announcing the availability of 4.3BSD Usenix manuals

Mike Tilson mike at hcr.UUCP
Mon Oct 6 04:15:39 AEST 1986

There have been a number of complaints about the fact that the Usenix printing
of the 4.3BSD manuals is only available to Usenix members holding verified
4.3BSD software licenses, since this means ordinary individuals can't buy
a copy.

As a former member of the Usenix Board of Directors, I was around when the
original 4.2 manuals were printed by Usenix.  I believe the situation is
very similar for 4.3 manuals today.  The situation is this:

	1.  Usenix does not own the copyright to the manuals.  The manuals
	    were derived from AT&T sources originally, with lots of stuff
	    added by the University of California at Berkeley.
	2.  Usenix wishes to provide a service to the UNIX community by
	    making the manuals available at very reasonable cost.  Usenix
	    itself has no desire to restrict circulation unnecessarily.
	3.  Usenix can only distribute this material according to the
	    restrictions imposed by the *owners of the material*.
	4.  Usenix worked very hard to overcome legal hassles just to
	    get this far.

I think there have been some unreasonable flames about Usenix;  this is
unfair since Usenix has very little control over the distribution policy
and without this service the manuals would be much harder to get than they
are now.  If you don't like the controls on manual distribution, complaints
should be directed first to the Regents of the University of California,
and second to AT&T.  I personally feel it is unreasonable to prevent
sales to individuals, but the Usenix Association did not create that
situation and shouldn't be blamed for it.  As a practical matter, given
the widespread sale of thousands of copies to hundreds of institutional
licensees, I suspect anyone who wants a copy will have little trouble
obtaining one.

(Also note that this situation is *not* the fault of the technical group
that created 4BSD.  As far as I know, they don't like it either.)

/ Michael Tilson, Human Computing Resources Corp., Toronto, Canada
/ +1-416-922-1937, {utzoo,decvax,...}!hcr!mike

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