OT - Research on LFS

Jeroen Coumans jeroencoumans at gmx.net
Sat Mar 9 08:29:12 PST 2002

On Friday 08 March 2002 20:07, Jason Gurtz wrote:
> > I'm doing a research of LFS for my studies (Arts & Cultures at the
> > university of Maastricht). I'm focusing on the differences between
> > a regular book (which you buy at a store or rent at a library) and
> > the so-called "e-book".
> That seems like a very interesting topic for a thesus  :)

Yes, I know - that's why I'm doing a prelimenary research. There's 
actually lots to be said about the differences, which go further than 
the difference in format.

> > I'm not sure what the e-book is, but I do know that
> > LFS is an example of how it could look.
> Genericaly, in a classic sense, I think "e-book" describes a text
> that is more often than not read online rather than being printed out
> on paper.  I would add however, that the capabilities of hypertext
> and easy conversion to different
> formats/languages/representations/styles and etc.. are/could be
> significant and  important additions to that definition

There are some "definitions" of the e-book floating around, but there's 
no consensus. I'm trying to avoid this problem by describing LFS as an 
example of how an e-book can look. While this makes my definition less 
applicable to other e-books, it also has the advantage of keeping it an 
open definition.

> > Do you think it's practical if LFS would be printed?
> I've printed the book from the pdf format on a couple occasions, once
> using duplexing (double sided pages) and once in a simplex manner. 
> From a technical standpoint I can say that there would need to be
> some additional scripted processing of some type (pun intended!) to
> format the layout more professionaly.  It's just little stuff like
> making sure of margins and spacing of sections etc....  But this does
> point out an inhearint advantage of online viewing.  This is that
> online formatting tends to be "looser" so it's less to think about.

The point of that question is to see wether its regarded as a one-way 
road (from book to e-book). It seems my own ideas regarding this (that 
it's impossible to print an e-book like LFS without losing the 
functionality of the e-part) aren't supported by the community. Perhaps 
I haven't formulated my questions sharp enough.

> > 3. In traditional books, there's a big difference between reader
> > and writer. With LFS, it's a blurry line.
> This may be more to do with the license and niceness of the author.
> Certainly there could be e-books that are closed source and the
> author could be an arse and reject all submissions  ;)

That's a good point - but then there wouldn't be a difference with the 
traditional book. One of the greatest advantages of the e-book in 
LFS-terms is the backup of the community. This has lots of consequences 
for traditional distinctions in books, like the reader/writer part. 

> > If you're interested, I'd be willing to explain some more on where
> > my research is going to, and perhaps even post it when it's ready.
> I'd be interested.
> ~Jason

I'm still in the "drafting" period. I can give you a short outline 

- What is Linux From Scratch?
- Background (Linux, GNU en GPL, Open Source filosofie)
- How did I get involved
- Description of the LFS e-book (important aspects, such as CVS, 
bugzilla, the mailinglists, IRC, the FAQ, the hints)

Chapter 1:
- Link with old/new media: the e-book (Duguid, Manovich)
- Thesus: how does LFS differ from the traditional book?
- Theoretical background: actor-network theory, ethnografy, semiotics
- Methodological justification

Chapter 2: Description of LFS according to Latour's ANT
- Explination of important concepts (black box, network, actants)
- Apply these concepts to LFS

Chapter 3:
- LFS is'nt just the book, it's also the virtual community which shapes 
this (+explanation)
- Analysis of the virtual communitiy (ethnographical - participant 
- Implicit and explicit rules of the community
- Prove by analysis of the thread about the FAQ

Chapter 4:
- Semiotical analysis: computer language within the communtiy
- Explanation of important concepts (signifier/signified, sign, 
semantical structures, relation enunciator/enunciataire)
- Apply these concepts in both the above thread and the product (LFS) 

Chapter 5: Different kind of reader
- Description of the different type/class of reader which is assumed in 
the book (link to previous chapters)
- relation between reader/writer is more complex
-> virtual community creates a participant reader (instead of a passive 

Link with Bolter & Grusin (remediation)
Recap Duguid: the social aspects make LFS unique 

Jeroen Coumans
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