A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Open Source

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Active Open Source Translation Tool Projects

I don’t intend to give a complete project list. I just chose some projects that might be interesting enough to people from localization industry based on two criteria: 1. The features are useful for language service providers (LSP). 2. The development status is Stable or Mature. In other words, it is ready for real production use from the view of development cycle.

Dickson, Vic. Better Localization (2005). Articles>Software>Translation>Open Source


Alfresco Is Not A Picnic: The Problem With Metaphors and Content Management Systems

In the content management system I currently use, I’ve noticed no less than nine metaphors, which are meant serve as organizing principles, but they don’t. Granted, the particular tool I use isn’t really meant for gobs and gobs of editorial work, but nonetheless its organization and structure were likely created by a developer within arm’s reach of a bottle of tequila.

Bochman, Felice. Content Wrangler, The (2008). Articles>Content Management>Open Source>Alfresco


Applying Copyleft To Non-Software Information

Copyleft contains the normal copyright statement, asserting ownership and identification of the author. However, it then gives away some of the other rights implicit in the normal copyright: it says that not only are you free to redistribute this work, but you are also free to change the work. However, you cannot claim to have written the original work, nor can you claim that these changes were created by someone else. Finally, all derivative works must also be placed under these terms.

Stutz, Michael. GNU. Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Open Source


Best Practices in Open Source Foundation Governance – Part I

There is a real need for best practices to be set down that will allow any project to set up a structure quickly, easily and cheaply that will effectively serve its short term and long term goals. Given that open source projects are more likely to be international rather than national in scope and participation, it makes little sense to restrict the choice of law to that of any particular nation.

Updegrove, Andy. ConsortiumInfo.org (2011). Articles>Business Communication>Collaboration>Open Source


Beyond Markets and Firms: The Emergence of Open Source Networks   (peer-reviewed)

Although hierarchies and markets (i.e., autonomy) have been subject to extensive study, heterarchies represent different modalities of organizing that have been little researched. Drawing on complexity theory and the main features of complex evolving systems (CES), this paper sets out to remedy this imbalance by showing that heterarchies feature highly decentralized and relatively stable interactions which are coordinated through an emergent process of parametric adaptation. Implications in terms of learning are discussed casting a new light on the delicate issue of motivation in Open Source software development.

Iannacci, Federico and Eve Mitleton-Kelly. First Monday (2005). Articles>Collaboration>Community Building>Open Source


Breaking up with Ubuntu

Good luck, Ubuntu. I wish you well. But now just doesn’t seem like the right time for me and you. You don’t work for me, and Windows 7 does. But thanks. It was fun (kind of) while it lasted.

Pehrson, Paul. Technically Speaking (2010). Articles>Software>Open Source>Linux


Calculating the True Price of Software

Therefore, the major difference in worldview between open source advocates and proprietary software license advocates is explainable as a differing opinion on the correct value of the volatility of maintenance and upgrade pricing. People who believe that the pricing on maintenance is stable and unlikely to change see greater intrinsic value in the software. People who fear that the pricing is subject to large fluctuations see no intrinsic value in the up-front license; stripped of the options, the license value approaches $0.

Lefkowitz, Robert. O'Reilly and Associates (2005). Articles>Technology>Software>Open Source


Categories of Free and Non-Free Software

A glossary of various categories of software that are often mentioned in discussions of free software.

Free Software Foundation (2005). Articles>Software>Open Source


The Challenges of Open-Source Documentation and Training

There are at least two important issues that are closely related to the open-source software support questions we raised in part 1 of this look at open-source practicalities: documenting the software and training people to use it. With a traditional, commercially licensed product, documentation is as simple as obtaining a hard copy, a CD or going online to get all the details needed from the software's developer. Or, if something is missing, using support from the vendor to get questions and issues resolved.

Smith, Tom. Open Enterprise, The (2003). Articles>Documentation>Open Source


Changing the Way We Work

The CMS market really took wing with the liftoff of the LAMP stack and the growth of a supportive development community. Suddenly it seemed everyone was producing LAMP-based CMSes under Open Source licenses.

Shreves, Ric. Water and Stone (2006). Articles>Content Management>Software>Open Source


Checklist for Justifying Free Software

In a few years viewing source code within the major components of software infrastructure will probably be a routine way of doing business. In the meantime it seems that the only reason managers want free software is because it is free (as in free of costs). That's not a good reason in itself: in the long run there are compelling reasons that robust, mission critical infrastructure software should be made free software.

Spence, Malcolm D. Free Software Magazine (2005). Articles>Software>Open Source


Choosing a License for Sharing Documentation Content

What issues and legalities do we as Technical Communicators or Wiki Administrators need to be aware of as we move towards collaborative authoring projects and so forth, especially when documenting open source software?

Gentle, Anne. Just Write Click (2009). Articles>Documentation>Intellectual Property>Open Source


Clustering and Dependencies in Free/Open Source Software Development: Methodology and Tools   (peer-reviewed)

This paper addresses the problem of measurement of non-monetary economic activity, specifically in the area of free/open source software [1] communities. It describes the problems associated with research on these communities in the absence of measurable monetary transactions, and suggests possible alternatives. A class of techniques using software source code as factual documentation of economic activity is described and a methodology for the extraction, interpretation and analysis of empirical data from software source code is detailed, with the outline of algorithms for identifying collaborative authorship and determining the identity of coherent economic actors in developer communities. Finally, conclusions are drawn from the application of these techniques to a base of software.

