"Don't Give that Book Away!": Why Every Project Needs an Open Source Book

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Thursday, June 23, 2011 from 11:00 – 11:45am in B201


So your project needs a book? Do you write it yourself, or do you approach a publisher? This talk walks you through everything that factors into this decision providing real world examples of projects and companies offering open source books.


Your open source project is “revolutionary”, but no one knows how to install your software and new users are complaining about documentation. What you need is a book, and you need it fast! If your project catches their attention, you’ll quickly be approached by one or more publishers.

What do you do?

The first half of this talk delves into this particular decision point. Should you publish with a publisher, or should you just write an open source book? We’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of open source books and provide attendees with one model for making such a decision.

  • What effect does open source documentation have on the adoption curve of a new technology?
  • What is the “lifecycle” of a traditional (published) book?
  • Who owns a published book? and How is it distributed?

The second half of this talk explores the technical infrastructure, tools, and cultural mechanisms that best support an ongoing documentation effort.

  • Open Source documentation “governance”: how it works
  • Who manages the open source documentation project?
  • What is in a sample open source publishing pipeline?
  • How can open source documentation be used to support an open source business model?

Attendees will explore the infrastructure behind two publishing pipelines and explore the various options that are available to a project that has decided to take responsibility for production.

Speaking experience