloaded the book to.

If companies would just have a process for easily switching DRM to new machines of the same type on the same account it wouldn't be nearly as big a deal.

Then the problem is that you're locked into that companies devices if you want to keep reading DRMed books without stripping the DRM.

PKFFW
02-24-2010, 01:46 AM
This is a semantics argument.
Semantics or not.............

Stating "DRM prevents you from making a useable backup" is akin to stating "house fire prevents you from making a usable backup"

Think about it.........if you back up all your files to a second hard drive and then a house fire destroys that second hard drive your back up files will be useless.

Did the house fire prevent you from making a usable backup of your files? No.

Here's an experiment for those that think DRM prevents you from making a usable backup.

Take a DRM'd file on computer A and make a backup copy on computer B. Now take that backup copy from computer B and transfer it to your designated reading device. Can you read the file? If yes then it is obvious that the DRM did not prevent you from making a usable backup.

Now, some things that could prevent your DRM'd backup files from being useful at some point in the future are...
1: Change of reading device
2: Hard disk/motherboard failure
3: DRM provider ceasing business
4: House fire

See?

Now that that is cleared up here's the easy way to move beyond this seemingly never ending argument about whether or not DRM prevents backups......

Why doesn't the person who originally made the claim simply admit they did not express themselves very well and really meant that, depending on the circumstances, DRM could prevent any backup copies from being useful in the future.

It is obvious to all that this is what was meant anyway!

Cheers,
PKFFW

Shaggy
02-24-2010, 01:57 AM
It doesn't prevent a backup. What is it you don't understand about that statement?


People are using the term "backup" in a different context than you are. Why is it you can't understand that concept?

clockworkzombie
02-24-2010, 04:00 AM
I argue that a backup is a backup ONLY if the data can be restored later. Other wise it is wasted space.

edited for spelling.

PKFFW
02-24-2010, 06:03 AM
I argue that a backup is a backup ONLY if the data can be restored later. Other wise it is wasted space.

edited for spelling.
And unless something beyond the DRM itself changes, the backup of the DRM file will be able to be restored later.

It is only if something else changes(the four points I listed in my previous post are some examples) that the data will then become "wasted space".

Hence, technically speaking, it is not the DRM itself that renders the data useless but a combination of circumstances.

Cheers,
PKFFW

pdurrant
02-24-2010, 06:26 AM
It is only if something else changes(the four points I listed in my previous post are some examples) that the data will then become "wasted space".

Hence, technically speaking, it is not the DRM itself that renders the data useless but a combination of circumstances.


Of the four examples you give, three render the backup useless because of the DRM system. The fourth renders the backup useless because the backup was destroyed.

Off-site backups can solve the problem in your fourth example. Nothing the user can do can fix the problems of the first three.

It seems clear to me that it's the DRM rendering the backup data useless, if the user cannot take any steps to avoid the data becoming useless if certain events occur.

kennyc
02-24-2010, 06:47 AM
People are using the term "backup" in a different context than you are. Why is it you can't understand that concept?

It's not me that is misunderstanding, the term backup means just that and nothing else. Those who are confused are attributing other activities to the term.

John F
02-24-2010, 08:46 AM
Doesn't CSS on DVDs prevent backup (I CANNOT simply copy files, I must circumvent the DRM to copy the files). Or am I misunderstanding DRM?

Ben Thornton
02-24-2010, 09:23 AM
It's not me that is misunderstanding, the term backup means just that and nothing else. Those who are confused are attributing other activities to the term.
My experience of working in IT for over 20 years is that when we talk about "back-up", we include ensuring that we are able to restore, which is the only reason that back-ups are taken. Our back-up teams worry about tape and file formats, database consistency, password access to old data etc. etc. - to ensure that the restored data is not useless. So, my experience as a professional working in IT doesn't conform to your limited definition. Perhaps your experience is different (and there is no "right answer" for the meaning of any term in an absolute sense), but for everyone that I've dealt with professionally, back-up is all about taking a copy that you can restore (and not just sometimes, but in every eventuality that it is cost-effective to guard against).

Looking at DRM in this context, it makes back-up much harder, because you have to "back-up" the unlocking apparatus as well as the data. The only really practical approach for individuals doing back-ups at home, who typically can't afford the time and money to do this, is to strip DRM and back up the raw data.

kennyc
02-24-2010, 09:33 AM
My experience of working in IT for over 20 years is that when we talk about "back-up", we include ensuring that we are able to restore, which is the only reason that back-ups are taken. Our back-up teams worry about tape and file formats, database consistency, password access to old data etc. etc. - to ensure that the restored data is not useless. So, my experience as a professional working in IT doesn't conform to your limited definition. Perhaps your experience is different (and there is no "right answer" for the meaning of any term in an absolute sense), but for everyone that I've dealt with professionally, back-up is all about taking a copy that you can restore (and not just sometimes, but in every eventuality that it is cost-effective to guard against).

Looking at DRM in this context, it makes back-up much harder, because you have to "back-up" the unlocking apparatus as well as the data. The only really practical approach for individuals doing back-ups at home, who typically can't afford the time and money to do this, is to strip DRM and back up the raw data.

I've been in computers longer. :) I am not using a "limited" definition, but standard usage. Backup means being able to make a copy that is all.

You and others are adding additional requirements to the concept.

Additionally we are not talking about computer backups, videos, or your dna.

It's really quite simple. Quit trying to make it more complex and quit just friggin arguing. What is it about some people that brings this out? Sheesh!

DawnFalcon
02-24-2010, 09:36 AM
And unless something beyond the DRM itself changes, the backup of the DRM file will be able to be restored later.

It is only if something else changes...

You won't be restoring it unless "something else changes".

And yes, it IS the DRM causing it, because without the DRM, regardless of the factors involved (short of a nuclear war), the backup would be readable.


kennyc - Well yes, and this is why many computer techs are seen as incompetent. (Because they are, being able to restore after downtime is essential)

kennyc
02-24-2010, 09:44 AM
...


kennyc - Well yes, and this is why many computer techs are seen as incompetent. (Because they are, being able to restore after downtime is essential)


Hmm? I'm not following. You're saying they are seen as incompetent because they can't restore data?

Ben Thornton
02-24-2010, 09:45 AM
I've been in computers longer. :) I am not using a "limited" definition, but standard usage. Backup means being able to make a copy that is all. And that's not the standard usage that I've encountered. When we worry about back-up, we worry about restore. Your experience seems to have been different, but it doesn't make it standard usage.
You and others are adding additional requirements to the concept.You and others are limiting it to a ridiculous degree - like saying that you are allowed to post a letter if you're allowed to put it in the box - whether it gets there is irrelevant.
Additionally we are not talking about computer backups, videos, or your dna. We're talking about backing up ebooks, which are on computers.
It's really quite simple. Quit trying to make it more complex and quit just friggin arguing. What is it about some people that brings this out? Sheesh!Pot? Kettle?

I agree it's simple, but I simply think that the idea of back-up as exclusively the ability to copy 1s and 0s is bizarre. Do you have any customers who would be happy for you to tell them that you'd "sorted out the back-ups" without having actually sorted out the ability to restore? It's a farce.

The whole point of back-ups is to have a copy that can be restored at need.
And the point on this thread was that DRM interferes with that, which it does.

DawnFalcon
02-24-2010, 10:05 AM
Hmm? I'm not following. You're saying they are seen as incompetent because they can't restore data?

If they can't, they are incompetent.

kennyc
02-24-2010, 10:47 AM
And that's not the standard usage that I've encountered. When we worry about back-up, we worry about restore. Your experience seems to have been different, but it doesn't make it standard usage.
You and others are limiting it to a ridiculous degree - like saying that you are allowed to post a letter if you're allowed to put it in the box - whether it gets there is irrelevant.
We're talking about backing up ebooks, which are on computers.
Pot? Kettle?

I agree it's simple, but I simply think that the idea of back-up as exclusively the ability to copy 1s and 0s is bizarre. Do you have any customers who would be happy for you to tell them that you'd "sorted out the back-ups" without having actually sorted out the ability to restore? It's a farce.

The whole point of back-ups is to have a copy that can be restored at need.
And the point on this thread was that DRM interferes with that, which it does.


I give up. You clearly just want to argue as has been demonstrated in numerous threads so I will henceforth not bother to even attempt to discuss anything with you.

dmaul1114
02-24-2010, 10:58 AM
Doesn't CSS on DVDs prevent backup (I CANNOT simply copy files, I must circumvent the DRM to copy the files). Or am I misunderstanding DRM?

Yes. And they're not meant to be backed up--at least in the US--don't know other countries laws.

Here federal courts have held that you cracking the CSS is against the law, so you can't legally make a back up of a DVD.

With e-books, you can copy the DRM'd file to your computer, flash drive etc. without cracking the DRM, so you can make a back up copy which can be put back on the device it's tied to and read in the future.

And that latter is why I don't get the bickering. I can back up my Kindle DRM books. I can put those files back on my Kindle and read them. Presumably I could put them on another kindle registered to my account (if not a I can download them to the new device from the Kindle Archives of books I've bought--up to a limited number of machines per book) etc.

So they are true back ups--though the number of times they may be restored to new machines may be limited, which is something that needs to change.

But all the bickering over DRM gets old. If you really hate it, then vote with your wallet. Don't buy a Kindle or Sony or Nook or other e-reader tied to a store with it's own DRM. Don't buy DRM books and strip DRM--only buy DRM free books and for every book you want that's only available with DRM write the publisher and tell them they lost a sale to you because of DRM.

Encourage other to do the same. That's the best way to get DRM to go away. Buying a book with DRM and stripping it just sends a message that you're fine with DRM as the publisher got your money--which is all they care about.

John F
02-24-2010, 12:07 PM
...

With e-books, you can copy the DRM'd file to your computer, flash drive etc. without cracking the DRM, so you can make a back up copy which can be put back on the device it's tied to and read in the future.

...

Just as an aside.

I had an opposite experience. I have a Sony 505. I bought a DRMd book (LRX). I had it backed up. Sony support had me reset my device (I was having some problems with their software). I copied the file back to my 505. Now, I cannot read the book on the device. Sony is fine with my inability to read the book. The device and the book were purchased within the past year.

delphidb96
02-24-2010, 01:38 PM
And unless something beyond the DRM itself changes, the backup of the DRM file will be able to be restored later.

It is only if something else changes(the four points I listed in my previous post are some examples) that the data will then become "wasted space".

Hence, technically speaking, it is not the DRM itself that renders the data useless but a combination of circumstances.

Cheers,
PKFFW

So let's say you bought an ereader (.pdb) ebook from eReader.com using an older credit card which you have subsequently cancelled - and you changed your CC number with eReader and Fictionwise. No problem yes? Now let's say that you've upgraded your computer system, losing the original ebook file, and eReader goes down due to poor business practices. Now you've lost your copy of eReader's software when you upgraded your computer. And there's now NO WAY to recover the 'backed up' ebook - short of running some sort of DRM removal software against it. That is *IF* you remembered to jot down your old CC number so you can use it with the software to strip the DRM.

Things like this happen all the time, yet you insist that we shouldn't consider the ability to recover from these problems as a 'backup' issue. Why?

Derek

dmaul1114
02-24-2010, 02:01 PM
Sony is fine with my inability to read the book. The device and the book were purchased within the past year.

By fine with it, do you mean you called them up and tried to see if you could get the book sent to your account again?

Ben Thornton
02-24-2010, 02:10 PM
It's not me that is misunderstanding, the term backup means just that and nothing else.So there is an objective meaning for terms defined by what? You? Holy writ? The Great Wikipedia says of back-up (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back_up)In information technology, a backup or the process of backing up refers to making copies of data so that these additional copies may be used to restore the original after a data loss event.(my emphasis)
Backing up is not about making a copy. It's about making a copy so that you can restore data.
I give up. You clearly just want to argue as has been demonstrated in numerous threads so I will henceforth not bother to even attempt to discuss anything with you.This is my third post on the subject. You have posted eight. I have addressed your contentions point-for-pont, while you have said "sheesh" and then run away.

I disagree with you about this, and about some other matters on other threads, but I have never (unlike some poeple) resorted to name calling. Even when it could have been funny, which was perhaps a mistake.

MovieBird
02-24-2010, 02:51 PM
It's really quite simple. Quit trying to make it more complex and quit just friggin arguing. What is it about some people that brings this out? Sheesh!

http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/duty_calls.png

John F
02-24-2010, 03:11 PM
By fine with it, do you mean you called them up and tried to see if you could get the book sent to your account again?
I was able to open LRX files. LRX/lrf is my prefered format, and I purchased them thru the Sony store. I have all these files backuped up, and there are additional copies in the Sony library. I was on the phone with tech support working on a problem. Tech support had me reboot/reset the device. After the reset, I put some LRX files back on the 505. None can be read on the 505. For some of the files, there was no alternative file to download. Tech support said being unable to open LRX files was expected behaviour and an epub should be available shortly. I did not really want epub. I prefer LRX. In my opinion, I purchased LRX files, and that is what I expect to get/use.


I'm just saying that the simple statement that you can "backup" DRM files with no worries is disingenuous.

kennyc
02-24-2010, 03:17 PM
http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/duty_calls.png


Yep, saw that one, that must be it!

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

dmaul1114
02-24-2010, 03:23 PM
I'm just saying that the simple statement that you can "backup" DRM files with no worries is disingenuous.

I didn't say it was worry free, just that it usually can be done with some unfortunate limitations--as long as you're putting it back on the same device/account.

Hopefully that's something that will improve going forward if we don't get a DRM free e-book world in the near future.

Anyway, I was just curious of Sony had told you "tough luck, rebuy the files" or if it was a technical issue. Looks like you'll at least be able to get them back as ePub so you'll have access to the material. Sucks you can't get it in the original format you prefer though.

KevinH
02-24-2010, 04:28 PM
Hi KennyC and Everyone,

This discussion has been hilarious! All I can think of when reading it is that KennyC is the guy from Monty Python that gives out arguments for anyone wanting one, and the rest of us are horrified because all we are getting is "simple contradiction".

You gotta love it!

kennyc
02-24-2010, 04:32 PM
Hi KennyC and Everyone,

This discussion has been hilarious! All I can think of when reading it is that KennyC is the guy from Monty Python that gives out arguments for anyone wanting one, and the rest of us are horrified because all we are getting is "simple contradiction".

You gotta love it!


You'll have to talk to Ben if you want to argue about it. At least Harry and I agree with the rest of the world. :thumbsup:

John F
02-24-2010, 04:52 PM
You'll have to talk to Ben if you want to argue about it. At least Harry and I agree with the rest of the world. :thumbsup:
Make that rest of the world - 1. I'm with Ben. :D

PKFFW
02-24-2010, 04:59 PM
Things like this happen all the time, yet you insist that we shouldn't consider the ability to recover from these problems as a 'backup' issue. Why?

Derek
Please quote where I stated that "we shouldn't consider the ability to recover from these problems as a 'backup' issue."

Oh, that's right, I didn't.

Cheers,
PKFFW

kennyc
02-24-2010, 06:42 PM
Please quote where I stated that "we shouldn't consider the ability to recover from these problems as a 'backup' issue."

Oh, that's right, I didn't.

Cheers,
PKFFW

Oh I forgot to include you with Harry and I. Sorry. :thumbsup:

:rofl:

TheJohnNewton
02-24-2010, 07:33 PM
"Backing up is not about making a copy. It's about making a copy so that you can restore data."

And then the critical third step is being able to use the data. If you can't do all three steps (backup, restore, use) then the entire process is worthless. DRM (as used on ebooks) won't prevent you from doing the backup or the restore steps but it may prevent you from being able to use the data thus making the backup worthless.

So what was the point of all this debate again?

kennyc
02-24-2010, 07:50 PM
Three lone voices crying out into the darkness of ignorance and neglect.
Three lone voices standing up for common usage
Three lone voices striving to make the world a better place...

PKFFW
02-24-2010, 08:46 PM
"Backing up is not about making a copy. It's about making a copy so that you can restore data."

And then the critical third step is being able to use the data. If you can't do all three steps (backup, restore, use) then the entire process is worthless. DRM (as used on ebooks) won't prevent you from doing the backup or the restore steps but it may prevent you from being able to use the data thus making the backup worthless.

So what was the point of all this debate again?
Exactly...........pertinant word highlighted.

DRM may prevent you from using the data depending upon certain circumstances.

Just like a fire might or a comet strike to earth or alien invasion or your own untimely death. All these things may make your backup worthless. Do they prevent you from making that back up in the first place though?

Cheers,
PKFFW

BillSmithBooks
02-24-2010, 09:43 PM
I think the past three pages on this post pretty clearly establishes that whatever ebook format wins "in the future" (as per the original post), it isn't going to be one that comes with DRM since, sure, you can back it up...but reading it? That's going to be a whole other kettle of fish.

Hence, my arguments in favor of open, non-DRMd formats.

kennyc
02-24-2010, 09:50 PM
Bill, I'm all for drm-free books as well. I hate DRM and will not knowing buy a book that I can't remove it from, but the industry doesn't currently see it that way and the format that will win will be chosen by them. Epub is already in the position to win, with or without DRM.

DawnFalcon
02-24-2010, 10:47 PM
Exactly...........pertinant word highlighted.

DRM may prevent you from using the data depending upon certain circumstances.

Yes, and unlike the other things you list it's 100% controllable from your side, and hence in no way comparable to what insurance terms "act of god".

If you screw up and your data was DRM'ed, the insurance company will wipe you on the floor like rag, and rightly, if you tried to claim.

PKFFW
02-24-2010, 11:04 PM
Yes, and unlike the other things you list it's 100% controllable from your side, and hence in no way comparable to what insurance terms "act of god".
My point is that it is as technically correct to say "comet strike, fire or untimely death prevents you from making a backup" as it is to say "DRM prevents you from making a backup".

None of them prevent you from making a backup, they all merely prevent your backup from being usable. There is a difference.

Of course DRM is 100% controllable on your side. You simply remove the DRM. Problem solved. Hence the entire debate is pretty pointless, especially as everyone really knows what the person who originally made the claim meant. They simply didn't express themselves very well! Instead of simply admitting that everyone seems hell bent on arguing that what was claimed is actually correct or not correct! :rolleyes:

It's actually quite amusing that many of the same people who constantly admonish kennyc for stating that copyright infringement is theft now themselves seem hell bent on arguing something that is not technically correct either. :)

Cheers,
PKFFW

DawnFalcon
02-24-2010, 11:54 PM
....you're arguing that that dead data is a valid backup.

It's the same thing, arguing something which is just plain unhelpful.

PKFFW
02-25-2010, 12:06 AM
....you're arguing that that dead data is a valid backup.
Quote please? Did I ever state that dead data is a valid backup? No.

I am arguing that the data is only rendered "dead" if certain circumstances occur. I even stated some examples of circumstances that could render your back up "dead" or useless.

You are arguing the backup is "dead data" regardless of the circumstances if you argue that "DRM prevents you from making a back up". This is clearly incorrect.

Much like stating "copyright is theft" is clearly incorrect as per the legal definition of theft. ;)

Cheers,
PKFFW

dmaul1114
02-25-2010, 12:17 AM
Much like stating "copyright is theft" is clearly incorrect as per the legal CURRENT definition of theft. ;)


Now that's a correct statement. :D Laws can, and do, change/expand as the world evolves.

PKFFW
02-25-2010, 12:32 AM
Now that's a correct statement. :D Laws can, and do, change/expand as the world evolves.
Absolutely, couldn't agree more.

DawnFalcon
02-25-2010, 12:41 AM
Quote please? Did I ever state that dead data is a valid backup? No.

Any competent sysadmin... oh never mind, if you want to play the fool, your choice.

And yep, dmaul, but that dosn't excuse using the wrong terms. Also, I believe it's morally wrong to use the same term for taking with and without causing deprivation, they're simply not the same thing.

PKFFW
02-25-2010, 02:37 AM
Any competent sysadmin... oh never mind, if you want to play the fool, your choice.
Never really takes you too long to attack the poster rather than post.
And yep, dmaul, but that dosn't excuse using the wrong terms. Also, I believe it's morally wrong to use the same term for taking with and without causing deprivation, they're simply not the same thing.
No it doesn't.

And are you suggesting it's morally wrong for someone else to use the wrong terms but you can argue whatever floats your boat regardless of the correctness of your terms? :rolleyes:

Cheers,
PKFFW

Ben Thornton
02-25-2010, 05:13 AM
My point is that it is as technically correct to say "comet strike, fire or untimely death prevents you from making a backup" as it is to say "DRM prevents you from making a backup".The fact of the matter, as I'm sure you would agree, is that DRM makes it more difficult to produce a reliable back-up. You either, as I previously stated, need to back up the means to get around the DRM (e.g. backing up licenses and/or applications etc.), or accept that your back-up is vulnerable to this - as it may be vulnerable to certain "acts of god" that are not cost-effective to provide resilience to.
It's actually quite amusing that many of the same people who constantly admonish kennyc for stating that copyright infringement is theft now themselves seem hell bent on arguing something that is not technically correct either. :)The debate about the law was (at least in part) a factual one about whether the law categorises copyright infringement as theft, which it currently doesn't. My issue here was different, and was that kenny seemed to be saying that backing up means being able to take a copy and no more. My point was that, in my experience, backing up means ensuring that you can restore - guarding against all the problems that it is cost-effective to guard against. Backing up is there to ensure access to data, not to make copies. Are you saying that this is "technically incorrect"?

I never said that "you can't back up DRM'ed ebooks", rather that DRM makes it harder to back up, and for individuals, the only practical solution is to remove it.

PKFFW
02-25-2010, 06:10 AM
The fact of the matter, as I'm sure you would agree, is that DRM makes it more difficult to produce a reliable back-up.
If by "more difficult" you mean taking the extra step of removing the DRM then yes I guess it would make it more difficult. How much "more difficult" a few extra mouse clicks really is I would argue is debatable.

DRM still doesn't "prevent useres from backing up their books", which was the original claim. Even if one does not remove the DRM first one is still not prevented from backing it up.
The debate about the law was (at least in part) a factual one about whether the law categorises copyright infringement as theft, which it currently doesn't.
Yes exactly. Copyright infringement does not fall under the current legal definition of theft. Just as DRM does not prevent users from backing up their books. Ergo, arguing that copyright infringement does fall under the legal definition of theft or that DRM does prevent users from backing up their books is incorrect. It is humourous to me that some seem to want to argue techincalities on one issue but not the other.
My issue here was different, and was that kenny seemed to be saying that backing up means being able to take a copy and no more. My point was that, in my experience, backing up means ensuring that you can restore - guarding against all the problems that it is cost-effective to guard against. Backing up is there to ensure access to data, not to make copies. Are you saying that this is "technically incorrect"?
No, I am saying that claiming "DRM prevent useres from backing up their books" is technically incorrect. It is even technically incorrect if one does not remove the DRM first.

Further, I said all I said in response to the original claim made regarding this issue and not to you personally. It seems you are merely pointing out that DRM makes it more difficult to make a back up and that is arguably perfectly correct. I have no issue with that what-so-ever.

Cheers,
PKFFW

DawnFalcon
02-25-2010, 06:18 AM
And are you suggesting it's morally wrong for someone else to use the wrong terms but you can argue whatever floats your boat regardless of the correctness of your terms? :rolleyes:

Morally? No, you're making things up I supposedly said to suit your argument again. It's simply arguments which are technically incorrect, and add nothing whatsoever to the discussion. Using terms in ways not generally accepted is confusing and creates - as we can see - tedious arguments about the definitions rather than being able to talk about the issues.

A backup you cannot restore is not a backup, and theft requires deprivation!

PKFFW
02-25-2010, 07:29 AM
Morally? No, you're making things up I supposedly said to suit your argument again.
No, I was asking if you were suggesting something. That's why I used the words "are you suggesting" and ended with a question mark. :rolleyes:

I asked this question because of your remark........
Also, I believe it's morally wrong to use the same term for taking with and without causing deprivation, they're simply not the same thing.
So I see now that for you, using the "same term for taking with and without causing deprivation" is morally wrong but using the same term(useless backup, dead data etc) for a file that is or isn't useless depending on the circumstances is not morally wrong.

I'm not sure how using the wrong term can be morally wrong when you want it to be but using the wrong term is not morally wrong when you don't want it to be but whatever suits you I guess.

Cheers,
PKFFW

PKFFW
02-25-2010, 07:34 AM
A backup you cannot restore is not a backup, and theft requires deprivation!
But you can restore the back up and that is the point.

It may be more difficult to make the backup. It may be more difficult to resotre the back up. However, it is not impossible.

So to claim DRM "prevent useres from backing up their books", as was the original claim, is entirely incorrect.

Cheers,
PKFFW

kennyc
02-25-2010, 07:37 AM
But you can restore the back up and that is the point.

It may be more difficult to make the backup. It may be more difficult to resotre the back up. However, it is not impossible.

So to claim DRM "prevent useres from backing up their books", as was the original claim, is entirely incorrect.

Cheers,
PKFFW

Unless of course you re-define the words. ;)

Hamlet53
02-25-2010, 07:43 AM
Viewing this heated debate about the meaning of the word 'backup' as related to ebooks I am reminded of the great line from the old Paul Newman movie Cool Hand Luke:

“Uh, what we have hear is a failure to communicate.”

On the one hand I see the point that backup just means making a copy of the content of a HD that will allow restoration of that original HD or its replacement to the same state as at the time of the backup.

On the other hand I understand the useable backup argument as well. Here's an analogy:

Back before DVDs, back when there were tow competing video tape formats---BETA and VHS-- say I had selected the BETA option, purchase a BETA machine and a large number of tapes in that format. Wanting to assure that I would always be able to view my tapes I made copies of each and stored then in a safe place. Years later, the BETA format is defunct, all my original BRTA tapes are lost or discarded, and my BETA player is long gone. If I now retrieve all those copies, even if all are in perfect condition, all are totally useless.

PKFFW
02-25-2010, 08:02 AM
Back before DVDs, back when there were tow competing video tape formats---BETA and VHS-- say I had selected the BETA option, purchase a BETA machine and a large number of tapes in that format. Wanting to assure that I would always be able to view my tapes I made copies of each and stored then in a safe place. Years later, the BETA format is defunct, all my original BRTA tapes are lost or discarded, and my BETA player is long gone. If I now retrieve all those copies, even if all are in perfect condition, all are totally useless.
And in this analogy it would be inaccurate to say "The betamax format itself prevented me from backing up my movies" wouldn't it?

Cheers,
PKFFW

orwell2k
02-25-2010, 08:33 AM
Just my $0.02 worth on the "ePub standard"...

I would like to say FB2 will win (it should win but won't, since it's not a widespread English language format). IMHO, ePub may be the industry-enforced de-facto standard, but it sucks big time. FB2 is far superior.

Well, fb2 is a format that came out of the Russian readers community, and their efforts have led to a situation where the Russians are far ahead of us in making copyrighted contents available in a way that makes readers, authors, and publishers happy. There are several legal Russian sites where you can read any book you want (in Russian, of course) for free online, or download them for a price of often less than 1 dollar. And all the legal rights and fees arfe taken care of!

I'm not familiar with the Russian copyright laws, but I have been using FB2 since about 2003 (on my crappy old Acer n10 PocketPC with Haali Reader) and I can tell you it is by far the best eBook format around.

There are also plenty of legit Russian eBook shops that sell in the FB2 format (classics as well as current works), and they have heaps of free Russian classics (similar to Gutenberg) on places like Lib.ru which either are available in FB2 (as well as HTML, TXT, RTF, etc.) or can be easily converted.

Look at most of the FB2 creation software (BookDesigner, OOoFBTools, etc.) and they are Russian developed apps (which can make it hard for us English speakers to use as the info is mostly in Russian!). And look at the development advances in FBReader and CoolReader - primarily driven by the Russian/Ukrainian developers because that's what their users need (LBook firmware is miles ahead of BeBook, Aztak, etc. on the Hanlin clones).

And FB2 focuses on content versus format, which makes sense when you have a diversity of readers with different screen sizes and so on. PDF has shown how poorly handled fixed formats are when you may want to see them on anything from a 5" to 10" display (even reflow only addresses part of the problem). FB2 is pure XML so the book has a heap of marked-up text than can then be interpreted by the reader of choice and displayed with almost limitless felxibility.

When I read an ePub I have maybe 3-5 zoom settings, 2-3 of which are useless (usually the range of settings is thus: (1) microscopic > (2) readable > (3) bigger but readable > (4) way too big (5) extremely large - a few words per screen). For me, (2) and (3) are the only usable options, and somehow the reader designers seem to find a way to choose the sizes such that I still find (2) a little small and (3) a little big!

And choosing fonts? Forget it! Unless they're embedded in the ePub, which very few publishers are doing as yet, then you're stuck with the crappy Adobe selected font and the strict sizing choices. And even if fonts are embedded, doesn't that seem a waste when you have to have them included in each ePub file? And embedded fonts are not a real choice, they are just an alternative to the system provided font.

With FB2 when I use CoolReader or FBReader (the two main choices for eInk devices) I can load up my favourite open type fonts and display my books with any font I choose, and usually with a choice of 10 or more sizes! I know to ePub readers this sounds amazing, but it's true. Added to that, CSS stylesheet settings can be used to finely tailor your FB2 reading experience. We are all individuals with our own tastes and styles, and you can thus specify little tweaks like the level of indenting for paragraphs, the line spacing within paras and between paras, margin settings, styles for title, subtitles, captions, and on and on.

Face it - ePub may be XML-based, but it is severley hampered when compared with a straight FB2 XML file that can be displayed to suit user needs. ePub reader software must provide these same features in future if it is to be a serious eBook format (again, IMHO only).

(Note: FB2 is not a perfect format - there are some limits, but I have been using eBooks in earnest for over 8 years and convert 99% of all my eBooks to FB2).

I like to view the ePub (English/US) vs FB2 (Russian) eBook situation as an analogy with something from the old space race days. The problem was to solve how to write in zero-G environments. NASA poured millions into creating the Zero-G pen - a sealed pen that could pump the ink to the tip to allow writing in zero-G. This is the ePub equivalent - it has all the bells and whistles but is extremely complex and expensive and prone to failure. The Russian solution is FB2 - use a pencil - it does what you need, has the necessary design features, and works well! :eek:

John F
02-25-2010, 08:39 AM
My point is that it is as technically correct to say "comet strike, fire or untimely death prevents you from making a backup" as it is to say "DRM prevents you from making a backup".

None of them prevent you from making a backup, they all merely prevent your backup from being usable. There is a difference.

Of course DRM is 100% controllable on your side. You simply remove the DRM. Problem solved. Hence the entire debate is pretty pointless, especially as everyone really knows what the person who originally made the claim meant. They simply didn't express themselves very well! Instead of simply admitting that everyone seems hell bent on arguing that what was claimed is actually correct or not correct! :rolleyes:

It's actually quite amusing that many of the same people who constantly admonish kennyc for stating that copyright infringement is theft now themselves seem hell bent on arguing something that is not technically correct either. :)

Cheers,
PKFFW
Could you point me in the direction of how to remove the DRM from my LRX ebooks?

PKFFW
02-25-2010, 08:55 AM
Could you point me in the direction of how to remove the DRM from my LRX ebooks?
No I can not.

But as many on here will tell you, DRM does not work. There is no DRM that can not be broken. Therefore, if you work hard at it I'm sure you will find a way. :) That hard work would fall under the "DRM makes it more difficult for users to backup their ebooks" side of the argument rather than the "DRM prevents users from backing up their ebooks" side.

Cheers,
PKFFW

jethro10
02-25-2010, 08:57 AM
No, it doesn't. First, notice that pair kerning is not used. Next, notice that it doesn't have f-series ligatures. Finally, it doesn't do end of line hyphenation. Notice that you've widened the line, which diminishes the effect of inconsistent whitespace created by lack of hyphenation. But there's no way I can use lines that long on my reader, at least not in portrait mode. But it in the right size for my reader (as my examples all were), and the problem would probably become more apparent. No footnotes either.

The only thing more impressive about it is that it uses a more complicated math example. But that's not the issue. Duplicating that in a PDF is still much easier.

I personally don't think that Computer/Latin Modern font isn't very good for most electronic displays, but font choice is a matter of taste.

But also, what are you using to render this? Not ADE, surely, nor the ePub renderer on a Sony 505, which won't do justified text.

How is the math done? SVG? MathML? If so, then it won't be supported by most renderers. Remember, my problem was never with the ePub format, but the renderers for it. If the renderers I had access to supported those things, I'd be fine with ePub. To repeat myself for the third time, I expect that I'll eventually prefer ePub to PDF, just not now.

(Maybe I could get something like that on my Sony if the entire thing were an SVG, but that's gotta be a lot of work. I wouldn't know how to do it without using PDF as an intermediary.)

I don't normally post.
But you seem to be a very special person with a very specific need that is irrelevant to most people in the world. Even avid book reading people where most of them will not even understand or want to understand what your on about.
Your arguments are perhaps more relevant for a niche forum or argument somewhere and are certainly detracting from the perceived topic of this thread.
For me, please, can you start your own thread about typesetting or whatever it is your interested in as it's starting to make this one unreadable - whatever type setting the thread is using!

Jeff

kennyc
02-25-2010, 09:00 AM
Could you point me in the direction of how to remove the DRM from my LRX ebooks?

You should be able to download them as epub now that Sony had upgraded. :)

jethro10
02-25-2010, 09:05 AM
My post, 2 above this, was in response to page 7 I think I'm now upto the end and read little else about the original topic.

Here is the correct answer "Whichever one is marketed the best" :)

Jeff

John F
02-25-2010, 09:32 AM
No I can not.

But as many on here will tell you, DRM does not work. There is no DRM that can not be broken. Therefore, if you work hard at it I'm sure you will find a way. :) That hard work would fall under the "DRM makes it more difficult for users to backup their ebooks" side of the argument rather than the "DRM prevents users from backing up their ebooks" side.

Cheers,
PKFFW
Thank you, with my luck, I'll probably get struck by a comet or aliens will invade my back yard next. :)

kennyc
02-25-2010, 10:28 AM
Thank you, with my luck, I'll probably get struck by a comet or aliens will invade my back yard next. :)


Or you could win the lotto and hire a staff to input your ebooks without drm....

JSWolf
02-25-2010, 10:37 AM
No, it doesn't. First, notice that pair kerning is not used. Next, notice that it doesn't have f-series ligatures. Finally, it doesn't do end of line hyphenation. Notice that you've widened the line, which diminishes the effect of inconsistent whitespace created by lack of hyphenation. But there's no way I can use lines that long on my reader, at least not in portrait mode. But it in the right size for my reader (as my examples all were), and the problem would probably become more apparent. No footnotes either.

The only thing more impressive about it is that it uses a more complicated math example. But that's not the issue. Duplicating that in a PDF is still much easier.

I personally don't think that Computer/Latin Modern font isn't very good for most electronic displays, but font choice is a matter of taste.

But also, what are you using to render this? Not ADE, surely, nor the ePub renderer on a Sony 505, which won't do justified text.

How is the math done? SVG? MathML? If so, then it won't be supported by most renderers. Remember, my problem was never with the ePub format, but the renderers for it. If the renderers I had access to supported those things, I'd be fine with ePub. To repeat myself for the third time, I expect that I'll eventually prefer ePub to PDF, just not now.

(Maybe I could get something like that on my Sony if the entire thing were an SVG, but that's gotta be a lot of work. I wouldn't know how to do it without using PDF as an intermediary.)

That was done with MathML. But as for the long lines, just make the window narrower and the long lines won't be so long. I know ePub does not currently support hyphenation. So yes, you can get word spacing that may be a tad larger then you'd like. The f-series ligatures is not really an issue at all. The idea is not to see how PDF duplicates an ePub but to show that ePub is capable of doing it and doing it well. Yes, PDF can duplicate anything that can be printed. But PDF cannot be reflowed. That ePub can be reflowed and still look good. If you reflow that PDF it won't look so good. So really, overall for readers, the ePub is way better despite anything you may feel is wrong with it.

JSWolf
02-25-2010, 10:38 AM
Sort of getting back to the original thread question. I certainly hope EPUB becomes the standard.

ePub already is the standard.

JSWolf
02-25-2010, 10:39 AM
There is no standard, and probably won't be one. You see lots of people with their own opinions on what is the best format, but the fact remains that there are many competing formats and no device/retailer supports them all.

What's best for a person and what's standard are two different things. What format is supported on most readers? That would be ePub. Even Apple is adopting ePub for the iPad. So yes, ePub is the standard. Amazon is the only one who has not realized this.

JSWolf
02-25-2010, 10:43 AM
Semantics or not.............

Stating "DRM prevents you from making a useable backup" is akin to stating "house fire prevents you from making a usable backup"

Let's see.. If I had purchased PDF with DRM from Amazon (when they sold them) and had them backed up, the backup would right now be 100% useless as there is no way I can strip the DRM or have a program to be able to view those files due to the DRM. So sometimes DRM can make backups useless. But these days since we can strip DRM, backups will be better then the originals.

JSWolf
02-25-2010, 11:17 AM
Just as an aside.

I had an opposite experience. I have a Sony 505. I bought a DRMd book (LRX). I had it backed up. Sony support had me reset my device (I was having some problems with their software). I copied the file back to my 505. Now, I cannot read the book on the device. Sony is fine with my inability to read the book. The device and the book were purchased within the past year.

But you should be able to go back to Sony and redownload that eBook in ePub which you will be able to view on your 505.

JSWolf
02-25-2010, 11:19 AM
DRM prevents you from making a backup that you you can 100% reliably say you will be able to use should you need to restore it sometime in the future.

DawnFalcon
02-25-2010, 01:39 PM
PKFFW -

No, there are files which are useful backups and there are files which are not. DRM outside your control means it's not a useful backup. It's precisely the same issue. Simply copying media does not mean you've necessarily made a backup...

Your constant accusations I'm morally wrong are amusing and typical...

DawnFalcon
02-25-2010, 02:23 PM
FB2 is pure XML so the book has a heap of marked-up text than can then be interpreted by the reader of choice and displayed with almost limitless felxibility.

Um, orwell, ePub's XHTML. There's not a massive amount of difference to chose from between the formats, you realise? Yes, the ePub renderers on devices need improving, but that doesn't reflect on the standards specification itself!

What you're talking about with fonts and CSS is perfectly possible for ePub - and the more advanced renderers such as Bookworm do that and more (MathML, embedded video, etc.)


as an analogy with something from the old space race days. The problem was to solve how to write in zero-G environments.

Urban Legend (http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp)

frabjous
02-25-2010, 04:31 PM
That was done with MathML. But as for the long lines, just make the window narrower and the long lines won't be so long.

But the whitespace usage will become more inconsistent if I do that, hence, in actual circumstances that matter, it won't look as nice.

I know ePub does not currently support hyphenation. So yes, you can get word spacing that may be a tad larger then you'd like. The f-series ligatures is not really an issue at all.

It is an issue if I want them and can't get them. You said that your ePub looked better than my PDF. I was just pointing out ways in which it looked worse.

The idea is not to see how PDF duplicates an ePub but to show that ePub is capable of doing it and doing it well.

But the point was ePub isn't capable of doing it right now. I do think it will be in the future, so the problem is not with the format in particular but the renderer.

Yes, PDF can duplicate anything that can be printed. But PDF cannot be reflowed. That ePub can be reflowed and still look good. If you reflow that PDF it won't look so good. So really, overall for readers, the ePub is way better despite anything you may feel is wrong with it.

No. What this shows is that ePub is a good choice for distribution, not that it is a good choice on your reader.

The only point of reflowing is to be able to get the font, font-size, etc., and other layout features you prefer from the same source. You can take that source and create a PDF that has all the desired features you wish, plus additional features that are impossible display on an ePub on most devices. . Once the PDF already has your preferred layout, what would be the point of reflow?

So, again, my conclusion is that I'd rather acquire ePub than PDF, but I'd rather read PDF than ePub right now. (Of course, I'd really rather be given LaTeX source, but HTML-based source, like that found in ePub, is almost as good.) So again, my conclusion is that PDF is currently better for reading than ePub.

PKFFW
02-25-2010, 04:48 PM
.....DRM outside your control means it's not a useful backup......
As you and others have pointed out numerous times in the past, there is no DRM that is outside your control. There is no DRM scheme that can not be broken.
Your constant accusations I'm morally wrong are amusing and typical...
You are the one who brought up the issue of morally wrong. I was merely trying to clarify exactly which circumstances you believe things to be morally wrong and which you do not.

If you re-read my posts I'm sure you will agree I have not accused you of anything.

Cheers,
PKFFW

DawnFalcon
02-25-2010, 05:10 PM
As you and others have pointed out numerous times in the past, there is no DRM that is outside your control. There is no DRM scheme that can not be broken.

If you want to commit a criminal offence, with penalties worse than the civil offence of downloading the book DRM-free from the darknet, that's up to you. However, I'm going with the assumption that I don't want to be a criminal at all.

"Potentially a backup" | Backup. S'all.

(Also, you're quite wrong - example: One Time Pads. Immune to "breaking" when used correctly)

nick_
02-25-2010, 06:58 PM
Typography (pdf, latex) is important only when you want to print something on fixed sized paper.

If you want to view it on a screen it is counter-productive, since pages are meaningless on a screen, and screen sizes vary.

For screens the HTML format is much better. Therefore, epub will definitely win.

kennyc
02-25-2010, 07:28 PM
Typography (pdf, latex) is important only when you want to print something on fixed sized paper.

