Why are textbooks always expected to have a dedication?

One of the tasks I’ve been through in recent weeks is to fill in the Front Matter for my Apache book. One page of that is for the Dedication.

Any book you pick up has one. And it’s always the same kind of thing: “to my dear wife and children”, bla bla bla. Really? Your nearest and dearest may be an inspiration to you, or a terror you wouldn’t dare not dedicate it to, but how many of them know, or want to know, the first thing about your subject?

After giving it a little thought, my nearest and dearest would just be embarrassed by such an obviously irrelevant gesture. So would I. But since the space needs filling, I’ve given it a very brief version of my dream, as set out at greater length in my manifesto:

To all who share my dream, and are working to help make it happen ….

…. the dream of a world where your work, your colleagues, and your opportunities in life are not dictated by where you live, or how far you commute. Where the old-fashioned office of the 19th and 20th centuries has passed into history, along with its soul-destroying bums-on-seats culture and Dilbertian work practices. A world inclusive of those who cannot work in a standard office. A world inclusive of those who reject car-dependence, but embrace a full and active life. A world inclusive of those who seek to fit study and learning in to a busy life, yet have no accessible library, let alone university. Of those who are housebound ….

Our information infrastructure is poised to liberate us all. We who develop with Apache are playing a small but exciting part in that. This work is dedicated to all of us!


Posted on November 3, 2006, in books, rants. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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