Aaargh!

I was warned about copyeditors ….

She’s made a bunch of changes that subtly alter my meaning. Or in some cases radically change it.

Quintissential example: one of the topics discussed in my non-technical introductory chapter is intellectual property. I had written:

To the best of my knowledge and belief, no user has ever been sued over intellectual property in Apache. This contrasts to Linux and the SCO lawsuits (which appear likely to vindicate Linux), and far more strongly to Microsoft, whose end users have paid substantial damages to third parties over patent infringements in Microsoft software.

There are three footnotes to this, containing further detail about SCO, and the Timeline and Softvault cases against Microsoft users.

This became:

To date, no user has ever been sued over intellectual property in Apache. This contrasts with the situation faced by Linux and SCO (though it appears likely that Linux will be vindicated), and even more strongly to the battles fought by Microsoft, whose end users have paid substantial damages to third parties over patent infringements in Microsoft software.

Now, I’m sure my wording could be improved. But not by altering the meaning three times! First, removing “To the best of my knowledge and belief” turns the first into a stronger statement than I’m comfortable with. Second, “Linux and SCO”???? And third, it was precisely because Microsoft didn’t fight their battles that end-users paid tens of millions of dollars to Timeline.

Fortunately, the rest of the book is technical, and much less sensitive than that paragraph. Though I did painstakingly explain why I can use “Apache” to refer to the webserver (having explained this usage in the very first paragraph of the book), but that we can’t use “The Apache Project” to refer to the webserver project, without crossing a line that people involved in other Apache projects might legitimately take offence at.

Posted on October 15, 2006, in apache. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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