FLOSS Manuals' Essential Documentation for Free, Open Source Applications
On a regular basis here at OStatic, we're committed to compiling documentation and guidance resources for popular open source platforms and applications. After all, one of the most common critcisms of open source creations is the lack of official project documentation.
One of the best ongoing projects for producing free open source-related documentation is FLOSS Manuals. It's an ongoing and ambitious effort to build online guides for open source software. Lately, the site has added useful documentation for some projects that may interest you. Here are details in our updated collection post on free documentation.
Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution. This is an older work, but is still an excellent guide to the culture and practices of open source developers. Eric Raymond, author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar, has an illuminating chapter, as do many other open source notables.
Introduction to Linux: A Hands-On Guide. This free introduction to Linux from Machtelt Garrels consists of a set of online chapters that start with very rudimentary lessons on basic installation of various distros, files and file systems, and more, then it advances to discussion of networking, working with sound and video, and other topics.
Chromium. You may very well use Chromium as your browser, and if you do you're in luck. One of the best guides on FLOSS Manuals is a complete guide to Chromium--the open source core of Google's Chrome browser. The guide walks through the differences between Chromium and Chrome, provides installation guidelines for all major operating systems, and much more.
Jubler. Do you create and work with video files, perhaps using tools such as VLC Media Player? If so, you may be interested in Jubler, a FOSS tool for creating and translating subtitles that you can use with Linux, Windows or Mac OS X. (It uses MPlayer for playback.) FLOSS Manuals has a visual guide to getting started with Jubler, available here.
Plumi. Plumi is a free Content Management System (CMS) designed for video-sharing, based on Plone and produced by EngageMedia. Plumi enables you to create your own video sharing site; by installing Plumi on your web server your can use a wide array of functionality to facilitate video distribution and community creation. Features include video podcasting, server-side flash/ogg transcoding and embedded playback, open content licensing, a sophisticated publishing workflow and large file uploading via FTP. You can find a compete manual on FLOSS Manuals, here.
illuminating chapter, as do many other open source notables.
Asterisk: The Future of Telephony. Asterisk is still recognized as one of the most interesting of all open source telephony platforms. It can transform any computer into a powerful voice server, and even function as a PBX-replacement for many types of businesses. O'Reilly offers an excellent, free online guide to it (PDF).
Freedom Fone. Freedom Fone is a communications tool with origins in Zimbabwe. “While the Internet in Zimbabwe has become more accessible, it is still available only to a minority, urban-based audience,” say Freedom Fone community members. “Mobile phone usage on the other hand has grown exponentially with over 50% of the population - including many who live out in remote rural areas - currently subscribed to mobile networks.” Freedom Fone allows anyone with a phone to access or contribute information on a specific issue 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A manual makes clear how it can be of use to small- and medium-sized businesses.
GIMP for Graphics. If you work with graphics, or if you want to start doing so, you may already use GIMP, one of the very best open source graphics applications, or you have it on your radar. GIMP is so powerful that it can be daunting for new users, and FLOSS Manuals has an excellent getting started guide available for it, here. Once you've mastered your GIMP basics, you can find even more guidance in the free online guide in Grokking the GIMP.
Firefox in a Nutshell. Floss Manuals' Firefox in a Nutshell guide is available now, and is a comprehensive guide to the one of the most popular open browsers. It covers installation, of course, but delves into intelligent use of tabs and dedicates solid coverage to installing extensions--one of the big advantages Firefox offers.
For example, the guide has a straightforward discussion of how to use FireFTP, an extension for Firefox that makes it easy to send and receive very large files. If you use another browser and have wanted to dablle in Firefox, this guide is worth getting and totally free.
Etherpad. Etherpad is a real-time collaborative editor for Linux that can be used for taking minutes during online or offline meetings, recording real-time or asynchronous text-based planning of projects, and more. It's popular as a quick-in, quick-out way to record thoughts. You can get FLOSS Manuals' free guide to it now.
Etherpad is basically a rewrite of a different but similar application called "EtherPad," with the newer version being more compact. The FLOSS Manuals guide covers how to create pads, how to chat about pads with other users, and delves into other collaboration features. Especially if you work with others on brainstorming, this little application is worth checking out.