If you want to view it on a screen it is counter-productive, since pages are meaningless on a screen, and screen sizes vary.

For screens the HTML format is much better. Therefore, epub will definitely win.

Well, except to be used professionally for citing etc. there must be some way to reference the "page" being cited.

dmaul1114
02-25-2010, 07:33 PM
Well, except to be used professionally for citing etc. there must be some way to reference the "page" being cited.

Yep, that's a big issue for me being an academic.

But some standard location system would work. The Kindle has that, each "page" on the screen will have say location 678-675. You type in select go to location 678 and it will take you to that sport regardless of font size whether you're on a Kindle 1/2 or the DX with it's bigger screen etc.

We will need something like that for citing purposes etc. But at the same time, reflowing text doesn't work well for academic books (research findings, not textbooks--though it sucks for those too), journal articles etc. as text needs to be around certain figures, tables can't be broken up etc.

So for that realm I'm hoping we get some A4 sized readers and that becomes the standard for academic documents (A4 or smaller) and devices meant to read them (A4 screen or larger) so reflow isn't an issues. And stuff can just be displayed with the original pagination etc.

The documents may change in the future, but that doesn't change the fact of having 100+ years (depending on field) of research articles us academics need to read and be able to properly site. So an A4 screen is a major want for me.

kennyc
02-25-2010, 07:45 PM
"Pages" in epub are always the same regardless of display/flow that's one of it's advantages to me.

frabjous
02-25-2010, 11:52 PM
Typography (pdf, latex) is important only when you want to print something on fixed sized paper.

Oh, it is, is it? Thank you for informing me. That stuff I wrote earlier about advantages to PDFs that have nothing to do with pages, like hyphenation and kerning and ligatures and consistent uses of whitespace, not to mention stack and river control and all the other aspects of typography not mentioned, are obviously not important to anyone. (I don't count obviously.) The entire art of typography of the past 500 years was a waste, and good riddance. Good thing we have insightful people like you around.

We have YouTube now, so what's with all this industry trying to make high quality movies and TV shows? Don't they know that's not necessary anymore?

(Geez. Not to mention that e-Ink readers do display one page at a time, so page-typography is relevant to them.)

For screens the HTML format is much better. Therefore, epub will definitely win.

Care to give a single reason for the claim that HTML is better?

Such claims are only made by people who are completely ignorant of one side of the argument. I know both HTML and LaTeX mark-ups; they're barely different. The latter is just a little easier to read, and more powerful. (Though the tide is shifting.) HTML is in some ways more convenient to parse, and is a little more consistent in its syntax, at least if it conforms to XHTML guidelines.

The real difference is not so much in the mark-up languages but the fact that there is already a typographically rich renderer for one, though it could be adapted to use the other's mark-up easily enough. In fact, there are LaTeX packages that can take (at least a subset of) HTML as input and deliver nice results, and things like Prince XML do pretty well with their own superior algorithms.

In any case, I'm not saying that ePub will lose. I don't think it will. I'm saying that in the future, hopefully, the display software for ePub will give typographically pleasing results. This is important whether on real paper or virtual paper.

PKFFW
02-26-2010, 03:41 AM
If you want to commit a criminal offence, with penalties worse than the civil offence of downloading the book DRM-free from the darknet, that's up to you. However, I'm going with the assumption that I don't want to be a criminal at all.
That is not a feature or consequence of the DRM itself but rather of ones' choice with regards to what to do with the DRM.

As an example think of a wall in the middle of a walkway between points A and B. That wall can only stop you from travelling from point A to point B if you choose not to go around or over it but instead simply continue to walk straight into it. In the case of one choosing to simply walk into the wall and not go around or over it, the wall itself isn't stopping the person from reaching point B it is their choice not to go around it that is stopping them.
"Potentially a backup" | Backup. S'all.
I don't understand this line.
(Also, you're quite wrong - example: One Time Pads. Immune to "breaking" when used correctly)
Oh my apologies then. I was merely going by the oft repeated claim(perhaps even by you but I couldn't be bothered going through every one of your posts to be sure one way or the other) on these boards that there is no DRM scheme that can not be broken. From what little I know about computers and computer code I believe that statement is correct and concur. If you are now saying that claim is incorrect then I will have to re-evaluate my subsequent claim and ascertain more definitively which is correct and which is not.

Cheers,
PKFFW

Ben Thornton
02-26-2010, 05:28 AM
If you want to commit a criminal offence, with penalties worse than the civil offence of downloading the book DRM-free from the darknet, that's up to you. However, I'm going with the assumption that I don't want to be a criminal at all.Could you explain what activities in relation to DRM are criminal, please? This isn't a snipe, I'm interested in the answer.(Also, you're quite wrong - example: One Time Pads. Immune to "breaking" when used correctly)
Oh my apologies then. I was merely going by the oft repeated claim(perhaps even by you but I couldn't be bothered going through every one of your posts to be sure one way or the other) on these boards that there is no DRM scheme that can not be broken. From what little I know about computers and computer code I believe that statement is correct and concur.
DawnFalcon is correct in that a "one time pad" cannot be cracked "head on". A "one time pad" is an approach to encryption where both ends have a file full of random numbers (really random, e.g. from a radioactive source), which one uses to encrypt and the other to decrypt. You can only use this once (hence the name), then you need another one (otherwise, previous messages can be used to aid decryption). Because the encryption is truly random, there is no algorithm that can crack it - it's not an algorithmic approach. Most encryption in use today uses an algorithmic approach where the mathematics used is much faster one way than the other (like multiplying is much faster than dividing - only more so), and to decrypt it "head on" means taking the slow way around.

I don't see how this is relevant to DRM, however, because the way in which DRM is cracked is typically not by cracking the encryption, but by getting the user to provide the key, and decrypting in just the same way that the legitimate software being cracked does it. Even if there was a "one time pad" mechanism (which seems unlikely ever to be practical for a mass market), you could circumvent the DRM by applying the data in the same way that the legitimate software does.

In short, the reason that DRM can typically be bypassed is that it must be bypassed in order to give any access to the content at all. Whatever lock they put on the data, they must also provide the key - and this is their undoing.

Iphinome
02-26-2010, 05:37 AM
Could you explain what activities in relation to DRM are criminal, please?

full text http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode17/usc_sec_17_00001201----000-.html

TITLE 17 > CHAPTER 12 > § 1201
§ 1201. Circumvention of copyright protection systems

(a) Violations Regarding Circumvention of Technological Measures.—
(1)
(A) No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title. The prohibition contained in the preceding sentence shall take effect at the end of the 2-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this chapter.

PKFFW
02-26-2010, 05:42 AM
Even if there was a "one time pad" mechanism (which seems unlikely ever to be practical for a mass market), you could circumvent the DRM by applying the data in the same way that the legitimate software does.
Thankyou for that very clear explaination. You certainly seem to know what you are talking about with regards to DRM.

The above seemed particularly pertinant to the discussion. It seems that even a "one time pad" DRM scheme could be broken and hence could not prevent one from backing up their ebooks.

Cheers,
PKFFW

pdurrant
02-26-2010, 05:52 AM
Could you explain what activities in relation to DRM are criminal, please? This isn't a snipe, I'm interested in the answer.

I went to look this up, as I thought that in the US any violation of section 1201 or 1202 of the DMCA was a criminal matter. But (IANAL) it seems that violations are only criminal if they are done "willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain".

http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap12.html#1204

(IANAL) But perhaps the plain language of the section actually means something else in legalese.

Any removal of DRM or Distribution of DRM removal software could be prosecuted under a civil action, with statutory damages of a minimum of $200 per removal violation, and $2,500 per distribution violation.

But only by a person injured by such violations. (IANAL) I don't see how anyone can claim to have been injured by a customer removing DRM from ebooks they have bought. Nor really by DRM removal software distribution.

pdurrant
02-26-2010, 06:20 AM
Could you explain what activities in relation to DRM are criminal, please?

In the UK, the relevant legislation is the amended Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 Part 7, section 296.

http://www.jenkins.eu/copyright-(statutes)(1)/part-7-misc-and-general.asp#s296

In particular, sections 296ZA and especially 296ZB, where it seems it's an offence to distribute de-DRM software "to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the copyright owner", and the penalties are not more than three months on conviction in a Magistrates Court, or two years in High Court.

Interestingly, it seems that in the UK it's a criminal matter even if not done for commercial advantage or private financial gain.

Of course, there is the "affects prejudicially the copyright owner" requirement. IMO de-DRM software does not do this.

Ben Thornton
02-26-2010, 08:07 AM
It seems that even a "one time pad" DRM scheme could be broken and hence could not prevent one from backing up their ebooks.Whether a particular scheme gets broken depends on whether someone with the skill to do so can be bothered, the likelihood of which is a function of how popular the format is.

DRM still makes it more difficult to produce a reliable back-up - and especially difficult to do so legally, it would seem.

kennyc
02-26-2010, 08:11 AM
..

DRM still makes it more difficult to produce a reliable back-up - and especially difficult to do so legally, it would seem.

Uh, no. DRM has nothing to do with either actually. As had been thoroughly explained a backup is nothing but a copy of the file and DRM has no effect on copying the file. Nor does it have anything to do with legality. That depends on the particular copyright laws at the location the backup takes place.

Ben Thornton
02-26-2010, 08:14 AM
I went to look this up, as I thought that in the US any violation of section 1201 or 1202 of the DMCA was a criminal matter. But (IANAL) it seems that violations are only criminal if they are done "willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain".
In the UK, the relevant legislation is the amended Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 Part 7, section 296.

In particular, sections 296ZA and especially 296ZB, where it seems it's an offence to distribute de-DRM software "to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the copyright owner", and the penalties are not more than three months on conviction in a Magistrates Court, or two years in High Court.Thanks for the info. As a fellow occupant of Airstrip One, this is a concern!

We appear to be in (what seems to be to be) a crazy situation, where you are at risk of imprisonment for a criminal offence if you purchase a book and strip the DRM to read it more comfortably, while being only at risk of a civil suit for not paying at all and downloading from the darknet.

It's surprising because a lot of people on the site speak blithely about stripping DRM, but are much more cagey about downloading without paying. Perhaps they fear moral censure more than the law.

John F
02-26-2010, 08:17 AM
But you should be able to go back to Sony and redownload that eBook in ePub which you will be able to view on your 505.
Maybe you missed my previous posts? I didn't purchase an epub ebook, I purchased an LRX ebook.

