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Print 57 comment(s) - last by Ringold.. on Oct 3 at 7:08 PM


  (Source: maxupdates.tv)
Thanks to two new bills, there is financial relief at last

Whether you're racking up tuition fees now or still paying student loans after graduation, you know one thing is for sure: College is expensive. To make matters worse, the spending doesn't end at a semester of classes -- there's books that need to be purchased as well, and they're worth more than a little bit of pocket change.

But if you're going to school in California, a bit of relief has finally come your way in the form of two bills: SB 1052 and SB 1053. 

Both bills, which were crafted by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), will allow California college students to download up to 50 core textbooks for free in the form of e-books. The e-books are for lower-division courses and are for classes at the University of California, California State University and California Community Colleges. 

More specifically, SB 1052 allows for the development of the e-books and the creation of the California Open Education Resources Council for e-book approvals. SB 1053 has developed the California Digital Open Source Library to store the new e-books. 

"Many students are paying more than $1,000 every year on their textbooks, sometimes having to choose between buying the books they need or paying for food and other living expenses," said Steinberg. 

The new e-book bills were signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Thursday. They are expected to go into effect starting in the 2013-14 school year. 

Digital textbooks are certainly becoming the new way of learning in institutions around the globe. This new form of educational offerings was further boosted by Apple earlier this year, who released iBooks 2 and iBooks Author that allow for the creation of digital textbooks and makes them available for purchase on the iPad. 

Source: CA.gov



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We all pay in one form or another
By cubby1223 on 10/1/2012 3:16:09 PM , Rating: 4
Nothing is ever truly free. It takes someone time and effort to create the book. The printing process is cut out. But that doesn't reduce the costs to produce the materials down to zero.

My guess is either the content quality of future textbooks will go down, or something else involved in attending college will raise in price.




By Motoman on 10/1/2012 3:17:31 PM , Rating: 3
It'll all be in optional paid-for expansion packs.

"Learn for free up to level 20! If you want to learn more, buy the Basic Competence EP today!"


RE: We all pay in one form or another
By Azethoth on 10/1/2012 3:39:00 PM , Rating: 1
Linux is free. They are talking about doing the same for text books.

A few common text books, collectively edited and improved is infinitely better than each prof releasing valuable limited edition books just for their class for that year at $300 each.

New material should be a new e-chapter, not a new e-xpense.

Quality goes up because people can concentrate on adding the missing stuff and not rehashing everything for their own custom book boondoggle.


RE: We all pay in one form or another
By ebakke on 10/1/2012 3:45:39 PM , Rating: 4
Seems awesome for things like math, physics, chemistry, language courses, etc but dicey for "subjective" things like history. The weight/importance of various events could be controversial. I'm just thinking about things like the US Civil War, and the differing views on why it happened.

Nonetheless, that's a controversy I'd welcome!


RE: We all pay in one form or another
By Motoman on 10/1/2012 3:55:19 PM , Rating: 2
"Controversial" is a problem everywhere. TX, for example, will find it important to leave evolution out of their textbooks.


By The Raven on 10/2/2012 7:48:17 PM , Rating: 2
lol

And CA where they teach kids about all the places you can stick your penis except a vagina.

(This is just good humored ribbing BTW. Nothing anti-LGBTQ about it. I'm Californian and a libertarian.)


RE: We all pay in one form or another
By Reclaimer77 on 10/1/12, Rating: 0
RE: We all pay in one form or another
By ClownPuncher on 10/1/2012 4:44:02 PM , Rating: 2
It had the benefit of freeing slaves, which is what most people consider the most important part(right or not). I'd wager 90% of Americans don't know much at all behind the actual political motivations, or the gathering of Federal power away from the states.


By The Raven on 10/2/2012 7:53:45 PM , Rating: 2
I thought the slaves weren't freed until the 1960s. As a matter of fact it seems like many of them still aren't free as they are continuously being locked up for victimless crimes.

John Brown > Abe Lincoln

quote:
I'd wager 90% of Americans don't know much at all behind the actual political motivations, or the gathering of Federal power away from the states.

Hence the controversy re: textbooks/federal education initiatives.


