[TOS] Teaching materials, or textbook?

Greg Dekoenigsberg gdk at redhat.com
Mon May 11 17:21:52 UTC 2009

After reading Ross Gardler's thoughtful response to the list about the 
utility of the Teaching Materials project, and after reading Tridge's post 
about creating an Awesome Open Source Textbook, I've spent a lot of time 

The basic conclusion I've come to, and I'd like to hear everyone's 

A list of resources about teaching open source development is good.

A textbook about teaching open source development is better.

Given limited resources, I'd rather focus on the latter.

* * *

My first question.  What's the difference between this book and Karl 
Fogel's "Producing Open Source Software"?

I'd say there are a few important differences.

1. Fogel focuses on running a project.  We should focus on contributing to 
a project.

2. Fogel focuses on "professionals".  Our textbook should focus on 

3. Fogel's book is not "lesson oriented".  Our textbook must be.

* * *

My second question.  How would we begin?

So first, everyone agrees on a structure.

I like the structure of Tridge's course, and I think that it would 
translate quite nicely to a textbook structure.  A reminder of Tridge's 
course, for those who haven't seen it:


Second, various people agree to take a chapter.

Third, various people agree to write a chapter.

Fourth, we ask professors to review it.

Fifth, we edit it.

Sixth, we publish it online under a creative commons license.

Seventh, we take it to O'Reilly and use the proceeds to fund the further 
development of TOS.  :)

I think this plan is quite practical.  Within six months or less, we 
could have a damned fine textbook.

The question: who's willing to contribute?


Computer Science professors should be teaching open source.
Help make it happen.   Visit http://teachingopensource.org.

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