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Old 03-23-2012, 06:47 AM   #1
carpetmojo
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Question Alternative to Alf's vacuum cleaner ?

Ummm......

[Trying to phrase this correctly, Mods please guide if necessary]

A recent authors' thread on MR has posted advice and a link to a conversion tool :

http://www.online-convert.com/

Now, this is free, appears to be useable for films. sound, etc... and books.
So, as it seems to be a multi-use thing, and doesn'tactually mention the dread 3 x uppercase, are we allowed to hear more about this?
Surely it can't be as easy as all that ? (Didn't go beyond the intro option page, thought I'd ask hear first..)

Does Apprentice Alf have anything to worry about, I wonder........

Or am I once again grovelling in the swamp that is my tech-knowledge ?
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Old 03-23-2012, 06:51 AM   #2
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If you go to the FAQ page, you will find that it can't convert DRMed ebooks. Consequently, I don't think Alf has any competition here; it is Calibre that would have the competition, but Calibre is much more than just a format converter that I don't think the two are comparable.
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Old 03-23-2012, 02:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhadin View Post
If you go to the FAQ page, you will find that it can't convert DRMed ebooks. Consequently, I don't think Alf has any competition here; it is Calibre that would have the competition, but Calibre is much more than just a format converter that I don't think the two are comparable.
There's also a pretty good chance that this site is actually using calibre to do the conversion process, though they don't say anywhere on the site what they actually use. They probably also use ffmpeg for the video conversion, and other open source tools for doc conversion, audio conversion, etc. It's difficult (but not impossible) to know for sure what tool is used for the conversion process, but given that calibre, ffmpeg, etc are all GPLed and at the very least they need to give credit, there might be violations here.

I don't think I would personally use the site without more information about who runs it, what they use for conversion, what their storage policy is for my files beyond what's listed in the privacy policy (do they keep logs of the files I uploaded, if not the files themselves? What if the MPAA or RIAA or whoever decided to snoop around, would they tell them what I'm converting? etc). Maybe I'm just paranoid, but I don't trust that site.
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Old 03-23-2012, 05:11 PM   #4
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Exactly why I checked here first - perhaps the author could provide more information ?
Although I like my Calibre too much to bother !

He does say he's "new" to things, mind.....
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Old 03-26-2012, 04:18 AM   #5
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In this case, where a person supplies a file and they return a converted file, I don't think GPL requires any credit/notification.

That being said, I'm happy using the tools on my own computer, including Calibre, to accomplish format conversions.
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Old 03-26-2012, 11:47 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cromag View Post
In this case, where a person supplies a file and they return a converted file, I don't think GPL requires any credit/notification.

That being said, I'm happy using the tools on my own computer, including Calibre, to accomplish format conversions.
Yeah, GPL requires credit only if the modified source, or the binaries generated from the source, is distributed. Here, the source isn't being distributed, and the executable binaries aren't being distributed. Only thing being distributed is the output from the program.
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cromag View Post
In this case, where a person supplies a file and they return a converted file, I don't think GPL requires any credit/notification.

That being said, I'm happy using the tools on my own computer, including Calibre, to accomplish format conversions.
It's a nice tool for folks with tablets where tools like calibre don't exist.
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:09 PM   #8
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Calibre has nothing to worry about. It's maybe a nice tool for people with tablets or working with computers where they can't install Calibre (at work, library, whatever), but the hassle of "send your document through a third party" means people will be cautious about using it for sensitive documents, and the one-at-a-time approach means it can't be used for large batches, and the lack of formatting options makes it of limited use for commercial production. (Which authors won't want to be using it for because, again, third-party step... what happens to the files after they're uploaded? Do they keep a copy?)

It's a nice converter for people who have a handful or two of ebooks they want to convert, and don't want the hassle of Calibre's library functions. But it's by no means a replacement for a conversion on your own computer, where you control access to all the files.
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Old 03-26-2012, 05:09 PM   #9
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Yeah, GPL requires credit only if the modified source, or the binaries generated from the source, is distributed. Here, the source isn't being distributed, and the executable binaries aren't being distributed. Only thing being distributed is the output from the program.
I thought GPLv3 (calibre is licensed under v3) had closed the "web service" loophole, but according to the latest copy of the GPLv3 that doesn't look to be the case. Still, it's generally considered good form to list the software you're using for conversion on a site like this if the software is not custom. No requirement to do so, of course, but it does engender trust.
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