RE: We all pay in one form or another
By iwanttobehef on 10/1/2012 5:17:44 PM , Rating: 1
You have made the same idiotic argument before. Get your facts straight. South Carolina attacked a federal fort before Lincoln even took office. I haven't checked to see if the rebels were so incompetent as to have not drawn blood. I thought there were no fatalities, but this is kind of splitting hairs.

What kind of schooling do you have in South Carolina?


By ebakke on 10/1/2012 5:28:58 PM , Rating: 2
<chant>FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!</chant>


RE: We all pay in one form or another
By Ringold on 10/1/2012 10:52:56 PM , Rating: 4
What a tool. The South wanted to leave peaceably, any reading of history will show that. They had no desire to spill unnecessary blood.

To further point out your sheer ignorance, if your assertion was true, after the First Battle of Bull Run the confederates could've very easily marched right in to D.C., undefended at that point due to their army being shattered, and they could've very easily ended the war right then. Killed whoever they wanted, burned the city down if they wanted, etc.

But no. They let the Union run. Lee at no point had any desire to do undue damage to the North. For Lee, they were brothers -- fellow graduates of West Point, no less. Every rational historical source describes the South's goals as very narrow; not conquest, simply being allowed to go their own way. Any thing they did, they did because the North didn't want to let them go.

If you want to call that belligerence or whatever, then you must think pretty lowly of those Syrians dieing by the hundreds fighting against a regime that doesn't want to let them go, either.

Even at the end, his officers urged him to let the army disperse to the bush, switch to guerrilla warfare, slowly murder the yankee's until they lost the will to go on -- Vietnam before Vietnam was even known. Lee, again, had no desire to put his country through that.

I'd make a joke about what kind of schooling you have, but it makes me wonder if you have any schooling at all on the matter.

As for Licoln being a tyrant, historians will not disagree, no matter what their opinion of him, because the facts are straight-forward. Political dissent during the war is something one did knowing it probably ended up with you hanging from a tree, or, if you were a newspaper that disagreed from the official line, it likely meant your newspaper press could get tossed in to the river at any minute by citizens...wearing blue uniforms.

'Lincoln, The War President' is a good book on the matter. It still ends up revering him if I remember right, but details scores of profound violations of civil liberties and the constitution. Lincoln could've very possibly died in jail if not assassinated. Just because you have a boner for the guy doesn't excuse ignorance of fact.


RE: We all pay in one form or another
By iwanttobehef on 10/2/2012 5:40:08 PM , Rating: 2
Did you just compare the democratically elected president of the US to a middle eastern dictator? Did you just compare people fighting to gain their freedom with people fighting to keep people enslaved?

Epic Fail

You are entitled to your opinion.
The facts say the first shots were fired by the south and when the opportunity arose the south did invade the north. Sounds like a peace loving people to me... not.

Why Lee didn't attack the capitol after the battle of Bull Run? Maybe it was because he had a green army too that had just learned that an inexperienced army on the attack was more apt to loose. Or maybe Lee didn't attack then because he didn't assume command of the army of Northern Virginia for nearly another year.

I have never disputed Lee's genius, but to think that his was the only opinion in the South is assinine. What I do dispute is the fallacy of the "war of northern aggression" on an innocent, peace loving, southern people fighting for states rights.


By The Raven on 10/2/2012 7:40:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Did you just compare the democratically elected president of the US to a middle eastern dictator? Did you just compare people fighting to gain their freedom with people fighting to keep people enslaved?

While it is not apples and apples you are oversimplifying it.
If half the country is willing to fight to the death over the wishes of the federal gov't it doesn't sound very democratic.
And what else would you call a president who attacks his own people? Sound like a dictator to me.

Again I am not saying Lincoln=Assad, but rather that the comparison is not as black and white as you put it.

And as far as fighting to keep people enslaved? They were fighting for their FREEDOM to use slaves. Which at the time was not such a disgusting idea as it is now and The North BTW was very happy to use all the products coming from the slaves. (Not to mention slavery was on its way out anyway.) Again, not to jump to the defense of slave owners but you are greatly oversimplifying.

Which way do you look at the abortion issue? Pro-life vs. Pro-death or Pro-choice vs. Anti-choice? Or maybe Pro-life vs. Anti-life or Pro-choice vs. Pro-vag police?


By Ringold on 10/3/2012 7:05:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Did you just compare the democratically elected president of the US to a middle eastern dictator?