Ben Thornton
02-26-2010, 08:24 AM
Uh, no. DRM has nothing to do with either actually. As had been thoroughly explained a backup is nothing but a copy of the file and DRM has no effect on copying the file. Nor does it have anything to do with legality. That depends on the particular copyright laws at the location the backup takes place.Uh, no - DRM makes it more difficult to produce a reliable back-up, because a reliable back-up is one that you can rely on. And what do you rely on back-ups for? Restoring! And restoring is more difficult if there are extra steps required - like ensuring that you have the licenses for DRM.

The legality of it is because if you strip the DRM, it's easier to make a reliable back-up, but it's not legal.

You may see a back-up as "nothing but a copy of the file", but any sane person knows that a back-up is a copy of a file for the purpose of being able to restore it.

Chambers: "a procedure for backing up data for security purposes"
OED: "to make a duplicate copy of (a file, program, etc.), esp. to safeguard against loss or corruption of the original."

Are you really claiming that back-up has nothing to do with restore? And if not, surely you can see that it's more difficult to restore files with the limitations placed on them by DRM?

pdurrant
02-26-2010, 08:44 AM
We appear to be in (what seems to be to be) a crazy situation, where you are at risk of imprisonment for a criminal offence if you purchase a book and strip the DRM to read it more comfortably, while being only at risk of a civil suit for not paying at all and downloading from the darknet.

I'm not sure that this is the case in the UK or the US. It seems clear that in the UK, distributing or otherwise making available de-DRM software might be a criminal offence, whether for profit or not. I didn't find (or I didn't understand) any section that made the removal of DRM for personal use a criminal offence.

Ben Thornton
02-26-2010, 09:05 AM
296Z B says "1) A person commits an offence if he - ... (iv) possesses, ... any device, product or component which is primarily designed, produced, or adapted for the purpose of enabling or facilitating the circumvention of effective technological measures."

This suggests to me that to possess a script which circumvents DRM would count as an offence under that law.

IANAL either, but my (admittedly somewhat cursory) reading of this was that DRM removal was covered by their description of an offence.

Hamlet53
02-26-2010, 09:56 AM
Thanks for the info. As a fellow occupant of Airstrip One, this is a concern!

We appear to be in (what seems to be to be) a crazy situation, where you are at risk of imprisonment for a criminal offence if you purchase a book and strip the DRM to read it more comfortably, while being only at risk of a civil suit for not paying at all and downloading from the darknet.

It's surprising because a lot of people on the site speak blithely about stripping DRM, but are much more cagey about downloading without paying. Perhaps they fear moral censure more than the law.

Yes indeed. “If that is what the law supposes then the law is an ass.” I actually do not feel even any moral misgivings about removing DRM from an e-book I have legitimately purchased when it is done for the purposes of assuring I will always have a useable copy and to allow me to view it on whatever device I choose. As I stated previously though if I then distribute the file with DRM removed to others allowing them a copy that they have note paid for I think I have committed a criminal act; as have they. Theft.

The mention of “one time pad” (sometime also called 'tear sheet') piqued my interest. The problem with looking at DRM only from an encryption standpoint is that generally the security of encryption depends on the fact that the intended recipient has equal interest in maintaining the security.; something not the case in the discussion here.

It is my opinion that the best the ebook sellers like Amazon can hope for is a carrot and stick approach. The stick is making breaking the DRM difficult enough and holding out the possibility of legal sanctions. The carrot is pricing the ebook downloads at a point that it is not worthwhile to make the effort to break the DRM for the purpose of illegally sharing the file.

pdurrant
02-26-2010, 10:12 AM
296Z B says "1) A person commits an offence if he - ... (iv) possesses, ... any device, product or component which is primarily designed, produced, or adapted for the purpose of enabling or facilitating the circumvention of effective technological measures."

This suggests to me that to possess a script which circumvents DRM would count as an offence under that law.

Note that (iv) is a sub-clause of (c) "in the course of a business -". So it's only an offence to possess de-DRM software if it's used in your business. So I think that possession for personal use is not an offence. (But, of course, IANAL.)

pdurrant
02-26-2010, 10:19 AM
It is my opinion that the best the ebook sellers like Amazon can hope for is a carrot and stick approach. The stick is making breaking the DRM difficult enough and holding out the possibility of legal sanctions. The carrot is pricing the ebook downloads at a point that it is not worthwhile to make the effort to break the DRM for the purpose of illegally sharing the file.

If the price is low enough to make removing the DRM not worth it, I suspect it's low enough to make make searching on the internet for a free illegal copy not worth it.

There is no carrot for the consumer with DRM. There is only stick.

One stick that particularly irritates me at the moment is with DVDs. If I buy a DVD, I often am forced (by the DVD author, in combination with DRM and the monopoly on DVD players) to wait for some tedious anti-piracy message or advert to finish playing, before I'm allowed to watch actual contents of the DVD.

Of course, people who haven't bought the DVD, but have downloaded a copy, don't have this problem!

All stick, no carrot.

DawnFalcon
02-26-2010, 11:12 AM
I don't understand this line.

You have some copied data. You try and restore it. It doesn't restore (for whatever reason). What you had was useless, not a backup.

And no, you require a copy of the pad. Which is decoding, not breaking!


Ben Thornton - Yep, been saying that for ages.

jbjb
02-26-2010, 11:25 AM
(Also, you're quite wrong - example: One Time Pads. Immune to "breaking" when used correctly)

One-time pads, while unbreakable when used correctly as an encryption scheme, are not particularly useful for DRM!

To be unbreakable, the reading device would have to be preprogramed with a set of pad keys, unique to each device, whose total size was at least equal to the total size of all the books you would ever read in the lifetime of that device.

/JB

jbjb
02-26-2010, 11:36 AM
In short, the reason that DRM can typically be bypassed is that it must be bypassed in order to give any access to the content at all. Whatever lock they put on the data, they must also provide the key - and this is their undoing.

You are 100% correct.

It's worth noting that it *is* possible to conceive of a DRM scheme which, while perhaps not theoretically uncrackable, is effectively so (in the absence of esoteric kit like electron microscopes to read device memory) - at least for custom hardware if not for PCs.

E.g. You could have a per-device RSA (or similar) key pair programmed into the device at manufacturing time, where the device will report the public (encrypting) key when a book is purchased, and the book will be encrypted with that key. The device would clearly need to contain the decrypting key, but there are various ways to prevent that being accessible to reverse engineers without esoteric equipment. E.g. the decrypting key and code could be in embedded flash on the processor, with contents readout and write protected - no way to get at it without serious kit - way beyond the effort that anyone would go to per-device.

Or, the decrypting code and key could be in normal memory, but itself encrypted with a device-unique key with which the processor was configured at manufacturing time.

None of this would get around the "read the book and type it out" DRM stripping, but that's significant per-book (as opposed to per-device) effort, which is hard to see being part of any sane backup strategy! :)

/JB

jbjb
02-26-2010, 11:48 AM
Uh, no. DRM has nothing to do with either actually. As had been thoroughly explained a backup is nothing but a copy of the file and DRM has no effect on copying the file. Nor does it have anything to do with legality. That depends on the particular copyright laws at the location the backup takes place.

Any backup strategy which doesn't include a strategy for restore is worthless.

It reminds me of the claims a long time ago from a company which claimed to have an algorithm which could losslessly compress literally *any* file, including its own output, such that repeated application of the algorithm would allow any file to be losslessly compressed to less than some specific size (I don't remember the specific size) - which is clearly impossible.

They were able successfully to demonstrate the compression algorithm in action - however they were unable to demonstrate decompression of the resulting files!

A backup which can't be restored falls into the same boat.

I'm sure we all agree that a copy of a DRMed file is a backup that can be restored in some circumstances, but not others in which a DRM-free file would be able to be restored. Hence, the DRM does reduce the *usefulness* of the backup.

Agreed, a meteor strike would also reduce the usefulness of a backup, but my feeling for which set of circumstances is more likely means that I see DRM as having a much more significant impact on the backups.

/JB

DawnFalcon
02-26-2010, 11:49 AM
One-time pads, while unbreakable when used correctly as an encryption scheme, are not particularly useful for DRM!

True, but "usability" isn't relevant to the point I was making about there being an uncrackable scheme. It's very much a choice of the company how crackable a given DRM scheme is, and that depends on how much effort and processing hardware they're prepared to throw at it.

(The most well known example is CSS - one of the reasons it's weak is that it's designed to work with a very limited level of processing hardware)

Half the time, the "encryption" is nominal and designed to invoke the DMCA/EUCD protections rather than to provide useful protection.

Format C:
02-26-2010, 02:03 PM
I'm sorry that you're having difficulty understanding this. It is a very simple concept.

You can take any ebook file and back it up to any storage medium. There. You have backed it up, thus refuting your claim that "DRM prevents you from being able to back it up".

Backing up has nothing whatsoever to do with being able to use it on some future device you might own in 10 years time. It really doesn't help anyone to try to conflate these two entirely separate topics.

Sorry if I add to this off-topic...

I think your misunderstanding come for the use of verbs. Actually, IT people like me, use the verb "to back up" meaning the whole backup and restore process.
You're right, DRM does not prevent backup, it just makes DATA restore almost impossibile, which makes the first half of the process completely pointless.
Remeber: the point of backup is not to recover files, it's to recover the data in them! (Most of the commercial backup solutions store data in a different file format than the original one...)

So you're both right.

DRM prevents backup, if you mean the whole data backup/copy/restore thing.
DRM does not prevent backup, just data restore (*), if you're very precise in your choice of words.
DRM does not prevent backup nor restore of the zeros and ones which constitute your file, if you're nitpicking in your vocabulary and splitting the hair in two just to not concede a point.

:thumbsup:

______________________
(*) Actually, restore of DRM'd data is possibile, albeit only in the very unlikely scenario in which you restore your data on the very same device the backup came from.

Format C:
02-26-2010, 02:14 PM
And in this analogy it would be inaccurate to say "The betamax format itself prevented me from backing up my movies" wouldn't it?

Cheers,
PKFFW

You're completely right, of course!

The correct statement is "the use of an industry-proprietary format makes backup useless".

You can add "and DRM encrypted" and it's just the same.

And the purpose is exactly the same: to grab monopoly on the distribution of content and to control the flow of information.

;)

DawnFalcon
02-26-2010, 02:30 PM
Hence PDF/A, etc.

nick_
02-26-2010, 04:49 PM
The entire art of typography of the past 500 years was a waste, and good riddance.

The art of typography is still valid for ... typography!

It is irrelevant for the new media.