Aiyer Ghosh, Rishab. First Monday (2003). Articles>Software>Open Source>Community


Collaborative Virtual Workspace

CVW is a collaboration software environment that provides a 'virtual building' where teams can communicate, collaborate, and share information, regardless of their geographic location. CVW takes virtual meetings one step further and enables virtual co-location through persistent virtual rooms, each incorporating people, information, and tools appropriate to a task, operation, or service.

SourceForge (2001). Resources>Software>Collaboration>Open Source


Comparing Open Source CMSes: Joomla, Drupal, and Plone

Open source content management systems (CMS) are particularly attractive to the nonprofit community because of their cost-efficiency, but what do these systems actually do? And what are the differences between the most common CMSs? We’ll compare Joomla, Drupal, and Plone for typical nonprofit needs.

Quinn, Laura S., Ryan Ozimek, David Geilhufe and Patrick Shaw. NTEN (2007). Presentations>Content Management>Software>Open Source


Comparing Open Source Content Management Systems: WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and Plone   (PDF)

In this report, we take a look at four different open source Content Management Systems—WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and Plone—and rate them on a variety of criteria, including system flexibility, features, ease of use and the availability of support. We chose these systems because they’re the most popular four in the nonprofit sector today, according to our analysis (see Appendix C for more details on our market analysis). We also dig a little deeper into what open source is all about, and how a CMS can help streamline processes. We even take a look at some vendor-provided systems, along with a few other open source ones, in case you don’t find what you’re looking for among the four original choices.

Murrain, Michelle, Laura Quinn and Maggie Starvish. Idealware (2009). Articles>Content Management>Software>Open Source


Considering Open Source Content Management Systems  (link broken)

Open source software content management systems (CMS) offer affordability, flexibility, and in many cases outstanding performance.

Still, Brian. IEEE PCS (2005). Articles>Content Management>Open Source


The Content Management Dilemna: Good Time to Revisit the Open Source CMS

Open source delivers on the basics. The move to Plone delivered on the basic value proposition of open source: we got a very sturdy platform that worked well for our editors and didn't have to pay a dime in license fees.

Donahue, Henry. Folio (2008). Articles>Content Management>Open Source>Plone


Creating Quality Content with Open Source Tools   (PDF)

The detailed notes for the presentation on creating quality content with Open Source tools that was given at DocTrain East 2008 (Oct. 31, 2008).

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2008). Presentations>Technology>Open Source>Technical Writing


Crowdsourcing as a Model for Problem Solving: An Introduction and Cases   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Crowdsourcing is an online, distributed problem-solving and production model that has emerged in recent years. Notable examples of the model include Threadless, iStockphoto, InnoCentive, the Goldcorp Challenge, and user-generated advertising contests. This article provides an introduction to crowdsourcing, both its theoretical grounding and exemplar cases, taking care to distinguish crowdsourcing from open source production. This article also explores the possibilities for the model, its potential to exploit a crowd of innovators, and its potential for use beyond forprofit sectors. Finally, this article proposes an agenda for research into crowdsourcing.

Brabham, Daren C. Convergence (2008). Articles>Collaboration>Methods>Open Source


The DocBook Project

DocBook is an XML vocabulary that is particularly well suited to books and papers about computer hardware and software.

SourceForge (2003). Resources>Documentation>Open Source>DocBook


Documentation Collaboration Service

Collaboration happens when multiple people work simultaneously towards a common goal. Collaboration software are tools which try to make working together easier and more productive. There are hundreds of methodologies and approaches out there to collaboration. We want to bring the focus on one particular dimension: open vs. structured collaboration.

Live Tech Docs (2009). Articles>Documentation>Content Management>Open Source


Documenting Open Source Software

I love reading different community perceptions of both FLOSS Manuals, where we write open docs for open software. I’m also lurking on mailing lists and forums where open source projects are figuring out documentation needs for their users. Forgive me if I ramble a bit, but I’ve been thinking about these concepts lately while discussing them with other writers.

Gentle, Anne. Just Write Click (2010). Articles>Documentation>Technical Writing>Open Source


Doing Good with Technical Communication Skills

Writers suggest people maintain or improve skills – or develop new skills – in some open-source type project where there is no pay, but plenty of opportunity to learn and, well, practice. This post is for sharing a few of those places of practice.

Mardahl, Karen. STC AccessAbility SIG (2009). Careers>TC>Unemployment>Open Source


A Dozen Years After Open Source's 1998 Birth, It's Time for OpenTechComm   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

2008 marked the 10-year Anniversary of the Open Source movement, which has had a substantial impact on not only software production and adoption, but also on the sharing and distribution of information. Technical communication as a discipline has taken some advantage of the movement or its derivative software, but this article argues not as much as it could or should. We have adopted Open Source Software (OSS) to manage courses or websites; we have, following the principles of Open Source, made some intellectual resources available; but we have not developed a truly open—open to access, open to use, and open to edit—pedagogical resource that teachers of technical and professional communication courses at every level can rely on to craft free offerings to their students. Now is the ideal time to consider developing OpenTechComm. This article makes the case for why and how it could be implemented.

Still, Brian. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2010). Articles>TC>Education>Open Source



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