Will the Open Voices eBooks help promote the benefits of open source to new audiences?

Posted 19 Oct 2012 by 

Jason Hibbets (Red Hat)
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Yes (+1)
96% (43 votes)
No (-1)
4% (2 votes)
Total votes: 45

The opensource.com team has been working diligently on putting together a new resource for the open source community and beyond. What started out as "content bundles" are now the first iteration of our Open Voices eBooks.

There are two free eBooks released under Creative Commons that we're looking to gather feedback on from our community during the soft launch. First, we contacted each author and collected their comments. Now, we'd like to get your thoughts and suggestions.

Open Voices eBooks

The Open-Minded CEOs eBook features CEOs from some of today’s most intriguing companies. We call these leaders ’open-minded’ because of their intuitive sense that the open source way is the best way to do business.

An open world: Stories from the open source community eBook offers some of our most empowering stories. From the trenches. From the library. From the cubicle. From the capitol. From the classroom and the boardroom and the courtroom. These are our community members—and perhaps you could be in the next edition.

How to provide feedback

If you'd like to provide any feedback, feel free to vote in our poll and add your comments below. We look forward to hearing from you.


Purpose and FAQs

The purpose of collecting some of our most compelling content is two-fold. First, we're trying to reach new audiences. Readers who may not stumble upon our website because of a particular article. Second, we'd like to breathe new life into the articles that have been popular with our audience. Extending the life of the open source stories that are having a postive impact in our global society are worth another look.

Ultimately, we'd like to get these eBooks into places like Amazon and Barnes & Noble where readers are looking for free eBooks. Your suggestions on the best way to do this would be very helpful.

Will there be an ePub format?

Yes. Our team is currently investigating the ePub format thanks to feedback from some of our authors. (Thanks Karsten Gerloff for the tutorial.) This will most likely be phase two of this project, so stay tuned.

Will you publish future eBooks?

Our next eBook is already in the works! We plan on evaluating common themes in the articles we publish and then create new eBooks to continue promoting the open source way.

Why are you doing a soft launch?

We value the open source way and want to gather feedback from our community before the final versions are ready. Over the last few weeks, we've gathered valuable insights from the authors who are included in the first set of eBooks. Extending the review to our community members is the next natural step for us.

What's the selection process for the articles included in the eBooks?

Great question. For the first two eBooks, we were looking for common themes that would weave together different articles. This is a new initiative for our team and the selection process was very fluid. Here are some insights on how we approached the first two eBooks.

The Open Minded CEO's eBook is pretty straight-forward. We reviewed articles contributed by CEOs and interviews that were conducted. Then we put them together.

For An open world eBook, we used a combination of page views and input from our moderators to determine the articles that really capture the essence of the open source way. This eBook started out as a "best of" collection but we renamed it to reflect what the eBook was really about.

Why did you name the series Open Voices?

We definitely wanted to have a common brand across the eBooks. We decided to name the eBook series Open Voices because we are amplifying the voices from our community. It seemed appropriate and we liked the way it represents the purpose of the eBook series.

When will the final versions be available?

We decided to do a soft launch in order to gather feedback from the contributing authors and now our community. Once all the feedback has been gathered, we'll make any updates and changes to the eBooks and release the final version. This process should only take a few weeks.

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8 Comments

Charlie Strickland
Well, this is a good idea. The beauty of ebooks is that people can interact with the book compared to the traditional books where it is mostly one-sided. Letting the community speak about their opinions will make discussions more fun and interesting.
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jhibbets
Open Sourcerer
Thanks for the feedback. Jason
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Andrews10
An "open source" ebook with a Creative Commons license written with Adobe Indesign on a Mac... Good idea, but it would be nice if this was also written with open source software on open source systems --- otherwise, the essays are pretty much lip service
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jhibbets
Open Sourcerer
We are working on a ePub version on this (I'm sure you read the FAQs). What would you do different? What open source tools would you have used instead of the ones presented in the current format? Jason
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Andrews10
Libreoffice is a good start... It has an epub export extension.. http://extensions.services.openoffice.org/en/project/Writer2ePub and then there is: Scribus... http://scribus.net/canvas/Scribus Just to name two great tools for publishing using Open Source software... Really, I was just remarking on the irony of using expensive Adobe software to publish a book extolling the virtues of using Open Source...
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Elmer Masters
We use an open source stack that includes Libre Office, Sigil, and Calibre to publish open ebooks at http://elangdell.cali.org/. The process is pretty straight forward and the result provides .epub, .mobi, and .pdf files to our readers. Since most of the content in the books comes from articles on this site and the site is powered by Drupal, you might want to take a look at the EPUB module for Drupal (http://drupal.org/project/epub) as one way to get started. And in the spirit of open, I'd be happy to help out getting these books into .epub if I can. Elmer.
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wivenhoe
Open Source Champion
Yes, absolutely publish open ebooks and branch out to disseminating the information to a wide audience. It's desperately needed.
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raugstein
Newbie
I read through the ´Open minded CEO´, and it is a good idea to publish open ebooks. No matter what format.... :-)
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Jason Hibbets is a project manager in Corporate Marketing at Red Hat where he is the lead administrator, content curator, and community manager for Opensource.com. He has been with Red Hat since 2003 and is the author of, The foundation for an open source city. Prior roles include senior marketing specialist, Red Hat Knowledgebase maintainer, and support engineer. Follow him on Twitter: @jhibbets