Link to Original Source
Link to Original Source
Your distinction between life safety and computer security is good, but I think it's mainly due to the maturity of the two fields.
People have been making buildings for thousands of years, and the first ones fell down for all kinds of reasons. The notion that a building should survive an airplane impact would have been ridiculous twenty years ago, now it sounds desirable. And twenty years from now, some other unforseen hazard will add to the list of design parameters.
Computer security has a lot of threats which are understood and well described (brute force password attacks, man-in-the-middle, SQL injections, etc.) and many that aren't. And it's totally reasonable to blame software engineers if their systems fall to a well known, easily avoidable attack, that they left open by ignorance or incompetence.
I've been working on and teaching a course (Math and the Art of M.C. Escher) from a non-linear online textbook for years now. The book we're using could never be a paper book, because it is too heavily illustrated, animated, and linked. It's also based of of learning modules (Explorations) rather than a linear read-through.
I would love to provide paths through the book - my coauthor and I teach the course in quite different ways, and the other users of the 'book' do as well. But it's proven technically challenging. We host our book with Mediawiki, and maybe that was the wrong choice, but it's worked well in many ways. Is there a good model of how to provide discourses or ontologies? I haven't really seen such a thing in a serious text. WikiBooks, for example, doesn't really have such a thing - if they did, we'd jump on board.
Unlike the book from TFA, though, we're not charging an arm and a leg for a dubious license. This makes me wonder how much of this 'innovative' biology book is really just to make a boatload of cash for the publisher. They must save a considerable sum on production costs, and the maintenance of this book sound quite a bit easier than the usual 'new edition every five years' model. They can gradually replace smaller parts when needed, rather than rebuild the whole book to justify selling a bunch of new copies.
The musem's founder, Bob Cassilly, says that $1 of every $12 admission ticket goes to pay insurance, and he has posted a 'wall of shame' listing all the lawyers who have sued the museum.
There's an excellent and relevant article in the WSJ about it: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304159304575183463721620890.html?KEYWORDS=city+museum
Can I remove the welcome screen, toolbar, or watermark logo I see when opening CDFs in CDF Player or viewing CDFs online with the web browser plugin?
The presence of Wolfram branding is part of the FreeCDF licensing terms...
They've got to be kidding if they expect anyone to make serious use of an 'open' format that requires a proprietary player with advertising all over it. Compare with PDF, which is not 'free' but at least seamlessly operates with, say LaTeX.
Through slashed state budgets, ad-supported textbooks have gained some traction in our schools. If educators saw no problem with advertising we would have had ads galore many years ago. The fact that most school textbooks are ad-free is a testament to a large number of intelligent people deciding that ads will erode the quality of information.
Scientific journals are also nearly free of ads, sometimes with a page or two at the back selling other books by the publisher. Again, advertisements would give the impression (and probably the reality) that journal content is not free of interference from interested parties.
As another model, consider PBS, which provides informational and educational programming. It, too, was once free of ads but has slipped on that front and now runs psuedo-ads before and after shows. Still, PBS runs massive pledge campaigns instead of a full slate of advertising. So again, there is huge pressure to gain revenue through advertising, but PBS has resisted.
So, many organizations seem to agree that advertising is a bad thing for educational content. And I think Wikipedia has benefitted tremendously from its lack of dependency on the corporate world, because volunteer contributors feel like their work is being used for the public good, rather than as yet another way to enrich a corporation.
Finally, Wikipedia has managed to make the volunteer/donor model work for many years. They clearly shouldn't give it up easily. Probably governments worldwide should contribute to their mission. If they are $7 million short, that's a drop in the bucket for even a single country. The gobal educational benefits of having a quality reference tool available anywhere, for free, are certainly worth national and international support.