Hitler was democratically elected. Chavez stirs up all sorts of trouble, democratically elected. The Bolshevik rebellion which brought Stalin to power in Russia, which led to millions purged and scores more in forced labor, was a popular movement! What matters are what they do. You're just trying to hide behind a false veneer.

quote:
You are entitled to your opinion. The facts say the first shots were fired by the south and when the opportunity arose the south did invade the north.


I deal in facts here, which you're only loosely acquainted with. The Confederates, you'll note, didn't march north until forced, and it was partly a strategic move. They needed to stay on the move, and they hoped it'd show the yanks it wasn't worth the fight. The South really got pounded when it tried to dig in and fight trench warfare against what amounted to the Zerg.

quote:
Why Lee didn't attack the capitol after the battle of Bull Run? Maybe


We don't have to say "maybe," since historians have done the work for us. D.C. was a short march away, some of his men were eager to do it. Nothing would've stopped them. Nothing! Burning D.C. was simply not what they wanted. Again, they wanted to leave peacefully.

quote:
What I do dispute is the fallacy of the "war of northern aggression" on an innocent, peace loving, southern people fighting for states rights.


A popular movement of the people of the south wanted to part ways. Any government that attempts to force them from doing so after diplomatic processes have failed seems to be an aggressor to me. How else do you define it?

I'd encourage you to find a group of historical documents that prove the South was interested in truly by the aggressor with some goal other than parting ways with the North. That'd require documents among the CSA leadership and generals seeking, say, retribution, slaughtering yanks, or acquiring addition territory. It's not just my opinion; those documents simply don't exist. I think you've just listened a little too much to popular left-leaning, history-of-the-victor mythology, and not done enough research.


RE: We all pay in one form or another
By Jaybus on 10/1/2012 5:39:29 PM , Rating: 2
On Friday, April 12, 1861, Confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor. On April 15, Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring that an insurrection existed and called upon the states to muster 75,000 militia troops, under the Militia Acts of 1792. The Militia Acts were passed by Congress in response to the Whiskey Rebellion that began in 1791 and gave the President authority to call out the militias of the states for the sole purpose of putting down an armed insurrection. On April 17, Lincoln signed the order to initiate a naval blockade of Southern ports.

Because neither the United States nor the Confederate States (nor Lincoln) ever issued a declaration of war, several court cases following the war depended on a definition of when the war started and ended. The Supreme Court was forced to decide the dates. They ruled that because a naval blockade is considered an act of war under international law, that the war began April 17, 1861 when Lincoln signed the naval blockade order.

Fortunately, history is about recorded events and the context in which they happened, not unsubstantiated opinions such as "a tyrant who declared war and murdered Americans to squash a completely bloodless secession."


RE: We all pay in one form or another
By Reclaimer77 on 10/1/2012 7:16:52 PM , Rating: 1
I love how Liberals will demonize any military action taken in the middle east, for example, but will fall all over themselves to legitimize Lincoln's actions. Which were, frankly, extreme and unwarranted. And lead to the slaughter of nearly a million Americans on both sides without even the attempt at peaceful negotiations.

They say the winners write the history books, and that's never been more evident then in the case of the Civil War.

If you think using the full power of the US military against it's own people, including burning down civilian cities to the ground, is an appropriate response to the events you've listed, well, that's on you.


RE: We all pay in one form or another
By ClownPuncher on 10/1/2012 7:41:09 PM , Rating: 2
I tend to look back on it and ask if how it turned out was better than if he had done nothing. Obviously we have a federal government with much more power over the states now, but in the end, the country did become stronger. Geopolitically, it was also a good move. The cost was that we set a precedent where the Constitution and Bill of Rights were much easier to steamroll past.

If things had gone differently, we likely would have had several wars between the north and south which would both be much weaker on their own.

It's difficult to speculate which would have been better. We should just spend our efforts trying to change what roles the government plays in current day politics. Bring back state rights and pass laws legally, rather than by lobby.


RE: We all pay in one form or another
By Reclaimer77 on 10/1/2012 8:49:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If things had gone differently, we likely would have had several wars between the north and south which would both be much weaker on their own.


I don't know why people always jump to this conclusion. There is an equally possible chance that the Confederacy could have been brought to the table, and through negotiation and compromise, rejoined the Union leading to a stronger more Constitutional country.

However since diplomacy wasn't even attempted, this is all speculation.

quote:
We should just spend our efforts trying to change what roles the government plays in current day politics. Bring back state rights and pass laws legally, rather than by lobby.


It's too late. Rebellions like the Civil War, historically, are the only things that lead to the massive types of reforms we're talking about.

Why would the Government give up that much power today? Not without a fight. They've murdered their own people before to hold onto that power, and they would do it again.

But Clown it's refreshing discussing this with someone who doesn't instantly pull the "you just want slavery" card whenever this topic comes up. You have no idea :)


By Ringold on 10/1/2012 10:59:01 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you; a lot of the key actors on the north and south were in fact mutual life-long friends with little animosity towards one another. A lot of soldiers, despite a lot of animosity, had friends and even family and brothers on the other side.

Given that, I think you're right, the two would've either came to a negotiated compromise (like just returning to the original constitution), or would've agreed to be separate nations and cultures but brothers in blood, closer to one another then any other 2 countries, maybe in history.


RE: We all pay in one form or another
By jeffkro on 10/1/2012 9:30:47 PM , Rating: 3
Wow, you guys have gone way off topic


RE: We all pay in one form or another
By Ringold on 10/1/2012 11:05:55 PM , Rating: 2
In a way, it's perfectly on target of how open source educational books can be a failure.

You've got the left here with their revisionist history, same as how modern America likes to forget the Japanese internment camps the left likes to forget about the giant dump Lincoln took on the constitution -- in order to save it, he would argue. (In fact, I think he actually DID argue exactly that) Then you've got the right, pointing out facts they find inconvenient, and offering perspective on the motivations of the South that modern liberals are very poorly equipped intellectually to understand... Not that they're dumb, but they're the ideological polar opposite of those people.

Economics and psychology are two other fields that could get messy on the margins. They don't publish much, and don't command as large a following among actual economists out there, but what they lack in number modern Marxist economists make up for in verbosity... They'd try to have their way with any open-source econ text. Even in the mainstream, ideas take time to be established.

Physics, even, on the fringes could be questionable. Imagine the e-rage that could come up over different explanations for the big bang, or over the safety and efficacy of nuclear power.

I, for one, would rather pay $100 for quality, curated knowledge and information than a lowest-common-denominator book of dubious value.


RE: We all pay in one form or another
By Etsp on 10/2/2012 12:38:57 AM , Rating: 2
Ringold, if you're really worried about revisionist history, contribute to these projects! Part of that contribution is to stand up and say "That's not factually accurate. Here are my sources."

I really think you don't understand how open source works. It's usually not the free-for-all edits of Wikipedia, but rather each project is an organization within itself, with a hierarchy of authority, standard practices and policies.

Each change and contribution must meet certain requirements PRIOR to getting included into the project. Random people can't just log into the site, edit a few pages with nonsense, and expect it to get implemented.


RE: We all pay in one form or another
By Ringold on 10/2/2012 2:59:37 PM , Rating: 2
Problem is, like with any open-source project, a professor can take a project, 'fork' it for his courses, stuff in his revisions, and indoctrinate wave after wave of students that'd never know any better.


RE: We all pay in one form or another
By The Raven on 10/2/2012 8:04:38 PM , Rating: 2
Re: open souce project management...watch this.
http://www.ted.com/talks/clay_shirky_how_the_inter...

And the open source model allows for anyone to fork the material. This means that people can fork and do something worse (which you point out) or fork and do something better (which you failed to point out). And I wonder which one will float to the top and be used by the best schools? You actually are afraid that people will chose the worst one?


By Ringold on 10/3/2012 7:08:48 PM , Rating: 2
If educators embraced best-practice policies, America wouldn't have a failing education system, would it?

Professors get tenure, and then are free to do whatever they want. Are you aware, for example, that there's liberal-arts school "Economics" programs out there stuffed with old-guard tenured Marxists that pump out wave after wave of indoctrinated little communists that go forth and never get jobs doing actual econometric work? In this happy world of best-case scenario outcomes, why do so many of these colleges exist with their centuries-outdated curricula?


