FLOSS Manuals' Fee-based Online Books Complement Free Ones

by Ostatic Staff - Jul. 05, 2012

On a regular basis, those of us at OStatic compile documentation and guidance resources for popular open source platforms and applications. For example, you can find our latest collection of free, online books on open source tools here, including guides that can get you started with Blender, Audacity and more. One of the better ongoing projects for producing free open source-related documentation is FLOSS Manuals.

Not long ago, the site added an interesting new type of guide to its mix: workbooks. In addition, some of the manuals and documentation found at the site are available for fees, and if you choose to purchase them, part of your purchase goes directly toward the production of more free manuals.

FLOSS Manuals provides free online guides to many open source applications, including this one on Mozilla's powerful Thunderbird email client.  If you choose, you can also learn to use Thunderbird through FLOSS Manuals' step-by-step workbook, available here. The workbook consists of a series of educational challenges designed to teach you essential Thunderbird skills.

The FLOSS Manuals site offers many more free guides and free workbooks on open source applications ranging from Firefox to Audacity. But the site does have a revenue model, and if you like what you see, you can help support it.

For example, for $12.21 (USD) you can purchase a complete guide to Inkscape,  the great vector graphic editor for OSX, Linux, Windows. The manual is actally written by the official Inkscape documentation team and community members.

Likewise, $14.01 will get you a complete guide to the GNU/Linux command line.  The folks at FLOSS Manuals put revenues generated from these fee-based books back into the production of free manuals. Especially since one of the most common criticisms of open source software is lack of documentation, FLOSS Manuals is a good site to support.