Re: Lots of things are happening with ACM TOPLAS (ACM TOPLAS)
6 Apr 1997 22:49:46 -0400

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Related articles
Lots of things are happening with ACM TOPLAS (1997-03-31)
Re: Lots of things are happening with ACM TOPLAS (Henry Spencer) (1997-04-02)
Re: Lots of things are happening with ACM TOPLAS (1997-04-06)
Re: Lots of things are happening with ACM TOPLAS (1997-04-18)
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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 6 Apr 1997 22:49:46 -0400
Organization: U of Maryland, Dept. of Computer Science, Coll. Pk., MD 20742
References: 97-03-165 97-04-017
Keywords: administrivia, journal

Henry Spencer <> wrote:
>Couldn't ACM, of all organizations, have the decency and common sense
>to use a non-proprietary data format? Even PostScript (Level 1,
>please!) is far more widely understood than PDF.

This decision was made by ACM publications before I came on
board. However, in my experience as TOPLAS editor-in-chief and on
conference program committees, receiving postscript submissions from
all over the world, I've had _lots_ of problems with postscript being
non-portable. I haven't had such problems with pdf. And for someone
who wants to install a reader on their laptop and print to their
inkjet printer, I think Acrobat Reader is a lot easier to install than
ghostview. PDF also allows some nice hyperlinking and other

>[ACM generally permits copying for non-commercial purposes, so maybe we
>should put up a Postscript-ized mirror. -John]

I am quite confident that ACM would _not_ allow such a mirror on a
non-ACM cite. The ACM site allows only ACM members to download
articles; I suspect it may soon restrict TOPLAS downloads to TOPLAS
subscribers. ACM is very concerned about maintaining their revenue
stream as publishing moves on line.

Before too many people piss and moan about information wanting to be
free, I'd like to say that I think ACM's policies are actually very
good for the research community and could have come out a lot worse. I
don't think it is reasonable to expect that ACM would provide free
access to everyone to all of their journals. Even if printing costs go
away, there are real costs to running a good, peer-reviewed journal.

I believe it would be possible for me to make both pdf and postscript
versions available from ACM's web site. However, this would require a
non-trivial amount of work on my part, both initially and on a
continuing basis. If you feel that it is important to make postscript
versions available, send me email describing your reasons. But this
isn't a vote: don't bother sending one line "me-too's" messages or
flames. They won't have any impact on my decision. In any case, it
won't happen for a couple of months. I've got too many other
backlogged tasks on TOPLAS and other stuff.

Bill Pugh
TOPLAS editor in chief
[No pissing and moaning here, I hadn't noticed ACM had changed the
permission boilerplate at the front of each article, and as the
publisher of the late lamented Journal of C Language Translation, I
can testify that producing a quality journal is a lot of work. Re PDF
vs PS, EPS is in my experience as portable as PDF and there's a lot
more tools that handle it, e.g., you can embed chunks of it in other
documents without having to fire up Acrobat every time you look at
that page, and you can print it directly. -John]


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