By christojojo on 10/1/2012 3:39:57 PM , Rating: 3
While, I agree with you that nothing is ever free. The publishers and resellers seem to have found a way to print free money. They change the cover and switch a chapter or unit with another add a few questions in spots to make it harder to find the corresponding one in a an older edition. Bam last year's $300 text is $350. This has been happening for years (at least 3 decades that I have been part of the education system.)


By ebakke on 10/1/2012 3:42:04 PM , Rating: 2
It sounds like Mr Steinberg already knows where the cost difference is coming from.

"Many students are paying more than $1,000 every year on their textbooks, sometimes having to choose between buying the books they need or paying for food and other living expenses," said Steinberg. So if we're taking this $1,000 expense away from textbooks (and we can't make the students decide between $1000-more-expensive-tuition or food and other living expenses) then I guess the taxpayers in the Golden State will graciously pick up the tab. How kind of them!

Or maybe Steinberg is also orchestrating a massive scholarship/grant donation drive to cover the costs. Hmm. Doubtful.


RE: We all pay in one form or another
By nafhan on 10/1/2012 3:45:55 PM , Rating: 5
I have a hard time seeing how this could be bad for anyone except the publishers of the current textbooks.

The almost yearly updates of those books make EA sports game's year to year updates look somewhat reasonable...


By ebakke on 10/1/2012 5:28:36 PM , Rating: 2
I suspect the folks who end up paying for the electronic books may think it's bad for them.


By danjw1 on 10/1/2012 3:59:37 PM , Rating: 2
They are to be written by professors at California's public colleges both community and university. So those people already get salaries.


By jeffkro on 10/1/2012 9:27:23 PM , Rating: 2
No doubt the school will have to pay the publisher


By PaFromFL on 10/2/2012 8:17:14 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps the goal is to persuade the greedy bastards in the publishing industry to cut back on their looting. Right now, they seem to have no competition (probably because of bribes to the professors, their bosses, and Washington).


By Moishe on 10/2/2012 4:26:59 PM , Rating: 2
It's more welfare.

Just like you said, nothing is free. Is the government paying the textbook creators? If so, that's the taxpayer. It's just welfare, and it uses the same arguments as welfare.


Education is not a luxury
By 2bdetermine on 10/1/2012 3:41:21 PM , Rating: 2
Open source textbooks anyone!




RE: Education is not a luxury
By andrewaggb on 10/1/2012 4:09:14 PM , Rating: 2
I think it could work. Wonder if they'll really be open source, so any university could use them/contribute outside of california?


RE: Education is not a luxury
By Etsp on 10/1/2012 5:29:36 PM , Rating: 2
Wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_textbook

Open textbooks are something that I think can permanently transform global education for the better. This movement is picking up speed, and I'm hoping for a watershed moment. Perhaps this is it.


RE: Education is not a luxury
By jeffkro on 10/1/2012 9:33:15 PM , Rating: 2
What a great idea


RE: Education is not a luxury
By Ringold on 10/1/2012 11:17:51 PM , Rating: 2
Despite well over a decade of trying mightily legions of enthusiasts have still failed to create an open source desktop linux distro that puts any competitive pressure on the two incumbents.

Don't see how this would be any better, esp. with all the issues raised above. I think it simply removes a participant that has the potential to do good; the publisher. A publisher can enforce standards and ignore crazies.

Having every professor possibly spin his own slightly modified textbooks, jam-packed with his own personal theories and biases, I suspect will lower the quality of education in anything thats not math, basically. Students would always get exposed to the professors ideas, part of what they pay for even, but at least the text books could take a slightly different approach, expose them to a slightly different slant or emphasis. This sounds like a potential recipe for yet another echo-chamber in modern society.


RE: Education is not a luxury
By Etsp on 10/2/2012 12:28:25 AM , Rating: 2
The crazies can always find a different publisher.

Now, let me ask you: What great educator have you known that taught the class straight out of the textbook, and only out of the textbook? Every K-12 instructor that's been the least bit enthusiastic about their job that I've ever known used bits and pieces of the textbooks, not the whole thing, and often taught chapters out of their published order.

The benefit would be a lot less repetition of work. How many basic algebra books have been published? I'm willing to bet thousands. To teach the same subject. Not saying that there would only be one open algebra book, but it would consolidate a lot of work that is getting done over and over.