There are always those who try to impose the old standards to a new media. This is a mistake that has been repeated many times in history. Are you sad for the disappearance of calligraphy, an art of 3000 years, because of the "vulgar" typography?

Latex was good for the '80s. Cobol was good for the '60s. Things change.

The future is css and XML.

nick_
02-26-2010, 05:01 PM
We will need something like that for citing purposes etc.

I don't think this is a problem. Scientific papers are usually well constructed with sections, paragraphs etc. Also, there are anchors, XML elements etc. that can be used for citations. It is not really a problem.

But at the same time, reflowing text doesn't work well for academic books (research findings, not textbooks--though it sucks for those too), journal articles etc. as text needs to be around certain figures, tables can't be broken up etc.


I don't think any of these are problems. On the contrary. For example, what medium is better for tables? The printed A4 page or an 24 inch LCD screen? What medium is better for diagrams?

Right now e-book readers do have a lot of limitations, but sooner or later they won't be much different in functionality from a standard computer.

Shaggy
02-26-2010, 05:01 PM
(Also, you're quite wrong - example: One Time Pads. Immune to "breaking" when used correctly)

DRM being ineffective has nothing to do with the strength of the encryption scheme. You don't get around DRM by brute force breaking of the encryption. You could have completely unbreakable encryption, but the DRM would still be useless.

The problem with DRM is that they're trying to use encryption to protect against something that encryption does not protect against. Namely, the legitimate use and the illegitimate use are done by the same person.

dmaul1114
02-26-2010, 05:12 PM
I don't think any of these are problems. On the contrary. For example, what medium is better for tables? The printed A4 page or an 24 inch LCD screen? What medium is better for diagrams?


Honestly, it doesn't matter IMO. All that matters is that it can be displayed as intended. Be that on a printout or a screen big enough to display it without cropping, or shrinking, or reflowing etc.

I'll quit printing out my research articles to read when I have a stylus screen tablet with a screen big enough (8.5 x 11 or larger) to display them exactly the same as on my printout currently.

nick_
02-26-2010, 05:23 PM
Care to give a single reason for the claim that HTML is better?


I will give you three:

1) Separation of content from presentation (XHTML+CSS).

2) Human eyes have a wide field of view, that's why we have wide LCD screens (and movie theaters) and no A4 screens.

3) Flexibility.


There are people out there with 30 inch screens, with 3 inch screens, people with a variety of eye handicaps etc.

clockworkzombie
02-26-2010, 05:29 PM
Laws are changed or ignored to reflect community standards. Australian copyright law prohibits transferring a copy of your music to an iPod/MP3 player.

Could you imagine what would happen if every iPod user turned themselves into the police for copyright violations.

The law is on the books it does not get enforced. There have been rumblings by the politicians to change the law, I do not know if that has happened.

nick_
02-26-2010, 05:30 PM
Honestly, it doesn't matter IMO. All that matters is that it can be displayed as intended. Be that on a printout or a screen big enough to display it without cropping, or shrinking, or reflowing etc.

I'll quit printing out my research articles to read when I have a stylus screen tablet with a screen big enough (8.5 x 11 or larger) to display them exactly the same as on my printout currently.

Why does it have to be exactly as your printout? You are used to it, but there is no other good reason. We all adapt to the medium we are publishing to. If you are going to publish to an A4 paper, you will definitely not include a table with 10 columns. But if you publish in HTML you can have 10 columns and also permit the user to short the data using any column (as in Excel) etc. Why shouldn't you do this? Just because you cannot do it for a printed A4 page?

pdurrant
02-26-2010, 05:35 PM
Latex was good for the '80s. Cobol was good for the '60s. Things change.

The future is css and XML.

You seem to be confusing rendering with markup. CSS and XHTML are probably the future of markup. The current rendering engines are poor and will hopefully improve.

nick_
02-26-2010, 05:37 PM
You seem to be confusing rendering with markup. CSS and XHTML are probably the future of markup. The current rendering engines are poor and will hopefully improve.

No. The discussion is (XHTML+CSS) versus PDF or LATEX. These are the formats.

I said nothing about the rendering engines.

dmaul1114
02-26-2010, 06:05 PM
Why does it have to be exactly as your printout? You are used to it, but there is no other good reason. We all adapt to the medium we are publishing to. If you are going to publish to an A4 paper, you will definitely not include a table with 10 columns. But if you publish in HTML you can have 10 columns and also permit the user to short the data using any column (as in Excel) etc. Why shouldn't you do this? Just because you cannot do it for a printed A4 page?

That's true of research published in the future that takes advantage of this new technology, but I'm always going to be reading and citing research from the past that's stuck in the format it's in now. Much of which is image scans of journals, much of which is A4 sized with multiple columns, large tables etc.

Thus I need a screen that can display it properly to do my work, as being an academic I'll always be referring to the old literature when writing papers in the future.

DawnFalcon
02-26-2010, 06:30 PM
DRM being ineffective has nothing to do with the strength of the encryption scheme.

Well, the claim was there was no uncrackable DRM. Getting round it in other ways isn't cracking :p

Nick_ - Not quite. PDF is a display format more akin to RTF and DVI (a TeX output file) than the markup of X(HT)ML or TeX. PDF's are easier to generate from almost any source media (which, of course, also has its own drawbacks).

Shaggy
02-26-2010, 07:00 PM
Well, the claim was there was no uncrackable DRM. Getting round it in other ways isn't cracking :p


The way the term "cracking" is generally used with DRM does not mean breaking the encryption. It's just used to mean the DRM has been defeated, by whatever method.

DawnFalcon
02-26-2010, 07:10 PM
Well, I for one would typically use "circumvented" there.

guyanonymous
02-26-2010, 07:19 PM
No. The discussion is (XHTML+CSS) versus PDF or LATEX. These are the formats.

I said nothing about the rendering engines.

Wouldn't it be fair to say that without a rendering engine, the markup is relatively useless?

For me, the winner of a standards war must involve

a) an open standard (fully documented and all features publicly available - pdf is a fail for me in the context of publicly released user-editable forms/documents, though I love it as a print-only medium for design, documents requiring specific layouts etc)

b) a way to display that information following consistent and documented standards (i.e., all our current web-browsers display things differently meaning xhtml/css is a fail in this regard, though they generally get 'close enough' in most circumstances. If a border or the padding on a table is supposed to be 3 pixels, it should be 3 pixels.

XHTML allows for different rendering choices (CSS markup) based on device (media), when identified. Perhaps a standard that goes beyond the following choices is needed:

all Used for all media type devices
aural Used for speech and sound synthesizers
braille Used for braille tactile feedback devices
embossed Used for paged braille printers
handheld Used for small or handheld devices
print Used for printers
projection Used for projected presentations, like slides
screen Used for computer screens
tty Used for media using a fixed-pitch character grid, like teletypes and terminals
tv Used for television-type devices

Something that includes, for example information about resolution and screen size as opposed to the generic "handheld" or "screen". This would allow for modified output depending on device used that goes beyond the current standard (maybe HTML5 CSS4?) allow for this, but I'm not sure. I think that without factoring in BOTH screen size and resolution, html/css will struggle in the long run (though it's wonderfully open!).

Shaggy
02-26-2010, 07:22 PM
Well, I for one would typically use "circumvented" there.

Seems to be a common theme in this thread. If we're not arguing semantics over "cracking" we're doing it over "backup". :)

frabjous
02-26-2010, 07:40 PM
The art of typography is still valid for ... typography!

It is irrelevant for the new media.

An e-Ink screen looks almost exactly like a piece of paper. And even a computer screen doesn't look so different from a piece of paper that everything we learned will somehow become irrelevant. Why would you think that?

There are always those who try to impose the old standards to a new media. This is a mistake that has been repeated many times in history. Are you sad for the disappearance of calligraphy, an art of 3000 years, because of the "vulgar" typography?

I'm actually quite fond of calligraphy, but I agree that the art of text needs to update with changes to the media... but what about the switch from paper to device screens in any way is relevant to whether or not the advantages of the things I cited remain advantageous? I can't think of any reason to think there's a relevant difference with regard to these things whether you're looking at paper or an electronic medium. It's sort of like suggesting that the rules of typography are different depending on what species of tree your paper comes from.

Why are they different?

I will give you three:

1) Separation of content from presentation (XHTML+CSS).

LaTeX's mark-up is also a semantic mark-up language which separates form and content. It is exactly like HTML in that respect. If you've never used LaTeX (which obviously you haven't), why do you think you know what it is? Changing the fonts used, or the page size globally is done in almost precisely the same way it's done with HTML--it's just a matter of setting some global definitions or adding packages at the beginning, leaving the content body alone, just like you'd change things in HTML by changing the CSS and leaving the tag structure alone.

In fact, separation of presentation from content is the usual selling point of LaTeX. The idea was that an academic would only need to change one or two lines at the beginning of the document to add the package that loads the style for a given journal in order to format the article for that journal's paper size and fonts, citation and bibliography style, etc. In fact, this is how most math journal articles are published.

This separation is set to become even stronger in LaTeX3.

Do you really think it matters whether we flag emphasized text like this:

This <em>word</em> is emphasized. (HTML)

Or like this:

This \emph{word} is emphasized. (LaTeX)

?

Do you really think it matters whether we signify paragraph breaks with <p>...</p> or LaTeX's way with two linefeeds? (Except perhaps that the latter is slightly easier to read?) Or whether we write

<h2>Chapter Name</h2> (HTML)

or

\chapter{Chapter Name} (LaTeX)

to signify where a chapter starts?

Again, the differences in the mark-up languages are unimportant.

2) Human eyes have a wide field of view, that's why we have wide LCD screens (and movie theaters) and no A4 screens.

Firstly, LaTeX can be used to output in a wide format just as easily as HTML, so this is not argument in favor of one over the other.

Secondly, as for wide fields of view, there is tremendous amount of research to suggest that reading overly long lines of text causes eye strain, which is why magazines and newspapers organize material into columns. This is not going to change on a computer or other device screen, so having a renderer that can handle such things is (And currently, LaTeX's renderer does columns well... I don't know offhand how to do columns in HTML without manually fixing the column breaks, or whether it's even possible.) The renderer for LaTeX can even handle "visually" aligned margins where, e.g., punctuation can extend slightly into the margin to give a more uniform look, to eliminate reading distractions.

3) Flexibility.

LaTeX is not less flexible than HTML.

