Trying to sell the unsellable

dcuartiellesJanuary 5th, 2011

I am today trying to write a paper for a forthcoming conference thinking about how to make an original contribution to the academic view on prototyping for wearable technology together with my lab team at Malmo University. While looking for references Tony had a nice surprise: he found his FREE ebook for SALE at a Chinese webshop. We called Xun, the only person in our lab that speaks Chinese currently, to find out someone is trying to sell the Open Software FREE pdf for money. You cannot imagine how flattering it actually is finding out your work being given some value this way. Best part? They haven’t even made the effort to translate it … so why paying for it, just go to softwear.cc and get it free of charge.

 

The Open Softwear Book for sale

I took this screenshot of the book just for you to see. It will probably disappear soon, not that we will try to stop them, but probably the fact they are selling a bunch of O’Reilly titles without permission might be forcing them down somehow (just check the second picture). We have seen a lot of ripoffs of the boards, but at least there someone had to go into a factory and manufacture something, here someone took a free book and tried to sell it for money. This is like picking up the apples from a tree in the public park and selling them two blocks further down the avenue.

 

some pdfs to Arduino related books

You know what Xun said? I don’t know why people are trying to sell these books this way … you can find all those books at some other pages anyway. I think Xun has been in Sweden for too long ;-) the whole piracy movement might have influenced him a bit.

4 Responses to “Trying to sell the unsellable”

  1. Alexandru Csete Says:

    On eBay you will find a whole industry built around selling GPL software under different name. In some cases it makes sense to purchase for people with slow connection; however, in many cases it would take less time to download from the Internet than to complete an eBay transaction!

  2. dcuartielles Says:

    Here in Sweden you can buy a CD with open source (and free software) applications to help you running your company. At least that company putting them together makes an effort in packaging them and making them meaningful to people that need them to build their businesses. I am perfectly fine in charging for services (that is how most of us in the open source community support ourselves), selling the download of something that is also available as a free download is in my eyes a scam … they could just provide a link and give credit to the students that made it in the first place, don’t you think?

    Updated some trackpad typos at 20110105-10.42CET

  3. HoboDuino Says:

    Free and open markets without free and open flow of information are meaningless. This is a textbook example of this phenomenon. A seller trying to sell something that is available for free, and maybe successful only because information is not freely available to the customers that this is available free.

    Also it is a scam because the seller is not coming forward with the information (my guess, i can’t read Chinese). If they said, download for reasonable price (hosting, bandwidth, maintenance cost) and sell hard copy for reasonably higher price, it will make sense to me.

    However, just to play devil’s advocate, I see they are selling it for Y10, while they’re selling a Duemilanove 328P for Y158. I don’t know the conversion rate, but it could be only a couple bucks.

    However the main problem for me is not giving credit and disclosing the original free download to the unsuspecting customer.

  4. X_Y Says:

    These guys are really scum, as they’re selling free information in dishonest way. However it brought up the problem of information spreading. A piece of valuable information, only by being known can people resonate with it, dig into it, make use of it, and develop it further more.

    In a coach-apprentice education model the coach uses his knowledge base to inform new areas and select information for the apprentice. When coming to self learning one is often overwhelmed by tons of information without a proper direction, in this case informing people about the existence of an information becomes invaluable.

    I think it’s a good approach to pick some resources for your potential customer, which helps existing users(new users to Arduino) as well as attracting potential users(people who are interested in wearable computing but don’t know Arduino in this case )