[FM Discuss] How will FLOSS Manuals expand? WAS: Are we ready to expand?
jmswisher at gmail.com
Tue Apr 28 19:33:51 PDT 2009
I generally agree with David. My only question in all this is how to
generate revenue not only for individuals, but also for FLOSS Manuals
Stichting. There is money in the bank, but it will only last so long.
Grants tend to dry up once you get past the start-up phase, and prizes
are hit-or-miss. Where do other foundations for open-source projects
On Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 8:03 PM, David Farning <dfarning at sugarlabs.org> wrote:
> FLOSS Manuals is already expanding rather nicely. That being said,
> the questions Andy raises will need answers eventually.
> The challenge is that FM is neither quite a community lead project nor
> is it a business. It operates as a benevolent dictatorship under
> Adam's leadership. That is fine. Many very successful projects
> operate as benevolent dictatorships. It _really_ cuts down on the
> Now, Andy steps up and wonders how a particular business model will fit into FM.
> My gut feeling is to tell Andy to go for it. Start selling your
> services as a book sprint leader and editor. FM will grow and evolve
> to keep up.
> The good thing about the book sprint process is that they are very
> short and involve little upfront investment. Your ability to refine
> and improve your process is pretty limitless.
> As far as putting pressure on the infrastructure, don't worry about
> it. Infrastructure can scale. Any load your projects might put on it
> will be compensated by the increased visibility for FLOSS Manuals.
> Weak points in the process can be fixed.
> The fundamental business model for open source products is to give
> away the base and sell value add goods and service on top of that base
> for a premium. The open source base is the FM collaborative authoring
> tools. The premium service is you leading the book sprint and editing
> the finished product.
> Asking for FM to build new tools is a slightly different. You will
> either have to convince a community member to add the feature or hire
> someone to add the feature for you. Those are both very effective and
> well understood ideas in the open source community.
> Nothing at FM will collapse if you start selling your services. If
> you think of yourself as AndyOEnterprises doing business ontop of the
> FM stack, see no reason why the existing infrastructure and
> organization will not be able to evolve to keep up with you:)
> On Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 8:32 AM, Andy Oram <andyo at oreilly.com> wrote:
>> Aw, Anne, I'm hoping to build the Renault of technical documentation, and you talk of a "cottage industry..."
>> I don't have a comprehensive reply (and that's why I opened up discussion on this group) but I'll add a few points.
>> 1. Adam, thanks for showing confidence that FM can handle projects like the ones I mentioned. I noticed that a lot of the site setup for CiviCRM had to be done by you, and I know that you're teaching other people to do some of it, but I get the impression that we're not ready to have 5 or 10 people setting up new pages on a whim each time we contact an interested project. But I'll just keep you in the loop.
>> 2. David Farning was making some detailed notes at Wintercamp, I remember, about what FM needs to scale and be sure of its future. David, that's relevant to this discussion if my memory is right.
>> 3. A company like Cloudera probably has their own facilities that they'd like to use for documentation, but some documentation efforts will probably strain those facilities. That's why I wrote articles about the need for new tools, and FM provides some that make writing easy. But FM is oriented book-length projects and to making it easy to combine chapters into new books. Some of the projects I might recommend to Cloudera or OpenSIMS might be more blog-like.
>> 4. Anne: I think any project to which we invite volunteers has to put the documentation under an open license. Nobody would have an incentive to volunteer her time otherwise. I think Cloudera understands that and would go along. Companies are recognizing the real value of open source, which I think I've caught in the last section of my article http://broadcast.oreilly.com/2009/01/free-software-meets-corporate.html (scroll down to "The most important benefit of free software: developing new programmers")
>> 5. I'm going to work on CiviCRM and a couple more projects (OpenSIMS and Cloudera, if they sign up) and figure out how much time I'll take and how much I need to charge to make it more than a sideline. But I don't know how much strain I'm putting on the FM infrastructure or on Adam, and how much FM should ask in addition to what I want to charge.
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: Anne Gentle <annegentle at justwriteclick.com>
>> To: discuss at lists.flossmanuals.net
>> Sent: Mon, 27 Apr 2009 23:42:21 -0400 (EDT)
>> Subject: Re: [FM Discuss] Are we ready to expand?
>> Andy -
>> I think these are great questions and you are fielding questions for the
>> types of recruit projects we'd want FM to be part of. I agree though that
>> scalability is the main issue - I have many more writing projects I'd like
>> to be part of. So it's scalability of muliple types of people that we'd need
>> to address. :)
>> One observation I've had is that people are interested in FM and Book
>> Sprints especially, but unless their project brings an enthusiastic
>> maintainer along with them, the content might not be maintained as well as
>> it would be if they kept even one or two writers as maintainers after the
>> excitement of the sprint dies down a little.
More information about the Discuss