Take a look here (http://people.umass.edu/klement/russell-imp.html) (this is my webpage). I have six different sized PDFs made with LaTeX. These are all made with precisely the same LaTeX souce code. Changing font or font-size, etc., is not any harder with LaTeX than it is with HTML. You're confusing the LaTeX source with the PDFs it generates. It's like confusing HTML with a screenshot of someone's web-browser with particular settings.

LaTeX is most often used (these days) to output PDF, but don't confuse PDF with LaTeX. LaTeX can be used to output DVI or PS or even HTML instead. Explain how it's possible that LaTeX can be less flexible than HTML when it can be used to generate HTML?

There are people out there with 30 inch screens, with 3 inch screens, people with a variety of eye handicaps etc.

And this is relevant how? I can use the same LaTeX source to create an A4 sized document and an iPhone-sized document . In fact, I have. (See link above.)

No. The discussion is (XHTML+CSS) versus PDF or LATEX. These are the formats.

I said nothing about the rendering engines.

Then you've changed the topic. I've stated multiple times that I don't think the differences between LaTeX's and HTML's mark-up are very interesting. In fact, I've explicitly called them trivial. My only stated preference for LaTeX is that there currently exists typographically rich renderers for LaTeX source, and there isn't for HTML source, though conversion in either direction is theoretically not difficult.

I don't even disagree with the statement that HTML/CSS is the future of mark-up, but that has nothing to do with the future of rendering or the obsolence of typography.

It's like this: we already have excellent way to automate rich typography. LaTeX loaded onto our actual readers, whether it's reading ePub source or LaTeX source or whatever, or any other, could be used to reflow on the fly, but do it well. Since that technology already exists, why do we put up with the much worse looking ebook reading experience we currently get instead?

kennyc
02-26-2010, 07:50 PM
Seems to be a common theme in this thread. If we're not arguing semantics over "cracking" we're doing it over "backup". :)

Or THEFT! :eek:

Shaggy
02-26-2010, 08:19 PM
Or THEFT! :eek:

We all know that's plain wrong, not just semantics.

DawnFalcon
02-26-2010, 08:27 PM
Seems to be a common theme in this thread. If we're not arguing semantics over "cracking" we're doing it over "backup". :)

Well, I'd note that all the relevant laws use "circumvention" :p

nick_
02-26-2010, 08:27 PM
LaTeX's mark-up is also a semantic mark-up language which separates form and content. It is exactly like HTML in that respect. If you've never used LaTeX (which obviously you haven't), why do you think you know what it is?

I wrote my dissertation in Latex. And I talked about separation of content and presentation for XHTML and CSS.

XHTML, not HTML!

HTML and Latex (and Pdf) do not have separation of content and presentation!

nick_
02-26-2010, 08:35 PM
And this is relevant how?

People with handicaps use special CSS that help them read easier.

There are W3 standards about that:

http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/

nick_
02-26-2010, 08:38 PM
LaTeX is not less flexible than HTML.


Is it?

Show me how you do (text) animations with Latex and I'll show you how you do animations with XHTML+CSS!

frabjous
02-26-2010, 08:55 PM
Is it?

Show me how you do (text) animations with Latex and I'll show you how you do animations with XHTML+CSS!

You load the animate (http://www.ctan.org/pkg/animate) package.

I wrote my dissertation in Latex. And I talked about separation of content and presentation for XHTML and CSS.

XHTML, not HTML!

HTML and Latex (and Pdf) do not have separation of content and presentation!
I don't know what to conclude except that you were using it poorly. The HTML too,


[People with handicaps use special CSS that help them read easier.

And LaTeX can use special packages.

nick_
02-26-2010, 09:11 PM
I can use the same LaTeX source to create an A4 sized document and an iPhone-sized document . In fact, I have. (See link above.)


I just saw that you have created ... SIX different documents for different devices!!!

Exactly my point!

And why six documents and not ten? Or 20?

We need a format with just one document, not multiple.

Latex and pdf were created for printed paper, not for screens. Sure, there are people who learned to use these formats and they don't want to learn anything else. This does not change the fact that those are printed paper formats. Tex and Latex are around for 30 years and they are marginal formats at best. They are not going to get more popular in the future, they will slowly disappear.


(The topic is: which format will win?)

DawnFalcon
02-26-2010, 09:14 PM
More to the point, XML-based standards are being used across many different industries, and teaching someone TeX-based rather than XML-based markup is an extremely poor usage of their time.

nick_
02-26-2010, 09:16 PM
And LaTeX can use special packages.

Latex can use many packages.

Unfortunately, the handicapped people cannot!

The author has to use the Latex packages anticipating the handicapped person's needs. As an author, have you ever done it?

nick_
02-26-2010, 09:22 PM
More to the point, XML-based standards are being used across many different industries, and teaching someone TeX-based rather than XML-based markup is an extremely poor usage of their time.

Definitely.

However, there is also the point that Tex was created with the goal of producing something that can be printed. It is very precise and capable for this.

It was not created for screens that can very widely in sizes and pixels. It is not the right tool to handle those. That's why it is not used by the vast majority of people.

guyanonymous
02-26-2010, 09:37 PM
I have a saying I use to describe situations like this...

Adapting it may lead to, "Using PDF/Latex for multi-sized output devices is like using a butter knife for surgery. It can do the job, but the end result leaves a lot to be desired, and can be kinda messy."

JSWolf
02-26-2010, 09:48 PM
But the whitespace usage will become more inconsistent if I do that, hence, in actual circumstances that matter, it won't look as nice.



It is an issue if I want them and can't get them. You said that your ePub looked better than my PDF. I was just pointing out ways in which it looked worse.



But the point was ePub isn't capable of doing it right now. I do think it will be in the future, so the problem is not with the format in particular but the renderer.



No. What this shows is that ePub is a good choice for distribution, not that it is a good choice on your reader.

The only point of reflowing is to be able to get the font, font-size, etc., and other layout features you prefer from the same source. You can take that source and create a PDF that has all the desired features you wish, plus additional features that are impossible display on an ePub on most devices. . Once the PDF already has your preferred layout, what would be the point of reflow?

So, again, my conclusion is that I'd rather acquire ePub than PDF, but I'd rather read PDF than ePub right now. (Of course, I'd really rather be given LaTeX source, but HTML-based source, like that found in ePub, is almost as good.) So again, my conclusion is that PDF is currently better for reading than ePub.

The ePub did look better then the PDF. No question about it. Also, the PDF is a fixed size. So depending on what size it was made for, it can look not good on a lot of readers. The ePub will look good on different readers screen and size not an issue. PDF means you have no real choice in how it looks. Once it's done, it's done. If I want a larger font, I can have it with ePub. PDF, nope.

Now if I want to make a PDF that will look nice on my Sony Reader, I can do that. But if I give that same PDF to someone that has a Kindle DX, it won't look nice.

You don't get it. PDF is fixed. Sure you can have more typographic control when making it, but you have to make many many different versions to fit all sorts of screen sizes. It's not worth the hassle.

JSWolf
02-26-2010, 09:51 PM
Maybe you missed my previous posts? I didn't purchase an epub ebook, I purchased an LRX ebook.

Yes, you purchased an LRX eBook and it's been upgraded to ePub. So what's the problem?

PKFFW
02-26-2010, 10:16 PM
Well, the claim was there was no uncrackable DRM. Getting round it in other ways isn't cracking :p
Actually the claim was there is no DRM that can't be broken.

Broken is a term generally accepted to mean circumvented in any way.

Cheers,
PKFFW

frabjous
02-26-2010, 10:43 PM
I just saw that you have created ... SIX different documents for different devices!!!

Exactly my point!

And why six documents and not ten? Or 20?

Those were just wrappers that called the core document. Did you look at their size? It would be more like creating six different CSS files. Every single word of the actual book is in the file imp-core.tex and nowhere else. (So much for the impossibility of separating form and content!)

If I had wanted to use one document, it would have been trivial to do it with the ifthen package instead. I was new at LaTeX when I did that, so I did it a different way.

is an ePub many documents and not one because if I unzip it, there will be a lot of different files in there? Counting files is not what's important. I only edited the book once. That's what's important. Creating those wrapper files could even be automated with a GUI giving the reader a choice of fonts and font sizes and page sizes and header/footer styles, etc. That's pretty much all they contain.

Latex and pdf were created for printed paper, not for screens. Sure, there are people who learned to use these formats and they don't want to learn anything else. This does not change the fact that those are printed paper formats. Tex and Latex are around for 30 years and they are marginal formats at best.

The entire scientific world disagrees with you.

And LaTeX is less than 20 years old. In fact, it's no older than HTML is. TeX is older, but that should be encouraging, since it shows that the core typesetting algorithms (which are the important thing here, not the markup differences) are not so resource intensive that portable devices can't handle them... after all if computers from the early 80s could...

They are not going to get more popular in the future, they will slowly disappear.

The popularity of LaTeX has skyrocketed in the past couple years. It's very noticeable in my discipline. No one had heard of it five years ago. Now, lots of people are using it.

(The topic is: which format will win?)

Ugh. I have already predicted that XHTML/CSS will win the ebook war. Read my posts! My point was about hoping that we get as good a quality of a renderer for it as we have for LaTeX, and that, until such a time, there is reason to prefer PDF.

frabjous
02-26-2010, 10:48 PM
The ePub did look better then the PDF. No question about it.

I questioned it, and listed several ways in which it looked worse. You haven't responded to those points. On the other hand, you've given no reasons why it looks better. The example is also completely irrelevant, since the vast majority of ePub devices cannot handle both MathML and SVG. (Actually, all of them on portable devices are in this boat as far as I know.)

Also, the PDF is a fixed size. So depending on what size it was made for, it can look not good on a lot of readers. The ePub will look good on different readers screen and size not an issue. PDF means you have no real choice in how it looks. Once it's done, it's done. If I want a larger font, I can have it with ePub. PDF, nope.

I have never advocated distributing or selling only PDFs. My point was that it currently makes sense to convert documents to PDF so you can use your own font and screen size but STILL have good typography, at least until such a time as the quality of ePub rendering improves.

Now if I want to make a PDF that will look nice on my Sony Reader, I can do that. But if I give that same PDF to someone that has a Kindle DX, it won't look nice.

Agreed. I've never said otherwise. But you could give them the source file form which you made the PDF, and they could make their own.

You don't get it. PDF is fixed. Sure you can have more typographic control when making it, but you have to make many many different versions to fit all sorts of screen sizes. It's not worth the hassle.

How much hassle do you think it is? Once you decide on your own favorite font size and screen size, it could be done with a single button click.

As noted, I'm using the same source to generate 6 different PDFs, so you don't have to create many many versions. I could use it for indefinitely many others. The claim is just false.