Textbook Project

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The Teaching Open Source community produces the textbooks on this page.

Practical Open Source Software Exploration: How to be Productively Lost, the Open Source Way

This is the first textbook under production.


This textbook teaches the basic skills of open source development incrementally, through real involvement in meaningful projects, for students and self-learners.

What is ...

These are short explanations of the textbook project for potential users and contributors (i.e., elevator pitches):

  • "We're working on a textbook called "Practical Open Source Software Exploration". If you are interested in teaching open source participation, this textbook has or will have all the material you need, including chapters on licensing and culture. What is most interesting are the chapters on how to participate, which gently take the student through actual processes in real open source communities. You can only get so far in simulating the open source development model, to really understand requires some level of immersion. This textbook guides students and professors in that immersion. As a Teaching Open Source community collaboration, this textbook is still evolving with ongoing input from and collaboration with professors and students."
  • What is "Practical Open Source Software Exploration: How to be productively lost the open source way"? It's a textbook that teaches how to participate in open source projects, from culture and licensing to actual tools and processes that students practice in real open source communities. The textbook is also a collaborative effort amongst professors, students, and members of open source communities. You can read more HERE, and see the real-time input from textbook users HERE."

Latest Release

The latest is Textbook Release 0.8.

Work in Progress

The Textbook Roadmap is the equivalent of HEAD for a software project. It's a page that links to the current revisions of all chapters in progress. This is where we will work on future releases of our textbook.

Current Contributors

Potential Future Contributors

Extant Texts

  • Producing Open Source Software, Karl Fogel. Brilliant from the perspective of someone trying to run an open source project, but poorly structured for introducing people to open source in a classroom environment. Certainly a useful reference, though, and because the work is CC, we can lift parts of it if necessary.


If you have feedback for this textbook, contact us through the mailing list or use our bug tracker for reporting errors in the text or with the book: