[TriLUG] writing about a OSS project you had nothing to do with
Andrew C. Oliver
acoliver at buni.org
Tue Jun 5 16:54:49 EDT 2007
That is totally ethical fine and natural. Most mature projects would
even be HAPPY and may offer help to you for writing such a book as it is
free advertising. In fact third-party documentation is a sign of
maturity. That being said in the early days when JBoss Group, LLC sold
documentation it did try and discourage such writing to its own
detriment. On the other hand since most of the writing was copied from
or trivially rewording of said documentation it was easy to stop. Today
JBoss, Inc and I suspect even more so under red hat, LOVES when people
If someone wants to write a Meldware book, today I'll probably be very
"please wait" but after 1.0 is released I'll make myself very available.
If anyone had wanted to write a POI book, I'd have helped willingly.
I've also reviewed books for publishers on various open source projects
where the author was not strongly affiliated.
That being said, your credibility and the sell-ability of the book is
very often a function of your name recognition. Therefore often
publishers try and recommend you be paired with someone more active in
the community unless you're a noted author in your own right.
Greg Brown wrote:
> So, Triluggers, I'm wondering would about the ethics of profiting through
> writing about a OSS project that you, yourself, had nothing to do with? Say
> I decide to write a book about any OSS project, say, SSH. Better yet, what
> about Small Business Network Management Using OpenNMS. That project is one
> that is managed locally. What if I did decide to write such a book? Could
> I be stopped or could the project pressure the publisher using their OSS
> licenses to have the book stopped? Or am I just free like the wind to write
> such a book and profit personally? For the purposes of this argument let's
> say I would keep all the money and not return any to the project (just for
> the sake of argument, people).
> What do you think? I can't imagine all the OSS related books were blessed
> by the specific OSS projects yet there seems to be something not quite right
> about it.
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