RE: Education is not a luxury
By Mint on 10/2/2012 11:27:30 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know what you're rambling about.

The biases you find in Wikipedia are far, far smaller than what you'll find from professors (or even department committees) choosing the book that they want for their class. Why do you think open-source textbooks will be so much worse?


RE: Education is not a luxury
By Jeffk464 on 10/2/2012 7:23:05 PM , Rating: 2
Wikipedia might not be perfect but it is really impressive given its concept.


RE: Education is not a luxury
By The Raven on 10/2/2012 8:13:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
legions of enthusiasts

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_opera...
Legions? You call 1.55% legions?

If there were more non-enthusiast supporters and less naysayers such as yourself, then things would be really different.

Oh sorry I linked to an open source project, doh!


Free Books!
By gnac on 10/1/12, Rating: 0
RE: Free Books!
By augiem on 10/1/2012 4:45:11 PM , Rating: 2
Nobody values anything digital. They think it all just appears out of thin air. It takes hundreds of thousands of hours to creating anything significant these days and they want it all free. People are really ignorant, entitled brats. Disgusting.


RE: Free Books!
By Etsp on 10/1/2012 5:18:28 PM , Rating: 2
First, let's address this statement:
quote:
The unintended consequences of this idea will prove to reduce the value of an education.
Reduce the "value" of an education? As in monetary value? I'm all for it.

As far as who would write the books is concerned:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_textbook

In short: Lots of people. Not to mention, just because the content of the books are given away doesn't mean that the primary contributors can't be compensated. They just won't get additional compensation based upon how many people download/use the books.

There are plenty of charities willing to compensate writers for taking the time to create an open textbook. Not the least of them is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Not to mention, if the open textbook movement starts picking up speed like the open source movement, you won't have one or two writers per textbook, but dozens contributing in their spare time, continually refining these textbooks as time goes on.

Someone should convince Linus to write a Git for textbooks. On second thought, Git would probably work fine as it is... it would just need a front-end geared towards writing books rather than writing software.


RE: Free Books!
By Ringold on 10/1/2012 11:30:46 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Not the least of them is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


So could one of George Soros' charities. Or the Heritage Foundation. Green Peace could commission biology and economics texts with their views embedded. Is this really the sort of people we want professors choosing text books from? Do we really want to bring about a system that makes it easier then it already is to indoctrinate bias?

quote:
you won't have one or two writers per textbook, but dozens contributing in their spare time, continually refining these textbooks as time goes on.


Yes, because the United Nations does a GREAT job of producing joint papers and statements... Creating a project that inherently invites people from different perspectives together to try to hash out a common work is nuts, the only thing the UN can heartily agree on is to continue existing. Everything else, including things like "maybe that government should stop murdering people," is open to vicious debate.

I wish people would agree that open-source has its place and some useful functions, but its inherently a niche endeavor. Writ large, it's the net's version of communism, and writ large, committees and communism rarely ever work. The incentives and ... well, read an econ book, open source and communism both only work well universally if we're all 100% altruistic angels. Which we're not.


RE: Free Books!
By Etsp on 10/2/2012 12:17:18 AM , Rating: 2
Your argument is terrible. Any organization can pay for a book to be written as it is according to their own slant (and they do) and as a result, professors already have such books to choose from when determine what to use in a course. I don't see how this system is any more vulnerable to biased works than privately published books.

As far as your comparison of sourcing books to the UN, that isn't even applicable. If it was, it would apply to any undertaking that requires more than 3 people.

When a group of people work together on ANY project, there will be some friction and dissent.

At the UN, each country is primarily motivated towards doing what benefits itself, NOT the world as a whole. That's why they can't get anything done. They exist to negotiate to the benefit of their country, as a result, they can't easily agree on ANYTHING.

As far as open-source being a niche, that's certainly true. However, by its very nature, education is a perfect fit for it. That's why it's so widespread in universities.

Communism works for ideas and knowledge. It does not work for manufacturing. That is not to say that communism should be enforced, but rather that organizations have the choice to participate in an open source project.

They have a choice to put their work into the public domain. By leaving it up to volunteerism to provide the texts, there is no dependency on 100% of us being "altruistic angels".


