An Open-Source Book About the Open Source Worldby@Mte90
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An Open-Source Book About the Open Source World

by Daniele ScasciafratteAugust 25th, 2020
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Too Long; Didn't Read

An Open-Source Book About the Open Source World is available for free on Leanpub and GitHub. Italian skilled developer Daniele Scasciafratte wrote the book in his personal style about his experience in the last 7 to 8 years in open source. It contains the following sections: how to choose a project, how to involve more people in your project and how to talk with your community. How to use your time is important - How writing documentation can be healthy for your community and the project's future.
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Open source today is a word that often include a lot of things, such as open knowledge (Wikimedia projects), open hardware (Arduino, Raspberry Pi), open formats (ODT/ODS/ODP) and so on.

It is a world of opportunities that can be difficult for newcomers but also for intermediates. This article will help you discover how to approach specific roles, activities or projects/communities in the best way.

Everything Started with "Coaching for OpenSource Communities 2.0"

I decided to write a book in my personal style about my experience in the last 7 to 8 years in open source. I was surprised when I reached 100 pages about various different topics.

My idea was to write something that I would like to read, so nothing that is boring or complicated, but full of real facts.

The second goal was to include my experience but also my philosophy on contributing and how I contribute daily.

Thirdly, I wanted to give a lot of hints and resources and an overall view of this open source world.

Basically, I wanted to write something different from self-help or coaching books that includes just a list of suggestions and best practices. Instead, I take real examples from real life about the OSS world.

As a contributor and developer, I prefer to have real cases to study, because best practices are useful, but we need to learn from others and this world is full of good and bad cases to discover.

In 2019, I started writing a book after Fosdem 2019 and after 2 years inside the Mozilla Reps Council. In that Fosdem edition, I had a talk "Coaching for Open Source Communities 2.0" and after the feedback at the conference and my thoughts in various roles, activities, and projects, it was time to write something.

At the end it wasn't a manual but a book that included my experience, learnings, best practices and so on in Localization, Development, Project Maintainer, Sysadmin, Community Management, Mentor, Speaker and so on. It contains the following sections:

  • Biography - This choice isn't for self promotion but just to understand my point of view and my story that can be inspiring for others
  • Philosophy - Not the usual description of Open Source or the 4 freedoms, but just what Open Source means and how you can help
  • How to live inside the Open Source - A discovery about communications and tools, understanding the various kind of people and the best way to talk with your community
  • How to choose a project - Starting with some questions to yourself and how to involve more people in your project
  • The activity - Open Source is based on tasks that can be divided in 2 levels: Support, Testing, Marketing, Development etc
  • How to use your time - We are busy, we have a life, a job and a family but Open Source can be time-consuming
  • Why document is important - How writing documentation can be healthy for your community and the project's future and brand

There are also three appendices that are manuals which I wrote throughout the years and gathered and improved for this book. They are about: community management, public speaking, and mentoring.

The book ends with my point of view about the future and what we have to do to change opinions about those topics.

I wrote this book and published in October 2019, but it was only possible with the help of reviews and localizers that improved and contributed. Yes, because this book is open source and free for everyone.

I picked the GPL license because this license changed the world and my life in the best way. Using this license is just a tribute. This decision usually is not clear because after all this is a book and there are better licenses like Creative Commons.

Second edition

After coming back from Fosdem 2020, I started writing notes and gathering feedback from readers.

With the lockdown in Italy for Covid-19 in February/March/April I started writing the second edition.

Now topics like burn out, project management, delegating, more sections in the appendixes and a lot was added to this new edition.

I published the new release a few days before my 30 birthday with 115 pages of "opensourcefulness" that is waiting you!

In a week after the publishing, this new edition got the same downloads in GitHub as the previous edition in just 9 months.

Looking at the first feedback, readers appreciate the new edition.

Download the Book for Free

The book is available for free on Leanpub and GitHub where you can download it in PDF/Mobi/Epub.

Leanpub requires an account, but you can give a donation or subscribe to get notifications when there is a new edition. It is also on GitHub and it is possible to open tickets or see the markdown version of the book itself.

I want to say thank you to all the people that helped me with the review for my English and also those who gave opinions and feedback. I am still open to feedback for the next edition!

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