RE: Free Books!
By Etsp on 10/2/2012 12:40:50 AM , Rating: 2
*determining
*comparison of open sourcing books to the UN


RE: Free Books!
By Ringold on 10/2/2012 3:15:40 PM , Rating: 2
My objection fundamentally rests, I guess, on allowing professors and universities more leeway then they already have in creating the intellectual bubbles that are already out there. At least when a professor has to write his own book, that's a big one-man undertaking. Otherwise, now at least, a professor/department/etc, has to buy books, commissioned and screened by a 3rd party -- the publishers.

Of course, if there's enough demand for something, publishers will commission bad textbooks too, but the current paradigm at least has some more reviews and checks in it than one where anybody and their brother can very easily fork some open-source textbook, stuff in whatever they want, and pawn it off at legit. Makes it too easy, IMO, for professors to create an environment where their students aren't even made aware of other information.

And profit motive has historically created things of higher quality and value over the long run then those dolled out for nothing, so quality is another concern. I can agree that information should be as free as possible, but textbooks aren't produced freely. That may put it back in to the category of things done better by people that hope to turn a profit.


RE: Free Books!
By jeffkro on 10/2/2012 9:45:53 AM , Rating: 2
Interesting you should call open source the communism of the net. The net pretty much runs on Linux and now with Android taking over half the people use Linux day to day.


RE: Free Books!
By Ringold on 10/2/2012 3:06:48 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, there's that old open-source android chestnut. Poor example for open source enthusiasts; android's just a platform for different peoples walled gardens. How's that Angry Birds source code look? How about all its drives? Oh. Wait.

And iPhone's also put Android sales to shame, despite much higher cost, despite not being open source.

Didn't say open source didn't have a time and place in the world. I just take the position that open source enthusiasts need to understand its limitations instead of thinking its some sort of silver bullet.


The Bill we really need
By jRaskell on 10/1/2012 5:38:58 PM , Rating: 2
What they really need to pass is a bill that prevents a professor from making his own books a requirement of his class.

That may seem counter intuitive, but every instance of grossly expensive textbooks I ever ran into going through college (and I mean grossly compared to the average college textbook) were all books written by the professor requiring the book.




Fifty? Why the limitation?
By lightfoot on 10/1/2012 5:39:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
California college students to download up to 50 core textbooks for free

This quote strongly implies that these text books are not truly "open."

First of all it only applies to California college students - not even the entire California population. Is this some sort of subscription that is included in the tuition?

Also the limitation of 50 books free seems to imply that additional textbooks would have some sort of additional cost associated with them.

A step in the right direction? Maybe. But not a true democratization of knowledge that some may have hoped for.




Nothing is free
By ScotterQX6700 on 10/1/2012 8:14:18 PM , Rating: 2
And some people wonder why so many cities in California have declared bankruptcy in the last 12 months and so many others are on the edge. The way this article is titled is informative. How about instead: "Taxpayers forced to pay for free text books for students". Government doesn't create wealth. We do. I know that is hard to understand given our government's propensity for printing money. Wake up, people. Every "do gooder" program, including war, increases government power and decreases the power of the individual. Use your brains. I know you have been programmed by government schools for at least 12 years to not question the State so I understand your desire to leap to the State's defense as if I'm speaking blasphemy. I understand your desire to pray to the State to fix all problems by creating laws. I understand your desire to pray to the State to smite your enemies. I wish I knew what words to say to help you see, to help you open your eyes and wake.




USSCA
By knutjb on 10/2/2012 1:40:40 AM , Rating: 2
It used to be the United Socialist Republic of Santa Monica. Now it is the United Socialist Republic of California.

Silly Democrats, socialism is failing in Greece, Spain... and you expect it to work for you? Yes Democrats have had complete control of the legislative branch for decades. Laws with mandated funding have been allowed proceed in the reality of failure.

They don't have a spine to pass legitimate spending laws but will pass a law to give illegals drivers licenses. They sure have massive failure down to a fine art. Funny that the last time the state had any money was when Reagan cleaned up Jerry Brown's dad's mess. Reagan left $3 Billion in the coffers. Jerry blew it all in his first term all those years ago when he was known as governor moonbeam. Yeah Ca...




$$$
By BAFrayd on 10/2/2012 5:33:33 AM , Rating: 2
Who's paying the bill? If it isn't the student, then it's wrong.




“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls














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